Fabric Baskets Tutorial

Follow these instructions to make yourself some beautiful fabric baskets to store all sorts of treasures. And if you have any sewing tips to offer, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Supplies:

  • Fabric for outside of the basket (amount will depend on the size of your final basket, but I think you could get 3 decent sized baskets out of half a yard, and maybe 2 out of a quarter of a yard) You will need to cut one long strip and circle out of this fabric, so keep that in mind.
  • Fabric for the inside of the basket (you will need more of this because you will be doubling it over at the top of the bag)
  • Medium-weight interfacing (I used white buckram, which is a stiff, woven, 100% cotton fabric)
  • 1 yd ribbon or cord
  • optional: grommets
  • thread for piecing and for top stitching
  • Other standard sewing tools: rotary cutter, cutting mat, sewing machine, scissors (seam ripper, if you’re like me), etc.

Cutting the fabric

  1. Iron your fabric. (Obviously I skipped this step for some of my fabric below.)
  2. Decide how big you want your basket to be. My first basket was roughly 6 inches tall and had a 6-inch circle for the bottom. Your outside piece will be however tall you want your basket, your inside rectangle will be the height of your outside piece plus 2 times the radius (half the diameter of your circle) To calculate the length of your inside and outside rectangle, use this equation:
    diameter of circle × 3.14.
  3. Cut your rectangles out. For a 6-inch basket, you will need the following: 1 rectangle 6 1/2 inches by 19 1/2 inches of the outside fabric, 1 rectangle 12 1/2 inches by 19 1/2 inches of the inside fabric, and 1 rectangle 6 1/2 inches by 19 1/2 inches of the interfacing. (If you want to include a pocket, you will need a rectangle that is the length of your pocket and twice as tall as your pocket).
  4. Cut your circles out. You will need a 6 1/2 inch diameter circle in each of your fabrics and interfacing. To make this faster, draw a circle on your interfacing with a compass or use the method from this tutorial to draw a circle.

    Then pin your other two fabrics to the bottom of your interfacing, and cut out all three circles at once.
  5. Optional pocket (sorry, I didn’t show these steps, but a great tutorial for adding pockets can be found here.) Fold your pocket rectangle in half, right sides together, and stitch all the way around with 1/4th inch seams, leaving a small opening to turn it out. Clip the corners, and turn right sides out. Make sure the opening is tucked in, and pin this to the right side of your inside fabric. Place it carefully, and remember that there are an extra 6 inches on top of your fabric that will be folded over, so place your pocket low enough so it won’t be too close to the top of the basket. Stitch along both edges and the bottom of your pocket close to the edge of your pocket. If you want to divide the pocket into smaller sections, stitch vertical lines from the top to bottom of your pocket (you may want to mark these with a water-soluble pen to make sure they are at 90-degree angles with the bottom of your pocket). This is how I did my pocket (sorry it’s not quite proportional):

Constructing the Basket

*I used 1/4-inch seams for piecing and 1/8-inch seams for top stitching.

  1. Optional: Baste your outside fabric to your interfacing. I did this because I was working with linen and it shifts a ton. It also helped me to use a walking foot when I basted. If you’re not worried about your fabric shifting, you can skip this step. If you do not baste, be sure to pin your interfacing to your outside fabric before you sew the outside fabric rectangle to the outside fabric circle.
  2. Sew the bottom (circle) piece to the side piece. Here’s where I’m not sure if this is the best way to do this. I tried sewing my side piece into a tube and then sewing the circle onto the bottom of the tube first, and I ended up unpicking it 3 times before I just had to settle for the wonky puckering this method created (and this could just be my lack of sewing skills). So the next time I did it, I just sewed the long side of the rectangle along the edge of the circle and then sewed the side of the rectangle together.
    Sewing the side to the bottom on the outside (above) and inside (below) basket.
  3. I didn’t worry about pinning the rectangle to the fabric, I just eased it around the circle, stopping every couple of inches to adjust the placement so the edges lined up.
  4. Bring the two sides of the rectangle together. Don’t worry too much about there being extra. Pin them so they meet right where you stopped sewing around the circle, and sew perpendicularly up from that point. It there is extra fabric, trim down the seam allowance so it is 1/4 inch. After I sewed the side up, I pressed the seam open and stitched in place at the bottom. I don’t know if this is the best way to do this, so any tips would be great.The problem I had with this method was that the rectangle stretched along the circle, so I usually ended up with about a quarter half inch more than the seam allowance extra that I just had to trim off the side. The outside piece with the interfacing didn’t stretch as much or at all, so this meant the inner and outer pieces didn’t fit together perfectly, but I didn’t know how to fix this. You may just have to be okay with this not being perfect.
    Complete this step with the inside fabric and the outside fabric/interfacing combo.
  5. Optional: Using pinking shears (faster, I assume) or scissors (slow slow), trim down and notch your bottom seam allowances. You may want to try pressing open the seam with your fingers so it won’t stick straight out when its turn right side out. 
  6. Now place your inside basket piece, right side out, inside your outside basket piece, wrong side out (this will make your right sides face each other), lining up the top raw edges. You’ll have to squish it down some since the inside piece is taller than the outside piece. Pin in place.
  7. Sew around the top of the basket, leaving a 4-inch opening.
  8. Turn the whole thing right side out.
  9. Stuff the inside basket into the outside basket. You will have approximately a 3-inch double layer of the inside fabric that extends above the top of the outside basket.
  10. Turn your opening under and top stitch around the rim  of the outside basket.
  11. To make the casing for the drawstring, simply sew 1/2 inch from the top of your inside fabric (make sure you side seam inside the fold is pressed open so the raw edge will no show when you unpick the seam.
  12. Now unpick the seam until you come to the edge of the line you just sewed.
  13. Thread some cord or ribbon in one side all the way around and then out the other side. I like to attach a small safety pin to the end of my ribbon so I can pull it through easier.
  14. Clip any extra threads, unpick an basting stitches that are visible, and you’re done!

The top can but turned down when you’re using the basket, and cinched up when you are storing it, so nothing falls out. You can even leave it turned up if you want to pack it really full.

p.s. Just wanted to remind you of the drawing for a handmade book I’m having to encourage help for Japan. To enter, make a donation to the LDS Humanitarian fund or theAmerican Red Cross, and then go here and leave a comment.

3 thoughts on “Fabric Baskets Tutorial

  1. I have been wanting to try this idea, I have all the stuff..just not the time. I really like how yours turned out! good job! I like the drawstring part of the basket! really cute!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s