Placemat Repurposing: Car Accessories

Since I’ll be spending the majority of the next 4-5 years commuting kids to and from town to junior high, high school and their various sporting activities, we decided to trade in the minivan for something a little more fuel efficient and, ok, fun! This is my new get-around, a Scion XD, aka: Hot Lava.
Everything about this little car is fantastic, with the exception of space for some items we use often, like tissue and wet wipes. Those tiny travel tissue packages are just not enough for us, and a cardboard tissue box will be smashed in a second with all the back packs and coming and going. So I wanted to make something that would not be damaged if it were to get crushed.
I found two chunky woven placemats that matched my car and went to work on my own tissue and wipe holder.
With no pattern, and a basic understanding of sewing, this is a pretty easy project. The folding may get a bit tricky, but if you take a look at the final piece, it may make a bit more sense as I go along. Keep in mind any hems already stitched into your placemats and place your pieces so the hems fold to the inside when your piece is finished.
Click on any image to enlarge for detail.
Using the first placemat, fold it over a stack of tissue to get the basic shape of the holder. Flip to back side, and place a cut piece from the second placemat on the back for the pocket and pin into place.
Stitch the bottom inside of the pocket to the back of the holder, then fold back up into place.
Flip everything back over and fold up the bottom of the holder over your stack of tissue. Create a bit of a fold-over to the inside to hide the tissue placement opening. Cut off excess width if necessary. Mark the area in the center of the tissue bulk for creating your pull-through hole. Unfold the holder back to flat and with a tight zig-zag stitch, essentially create a big button-hole.
Trim out the center of the pull-through hole. Fold the bottom of the holder up, inside out, with back pocket flap folded in the same direction. Fold and pin the flap edges beginning where the holder seams finish. Stitch along the sides and into the flap area. Because the weave of my placemat unravels easy, I added an additional seam along the flap sides.
Turn right side out, and tuck your stack of tissue into the holder pulling out the first piece through the hole.
I added an additional seam along a fold at the top of the flap to help keep the flap closing naturally. Flip over and tuck in your wet wipe pack.
With the additional placemat scrap, I made little coaster-type liners for my cup holders to keep them from getting mucky.
And with a tissue holder and cup liners made from placemats, I can simply throw them in the wash if they become grimy. Cool, huh?
UPDATE: When cleaning up after my project I realized that there was still enough fabric left from placemat no. 2 to make another small pouch to hold more stuff I like to keep in the car! (I purposely turned the flap velcro strip vertically to allow for best closure depending on the bulk of the contents in the pouch.)

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38 Responses to Placemat Repurposing: Car Accessories

  1. #1 - Lis says:

    I love your new “hot lava”!! SO cute!

    And how fab is your tissue holder and coasters!

  2. #2 - Not the Good Scissors! says:

    Very cool! I love how your mind works.

  3. #3 - Sara says:

    Well, isn’t that clever! I hate how the cupholders get yucky…I’ll have to make some of these!

  4. #4 - Simply Susan says:

    Love the new vehicle! Love the tissue holder…that is just plain genius!!!

  5. #5 - Pattie Cordova says:

    a) LOVE your new car and b) what a great idea to have coasters for the little holder! Mine are all yucky.

  6. #6 - Faye says:

    This is so neat!You are so talented! Love the car to!

  7. #7 - Splendid Little Stars says:

    Hot Lava is very cool and now decked out in its very own matching accessories. The cup holder coasters is a brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing!

  8. #8 - kristin says:

    Hot lava, indeed!! My hubby and I are huge fans of the scions – we are saving up for an xB at the moment. Isn’t it great to have a car that you’ll never loose in a parking lot?!

  9. #9 - The Dragonfly says:

    That’s a hot little ride Cathe! Now that you have graduated from the minivan, tell me if you miss the voluminous storage space!

  10. #10 - sea-blue-sky & abstracts says:

    Inventive or what? I never cease to be amazed – or impressed! Best wishes. Lesley

  11. #11 - sea-blue-sky & abstracts says:

    Inventive or what? I never cease to be amazed – or impressed! Best wishes. Lesley

  12. #12 - SharDon Exclusives says:

    The finishing touch was the liner for the cup holder! Great ideas,

  13. #13 - Lisa says:

    “genius” “fab” “so cool”, When do you sleep?

  14. #14 - Amy Jo says:

    That’s great! I’ve never thought of coasters for the car. Cute!

  15. #15 - NicNacManiac says:

    Love the ‘Hot Lava’, but the accessories are not only ‘Hot’ but sylish as well.

    Such creative innovation out of necessity!!
    Nerina 🙂

  16. #16 - Danielle says:

    Love, love, love it!

  17. #17 - Virginia Burnett says:

    Love that orange! And liners for your cup holders! I wish I had thought of that 3 years ago when we bought our Fit!

  18. #18 - wendyp says:

    omgosh! I wanted one of the orange editions! They were slated to come out a few months after we bought our XD. We needed a car then and couldn’t wait. Enjoy your new wheels. Its a great little car!

    Love the idea of the coaters. Might just have to make up a set!

  19. #19 - dtarca says:

    Oh Cathe! I’m so jealous…ha/ha I want to graduate to the ‘adult’ vehicle. I’m soooo tired of the MOM car. Looks very cool…

    Love the material you used for the tissue holder…thats a great pen/paper holder as well.

  20. #20 - StunningAnnaK says:

    Great looking new car and fantastic idea for the holders!

  21. #21 - The Chick says:

    Great idea!! I NEED tissues constantly in the car so this is going in my project file. Thanks woman!!

  22. #22 - Vivienne says:

    What is wrong with you!?
    Don't you know that there are people who find old apple cores and things that were once sticky, (but are now sticky and furry), on the floor of their cars? There are people who tell their kids to use their sleeves… Those people are going to read your post and feel very, very bad about their car habits.

    You are amazing.

  23. #23 - RosyRevolver says:

    This is brilliant, Cathe. We are shopping for a Honda Element (dare I say it: Kiwi Metallic) and these ideas will DEFINITELY be implemented the moment the wheels hit our driveway!

    Keep those ideas coming!

  24. #24 - says:

    You're a girl after my own heart. I love your matching car accessories and I can't wait to make some cup holder coasters. You rock! I'll be linking.

  25. #25 - cindy says:

    this is such a great idea!

  26. #26 - Domestic Designer says:

    Great idea! Very creative.

  27. #27 - Suzanna says:

    I love it! they match your interior! 🙂

  28. #28 - TidyMom says:

    I LOVE it!!!

    If I could just have your creative mind for just ONE DAY……oh the things I could do! LOL

    Love the car too! I have not seen those! now I want one! ♥


  29. #29 - Sandy Toes says:

    Well, what a great idea! I am glad you love your new car…I am not much a small car person but all of you looks so cute and speedy!
    sandy toe

  30. #30 - nano*ink says:

    brilliant, on all accounts.

  31. #31 - casserole says:

    Cool tissue holder!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

  32. #32 - My name is PJ. says:

    Your car and your creativity are both molten hot!

  33. #33 - Julie Bouésso says:

    Hilarious the kit you sewed together for your new car! Love the car – ogled it on plenty of occasions as well! Maybe ONE day when I am ready to trade / get rid of my Truck. I love my baby, though!

    Cheers, Julie

  34. #34 - body kits says:

    excellent job.. I like how you have presented the information in full detail. Keep up the great work and please stop by my Headlights site sometime. Keep it up..

  35. #35 - kris says:

    fabulous, i just scored some placemats and napkin sets for $1, i'm totally making this, and maybe a little trash bag thingy to keep in there too! great job!

  36. #36 - April says:

    wow. we are getting ready to go on our annual road trip to the cottage. Every year I make notes for the next year. last year I noted that I needed to come up with some kind of coaster that would help absorb the sweat from the mcd cups….I've been trying to figure out what woudl work best, thanks for the tip on the placemats!

  37. #37 - irma says:

    really cute! i hadn’t thought of making something like this for my car. i may want to keep the car cleaner if i do!

  38. #38 - Abigail says:

    Is home made accessory perfect for the car? I don’t think so. If you make professionally,it is OK. If you are not, don’t do this. Car accessories available in the market. Buy and use in the car.