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  • Writer's pictureCraft Cotton Co

Sew your own Car Tidy

Keep the car tidy and your little ones occupied. It can be done with this simple tidy.


  • 1 metre cotton (main fabric)

  • ½ metre cotton for binding

  • ¼ metre wadding and ½ metre of heavy interfacing OR

  • 1 metre of fusible foam (approx.)

  • 1 metre nylon webbing 1” wide

  • 1 metre twill tape (to match your car tidy)

  • 2 x 1” D Rings

  • Rotary cutter, cutting mat, quilting ruler, scissors, sewing machine, iron, pressing board, pins, quilting clips, marking pencil/pen, seam ripper, piece of card and a lid/plate to make a template for rounded corners or to cut around.

Cutting List

Main Fabric

  • Main Body; 2 pieces 21”x13”

  • Pockets; Top pocket 8” x 13” finishes at 4” deep

  • Centre pocket 9” x 17” finishes at 4½” deep

  • Bottom pocket 12” x 17” finishes at 6” deep

Cut fabric

Binding Fabric; Cut 6 2 ½”x Width of Fabric

Nylon Webbing; measure around the head restraint and add 10” cut this length, using a lighter lightly burn the ends of the webbing sealing it to ensure it doesn’t unravel.

Twill Tape; measure around the seat back level with the seat cushion and add 20” cut the tape to size.

Depending on your choice of interfacing/wadding/stabiliser; the cutting instructions differ, please use whichever instructions are relevant.


Cut heavy interfacing 1 x 21”x13” and fuse to the main fabric back, if you want the back to be stiffer, cut 2 pieces of interfacing and fuse them together then fuse this to the main fabric (back), allow to cool and (* OPTIONAL see point 12) fuse the front and set aside.

Cut wadding: Top pocket 8” x 13”

Centre pocket 9” x 17”

Bottom pocket 12” x 17”

Foam stabilizer cut 1 piece 21”x13” – fuse main fabric to one side, allow to cool then (* OPTIONAL see point 12) fuse the other side and again allow to cool.

cut Top pocket 4” x 13”

cut Centre pocket 4½” ” x 17”

cut Bottom pocket 6” x 17”

You now have a firm, piece of fabric, finished on both sides to fix the pockets and strapping to.

Make Rounded Corners

1. Make a template to round off the corners OR use a small plate or lid. It keeps the corners tidy and stops them from curling over.

2. Taking the caddy back, cut around the outside edge of each corner using the template/plate/lid and set aside.

3. Using the contrast fabric and the 6 x 2 ½ “ strips, sew these together using a diagonal seam and then iron (with seams open). Then lightly press the strip in half lengthwise with seams facing in, open again and refold so the outside edges of the seams now both touch the centre along the line that you have ironed previously, press this strip well, it now is like regular bias binding.

Iron binding

Using the binding strips, cut;

1 x 14" length for the open edge of the top pocket

2 x 18" lengths for the open edges of the centre pocket and bottom pockets

The remaining length is for the perimeter of the caddy.

4. Using the fabric for the top pocket (8” x 13”) lay the fabric with the wrong side facing you, now lay the wadding or foam on the long side and fold the fabric over to create a sandwich (with one open side). If you are using wadding you will want to pin this, if using foam you need to press this well on both sides to fuse the fabric to the foam.

5. Slip the 14" length of binding over the raw edge of the top pocket and pin or clip, this encases the raw edge within the binding.

6. Now sew along the binding and ensure you catch both sides of the binding. You might want to lengthen the stitch length a little.

Sew Binding

7. Repeat this for both the centre and bottom pockets using 17” lengths of binding.

8. To create the 2 pleats in each of the 2 lower pockets, measure and mark 4½” from each side of the pockets using pins or a pencil. Now make additional marks at 1” on either side of the original mark, so you now should have 2 sets of 3 marks starting at 3½” from each side, and the marks are 1” apart.

3 pins 1” apart to make a pleat

9. To make the pleats you need to grasp the centre pin and fold each of the outer pins inwards so it sits on top of the centre pin. Pin this firmly thereby creating an inverted box pleat.

Pleats secured and ready to sew

10. To hold the pleats in place through the rest of the construction, stitch along the pocket where the fabrics overlap and secure these with a few backstitches through all the layers.

Sew over folded fabrics to secure the pleats

11. You can sew down vertically within the pleats to sub divide the pockets. If you do this, make sure the thread you use tones with your background fabric. I wanted to have somewhere for coloured pencils and small snacks so I sewed down the centre of each pleat creating smaller pockets. You could make a slim slot for a pencil or pen or leave larger pockets to store books its all up to you.

pockets positioned over back prior to being stitched in place

12. The 3 long pockets need to be positioned with pins prior to being sewn onto the back. Lay them out and try putting some items into them to make sure they will work for you before you secure them. Sew them horizontally across the caddy then sew down each side again backstitching top and bottom to make the seams strong.

(* you can leave the backing off the caddy back and fuse it as this stage thereby hiding all the stitching, its up to you).

13. The binding needs to be fixed to the circumference of the caddy, decide on a point on the bottom left and leaving a tail of 6”, start to pin or clip the binding in place. Continue working around the caddy finishing with another tail of 6”.

Binding the circumference

14. Sew the binding carefully making sure both top and bottom are caught in the stitching. Work around the corners manipulating the fabric to ensure it lies as flat as possible.

Binding round all edges

15. Flip the caddy so pockets are facing down. Lay the nylon wedding along the top edge – just under the binding, leaving approximately a 7” tail on one side. Pin in place. Test the caddy insitu and check exactly the length required. Allow for sufficient to go around the head restraint and go through a set of D rings with an additional 6-7”. Taking the short end, pop the D rings over and pass the webbing through to the underside. This should be secured with 3 or 4 rows of stitching. If end has been cut, seal it with a hot flame to prevent fraying.

Webbing sewn in place along the top edge

Webbing showing the D rings

This webbing can be fed around the head restraint and secured through the D rings holding the caddy in place.

Webbing threaded through head restraints

16. Finally take the twill tape and sew it in place at the opposite end to the nylon webbing, it needs to be long enough to go around the seat and be tied.

twill tape in place at seat level

Now all you have to do it fill the caddy and let your little people enjoy….

(or pop it onto the front seat and fill it for your own long journey….. just a thought ….)

Finished caddy

By Marie Pickles for The Craft Cotton Company 2017

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