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Fabric Storage Basket with Removable Divider

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Freshening up for Spring means a bit of good ol’ Spring cleaning is in order. It’s the perfect time for a new fabric basket to help you divide and conquer! One of this basket’s main benefits is looking fabulous as it contains the chaos that can takeover any counter in the house. Organizing your stuff and boosting your home décor style – that’s a win-win!  We created ours for a bathroom environment but the size and shape would work in any room. It’s time to tidy up, buttercup!

Our basket design features inner and outer pockets, double carry handles, and a removable center divider. Even with all those cool features, there are no patterns required. All the cuts are standard rectangles.

Fusible foam provides the exterior structure along with an inset base sleeve that contains a plastic canvas stabilizer. We also added a line of Dritz® Double Cap rivets to strengthen the divisions of the front and back pockets.

Mid-weight or heavyweight home décor fabric, canvas or denim are the best options for the exterior to help give the basket the proper structure. We chose a striking seaside motif for our bath basket and took the time – and the extra fabric – to fussy cut our pieces to perfectly match the exterior pockets against the main panels. For more about this technique, you can review our general fussy cutting tutorial as well as our tutorial on matching pockets to panels.

We recommend ripstop nylon for the lining. It’s a wipe-clean surface and tough enough to withstand frequent loading and unloading. The lining pockets can be full or divided or even left off entirely. It’s your choice for what you want your basket to organize.

That’s also the theory behind the removable center divider. Like the sides of the basket itself, the divider is stabilized with fusible foam. It has clever wings with Velcro® that attach it to the lining. The divider is also sized so that, when secured through the center, it helps hold in the sides – further increasing their stability. When you need an extra large compartment, simply pull apart the Velcro®, remove the divider, and load it up.

Those looped handles at either end are not only pretty, they’re functional, making it easier to carry the basket from point to point or slide it across a counter. We used the new Dritz® Home Decor Handles. They are available in a number of faux leather sizes, shapes, and colors. For this project, we selected the fun black patent leather option.

As mentioned, our sample basket is shown as a bathroom organizer, but don’t let that narrow its usefulness. Change up the exterior fabric to blend into a kitchen, bedroom, even an office. We all know that clutter shows up everywhere. You could even use it as a gift basket, loading up the center sections and all the pockets with little treasures.

Our basket finishes at approximately 13" wide x 8" high x 10” deep.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. From the main exterior fabric, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 14” wide x 8½” high rectangles for the front and back panels
    TWO 11” wide x 8½” high rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 14” wide x 11” high rectangle for the base
    TWO 14” wide x 11” high rectangles for the exterior pockets

    NOTE: As mentioned above, we carefully fussy cut our front and back exterior panels and pockets to create a perfect match when overlaid. For more about this technique, check out our general fussy cutting tutorial as well as our tutorial on matching pockets to panels.
  2. From the lining fabric, cut the following:
    NOTE: The lining cuts are slightly smaller than the exterior cuts for the smoothest fit possible and to accommodate the foam.
    TWO 13½” x 8¼” rectangles for the front and back panels
    TWO 10½” x 8¼” rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 13½” x 10½” rectangle for the base
    TWO 10½” x 12½” rectangles for the interior pockets
    ONE 11¾” x 15” rectangle for the divider panel
    ONE 12½” wide x 20” high rectangle for the base sleeve
  3. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut TWO 13” x 5” rectangles for the exterior pockets.
  4. From the fusible foam, cut the following:
    TWO 13” x 8” rectangles for the front and back panels
    TWO 10” x 8” rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 13” x 10” rectangle for the base
    ONE 9½” x 7” rectangle for the divider
  5. Cut the Velco® into TWO 7¾” lengths.
  6. Cut the 1½” twill tape/ribbon cut TWO 14” lengths for the exterior pockets, leave the remaining tape/ribbon intact; it will be cut to length for the top during construction.
  7. From the plastic canvas, cut ONE 12½” x 9½” rectangle.
    NOTE: You may end up trimming this a bit smaller at the very end for the best fit, but this is a good starting size.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fusing

  1. Find the exterior panels and their matching foam panels. Place a foam panel on each exterior panel: front, back, sides, and base. On the front, back, and sides, the foam should be flush along the top but should sit ½” in along the sides and bottom. On the base, there should ½” of fabric showing beyond the foam on all four sides.
  2. Following manufacturer’s instructions fuse the foam in place.
  3. Find the two exterior pocket panels and the two panels of mid-weight fusible interfacing.
  4. Fold each pocket panel in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 14” wide x 5½” high. Press to set a center crease.
  5. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible.
  6. Align the top edge of the interfacing along the crease line. There should then be ½” of fabric extending beyond the interfacing along the sides and bottom.
  7. Following manufacturer’s instructions fuse the interfacing in place.

Create and place the exterior pockets

  1. Find the two pocket panels, which should already have their interfacing panels fused in place. Re-fold the pocket panels right sides together, aligning the 14” raw edges. Pin in place.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. The sides remain open.
  3. Press open the seam allowance.
  4. Turn right side out through the open sides and press flat. The seamed edge will become the bottom of each pocket. The folded edge will become the top of each pocket.
    NOTE: Traditionally, we’d not use a seam and the raw edges would be bound to form the top of the pocket. However, on this project, with it’s very careful fussy cut match of pocket to panel, we needed to flip orientation to keep our directional print lining up, and we also wanted the extra stability of the seam at the bottom and the fold at the top. The pocket construction will work either way.
  5. Find the two 14” lengths of the 1½” tape/ribbon.
  6. Fold each length almost but not quite in half. You want one side to be about ” longer than the other side. When stitching the pocket binding in place, this will give you just a bit extra to work with to insure you can catch the front and back in one pass.
  7. With the slightly longer side of the folded tape to the back (what will be the inside of the pocket), slip the binding over the top raw edges of each pocket. The top of the folded pocket panel should sit right against the crease of the tape/ribbon.
  8. Pin in place across the top of each pocket.
  9. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the tape/ribbon in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  10. Stitch the binding in place across the entire width of the pocket.
  11. Find the front and back exterior panels, which should have their foam panels fused in place. Lay them right side up on your work surface. Place a pocket right side up on each exterior panel. The bottom of each pocket should sit just a bit above ½” from the bottom raw edge of the exterior panel. You don’t want it right at ½” or it will get caught up in the base seam. Pin the pocket in place.
  12. Measure to find the exact center of each pocket, and draw in a vertical dividing line or mark with pins, which was our choice.
  13. Re-thread if necessary with thread to best match the fabric; keep the lengthened stitch from the binding application.
  14. Edgestitch through all the layers along the bottom edge of each pocket.
  15. Stitch along each vertical dividing line of each pocket.
  16. Finally, stitch along each side edge of each pocket, staying within the ½” seam allowance. These side seams are optional and are simply there to help keep the pockets from shifting during the balance of the construction.
  17. Along each side of each foam panel, use your scissors to trim back the foam at a slight angle. This will help reduce bulk along the seams.

Stitch the main exterior seams and insert the base panel

  1. Place the side panels right sides together with the front and back panels, aligning the 8½” raw edges. Pin in place.
  2. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each of the four vertical seams to create a tube. We switched to the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system. We would suggest you engage your machine’s built-in system or attach a Walking or Even Feed foot. You are stitching right along the edge of, but not on, the fusible foam.
  4. Find the exterior base panel, which should have its form panel already fuse in place..
  5. Find the center points along each side of the base and along each side of the open bottom end of the exterior tube.
  6. Insert the base into the tube, matching all the center points, then filling in with pins between the points.
  7. Clip into each corner at a depth of about ”. This frees up the seam allowance so you can more easily stitch each side of the box independently, starting and stopping at each corner.
  8. When pinned in place, the base panel is right sides together with the exterior tube. It’s a little like setting a lid upside down into a box.
  9. Adjust the seams at each corner. They should be as flat as possible to keep the corners sharp.
  10. Starting at one corner of the fusible foam, and using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the first side. We like to start with a short side. Stop the seam at the opposite corner of the foam. In other words, your seam is starting and stopping ½" in from the edge of the fabric panel.
  11. Remove the project from the machine. Reposition to stitch the next side in the same manner, and continue in this manner to stitch all four sides. With the box still inside out, here’s how the base should look when you’re finished stitching.

    NOTE: If you are new to inserting a base panel, check out our step-by-step tutorial: How to Insert a Rectangular Base into a Tube.
  12. Press open the seam allowances as best you can and turn the exterior basket right side out. Set it aside.

Create the lining

  1. Find all the lining panels and the two lengths of Velcro®.
  2. Find the exact center of both the front and back panels and draw a vertical line at this point on each panel.
  3. Pull apart the Velcro® and position the loop side (the softer side) along the marked center line on each panel. Center the Velcro® over the drawn line. Pin or clip in place.
    NOTE: You could also use a strip of fusible seam tape to adhere the Velcro® in place. Just make sure you use a pressing cloth when fusing to protect the rip stop from the heat of the iron.
  4. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the Velcro® in the top and bobbin or to best match the lining. The choice is yours. We used a gray thread that matched the lining. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  5. Edgestitch along both sides of each of the Velcro® loop strips.
  6. Find the two pocket panels. Fold each panel in half, wrong sides together (rip stop doesn't really have a right and wrong side), so the pockets are now 10½” wide x 6¼” high. Using a pressing cloth, press the folded edge of each pocket.
  7. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  8. Edgestitch along the folded top edge of each pocket to insure the crease will remain crisp. This line of stitching also helps stabilize the top of the pocket a bit.
  9. Find the two lining side panels. Place a pocket panel right side up on the right side of each lining panel. The side and bottom raw edges of the layers should be flush. Pin the pockets in place.
  10. You can divide one, both or neither of the pockets. We drew a vertical center line on one pocket to divide it into two equal compartments, leaving the other pocket as just one full pocket.
  11. Machine baste each pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom. Re-set to the same, slightly lengthened stitch used for other topstitching and stitch along any drawn dividing line(s).
  12. The panels and base of the lining are assembled in exactly the same manner as the exterior. Remember to re-set the stitch length to normal.
  13. When pressing open the seam allowances, remember to use a pressing cloth.
  14. We used a simple pinked finish for all the lining seam allowances. Ripstop does have a tendency to fray so seam finishing is recommended.

Assemble the exterior and the lining

  1. Keep the lining wrong side out. Find the exterior box, turn it right side out.
  2. Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two layers are now wrong sides together.
  3. Push the lining all the way down and align the two base panels. Then, adjust the side seams of the lining so they align with the side seams of the exterior.
  4. When the lining is sitting straight inside the exterior, pin or clip in place around the top.
  5. You can leave as-is with pins or clips or you can baste around the entire top perimeter through all the layers for extra help keeping the layers from shifting.
  6. Find the remaining length of 1½” tape/ribbon. Fold it almost in half, as you did above for binding the exterior pockets, with one side just a bit longer than the other.
  7. Starting at the center of the back panel, place the binding against the right side of the exterior with the crease line of the tape/ribbon sitting along the top raw edges of the basket. The slightly longer side should be the free side that is standing up. Pin in place along the bottom edge of the tape/ribbon.
  8. When you get back to the starting point, overlap the start by about 1”. Fold back the end of the tape/ribbon ½” and trim away any excess. Finish pinning in place.
  9. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the tape/ribbon in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  10. Edgestitch in place along the bottom edge of the tape/ribbon around the entire top opening of the box. Back tack across the binding overlap to secure.
  11. Bring the free edge of the tape/ribbon around to the inside, re-folding it along its original crease line. Pin or clip in place all around.
  12. Hand stitch in place, with tiny, invisible stitches, to secure the back edge of the tape/ribbon to the lining.
  13. Insert three rivets along the center line of the front and back panels. One rivet should be as close to the bottom as possible. The second rivet should go through the center of the pocket binding. And, the third rivet should go through the center of the top binding.
  14. Because the box is now three-dimensional, it will be easier to start the rivet holes with an awl, then finish with the cutting tools.
  15. Set the rivets through all the layers.

    NOTE: If you’re brand new to the technique, you can take a look at our Metal Rivets tutorial prior to starting the project.

Add the side handles

  1. As mentioned, we switched out the brass Chicago screws that come standard with the Dritz® Home handles to a nickel to match the rivets.
  2. At the top of each side panel, find the exact center and measure down 1”, which means your mark will be just below the binding. Mark this point.
  3. Using the same tools you used to cut the rivet holes, cut a hole through all the layers for the screw.
  4. Center the hole in one end of the handle over the hole cut through the side panel.
  5. Insert the Chicago screw from the front…
  6. … until it comes out through the lining
  7. Slip the plastic reinforcing disc over the stem of the screw.
  8. Fold down the opposite end of the handle, forming a loop, and align the hole in this end of handle over the stem the screw.
  9. Twist the the back of the screw into place to secure.
  10. Repeat to attach the remaining handle to the opposite side.

Create the plastic canvas sleeve

  1. Find the 12½” x 20” lining panel.
  2. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 12½” x 10”. Pin in place.
  3. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the side and one end, pivoting at the corner. The opposite end remains open.
  5. Finish the seam allowances. We again used a simple pinked edge.
  6. Turn right side out and slip the plastic canvas inside the sleeve. This is the time to trim back your plastic canvas panel if necessary.
  7. Fold in the raw edges ½” so they are flush with the sewn seam as well as with one another, and pin or clip in place.
  8. Topstitch across the open end, staying close to the fold.

Create the divider panel

  1. Find the remaining 11¾” x 15” lining panel and the remaining 9½” x 7” fusible foam panel. As above with the other foam panels, the edges should be trimmed back at a slight angle.
  2. Fold the lining panel in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 11¾” x 7½”. Using a pressing cloth, press the fold to set a visible crease line. Open the panel wrong side up so the crease line is visible.
  3. Place the fusible foam on one half of the panel. It should be centered with one edge along the crease line. There should be ” of fabric visible beyond the foam along each side, and ½” visible along the bottom. Using a pressing cloth and following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the foam in place.
  4. Re-fold along the crease line, but this time the panel should be right sides together.
  5. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom, leaving an opening along the bottom for turning.
  6. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock the seam at either side of the opening.
  7. Clip the corners and finish the seam allowance. We stuck with our pinked finish.
  8. Turn right side out through the opening.
  9. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long, blunt tool works well for this, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner. Using a pressing cloth, press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin the opening closed.
  10. Edgestitch along the top and bottom (the longer sides). Along the top, this stitching acts to stabilize the top edge of the panel. Along the bottom it both stabilizes and closes the opening used for turning.
  11. Along each side edge, topstitch ” in from the finished edges. This creates a little “wing” along each side and acts as your guideline for placement of the final Velcro® strips.
  12. Find those final Velcro® hook strips (the scratchy side). Trim the strips to from 7¾” down to 7”.
  13. Place a strip along each “wing.” The strips are on opposite sides of one another: one facing forward and one facing back. This is because the divider secures in place with one wing facing forward and the other wing facing back, which holds the divider more securely and keeps it straighter. Pin each strip in place.
  14. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the Velcro® in the top and bobbin and slightly lengthen the stitch.
  15. Edgestitch each Velcro® strip in place along both sides, removing the pins or clips as you go.
    NOTE: As above when applying the original Velcro® strips to the lining, you could also opt to use a fusible seam tape to hold these strips in place.
  16. To insert the divider fold one wing forward and one wing backwards and slip the divider into the basket. Press the wings against the center Velcro® strips of the lining.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (2)

Momo said:
Momo's picture

Love this, need this, will make this for my new guest hand towels!  I need a large one to store more towels in, too.  It needs to be placed on open shelving in the guest bath.  You will be keeping me busy, and I love every minute of it!  Thank you for all your help!

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

@Momo - Sounds like the perfect use for our pretty new basket. Post some pix on social media of your guest bath when done so we can all be inspired.