2019_Pincushion_new logo

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram


Hello Kitty® Sewing Basket & Pincushion

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Click to Enlarge

One of our very favorite Storage Solutions patterns gets a update as the world's cutest sewing basket. We designed this version with shorter sides for easy access to the inside, then added pockets all around for tools and notions. The Hello Kitty® cotton canvas fabric came to us courtesy of our good friends at CityCraft . It's the perfect weight of fabric for the job and absolutely adorable. To really send the cute factor through the roof, we created a matching Hello Kitty® pincushion that can be made for your leftover scraps. Embroider eyes and a nose for her face and the pins become her whiskers. This would make the perfect organizer for your beginning sewer, but everybody loves Hello Kitty®, so it's really perfect for anyone... including YOU! Stay tuned this week, because there's a BIG Hello Kitty® surprise coming this Friday from our friends and sponsoring partners: Janome America .

This basket finishes at approximately: 10" x 6" and is 6" deep, not counting the lace around the top.

We used the Kokka Sanrio Hello Kitty® Licensed Fabric sent to us by our friends at CityCraft. This particular "Hello Kitty® in a Teacup" print is one of four super cute Hello Kitty® options in stock at CityCraft, including our other fave: Orange Patchwork Hello Kitty® .

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend, of course, the Janome Hello Kitty 18750)
    NOTE: You will be sewing through a lot of layers with this project, often right along an edge; it's important you have a machine with a good feeding system, like the 7-piece Superior Feed System on the Hello Kitty 18750 .
  • Walking foot (optional, but very useful for handling all the layers)
  • New Denim needle

Fabric and Other Supplies

Click to Enlarge

  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton canvas weight fabric for the basket exterior, pocket exterior and handles: we used "Hello Kitty® in a Teacup" from CityCraft
    NOTE: If you choose a fabric with a directional motif or a design that needs to be fussy cut , you should get ¾-1 yard of fabric.
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide décor weight fabric for the basket interior and pocket lining: we used a matching pink broadcloth
    NOTE: You will use scraps from the above fabrics to make the matching pincushion.
  • 1 yard of heavyweight fusible interfacing, we used Pellon 71F single sided fusible extra-strong stabilizer
  • A generous handful of polyester fiber fill for the pinchushion
  • 1 yard of 1-1½" wide heavy lace for the top accent trim; we used 1" lace with a crocheted-look edge that matched the look of the lace in our fabric's motif
  • ¾ yard of 1½" wide coordinating ribbon for the accent bow; we used red velvet
  • ¼ yard of ½" wide coordinating ribbon for the pincushion kitty's bow; we used red velvet
  • All purpose thread in colors to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins for project, plus six "fancy" ball-end pins for the pincushion kitty's whiskers

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Kitty Pincushion Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line. Set aside.
  3. From the fabric for the exterior (Pink Hello Kitty in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 10" high x 17" wide rectangles for the main basket body
    TWO 5" high x 17" wide rectangles for the pocket fronts
    FOUR 2½" x 10" strips for the handles
  4. From the fabric for the interior (Pink Broadcloth in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 10" high x 17" wide rectangles for the basket lining body
    TWO 5" high x 17" wide rectangles for the pocket lining
  5. From the heavyweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
    FOUR 9" x 16" rectangles
    TWO 1½ x 9" strips
  6. When all your regular cutting is finishing, use the scraps and the pincushion pattern to cut ONE kitty head from the exterior fabric and ONE kitty head from the lining fabric.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Interfacing the panels and handles

  1. Place a piece of 9" x 16" heavyweight fusible interfacing against the wrong side of each 10" x 17" exterior panel and each 10" x 17" lining panel, centering the interfacing on the fabric so there is ½" of fabric showing around all four sides of the interfacing.
  2. Place a 1½" x 9 strip of heavyweight fusible interfacing against the wrong side of TWO of the four 2½" x 10" handle strips. As above, center the interfacing so there is ½" of fabric showing around all four sides of the interfacing.
  3. Following manufacturer's instructions, securely fuse the interfacing in place on all the fabric pieces. Set all the pieces aside.


  1. Find the two interfaced 2½" x 10" strips and the two plain 2½" x 10" strips.
  2. Place an interfaced strip right sides together with a plain strip. Repeat to layer the second pair. Pin in place along both long sides.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch along both sides through all layers. Leave both ends raw and open.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Trim the seam allowance back to approximately ¼".
  5. Turn each handle right side out and press.
  6. Topstitch along both sides close to the edge. You can topstitch in either matching or contrasting thread. We chose a slightly contrasting pink thread.
    Click to Enlarge

Make and place the pockets

  1. Find the two 5" x 17" exterior pocket panels and the two 5" x 17" pocket lining panels.
  2. Place a lining pocket panel and an exterior pocket panel right sides together, aligning all four raw edges. Repeat to layer the second pair of panels. Pin in place along the top and bottom, leaving both ends open for turning. 
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the top and bottom.
  4. Turn the pocket right side out. Press well.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Place one pocket panel right side up on the right side of each interfaced exterior panel. The bottom edge of the pocket should sit 3⅝" from the bottom raw edge of the exterior panel. Pin the pocket panel in place. 
    NOTE: The bottom of the pocket will align with the bottom of the basket when finished, so careful measuring is important.

    Click to Enlarge
  6. Edgestitch along the bottom of the panel only.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Measure and mark the vertical lines for your pocket divisions. The exact width of the pockets on each side is a matter of personal preference. For our basket, we wanted two pockets on each end of the basket. So we measured and marked a vertical line 3½" in from all four raw sides.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. On the sides of our basket, we chose to make one side a full 10" pocket and so made no additional vertical seams on that panel. On the opposite side, we added one vertical seam in the exact center of the panel, dividing it into two 5" wide pockets. Again, you could make more or fewer pocket divisions based on what you'd like to store in your basket.
    NOTE: As mentioned above, be extra diligent to insure your pockets are placed super straight onto the panels and that your edgestiching is true. If you've measured and placed correctly, the bottom of the pockets will become the bottom edge of the finished basket.
    Click to Enlarge

Seam panels and box the bottom corners

  1. Place the two exterior/pocket panels right sides together. If you are using a directional print, make sure both panels are lined up top-to-top.
  2. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. Remember the heavyweight fusible interfacing is cut back ½" to stay out of the seams and make them less stiff. Therefore, you are stitching right along the edge of the interfacing, which makes it easy to keep your seam nice and straight.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Repeat to create the lining basket.
  5. With both the exterior and the lining baskets still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners. Our photos show this being done on the lining basket; the steps are identical for each.
  6. Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one bottom corner.
  7. As you keep pulling, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with the corner point at the top and a seam line running down the middle of both sides. Precisely match the two seams front to back.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Work first from the wrong side, then look down inside the basket to see if your seams are lining up. Below is a photo looking straight down into the basket, making sure the side and bottom seams are lined up. (That really is what the picture is... even though it kind of looks like a chubby pink man holding his breath.)
    Click to Enlarge
  9. Our basket has 6" sides. To create this width, you need to figure your boxed corner seam at half the finished width. Therefore, measure 3" from the tip of the corner peak and draw a horizontal line with a fabric pen or pencil.
    Click to Enlarge
  10. Pin your folded and measured 'peak' and stitch along the drawn line. For stability, we recommend stitching straight across, locking at the beginning and end, removing the project, then replacing it under the needle, and stitching straight across again.
    Click to Enlarge
  11. Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼" from the seam lines.
    Click to Enlarge
  12. Repeat these steps to form the opposite corner on the lining basket and both corners on the exterior basket.
  13. Turn the baskets right side out and push out the boxed corners.
    Click to Enlarge
  14. Leave the exterior basket right side out. Turn the lining basket inside out again. You will work with the baskets in these positions for the remainder of the project.

Add the lace trim to the exterior basket

  1. Our 1" wide lace had a definite top and bottom. We wanted a ½" of lace showing all around the top. You can adjust your lace for a narrower or wider reveal if you choose. Our steps below are to achieve our ½" reveal with a 1" trim.
  2. Center the lace over the top raw edge of the basket exterior. What will be the TOP of the lace should be pointing DOWN, what will be the BOTTOM should be pointing UP.
  3. Start pining at a side seam and "pleat and dip" the end of the lace to hide the raw edge.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Continue pinning the lace in place all around the top, measuring often to make sure you are keeping the lace centered and the ½" reveal even. When you get back to your starting point, overlap the ends and again make a little "pleat and dip" to hide the raw edge. Pin in place. You can trim away any particularly long tails on the lace.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Here's the view from the inside of the basket.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Machine baste the lace in place, staying close to the raw edge.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Fold down the top raw edge of the exterior (with the lace based in place) ½". This will cause the lace to pop up into position with its ½" reveal. Press well.
    NOTE: We forgot to take a picture at this step, but you can see the top folded down and the lace sitting in its correct position in the photos below of positioning the handle. Sorry 'bout that.
  8. Fold down and press the top raw edge of the interior ½" all around, creating a nice finished edge. Pin in place if need be, but as with the exterior, just pressing it down should be enough.
    Click to Enlarge

Insert handles

  1. Position each handle on the exterior basket, positioning them so they arch over the side seams. Each inside edge of the handle should be 1" from the side seam and each raw end should be 1½" from the top folded edge. Pin in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Machine baste each end of each handle in place. We used the original basting line on the lace as a guide.
    Click to Enlarge

Assemble the two baskets into one

  1. Slip the lining inside the basket exterior so the two layers are wrong sides together. Push the lining down into place so the side seams match up, the top folded edges are flush with one another, and the lace is sticking up.
  2. Topstitch all around the top of the basket through all the layers, keeping your seam line 3/8" from the top folded edges. I'm using my Janome walking foot, which is great for handling these thick layers. It will be easier to feed the basket through the machine if you stitch with the interior facing up
    NOTE: For the best finished look, re-thread your machine with thread to match the interior in the top and thread to match the exterior in the bobbin.
    Click to Enlarge

Matching pincushion

  1. Find the two kitty head pieces you cut earlier. Place them right sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin the two layers together, leaving a 2" opening along the kitty's chin.
  2. Using a ¼" seam allowance, and carefully following the curves of the pattern, stitch around the kitty head. Remember to leave the opening along the bottom edge and to back tack to secure your seam at either side of the opening.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Clip into the corners to allow to seam to ease when turned right side out.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Turn the kitty right side out through the opening. Poke out the curves and the points using a long, blunt-end tool, like a chopstick or knitting needle. Press flat.
  5. Use the paper pattern and your fabric pen or pencil to draw on the position of the eyes and nose.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Fluff up your polyester fiberfill and gently poke it into all the nooks and crannies of the kitty head until you reach your desired plumpness.
  7. Using floss or heavy thread, embroider the kitty's eyes and nose. We used black for the eyes and yellow for the nose to match the Hello Kitty® motif on our fabric. We used a small running stitch outline the edge of each oval, then filled in the oval with a satin stitch.
  8. Find the thin coordinating ribbon and create a small bow to fit the kitty's ear. Handstitch the bow in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  9. We inserted our fancy pins to create the kitty's whiskers.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

Other machines suitable for this project include the Brother Project Runway Innov-is 40 and the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist.


Comments (38)

Momo said:
Momo's picture

Minus the lace and bow, I made this pattern as a diaper caddy 3 1/2 years ago for my new baby grandson, complete with a mustache applique (He was named after his uncle whose mustache is legendary!). It's one of my favorite finished projects.  This past Christmas, I bought his 5 year old big sister her first sewing machine - a Janome, but not the Hello Kitty model.  I am going to teach her to sew, and I think this basket would be perfect for her works in progress!  I've had eye problems so that's been delayed, but soon.....very soon!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Momo - What a great story. We're so happy to know you're using the pattern for another project! And - double high five for teaching your granddaughter to sew. Spread the love!! 

Bimbo said:
Bimbo's picture

This is so beautiful. can be thrown Into the washing machine for a wash without loosing its structure?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Bimbo - it is not really meant to be laundered in the washer and dryer. Although it probably wouldn't destroy it, I don't think it would work out well. We certainly didn't test this option. As a caddy, it isn't designed to be in jeopardy of a lot of stains and spills. It would be best to be spot-cleaned.

Megibb said:
Megibb's picture

I've been returning to this project, time and time again, but I couldn't get up the nerve to give it a try. Finally did this weekend. Love it. Just followed the steps as written. I had a couple of oops, all my own fault for not reading everything thoroughly. But a great learning experience. I'll be making more of these, I think they'll make great gifts.

thanks again for the great tutorial.

mwlipari said:
mwlipari's picture

I just made one of these. Last year when this was first posted I was new to sewing and took one look and thought I couldn’t possibly make it. I was very wrong. The directions and pictures made it much easier than it looks. I just wish I had given it a try last February. I am about to make two more for gifts. I used sage green and tan striped material for the outside and a material with beautiful speckled eggs for the inside and I skipped the lace trim. It turned out beautifully. I can’t wait to start on the next two.

Janielou said:
Janielou's picture

I just finished this basket and it turned out just like the picture!  Very pleased with the instructions and photos.  I had absolutely no trouble with it.  I made it for my 30 year old daughter who just started sewing with her new Janome Hello Kitty machine.  She's finally hooked on sewing!  Thanks so much for sharing this fun project!

Diane Pugliese said:
Diane Pugliese's picture

This is adorable, and I've begun making it.  I'm having a problem, though.  I used the Pellon 71F interfacing on the straps, but now I can't turn the fabric inside out from the ends.  The fabric is so stiff, the conventional ways of doing this are not working.  Any suggestions?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Diane Pugliese - for our tube turning, we usually either use our hemostats or a chopstitck. Below is a link to our tutorial about using hemostats. If you are still having trouble and are using a canvas weight, you could try simply removing the interfacing from the handles. A good canvas weight will likely stand up pretty well without the interfacing. 


Ursula sewing lover of all fabric said:
Ursula sewing lover of all fabric's picture

Love love this and can't wait to make it for myself and teach it to my sewing students.  Thank you for such clear instructions and beautiful photos.  keep up the good work and ideas from one teacher to another.

Monika S. said:
Monika S.'s picture
@ Liz, yes you are magic smilies/wink.gif I love your works, they are really amazing smilies/smiley.gif
thank you for the tips, I just wanted to have it done fast, so you're right, adjusting is the key smilies/smiley.gif have a good day smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Monika S. - We like to think we are magic smilies/grin.gif. Beyond that, with linings, it really is a matter of "futzing" with it after you put it in place to get everything nice and smooth, matching seams, pushing it all the way down into the corners, adjusting top hems if need be, etc.. We have not really had noticeable trouble with the lining being larger than the exterior. Sometimes, if the two fabrics are quite different and one stretches more than the other, this can be an issue. But, if you are always struggling with it, then I'd say, "roll with it." Go ahead and cut your lining just a little bit smaller - maybe a 1/2" to 3/4" and see if that helps. There's no rule that says you can't adjust cuts to best fit your needs. That's actually the fun of sewing; you can alter things to work for you.
Monika S. said:
Monika S.'s picture

thank you very much for another great tutorial smilies/smiley.gif. I tried to make those baskets, but I have the following problem - it seems like the lining body should be smaller then the outer body (fabric + interfacing). I've made few baskets - smaller, bigger, square and round, and each time I have the same problem, that if I cut the inner and outer fabric the same size, the interior part just folds, is full of wrinkles and looks like too big. I don't know what I do wrong smilies/cheesy.gif. If you have any clue, please let me know. Your baskets look so smooth and great and I don't know where is the problem with mine smilies/smiley.gif.

Kindest regards smilies/smiley.gif
emmaolju said:
emmaolju's picture
waouhhhhhhhhhhhh superbe j aime c est beau et bien pratique bisessssssssssssss
Trisha Weekes said:
Trisha Weekes's picture
This is all too stinkin cute for words! I love Hello Kitty, now my daughter does too! Guess we have a great project to make!
TimelessKreations said:
Thank you for sharing another great tutorial. Just wanted to share, I finished mine last night. I did not have any 71f stabilizer, so, used two 809 pellon and one fleece fusible batting, did give it the stiffness it needed. Just in case anyone was wanting to know if there can be a substitute. I did it, but it was a little more spendy that way. I live in a small town, so most the time, fabric has to be bought on internet, and this was just to cute and I had to do it right away!!
cwilliamson77 said:
cwilliamson77's picture
Simply adorable! My 6yo daughter is ALL about HK right now, and is starting to be interested in learning to sew since she sees me an my mother doing it all the time. What a perfect project to put together as a "teaser" gift filled with her own tools for Christmas this year when my mother will be getting her a daisy-chain machine.
Ann Jyono said:
Ann Jyono's picture
I Bought this fabric in LA 3 months ago and have purse patterns also to make, nice to see how yours turned out very cute.
Fiona M said:
Fiona M's picture
Thanks Linda, for the tip about international shipping - you just opened up a whole new world for me!
Kitty Lover said:
Kitty Lover's picture
This is so cute, I love Hello Kitty and I shouldn't admit, I am wearing pi's with them all over, lol.
I am not sure what is happening, but when I try to leave messages it always tells me, my name is already registered, so it won't let me put that in, to leave a message. Trying another, lol.

TishN said:
TishN's picture
OMG! Can this be any cuter!? Love the pincushion too. I NEED some of that fabric ... for me and my daughter Meg!!
vickit said:
vickit's picture
LOVE this. My Granddaughter LOVES Hello Kitty as does her mother. They'd love this.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Fiona M - Many websites, including CityCraft, which provided us with this Hello Kitty fabric, ship internationally. You can always contact them for a shipping estimate.
Fiona M said:
Fiona M's picture
Just happened across your beautiful website a few days ago. Thanks for so many lovely ideas - this sewing basket will be my first project, although I'm not sure the Hello Kitty fabric is available in the UK? Maybe I will use a Cath Kidston floral instead.
javadiva said:
javadiva's picture
Sew adorable! Perfect for my daughter who needs a sewing basket.
Tracy aka 3LittleBrds said:
Tracy aka 3LittleBrds's picture
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Must make! I can't wait until Friday!
MaryJ said:
MaryJ's picture
This website is one of the most helpful, practical, fun, educational and inspiring sewing resources. The pictures and instructions are always top notch! Thanks so much for this fun project with Little Kitty designs. I would like to make this for a young girl that I am teaching. Perfect!smilies/grin.gif
tsetsgee said:
tsetsgee's picture
Sorry, this sentence was wrong! I will buy this fabric if I find it.
tsetsgee said:
tsetsgee's picture
That fabric is cute. If I see, will bougth. Thank you good tutorial.
Лашкова евгения said:
Лашкова евгения's picture
Хочется выразить огромную благодарность за ваш труд и возможность учиться у вас.