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Structured Fabric Baskets in Two Sizes

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It's a scientific fact that you can never have enough cool fabric baskets. And by "scientific" we mean, "everyone knows that!" This pretty two-piece set nests together, making them easy to store when not in use. But when would they not be in use?! They're great for the sewing room, kitchen, bath, and more. If you can bear to give them away, they'd also make excellent gift baskets. One project you can use a hundred ways.

The large basket measures 10" wide x 8" tall x 6" deep. Its smaller companion is 8" wide x 7" tall x 5" deep. They fit together perfectly. As a finishing touch, we tied a pretty velvet bow around one of the handles of the larger basket.

Wouldn't these make an awesome wedding shower gift filled with kitchen or bath goodies?!  

You are sewing through a LOT of layers. Be prepared! Our Janome machines power through tough jobs like these, but even I was extra cautious and hand-cranked over the thickest part: the side seams. By 'hand-crank,' I mean I took my foot off the pedal and used the handwheel on the side of the machine to walk the machine stitch by stitch across the super thick layers of the side seams. Once I'd cleared this area, I put the pedal to the metal again. Not all machines are up to the task. I would suggest testing your machine with a multiple layer ‘mock-up' first, such as a stack of folded scraps.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Our fabric cut recommendations are generous enough to allow for fussy cutting.

Large Basket

  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the basket exterior
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the basket lining and the top of the handles
  • ⅛ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton or a scrap for the back of the handles
  • ¾ yard of 20"+ wide heavyweight fusible or sew-in interfacing
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide lightweight batting or fusible fleece
  • 1 yard of wide coordinating rick rack; we used 1"
  • 1 yard of wide ribbon for the optional bow; we used 2" velvet

Small Basket

  • ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the basket exterior
  • ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the basket lining
  • ⅛ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton or a scrap for the back of the handles
  • ⅝ yard of 20"+ wide heavyweight fusible or sew-in interfacing
  • ⅓ yard of 44-45" lightweight standard batting or fusible fleece
  • 1 yard of wide coordinating rick rack; we used 1" 

Both Baskets

  • All purpose thread in colors to best match both rick rack and fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Large Basket

  1. From the fabric for the basket exterior, fussy cut TWO 12" high x 17" wide rectangles.
  2. From the fabric for the basket lining and handle tops, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 12" high x 17" wide rectangles 
    TWO 2½" x 10" strips
  3. From the back handle accent fabric, cut TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  4. From the batting/fleece, cut the following:
    TWO 12" x 17" rectangles 
    TWO 2½" x 10" strips
  5. From the heavyweight interfacing, cut TWO 12" x 17" rectangles.

Small Basket

  1. From the fabric for the basket exterior, fussy cut TWO 10½" high x 14" wide rectangles.
  2. From the fabric for the basket lining and handle tops, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 10½" high x 14" wide panels
    TWO 2½" x 10" strips
  3. From the back handle accent fabric, cut TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  4. From the batting, cut the following:
    TWO 10½" high x 14" wide rectangles 
    TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  5. From the heavyweight interfacing, cut TWO 10½" high x 14" wide rectangles.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

The steps below show the assembly of the large basket. The steps for the smaller basket are the same.

Layering the panels

  1. Place a piece of interfacing against the wrong side of each exterior panel.
  2. Align the two layers on all four sides, being careful to make sure both pieces are super flat. Pin in place.
  3. Machine baste the two layers together around all four sides, running this basting seam about ¼" from the raw edges. We used a Janome Even Feed foot to help deal with the layers of different thicknesses and types.
    NOTE: If you've chosen fusible interfacing, follow the manufacturer's directions to adhere the interfacing to the fabric rather than stitching.
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  4. Press well. If need be, once everything is sewn, pressed, and flat, trim the interfacing so it is completely flush with the fabric.
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  5. Repeat to stitch a batting panel to the wrong side of each lining panel.
    NOTE: As above, if you've chosen fusible fleece, follow the manufacturer's directions to adhere the fleece to the fabric rather than stitching.
    Click to Enlarge

Seam panels and box the bottom corners

  1. Place the two exterior panels right sides together. If you are using a directional print as we did, make sure both panels are lined up correctly.
  2. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. The top remains open and raw.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. We still using a Walking foot.
  4. With the basket still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners. Be aware that the heavyweight interfacing will make this technique a little harder to do than with plain fabric, but it is still pliable... you can do it!
  5. Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one bottom corner.
  6. As you pull, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with a corner point at the top and a seam line running down the middle of both sides. Fold one seam allowance to the right and the other seam allowance to the left to nest them together.
  7. Precisely match the two seams front to back. We like to work first from the wrong side, then double-check the alignment by looking down inside the basket to see if the seams are truly lining up. Below is a photo looking straight down into the basket, showing that the side and bottom seams are aligned.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Our large basket is sized to be 6" deep. To create this depth, you need to figure the boxed corner seam at half the finished width. Therefore, in our sample, we measured 3" from the tip of the corner peak seam and drew a horizontal line.
    NOTE: For the small basket, the depth is 5", so your corners should be measured at 2½".
    Click to Enlarge
  9. Pin your folded and measured peak so it stays flat and stitch along the drawn line. As with most boxed corners, we recommend stitching across more than once to reinforce. 
  10. Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼" from the seam line.
    Click to Enlarge
  11. Repeat these steps on the opposite corner.
  12. Turn the basket right side out and gently push out to form the boxed corners.
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  13. Repeat ALL the steps (1-12) to create a matching lining.
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  14. Fold down and press the top raw edge of both the basket exterior and the lining ½" all around, creating a nice finished edge. Pin in place. The exterior is right side out and the lining is wrong side out.
    Click to Enlarge
  15. Pin the rick rack to the top folded edge of the lining as shown in the photo below. Start at a side seam and dip down the curve of the rick rack down to best hide the raw edge. The middle of the rick rack should be aligned with the top fold of the lining so half of the rick rack's 'wave' sticks up from the top. Trim away the excess rick rack and overlap the ends. This overlap should be hidden between the exterior and the lining. As above, make sure the overlap is curved down so it is positioned below the folded edge.
    Click to Enlarge
  16. Thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and to best match the rick rack in the bobbin. Stitch the rick rack in place, staying close to the folded edge, which should be right through the middle of the rick rack. 
    Click to Enlarge
  17. 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 boxed bottom corners are flush, and the top folded edges are aligned. If need be, adjust the fold of the exterior for the best alignment. Pin in place.
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Handles

  1. Collect the SIX 2½" x 10" strips: two top fabric strips, two bottom fabric strips, and two batting strips.
  2. Make two three-part layers: batting, back fabric right side up, top fabric right side down. Align all raw edges. Pin in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch both sides through all the layers. Leave both ends raw and open. Trim the seam allowance back to approximately ¼".
  4. Turn each handle right side out and press flat.
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  5. Topstitch along both sides close to the edge. As with the rick rack, make sure the top and bobbin threads match each fabric. In our sample that meant green in the top and black in the bobbin.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Insert each handle between the layers, positioning them 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.
    NOTE: We pinned from the inside to hold things in place while measuring, then transferred the pins to the outside before the final stitching. Otherwise, the pins will be trapped between the layers.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Realign the the lining and the exterior, making sure the top folded edges are still flush with one another, the boxed bottoms are flat, the side seams match, and the rick rack is even all around.
  8. Topstitch all around the top of the basket through all the layers, keeping your seam line ⅜" from the top folded edges. 
    Click to Enlarge
  9. Then go back around with a second line of topstitching ⅛" from the first line of topstitching.
    NOTE: We re-threaded with black thread in the top and bobbin because we liked the look of accent lines of topstitching inside and out. If you'd prefer a more subtle look, stay with a thread color to best match the exterior as your top thread and a color to best match your lining in the bobbin.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson

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