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Slightly Soft Storage Baskets in Burlap & Cotton

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"Stand up straight!" That admonition rang in my ears throughout my childhood. And, while I am grateful for my excellent posture, there are times when I like a little bit of a slouch. These cute round storage baskets are designed with three types of interfacing to help them hold their slightly soft shape. 

We're big burlap fans here at Sew4Home. It's such an interesting texture, and after years of being available only in varying shades of tan, you can now find it in nearly every color of the rainbow. It's also easier to work with than you might think. Check out our article on working with specialty fabrics for a few tips about marking, cutting, sewing, and finishing the seam allowances. 

Mixing basic burlap with pretty cotton gives our slouchy baskets their decorator style. From our stash, we chose two beautiful fabrics from the Botanique collection by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit fabrics. This is an older collection that is no longer readily available, but the new options out there are endless. We do recommend selecting a fabric with bold color and a larger motif so the inner lining and fold-over band stand out against the burlap.

We fussy cut our linings so the baskets would be pretty inside and out. 

As mentioned above, we selected three different types of interfacing to achieve good structure but still retain a stylish slouch. There's super-firm fusible on the base, soft fusible fleece around the sides, and a crisp fusible interfacing for the cuff and handles. For more about our favorite interfacings, check out our handy downloadable chart

Each basket finishes at approximately 12" high x 12" in diameter with a 4½" fold-over cuff. You get plenty of space to hold all kinds of things. 

Fold up the handles, and the basket is flexible and lightweight enough to turn into a tote. Load one up with your knitting yarn and needles. 

The baskets are also plenty strong to corral your latest magazines, catalogs, and journals. 

Or, use one in your sewing space to hold pre-cut bundles and favorite scraps. 

Not too small and not too big; they would also make wonderful gift baskets to fill up for a special birthday, wedding shower, or housewarming.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies shown are for ONE basket and yardage is figured to allow for fussy cutting the designer cottons. 

  • Base Pattern; download below from the link in the Getting Started section
  • 1 yard of 44"+ medium-weight jute burlap or similar for the exterior
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting-weight cotton for the lining
  • ¼ yard of 45" medium-weight, one-sided fusible interfacing; we used 45" Décor Bond by Pellon
  • ½ yard of 45" fusible fleece; we used 45" Thermolam Plus by Pellon
  • ½ yard of 15" + wide firm, one-sided fusible interfacing; we used 18" Deco-Fuse by Pellon
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out FOUR copies of our pattern: Basket Base.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out all four copies of the basket base pattern along the solid lines. Using the printed arrows as your guide, align the four quarters to create a full circle. Butt together and tape; do not overlap.
  3. From the fabric for the exterior (Burlap in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 38½" wide x 17½" high rectangle
    Using the pattern, ONE circle for the base
  4. From the fabric for the lining (Botanique in our sample), fussy cut the following:
    ONE 38½" wide x 17½" high rectangle
    Using the pattern, ONE circle for the base
    ONE 3" x 16" strip for the handles
    NOTE: For the best look, take the time to carefully fussy cut in order to create a nicely centered motif along the top band of the lining that folds over the exterior basket. We also fussy cut our lining base circles to center a cool motif. And, we fussy the handles to blend with the motifs below which they hang.
  5. From the mid-weight fusible interfacing (Decor Bond in our sample) cut the following:
    ONE 4½" x 38½" strip for the upper cuff
    ONE ¾" x 16" strip for the handles
  6. From the fusible fleece (Thermolam Plus in our sample), cut ONE 12" x 38½" rectangle.
  7. From the heavy-weight fusible interfacing (Deco-Fuse in our sample), use the DOTTED LINE on the pattern to cut ONE circle for the base. 
    NOTE: We cut the interfacing base circle last so we could simply cut along the dotted seam line, knowing the circles for the exterior and lining were already cut. This slightly smaller circle helps keep the stiff bulk of the interfacing out of the base seam. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fusing

  1. The main interfacing panels will be fused to the burlap exterior, so gather the exterior rectangle, exterior base, fleece rectangle, 4½" mid-weight strip, and the firm base circle. 
  2. Following manufacturer's instructions, first fuse the base interfacing in place. It should be centered on the exterior circle so there is ½" of burlap showing beyond the interfacing all around. 

    NOTE:
    It can be tricky to fuse the firm interfacing to the burlap. Use appropriate heat and pressure, employing a pressing cloth if necessary. If you are still having trouble, you can zig zag the outer edge of the interfacing in place.
  3. Place the mid-weight interfacing along the top of the exterior panel, aligning the top edges and the sides.
  4. Place the fleece along the bottom of the exterior panel, aligning the bottom edges and the sides. This will leave approximately 1" between the two interfacings, which will facilitate a smooth fold-over of the lining cuff.
  5. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse all the interfacing in place.

Create the exterior basket with its base

  1. Fold the fused exterior panel in half, right sides together and pin along the 17½" sides.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
  3. Press open the seam allowance. 
  4. Find the fused exterior base circle. Fold it in half, top to bottom, and place a pin at each edge of the fold. Open up and re-fold the opposite direction, again placing a pin at the edge of the fold. 
  5. You can also use your paper pattern or simply measure to help find the points. You are simply creating quadrant pins around the circle, like the points on the face of a clock: 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00.
  6. Repeat this process with the exterior body. The seam is the 12:00 point. Flatten the exterior tube so this seam is at the exact center back. Place a pin opposite at the exact center front (the 6:00 point). Then flatten in the opposite direction to mark the 9:00 and 3:00 points. 
  7. Set the base into the loop so the two pieces are right sides together. Align the quadrant pins of the exterior body with the quadrant pins of the base circle. 
  8. Pin at the quadrant points first, then fill in around the circle. Don't be afraid to use a lot of pins in order to get the two pieces to lay flat against one another. 

    NOTE:
    This technique is the same as any project where you are inserting a flat circle into a tube. If you are new to this process, check out our full, step-by-step tutorial
  9. Thread the machine with thread to match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the circle. Go slowly, holding the layers flat with your fingers if necessary to avoid any puckers.
  11. Turn the basket right side out and iron the seams. It will be a little stiff, but proper pressing will help ensure the basket sits flat. If you have a pressing ham, this might help with the curved edge. 
  12. Set aside the exterior basket.

Create the handles

  1. Find the 3" x 16" fabric strip and the ¾" x 16" interfacing strip. 
  2. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 1½" x 16". Press to set a center crease. 
  3. Unfold the strip wrong side up so the crease line is visible. 
  4. Lay the interfacing strip in place so one edge of the interfacing aligns with the center crease of the fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the fabric. 
  5. Fold in each 16" raw edge ¾" towards the center. 
  6. Then fold the strip in half again along the original crease line so the folded edges align and you have a finished strip ¾" in width. Sub-cut this strip in half into two 8" lengths.
  7. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the cotton fabric in the top and bobbin. Edgestitch along the folded edges of each strip. 
  8. Here are the finished handles in the second lining fabric, on which it is easier to see the stitching along the folded edges.

Create the lining and place the handles

  1. The lining is created in the same manner as the exterior.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the main rectangle to create a tube.
  3. Follow the same quadrant pinning method to insert the lining base circle into the lining tube.
  4. Still using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the base in place.
  5. Turn the lining right side out. 
  6. Find the finished handles. Place one handle at the 9:00 position of the basket lining and the other handle at the 3:00 position of the basket lining. If you followed our fussy cutting recommendations above, you should have a motif centered at each of these "clock points." The loop of the handle should bridge the motif with the handle ends approximately 5" apart. The edgestitching should be towards the outside of the handles. Align the raw ends of each handle with the top raw edge of the lining. Pin in place. You can also hand or machine baste the ends in place for extra security. 
  7. Find the exterior basket. Turn it wrong side out. Slip the lining, which should be be right side out, inside the exterior so the two are now right sides together with the handles sandwiched between the layers. 
  8. Push the lining all the way down into the basket. Align the back seams and the top raw edges. 
  9. Pin around the top edge, leaving an approximate 8" - 10" opening. 
  10. This opening should not be over the seam or handle. Pick a smooth area.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the top. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 8" - 10" opening. If your machine has a free arm, this is a good time to use it. 
  12. Turn the basket right side out through the opening in the top seam. Pull the handles out into position. 
  13. Push the lining back down into position and smooth the top seam. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin the opening closed, making sure the folded edges align to match the rest of the seam. 
  14. Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the lining fabric in the top and thread to match the exterior in the bobbin.
  15. Lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch all around the top, running the seam approximately ⅛" in from the top seamed edge.
  16. Go slowly to keep your stitching smooth, especially as you stitch up and over the handles. 
  17. Fold the cuff down over the top of the basket. It should fold down about 4½" . Press well. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand

Section: 

Comments (6)

Irene Coones said:
Irene Coones's picture

I made 2 of these for a wedding gift. I didn't have a gift bag so I made my own. I used a burlap-like loose weave fabric. I also embroidered their monogram on the front. Needless to say they were loved, by everyone!

Thank you for your creative designs you freely share with everyone. You are my go-to page everytime. 

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

@Irene - Those sound lovely, and it's fabulous to hear how much the new couple loved them. Thanks for being such a loyal followers. Next time you make such a clever version, we'd love for you to share a picture on Facebook (sew4home) or Instagram (sew4home_diy).

Filippa said:
Filippa's picture

These storage baskets a great gift for x-max! But first of all, I sew one for me Many thanks for this tutorial.

Greetings from Germany

Filippa

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

@Filippa - So glad you like the project! And yes! Of course one for you first 

daleyg said:
daleyg's picture

So cute!  These would look great, too, in printed burlap . . 

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

@daleyg - Thanks! There are so many great options now for burlap -- printed sounds super cool!

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