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Moda's Half Moon Modern Sewing Room: Task Basket

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Got BIG dreams of BIG projects? Then this is the task basket you've been waiting for. It has a 51" circumferance and is 10" deep. If I'd been paying better attention in physic class, I'd probably also be able to tell you the formula to turn those measurements into total volume or area or something, but let's just say, "That's a pretty big basket!" or maybe, "That's a big, pretty basket!" This is the sixth of eight projects in our new Half Moon Modern Sewing Room Series for Moda Fabrics. When I start a project, I like to gather up all the fabric and notions I need in one place to be certain I have enough of everything, and to keep track of it all as I move through the steps. Usually, I've just put all my stuff in a cardboard box, but that is soooooo yesterday. Our Jumbo Task Basket holds everything and does it with sturdy style. A super-heavy fusible stabilizer on the sidewalls is the secret to keeping the circular shape looking great. With two handles, you can move it around wherever you want. And, how can you look at giant zig zag stripes and not break into a grin?!

Our thanks to Moda for sponsoring this Sewing Room Series and allowing Sew4Home to be one of the first to debut the great Half Moon Modern collection. Our eight perfect projects will spruce up your own sewing room, or make wonderful gifts for all the sewers and crafters on your holiday lists.

How do I know these are the perfect projects? Because you've been looking at MY bright red sewing room over that last several days of projects! Yep, our sample room is my very own creative space, and I absolutely love how everything turned out. The clean design and happy hues of Moda's Half Moon Modern help pull the room together so it appears neater and more contained.

Make sure you check out our previous Half Moon Modern tutorials: serger cover. Next week, we'll round out the series with a dynamite apron and a handy pinboard. And to cap it all off, Moda has put together a cool Half Moon Modern Great Giveaway and sponsored a free downloadable Sewing Reference Guide.

Half Moon Modern is arriving right now in stores and online.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1½ yards of 44-45" wide fabric for the exterior fabric: we used Half Moon Modern by Moda Fabrics in Geometric Big Zig Zag Aqua
  • 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide heavyweight fabric for the lining: we used a snow white cotton twill
  • ¾ yard of heavyweight fusible interfacing at least 20" in width; we used Pellon 71F single sided fusible extra-strong stabilizer
  • Scrap or ¼ yard of medium weight fusible interfacing for the handles: you need four 1¾" x 9" strips
  • 3 yards or two packages of ½" piping; we used Wrights Maxi Piping in red
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics and piping
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth for the heavyweight stabilizer
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the exterior (Geometric Big Zig Zag in Aqua), cut the following:
    TWO 11" high x 26" wide rectangles for the main body of the basket
    TWO 6" high x 26" wide rectangles for the pockets
    TWO 2½" x 9" strips for the handles
    NOTE: We fussy cut our zig zag for the handles so it looked like stripes
    ONE 16" circle
    NOTE: We used a large bowl to make our circle pattern, because it happened to be exactly 16" in diameter.
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    If you aren't that lucky, here's how to draw your own circle pattern:
  2. Fold a 17" square of pattern or graph paper into quarters. Make sure your original square is even and true.
  3. Place a see-through ruler at the exact center of the upper left corner of your folded square. Swing the ruler from the top to the bottom of the square, like a pendulum, measuring and marking a dot at the 8" point in three to four spots. You are creating a semi-circle.
  4. Draw an arc to connect the marks. If you own a large compass, you could also use it to create your 8" arc. Cut along the arc, then unfold your 16" circle. 
    NOTE: Take a look at our Whimsy neck roll pillow tutorials for step-by-step photos of this circle pattern technique.
  5. From the lining fabric (snow white cotton twill in our sample), cut the following: 
    TWO 11" high x 26" wide rectangles for the main body of the basket
    TWO 6" high x 26" wide rectangles for the pockets
    TWO 2½" x 9" strips for the handles
    ONE 16" circle
  6. From the heavyweight fusible stabilizer, cut TWO 10" x 25" rectangles.
  7. From the medium weight fusible interfacing, cut FOUR 1¾" x 8" strips.
  8. Cut the piping into TWO 51" lengths

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

As we always recommend: start every new project with a new needle. This advice is especially important with this project because you will be sewing through thick fabric (the twill lining) and super heavy interfacing.

Create the handles

  1. Find the FOUR 2½" x 9" strips: two from the exterior fabric, two from the lining, as well as the FOUR 1¾" x 8" interfacing strips.
  2. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing on the wrong side of each fabric piece, centering the interfacing on the fabric side-to-side and end-to-end.
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  3. Pair up one fused exterior piece with one fused lining piece. Pin each pair right sides together.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch each pair together along both 9" sides, leaving both ends open.
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  5. Turn right side out and press.
  6. Set the two finished handles aside.

Create the pocket panel

  1. Find the TWO 6" x 26" exterior pocket pieces. Pin these two pieces right sides together along one 6" side.
  2. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press seam open.
  3. Find the TWO 6" x 26" pocket lining pieces and stitch together in the same manner.
  4. Find one 51" length of piping. Pin it to the top of the sewn exterior pocket piece, which is... you guessed it, also 51" in length.
  5. Use your seam gauge to insure the piping cord is ½" from the raw edge of the pocket fabric.
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  6. Machine baste the piping in place, using a ⅜" or narrower seam allowance.
  7. On ONE end of the piped piece (say that three times fast!), use a seam ripper to open up about an inch of the piping's fabric. Trim back the cording inside by approximately ⅝". This will allow the two ends of the piping to overlap and match up neatly when you make your final seam to create the pocket "ring."
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  8. Place the piped exterior pocket panel and the pocket lining panel right sides together. Pin together along the top edge (the piped edge).
  9. Switch to your zipper foot, and staying as close as possible to the cording, stitch the two layers together. If you measured and placed your piping as shown above, this should be a ½" seam allowance. 
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  10. Flip the lining to the back so that the piping stands up straight and the lining and exterior pocket pieces are wrong sides together. The ends and the bottom are still raw.
  11. Press flat.

Create the main body panel

  1. Find the TWO 11" x 26" exterior pieces. Pin these two pieces right sides together along one 11" side.
  2. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press seam open.
  3. Find the TWO 11" x 26" lining pieces and stitch together in the same manner. Set the lining aside.

Assemble the pocket panel and body panel into a basket 'ring '

  1. Place the 11" x 26" body panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Place the finished pocket panel right side up on top of the body panel base. Align the side raw edges, the bottom raw edges and the center seams of both pieces. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom; also place some pins along the top edge of the pocket.
  3. Decide how many and what size pockets you'd like to have on your basket. This is really a matter of personal preference and how you plan to use your basket; there are no hard-and-fast rules. We made a paper sketch of our flat basket to help us determine our placement. This is also a good way to actually measure around the objects you'd like to insert in the pockets: do you want to hold pattern envelopes, yarn skeins, design CDs, notions and tools? We also took a look at our fabric's design motif to see if there were obvious division points. In the end, we decided on ten 5" wide pockets, which allowed us to place our seams along the downward 'zag' of the pretty Half Moon Modern Zig Zag motif.
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  4. Using an erasable fabric pen or pencil, draw a line at each vertical pocket division point.
  5. Thread your machine with thread to match the piping (we used red), and stitch along each drawn line. For a neater beginning and end to your seams, use a lock stitch rather than back-tacking or leave your thread tails long and tie a hand knot.
  6. We added a Sew4Home label along one pocket seam line.
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  7. Find the remaining 51" length of piping. Pin it to the top of the body panel base (which now also has the pocket panel stitched in place along its bottom half).
  8. As you did with the pocket piping, use your seam gauge to insure the piping cord is ½" from the raw edge of the body panel's top edge.
  9. Machine baste the piping in place, using a ⅜" or narrower seam allowance.
  10. On one end of the piped piece, use a seam ripper to open up about an inch of the piping's fabric. Trim back the cording inside by approximately ⅝". Just like with the pocket piping, this will allow the two ends of the piping to overlap and match up neatly when you make your final seam to create the 'ring.'
  11. And... creating that ring is what you will do right now. Oh boy!
  12. Re-thread your machine with thread to match your main fabric.
  13. Fold the basket body in half, right sides together, matching up the remaining 11" raw edges. Pin in place along this side, being very careful to match up the piping along the top and along the pocket.
  14. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam open. Turn the basket ring right side out.

Add the handles and add the lining with its heavy stabilizer

  1. Find the two finished handles.
  2. Place one handle at each seam. The handle should be right sides together with the basket ring. The raw ends of the handle should be flush with the raw edge of the basket fabric with the handles overlapping the piping.
  3. Loop the handle so each side the is 1" from the seam. Be careful that the handle is not twisted; it should be a simple loop.
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  4. Find the 11" x 51" stitched-together lining panel and the two 10" x 25" heavyweight fusible stabilizer pieces.
  5. Following the manufacturer's instructions, fuse the stabilizer pieces to the wrong side of the lining panel. Place one piece on either side of the lining panel's center seam. Each stabilizer piece should sit ½" down from top and ½" in from open end. It is very important that the stabilizer is securely fused into place, otherwise, turning the basket right side out at the very end will be really hard.
    NOTE: You must use a pressing cloth with this stabilizer or it will stick to your iron.
  6. Fold the fused lining body in half, right sides together, matching up the remaining 11" raw edges. Pin in place along this side.
  7. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam open. Leave the lining ring wrong side out.
  8. Find the finished exterior basket ring (which should be right side out). Slide it inside the lining ring so the two rings are right sides together.
  9. Pin all the way around the top (the piped edge) matching the seams of the two rings.
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  10. Switch to your zipper foot, and staying as close as possible to the cording, stitch together through all the layers around the top.
  11. Turn the basket right right side out so the top piping stands up straight and the lining and exterior are now wrong sides together.  Press.
  12. For the following steps, turn the basket wrong side out again and pull the layers apart.

Attaching the exterior and interior bases

  1. Find the 16" exterior circle and the 16" lining circle.
  2. In order to attach a circular base to the open ring that will become the walls of the basket, it helps to make 'quarter-marks' on each piece. To do this, fold each circle piece in half, then in half again. Lightly press to set creases. Unfold and place a pin at the end of each crease.
  3. For the ring, first fold it in half so one seam is on your left and the other seam is on your right. Place a pin at each seam. Fold in half again, bringing one seam across to meet the other. Place a pin on either side at this second fold point.
    NOTE: For the sake of a clearer drawing, we show the ring as a separate piece, however, you already attached the exterior ring and lining ring together in the steps above. Therefore, in reality (and as I just mentioned above), you have to pull the two layers apart to work with each independently.
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  4. You will work first with the exterior base circle and the exterior layer. Remember, you've already pulled the exterior and the lining apart so you are working only with the exterior fabric ring. Place the base circle inside the bottom of the basket ring (the bottom of the pocket panel), with right sides together. Match up the pins you put in place on your quarter folds. Then fill in with pins all around.
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  5. Switch back to a regular presser foot.
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew all the way around the circle. Press the seam open.
  7. Repeat these steps with the lining base circle and the inside lining fabric with one change: rather that stitching all the way around, leave a 6-8" opening in the seam to allow you to turn the basket right side out.
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  8. Turn the entire basket right side out through the opening. This will be a little bit tricky because of the heavy stabilizer on the sides, but you can do it, especially if you heeded our advice above about making sure the stabilizer is securely fused into place.
  9. Push the lining down into place inside the basket and press everything.
  10. Then, pull up the lining a little bit at the area of the opening. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam, and whip stitch the opening shut.
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    Click to Enlarge


    Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
    Sample Creation: Debbie Guild



    Comments (30)

    Jennine Wilson said:
    Jennine Wilson's picture

    This tutorial is ages old, but I just finished one today and found the need to comment anyway. Now that it is done and crammed with all my sewing junk, I have a few regrets... 1. I wish I had sewn the pocket piece in vinyl so I can see what I just stuffed in there. I have a feeling some of my snaps, buttons, and misc. notions might get lost or forgotten about. 2. I wish I had put an inside pocket layer as well. The inside is a HUGE red hot mess and I want more pockets there too! I even changed my circle to 14" to make it smaller and cut down my rectangle pieces to 23" long to accommodate. On the plus side, the smaller size uses exactly one package of piping if you don't add interior pockets. I still love the basket and it has made my red hot sewing mess a lot cuter and a lot more portable! :)

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

    @ Jennine Wilson - Thanks for you comment - we see them all, even on the older projects. We do have other projects where we have added vinyl for pockets for see through. For this project, it was kind of all about collecting, tidying, and in many ways, "hiding" the mess that can collect in any sewing space  . We're glad you love the project, and we've added your suggestions to our official "You Asked 4 It" list. It's always a balancing act for us to keep a project interesting and flexible while still being easy enough for anyone to tackle. 

    Vicky'tje said:
    Vicky'tje's picture

    When my renovations to my home are finished, I am going to make this my first project.

    I saw dat you have labels, where did you order them?

    doro von Hand zu Hand said:
    doro von Hand zu Hand's picture

    absolutely fabulous.

    I linked to your tutorial on my blog  - thanks for sharing!

    doro K.

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

    @ Rachel from GFG - thanks for letting us know - yes, using our picture and a link is okay - as long as you credit Sew4Home. Have fun with the project!

    RobynO said:
    RobynO's picture
    I did use the pellon for the botton (and made it oblong) and it's absolutely terrific! I can use it to carry home all the projects made at our "sewing sleepover"! It's extremely spacious! Thanks again.
    RobynO said:
    RobynO's picture
    Thanks for the clarification. When the pictures didn't match the words I wasn't sure what to do. I'm done with my first and half way through my second basket. I'm considering using the pellon for the bottom to stiffen it up so it doesn't droop when I move it. I changed the bottom into an oblong and really like that look. Thanks for the tutorial.
    Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home said:
    Liz Johnson, Editor, Sew4Home 's picture
    @ RobynO -- So, you are in the final section, correct: Adding the exterior and interior base? I've added a few extra lines of copy to the instructions above. If you refresh your page you will see them. It is really difficult to photograph or illustrate in three dimensions, so I can see where it may get confusing in this section. In the drawing, it looks like the lining ring is a separate piece, but it is - of course - already stitched in place with the exterior. So you do have to turn the basket wrong side out and you also have to pull apart the two pieces (lining and exterior so you can work first to insert the exterior base and then the interior base. You are attaching the base with right sides together. When both bases are attached, you then turn the basket right side out again through the opening the lining base.
    RobynO said:
    RobynO's picture
    I'm having frustrations trying to attach the bottom circles. After step 11 I turned right sides out the attached exterior and interior rings with the piping standing up. Then, to attach base circles nowhere does it say to turn that back wrong sides out or anything. Do I pull the interior from the exterior so it looks like a big tube then attach the exterior base? Then attach the interior circle leaving an opening? The pictures show the lining not attached to the exterior. Not sure how this part works. Thanks for your help. I'm on a friendly sewing day (with no kids) so I want to get this finishedsmilies/smiley.gif
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
    @ RobynO - you are correct - the interfacing should be narrower (as stated) as well as shorter. I've changed it to 8" rather than 9". However... even if you did cut it a full 9" and fused it in place - no worries. The only thing the smaller size does is make it a bit easier to turn the pieces right side out and have them lay flat with less pressing force smilies/cheesy.gif.
    RobynO said:
    RobynO's picture
    I was wondering about the directions for the handles. The directions are for handles and interfacing to be 9" long. Yet, the pictures and directions then say to center the interfacing end to end and side to side which means the interfacing would have to be shorter than 9".
    HeHe24 said:
    HeHe24's picture
    This is an adorable basket. I've carefully read the direction, but since I'm so new to sewing, it sounds complicated. I think I'll try making it out of scrap fabric first to get the feel of it. It will definitely test my skills, but I really want to make this! Thank you for such a great tutorial!
    jez0408 said:
    Stephanie791 said:
    Stephanie791's picture
    I love the project... Actually I think I need one of these considering my sewing room and bedroom are the same room and I'm often laying things around on the bed when I'm doing a project, or I leave things I need at the sewing machine on the ironing board or vice versa... I think I'm going to get started on this and all of the other sewing room projects, if only I can find someplace around me in hick ville that carries this cute Moda fabric!! Then I will look on Sew 4 Home and find new things to make for my bedroom! smilies/smiley.gif
    vickit said:
    vickit's picture
    This is a great size for your sewing room, or any other room. And again, I just adore this fabric. LOVE that shade of red.
    Laura Bray said:
    Laura Bray's picture
    I just "pinned" this. It's officially on my "have to make it" bucket list. Get it? Bucket?
    Dirlene Macedo said:
    Dirlene Macedo's picture
    Que trabalho maravilhos! Lindo mesmo. Só tenho a lhes agradecer não só por esse artesanatos mas pra todos os que têm me enviado por todo este ano que finda.Desejo a vocês,um Natale um 2012 de muita luz amor,paz e alegria e muito sucesso
    Um grande abraço.
    Pat Sanders said:
    Pat Sanders's picture
    what a great idea, would also make a great gardening basket too.
    crescentcity said:
    crescentcity's picture
    Thanks, I needed to make something like this to keep near while I am sewing...
    Chelsea said:
    Chelsea's picture
    What a great project! I have been wanting to replace the cardboard box that I keep baby toys in in the living room (It's nice to have her toys accessable for her to play with where I can see her!). Thanks for brain-storming that solution for me!!
    SewLindaAnn said:
    SewLindaAnn's picture
    This is such an awesome project, thank you! I've really been enjoying your blog, I don't comment always but i do read. Have a great Thursday!