Sew-along

Mom’s Minivan Organizer Sew-along #4 & Link-up

This is the final post for the Mom’s Minivan Organizer from On the Go Bags. If you are just joining, check out the intro post, and the first, second, and third sew-along posts.

In this post, we’ll be adding the binding and handles to finish the organizer!

You can find the instructions on page 180 of the book.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Adding the binding:

I highly recommend making your own binding strips from the fabric you chose. Either the lining fabric or the exterior fabric will work for this. Or you can use a contrasting color like I did. Since you don’t need to cut on the bias for this binding, you only need 6″ cut across the width of the fabric. You might have some scraps in your stash that you can use to make a contrasting binding if you like.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Above, you can see that we used a double-fold binding technique. This means that you fold the binding before sewing it on. You sew through both layers and then you have a nice clean folded edge on the front. Sewing the binding is probably the trickiest part of this organizer. It’s all straight stitching, but the bulk of the organizer makes it difficult to hold it in the right place.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

The first time around, the bulk of the organizer will be up in the air because you are stitching on the inside. It helps to keep the needle down while you are sewing, so you can make adjustments. The second time around (if you are brave enough to machine stitch this part), the bulk of the organizer will be hanging down. I found that it helped to move my sewing machine to the edge off the table so that the organizer could hang off the side. Just work slowly, making small adjustments as you go.

If you find that it’s too difficult to manage the binding on your machine (especially the second pass), you can also hand stitch the binding. I actually prefer this method. It only takes about 15 minutes and looks much cleaner!

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Attaching the grommets and handles:

Last step! Mark your grommet placement and add the grommets. If you need more detailed grommet instructions, check out my beach tote tutorial post. I have such detailed directions there already, so it seemed silly to redo all of the grommet photos.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Cutting through a couple layers of interfacing is a little bit tricky. Just take it slowly. I like to use an X-acto knife and small sharp scissors to make the hole.

I noticed that there is a mistake on page 105 (the cutting list) that instructs you to cut the webbing into 9″ strips. The handles should be 18″ long as mentioned in the second to last step on page 108.

Tie those handles on, and we’re done!

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

I’d love to see how you plan to use this organizer. It’s great for the car, of course, but I’m sure you can think of many other uses.

Please link up your finished organizers below! The link-up will be open until the end of September.


Sew-along

Mom’s Minivan Organizer Sew-along #3

This is the third post for the Mom’s Minivan Organizer from On the Go Bags. If you are just joining, check out the intro post, and the first and second sew-along posts.

In this post, we’ll be assembling the lining and the removable divider!

You can find the instructions on page 107-108 of the book.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for helping to support my business!)

If you haven’t already, please join the On the Go Bags Facebook group to share your progress and keep up with the details of the sew-along. We would love to see what you are making!

Make the lining:

The first step is to add the loop side of the hook-and-loop tape to the lining side panels. You can find the measurements on page 107 of the book. Make sure you follow the diagrams so that the spacing is correct for the hook-and-loop tape.

You can attach the hook-and-loop tape as described, or substitute snaps. I tried to use 3 plastic snaps on each side, but it ended up causing problems. Though the snaps went through the layers of interfacing, I could tell they weren’t going to be strong enough when a couple popped off. I removed them (not an easy process…) and added the hook-and-loop tape. I still think snaps would be great, but I would recommend using them only if you have access to an industrial snap press and longer than average snap studs. If you choose to use snaps, place the female sides of the snaps on the lining sides.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

After you finish the hook-and-loop tape, you’ll stitch the 4 sides of the lining together and then attach the bottom as you did for the exterior. This should all be pretty straightforward, though the lining does start to get bulky by the time you get to the bottom. Just work slowly and try to wrestle the interfacing out of the way. You can always press it again to smooth it out when you’re done.

Make the divider:

You should have fused the stabilizer and interfacing to one of the divider pieces in the beginning. If you missed that part, go ahead and do it now. You’ll have to wrestle the interfacing a little bit to turn it right side out, but as I said above…just press it when you finish.

Use the measurements given in the book to create the flaps for the hook-and-loop tape. Apply the loop side (that’s the rough side) to the divider flaps. The flaps will fold opposite directions, forming a “z” shape. It helps to steam the creases. The loop tape goes on top and bottom of the “z”, facing the organizer lining. If you choose to use snaps, place the male sides of the snaps facing toward opposite sides.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Now that you have the lining finished, you can slide the lining into the exterior! I placed Wonder clips (which are so much easier for binding than pins!) around the top edge to prep mine for binding.

We’ll finish the binding on Thursday and I’ll post a link-up that will be open until the end of September…

P.S. If you still need a book, you can get one from Amazon or through C&T!

Sew-along

Mom’s Minivan Organizer Sew-along #2

This is the second post for the Mom’s Minivan Organizer from On the Go Bags. If you are just joining, check out the intro post and the first sew-along post.

In this post, we’ll be putting together the pockets and constructing the exterior of the organizer. I have included a helpful video showing how to apply the fold-over elastic (FOE) to the pocket edges.

You can find the full instructions on page 105 of On the Go Bags.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Make the pockets:

The first step is to assemble the pockets. The pocket edges are bound with fold-over elastic (FOE). If you haven’t worked with FOE before, you might want to practice on an extra piece of fabric. FOE is basically elastic binding. It has a fold line down the center, so that it can cleanly wrap around the edges of fabric. (Please ignore my messy stitching…trying to record over my shoulder while sewing made it impossible to see what I was doing!)

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Begin by folding the elastic binding around the top edge of the pocket. (I’m using this crochet fabric instead of mesh…) You need to leave about an inch hanging off the end so that your machine doesn’t “eat” it. Don’t worry about trying to pin it on. Just pinch it together where you plan to start and place it under your presser foot to hold it in place. You need to line up the needle so that your zigzag stitch just reaches over the open edge of the elastic. Whenever you stop sewing to make adjustments, keep the needle down in the elastic.

Begin by sewing a few stitches. Hold your FOE about 2″ from the needle and stretch it tightly (I mean, really, really tight…more than you would for regular elastic. You want the fabric to gather tightly. Just don’t break your needle!). Stretch only the FOE and not the fabric. Pinch it around the fabric at the point you have stretched it and sew that section. Make sure the fabric is tucked in all the way to the fold of the FOE. Sew 3-4″, leave the needle down, and readjust as you go. Keep working to the end of the pocket. Once you get a good rhythm, it goes on very easily!

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

I’ve put together quick video so you can see my method here. It isn’t as precise as the method Mrs. H uses, but I think you can stretch the elastic more and gather the fabric more tightly this way. It might look like I’m pulling the elastic through my machine, but I am just keep ing tension on the elastic. Make sure you don’t pull. Let your machine feed the fabric through at it’s own pace!

The rest of the pockets are pretty straightforward. You should have 2 mesh pockets and one long, lined pocket. Continue adding pockets as directed on page 106 of the book.

On the 4th side, there are elastic loops for water bottles and similar items. If you don’t need the loops, you can definitely make another pocket instead. I could not locate 2″ elastic in colors, so I have used 2 lengths of 1″ elastic and zigzag stitched them together. (Check the end of the video to see how this looks!) Once you have your elastic prepped, sew it to the 4th side using the diagram in the book for measurements.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Make the Exterior:

The exterior construction is also very straightforward. The seam allowances are 1/2″. Make sure these are very accurate at the top edge of the bag so that the exterior and lining fit together perfectly when you add the binding. It’s really hard to photograph these steps because the organizer is so big. The illustrations in the book are much more complete than I can capture in a photo.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

If you have made a few bags before, attaching the bottom piece shouldn’t be too difficult. Pin all of the corners first. If the sides don’t match up in length, you can adjust by making the seam allowances a little bigger or smaller at the corners before you sew. To sew around each corner, leave your needle down in the corner seam, raise the presser foot, and pivot the fabric 90°.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | Pockets & Elastic | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

It’s starting to come together! It’s always encouraging to get to the point where you can see the size and shape of the bag. Next up, we’ll construct the lining and divider!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

Sew-along

Mom’s Minivan Organizer Sew-along #1

Today is the first day of the sew-along for the Mom’s Minivan Organizer pattern from On the Go Bags!

 

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks!)

If you haven’t already, please join the On the Go Bags Facebook group to share your progress and keep up with the details of the sew-along. We would love to see what you are making!

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Let me share a little bit about my inspiration for this pattern and why I think you should sew one for yourself. I enjoy designing bags and home accessories, but I especially love creating practical items to help you simplify your life. I spent some time thinking about what would be helpful to organize around my own house.

Anyone with kids knows the van can get crazy messy, so I designed this van organizer to contain some of the mess. It won’t magically clean your van for you, but at least it will keep it all the clutter from rolling around on the floor and out the sliding doors!

My kids aren’t involved in any sports, but I think it would be perfect for containing balls & equipment in the trunk. You can use it to transport casseroles to potluck events, which is the main reason I designed it with a removable divider. It can also be used, as we did on a recent road trip, between the front seats to hold snacks and trash—so much better than the usual pile that accumulates all over the floor!

In addition to keeping the car organized, I’m sure you can think of multiple places around the house to use this as well. I’ll be using this one in my sewing room on a utility shelf for fabric. It will add some color and allow me to use the space more efficiently.

Let’s get started!

In this post, I’ll go over a couple of the supplies, talk through the interfacing options, and talk about fabric choices. Then we’ll get all of the pieces cut out and apply the interfacing. I’ve got some extra tips to help you make a professional looking organizer!

Choosing fabric:

For the teal organizer in the book, I used an indoor/outdoor utility canvas. If you can find something like this, the water-resistant fabric is a great choice for something that will be in and out of the car. It’s easy to wipe clean and will hold up to heavy use.

Another great choice is indoor/outdoor home decor fabric, which will also be sturdy and water resistant.

You can also use any home decor fabric or medium weight canvas. This is a great choice if you plan to use the organizer inside. Lindsay made a beautiful version for quilt market with Art Gallery Canvas. Since I’ll be using this organizer in my sewing room for fabric storage, I’ve chosen be a home decor fabric for this version.

Supplies:

You can find the complete supply list on page 103 of the book. You should be able to find all of the supplies at your local fabric chain store, but I wanted to mention a couple of them in more detail.

1. One of the pockets is made from sports mesh (not the stretchy kind). If you can’t find anything like this at your fabric store, you can also make the pocket from the exterior fabric. (I’ll be substituting fabric pockets for mesh on my version, since I wasn’t able to locate the color I was looking for this time.)

2. Fold-over elastic (FOE) might be a new supply for many of you. One of the main uses for FOE is cloth diaper making. I made dozens of cloth diapers when my kids were babies, and I learned to love this stuff. Many of the chain fabric stores now have a small diaper making section with pretty FOE colors and designs. I’ve also seen FOE that is meant for making hair ties. My experience with the “hair tie” FOE is that it is not as strong as the “diaper making” FOE. Try to stick with FOE that has visible ribbing (navy blue) and avoid the satin finish FOE (chevron).

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

3. You will need to use FOE if you want to mesh pockets. If you decide to substitute solid fabric for mesh, you can also make the pockets with traditional elastic. I’ll show you how to do this as well.

4. Suitable grommets are usually available in the hardware section and near the drapery making supplies in the store. You can also order them here. (Some come with the tools in the kit, but if you don’t have any make sure you get the tools too.)

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

5. You can use hook-and-loop tape to attach the divider as suggested, or you can substitute snaps if you prefer. I’ll be making this version with plastic snaps (also left over from my diaper making supplies!) so you can see how that option looks.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

Interfacing:

If you aren’t familiar with interfacing, the layering process in this pattern might seem scary! The two types of interfacing are necessary to add stability to something like this. You don’t want the sides flopping over!

You’ll need Pellon Peltex, which is a very thick fusible product used to add stability. You’ll also need a layer of fusible fleece, which feels like felt or thin batting with glue on one side, to add some cushion and an extra layer of stability.

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

One product that I haven’t tried is Annie’s Soft and Stable (or similar products like Flex Foam). But based on what I have seen, it looks like it would work for this project. If you have used it before, you’ll probably be able to determine if it would make a good substitute for the interfacing I’ve suggested.

Cutting:

You’ll find the cutting list on page 104 of the book. All of the pieces are rectangles, so you won’t need any paper pattern pieces!

Mom's MInivan Organizer Sew-along | On the Go Bags | Radiant Home Studio

The best way to cut large rectangle is with a rotary cutter and mat. If you use scissors, I recommend using chalk or a fabric pen to trace the shapes and make sure they are square before cutting. We haven’t provided a cutting layout, so start by cutting the largest pieces first. Pay attention to the direction of the fabric if you aren’t using a solid color. We have listed the height measurements first. These should be parallel to the selvedge.

If you decide to substitute solid fabric for mesh pockets, you’ll need to cut two of each piece so that the pocket is lined. If you plan to use traditional elastic instead of FOE, add 1/4″ seam allowance to the height of those pieces.

The interfacing and stabilizer measurements are listed together. You will need make the cuts on this list 2x; once for the Peltex and once for the fusible fleece.

There is a mistake on the size of the webbing on page 105! Please cut your webbing to 18″ long, not 9″.

Interfacing:

Match up the stabilizer and interfacing pieces with the corresponding lining pieces. (I realize that it is more common to interface the exterior pieces, but for this project it worked best to add the interfacing to the lining. You don’t want a saggy lining and divider!)

The interfacing pieces are cut 1″ smaller than the corresponding lining pieces. This will eliminate bulk from the seams.

Finish fusing your layers of stabilizer and interfacing. You need to fully fuse the Peltex layer to the wrong sides of the fabric and then place the fusible fleece on top of the Peltex. Pay attention to which side the glue dots are on. Make sure you are pressing firmly and not sliding the iron around on the interfacing. You don’t want to distort the shape. When you finish, you’ll have all of the prep work done so you’ll be ready to start sewing!

Please let me know if you have any more questions! I’ll try to keep up answering comments and questions here and in the FB group.

P.S. If you still need a book, you can get one from Amazon or through C&T!

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