Fabric Baskets

Fabric Baskets She Said Sew

Apologies for the yellowed photos. It’s been pretty dreary here and my photo quality is suffering!

My Winter 2013 Sew Easy class is making these little lined baskets–just in time to fill with Valentine’s Day treats!  (But they are perfect for every day, too.)  I keep one on my kitchen counter to hold all the odds and ends that haven’t yet found a home and a larger one next to my bed is full of magazines.  Fusible fleece gives these bags great structure, but for larger ones, try experimenting with a firmer fusible stabilizer like Pellon Craft Fuse.

The directions below are specific to my Sew Easy class, but you may size yours as you like.  Just make sure you begin with 4 pieces of fabric that are identical sizes and you’ll be successful.  (Remember that a larger basket will need a larger boxed corner.)  If you want more practice inserting linings, try making reusable snack bags which apply the same principles.

This is a great project for beginner sewing. The skills you will develop by sewing these bags are:

  • cutting straight lines
  • sewing straight lines
  • topstitching
  • understanding the concept of boxed corners
  • understanding the basics of lining a bag

Supplies needed:

  • your basic sewing supplies
  • two fat quarters or remnants in complementary patterns/colors
  • fusible fleece
  • matching thread

All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless noted

Step 1:  Fuse Fleece

Following directions on the fusible fleece, fuse to the wrong side of your exterior fabric.

Drawing your rectangle directly on the fusible fleece prior to fusing can simplify this process

Drawing your rectangle directly on the fusible fleece prior to fusing can simplify this process

Step 2: Cut Fabric

Cut two pieces each from your exterior fabric and interior fabric.  For our class, we are cutting our fabric 12″ wide by 9″ high.  You will have a total of 4 pieces.

Make sure you have two pieces for the interior and exterior (4 total)

Make sure you have two pieces for the interior and exterior (4 total)

Step 3: Prepare Boxed Corners

In our class, we will make a 3″ boxed corner.  So, from each bottom corner (there are 4 total), cut away a 2″ square.  Why 2″?  Each square will contribute to half of the bottom and there is a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Thus, by the time the the bottom is sewn, only two 1 1/2″ halves will remain for a total of 3 inches.

Making a square template out of cardboard is a nice tool to keep for future bag-making.

Making a square template out of cardboard is a nice tool to keep for future bag-making.

Make sure you cut a square from all 4 pieces.

Make sure you cut a square from all 4 pieces.

Step 4: Sew Together Exterior and Interior Fabrics Sides

Backstitching at the beginning and end, sew the sides of like fabrics together.  Stop at the boxed corner.  Do not sew inside the boxed corner.

Basket Sides She Said Sew

Note: if you want to add handles, decorative or functional, do this now by sewing them at even distances on each side of the seam.  Sew handles with a 1/4 ” seam allowance and reinforce by reversing and re-sewing a couple of times.

Sew it 1/4" so there isn't a chance of these stitches showing in the final product.

Sew it 1/4″ so there isn’t a chance of these stitches showing in the final product.

Step 5:  Sew Bottoms

For the exterior fabric, sew across the bottom, backstitching at beginning and end.  Stop at the boxed corner.  Do not sew inside the boxed corner.

Again, do not sew inside the corners!

Again, do not sew inside the corners!

For the interior fabric, sew bottom as shown in this photo.  You are leaving a hole to turn the entire basket right-side-out.  The exit strategy I use will help the fabric turn inside and make swing the hole closed much easier.

Keeping the needle down in the fabric will serve as a "bookmark" and make pivoting easier.

Keeping the needle down in the fabric will serve as a “bookmark” and make pivoting easier.

Step 6: Sew Boxed Corners

Pinch squares together, matching seams.  Open seams (pinning will help keep them open) and sew across, being sure to backstitch at beginning and end.  Do this for both the exterior and lining.  Now you will have an unlined basket that sits upright.

Line up and open seams.

Line up and open seams.

Step 7: Insert and Sew in Lining

With exterior right-side-out and interior inside-out, place exterior inside interior.  Match seams and pull gently on sides to make sure there aren’t any large gaps.  If either interior or exterior is too large, take in at the seams.

Place the exterior inside the interior.  Right sides should be together.

Place the exterior inside the interior. Right sides should be together.

Free the arm of your machine and place basket over the arm.  Starting at one seam, sew all the way around–don’t worry, you aren’t sewing it shut because you left a hole in the lining where you will turn it right-side-out.

Modern machines should have a piece that is removable to make it possible to sew around a tube.

Modern machines should have a piece that is removable to make it possible to sew around a tube.

Step 8:  Finish Basket

Using the hole in the bottom of the lining, turn basket right-side-out and sew the opening closed by hand or machine.   Tuck the interior inside the exterior fabric and press the top.  Finish with a topstitch 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the top.

This is how it looks once the exterior has been pulled through.

This is how it looks once the exterior has been pulled through.

I am using an applique foot to attempt to show you how closely to sew to the top.  Please don't use an applique foot yourself, though!

I am using an applique foot to attempt to show you how closely to sew to the top. Please don’t use an applique foot yourself, though!

Make sure the handle stays to the right (if sewing handles)

Make sure the handle stays to the right (if sewing handles)

Fill with treats and pass it along to a friend.  You can even creating a nesting set!

Sew a few and create a nesting set!

Sew a few and create a nesting set!

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