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Nesting Baskets in Loomstate & Yarn Dyed Cotton: Fabric Depot

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This is some of the most interesting and beautiful fabric we’ve ever worked with! When our friends at Fabric Depot brought it to our attention, we were immediately drawn to the gorgeous woven stripes and saturated colors. Then we touched it! The texture and drape is amazing. Loomstate fabric is completely untreated; it is woven fabric exactly as it comes off the loom: unsinged (singeing fabric is burning off protruding fiber ends from the surface of the fabric), unsanforized (sanforizing fabric is a multi-step mechanical process of shrinking and fixing woven cloth), and unskewed (skewing fabric twists the weft and warp yarns to flatten and finish). It is truly fabric “in the raw.” The first denims were traditionally loomstate fabric, but for years, it’s been obscure and nearly unavailable due to its unusual properties. Recently, loomstate has begun to show up again as people look for more natural and organic options in sewing. Our thanks to Fabric Depot for providing the fabric, and for introducing lots of new words into our sewing vocabulary.

We paired our gorgeous heavyweight loomstate exterior fabric with a matching yarn dyed cotton for the lining. The stripes on the exterior are cut to run vertically, then for extra interest, the stripes on the lining are cut to run horizontally. 

Because of the strong, beautiful stripes, fussy cutting is extremely important. Take the extra time to carefully measure the height and width of each piece to insure your cuts are straight and square.

As mentioned, loomstate fabric is definitely unique and hard to find. The fact that Fabric Depot carries it is a great example of their commitment to staying on top of the trends. Explore their easy-to-navigate site to discover the huge selection of other fabrics, from quilting to fashion to home décor. The Fabric Depot site is constantly changing and improving. They recently added live chat, allowing you to talk with an expert about your specific sewing questions.

If you're lucky enough to live in the Portland, Oregon area or are planning a visit here soon, make sure to add a stop at the Fabric Depot retail location, It’s one of the best there is! Sewers and quilters travel around the world to shop-'til-they-drop in over 40,000 square feet of floor space – literally an acre of fabric and notions. 

As home décor items, our beautiful baskets are meant to be spot cleaned rather than laundered. Should you choose a loomstate fabric for a project that does need to be washed, know that it will shrink, twist, and get a little “hairy.” For some people, this is exactly the unique and unprocessed look they want. If not… just be aware and plan on buying at least 10% more than required. 

Make one of our baskets or make both. They are designed to perfectly nest together and are just the right size for magazine and books. They would also be excellent for knitting yarns. Or, use them to hold an extra-special housewarming gift.

Our large basket finishes at approximately 15" wide x 10" high x 10” deep; the small basket finishes at approximately 12" wide x 9" high x 8” deep.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Large Basket

Small Basket

For Both Baskets

  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins 
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Hole punch for riveting
  • Small hammer for riveting
  • Seam sealant; optional

Getting Started

NOTE: For both of our baskets, the stripe is cut vertically for the exterior and horizontally for the lining. The handles are the reverse: horizontally for the exterior and vertically for the lining. As noted, take the extra time to insure the stripes are straight on all pieces. 

Large Basket

  1. From the exterior fabric, fussy cut the following: 
    TWO 26” wide x 14” high rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 16” wide x 11” high rectangle for the base
    TWO 2½” wide x 7” high rectangles for the handles 
  2. From the lining fabric, fussy cut the following: 
    TWO 8” wide x 26” high rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 16” wide x 11” high rectangle for the base
    TWO 7” wide x 2½” high rectangles for the handles
    ONE 16” wide x 22 high rectangle for the base insert sleeve
  3. From the fusible foam, cut the following:
    TWO 24½” x 9½” rectangles for the side panels; then sub-cut each of these rectangles into three sections: one at 15” x 9½” and two at 4¾” x 9½”
    ONE 14½” x 9½” rectangle for the base.
    INSERT 2106-Photo 102
  4. From the lightweight fusible, cut TWO 2½” x 7” strips. 
  5. Cut the base stiffener (foam core in our sample) into ONE 14¾” x 9¾” rectangle. 

Small Basket

  1. From the exterior fabric, fussy cut the following: 
    TWO 21” wide x 13” high rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 13” wide x 9” high rectangle for the base
    TWO 2½” wide x 6” high rectangles for the handles 
  2. From the lining fabric, fussy cut the following: 
    TWO 7” wide x 21” high rectangles for the side panels
    ONE 13” wide x 9” high rectangle for the base
    TWO 6” wide x 2½” high rectangles for the handles
    ONE 13” wide x 18 high rectangle for the base insert sleeve
  3. From the fusible foam, cut the following:
    TWO 19½” x 8½” rectangles for the side panels; then sub-cut each of these rectangles into three sections: one at 12” x 8½” and two at 3¾” x 8½”
    ONE 11½” x 7½” rectangle for the base.
  4. From the lightweight fusible, cut TWO 2½” x 6” strips. 
  5. Cut the base stiffener (foam core in our sample) into ONE 11¾” x 7¾” rectangle.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

NOTE: The steps shown below feature the large basket; both sizes are made in the same manner. 

Prepare and fuse the side panels

  1. Find the two exterior side panels. Fold down the top raw edge of both panels ½” and press to set a crease. We used our Clover Hot Hemmer.
  2. Fold an additional 3” and press to set a second crease. 
  3. Unfold so both crease lines are visible. 
  4. Find the fusible foam. The foam is adhered in three sections in order to allow the basket to “break” more naturally at the corners. Start with the larger center foam panel. Align its top edge with the 3” crease line. It will sit approximately ¾” up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric.
  5. Butt each smaller side panel against the center panel so the top and bottom edges of all three foam pieces are flush. 
  6. Following manufacturer’s instructions, press firmly to fuse in place. 
  7. Place the two fused exterior panels right sides together. The raw edges of the panels should be flush on all four sides. Make sure the fused foam panels are also aligned front to back. Pin along the two 13” sides.
  8. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each side seam, forming a tube.
    NOTE: Because of the thickness of the foam and the exterior fabric, you are not stitching right along the edge of the foam but about ¼” away from it. This allows a bit of flex for a better fit and wrap on all sides. 
  9. Press open the seam allowances and set aside the exterior tube

Prepare and insert the exterior base panel

  1. Find the 16” x 11” exterior base panel and the 14½” x 9½” foam interfacing base panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the base panel so there is ¾“ of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all four sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place. 
  2. Find the exact center of each 11" side of the base panel and place a pin at this point. 
  3. Find the exterior tube (the exterior of the basket). Turn it wrong side out. The side seams of the tube represent the center point of what will become each side panel. 
  4. Starting on one side, pin the base panel right sides together with the exterior of the basket. Align the center point of the base panel with the side seam of the exterior tube. You are, of course, working at the bottom of the exterior basker.
  5. Starting about ¼” from the corner of the interfacing (which would be ½” in from the actual corner of the fabric), and using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along this first side. 
  6. Stop the seam at the opposite corner about ¼” beyond the interfacing. In other words, your seam is starting and stopping ½" in from the edge of the fabric panel.
  7. Remove the project from the machine. Turn the corner and pin along the next side of the basket. To help make the turn, you can clip the basket at the corners. You are clipping into the corner at a diagonal at a depth of about ⅜". This frees up the seam allowance so you can stitch each side of the basket independently.
    NOTE: Because of the corse weave of the fabric, you may want to use seam sealant at each corner prior to clipping. 
  8. As above, use a ½" seam allowance to sew the bottom panel to the body of the basket along this second side (which is what will become either the front or back of the basket). Start and stop ½” from each at each corner.  
  9. Repeat to side the final two sides in the same manner.
    NOTE: If you are brand new to inserting a base into a tube, you may find it easier to sew each shorter side seam first, then do the two longer front and back seams. Doing it in this order can help you better mantain the proper rectangle shape of the base as you sew. 
  10. With the exterior basket still wrong side out, fold the top facing back down into position along the original crease lines (½” and 3”) and pin in place. This simply helps hold the thick facing in place during the upcoming lining steps.

Complete and insert the lining

  1. Find the main lining panels. Pin the two panels right sides together along each 8” side.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each side seam. Press open the seam allowances. 
  3. Find the lining base panel. It is inserted in the same manner as the exterior base panel.
  4. Turn the lining tube wrong side out. Pin the base panel right sides together with the lining tube, aligning the center point of the base panel with the side seam of the lining tube. As above, just pin the first side. 
  5. Just as you did for the exterior base insertion, stitch this first side, starting and stopping your seam ½" in from the corners. 
  6. Remember to clip into each corner to ease the fabric around your 90˚ turns.
  7. Find the exterior basket, which should be wrong side out. 
  8. Turn the lining basket right side out. Slip the lining over the exterior so the two layers are now wrong sides together. Pull up the lining so its base is nice and tight against the exterior base.
  9. Carefully unpin the facing and slip the lining into place underneath it. 
  10. Re-pin and then hand baste the facing in place. 
    NOTE: Having the facing hand basted rather than pinned will make it easier to stitch the facing in place with the twin needle detail.
  11. Remove the pins and turn the basket right side out. 
  12. Lengthen the stitch. Insert a twin needle. Attach a Walking foot or similar. We used the AcuFeed Flex feeding system on our Janome Skyline S7, which helped keep our thick layers from shifting and worked great with the twin needle. Whether you use a single or double line of stitching, we do recommend a Walking or Even Feed foot for this step.
  13. Starting at the center of one side, topstitch all around the top of the bag, 3" down from the upper folded edge. 

Create the base insert

  1. Find the 16” x 22 rectangle for the base insert sleeve.
  2. Fold the rectangle in half, right sides together, so it is now 16” x 11”. Pin in place along on 11” side and the 16” raw-edged side (the opposite 16” side is the fold). The remaining 11” side is open. 
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch these two sides, pivoting at the cornerr. 
  4. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowances. 
  5. Turn right side out. Press in the raw edges of the open side so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  6. Find the stiffener panel (we used foam core).
  7. Slip the stiffener into place through the open end. 
  8. Slip stitch the opening closed. 
  9. Push the insert down into the base of the basket. If cut according to our instructions with our fabric, the stripes of the basket’s lining will be perpendicular to the stripes on the insert. 

Make and attach the handles

  1. Find the three pieces that make up each handle: one exterior piece, one lining piece, and one interfacing piece. 
  2. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of the lining. All edges of both layers should be flush. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place. 
  3. Place the lining and exterior right sides together. Pin in place, leaving an approximate 2” - 3” opening along what will be the bottom edge of the handle. 
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. Pivot at each corner and remember to lock your seam at either side of the opening. 
  5. Clip the corners and grade the seam allowance, trimming back the exterior side of the seam allowance.
  6. Turn the handle right side out through the opening. Gently push out and square all four corners with a blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Hand stitch the opening closed.
  7. Repeat to create the second handle. 
  8. On each end of each handle, mark the placement for the rivets: ½” in from the finished end, ½” down from the top and ½” up from the bottom. These measurements are from the finished edge of the fabric to the center of the rivet. There are two rivets at each end.
  9. Find the exact center of the handle and mark this point with a pin. 
  10. Place the handle in position on the side of the basket. Align the center pin point of the handle with the side seam of the basket. The handle should sit ¾” down from the top finished edge of the basket and 1” up from the double needle stitching that is securing the facing. Pin the handle securely in place; it’s important it does not shift during the rivet application. 
  11. Use a hole cutter or awl to pierce a hole through all the layers at your marked points.
  12. We used Dritz® Jean Rivets and a Dritz® Rivet Tool to insert our eight rivets. 
  13. Place a rivet stud cap and a rivet back into the appropriate rubber trays on the Dritz® Rivet Tool. 
  14. Insert the rivets, striking the top of the tool with a hammer to secure the back of the rivet against the top stud of the rivet.
  15. Repeat to attach all eight rivets – two rivets at each end of each handle.

    If you are new to inserting rivets, not to worry. We have a full, step-by-step tutorial showing how to do it, using both a standard post and anvil as well as the Dritz® Rivet Tool. Here is the link. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild


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