A classic fabric basket has endless uses. That means a classic round nested fabric basket set has endless uses x2! These beautiful Nesting Baskets are the fourth project in the SIY-Sew It Yourself!™ series we’re doing in partnership with Jaftex.
If you’re brand new to sewing, perhaps you’re returning to sewing after a long hiatus, or maybe you’re planning to teach someone to sew; SIY-Sew It Yourself™ could be just what you’re looking for. You can find beginner-friendly projects, amazing fabrics, and helpful instructions through a variety of sewing experts, like S4H.
In designing our four projects for SIY, we’ve added new elements each time to expand your sewing skills. We kicked off with a pretty patchwork pillow, stepped up to set of soft shopping totes – great for learning to work with patterns, introduced some classic garment sewing techniques with our bib-and-double-skirt apron, and NOW: 3D Sewing!
This project is a fun introduction to dimensional sewing. You’ll learn how to create structure and stability by combining standard quilting weight cotton with pliable, fusible foam. Along the way, you can practice some unique techniques to add to your sewing toolbox, like inserting a round base, straight line quilting through multiple layers, applying a top accent band, and binding interior seam allowances.
This is a traditional two-part set of fabric nesting baskets. There’s one large, one small, both are quilted, and both have looped handles. They fit beautifully one inside the other, even accounting for the handles. And, they are very lightweight, yet sturdy and stable thanks to the fusible foam interfacing.
Working with all the beautiful options available in today’s designer cotton collections means you can match the fabrics’ color and motif to any décor or function – from tidying up a nursery to WFH office organization.
This project allows you to mix and match up to FIVE different fabrics to create a basket set for every room in the house. They would also make excellent gift baskets for a new baby, wedding shower or housewarming.
Our main sample set is done in Nana Mae 6 by Henry Glass Co. Inc., a1930s reproduction fabric collection patterned after the cotton feed sacks sold during the Great Depression. It replicates that sweet, petite, and nostalgic style – perfect for our nursery themed baskets. The soft pastels and tossed motifs are easy and fun to mix and match.
For a deeper dive into each of the four fabric collections we selected, as well as more information and S4H tutorial links about aspects of 3D sewing, take a look at our companion article: Sewing in 3D for Baskets and More.
The goal of the SI-Sew It Yourself™ program is to bring new and returning sewers inspiring projects, which are specially developed to be beginner-friendly yet creative and interesting enough to keep you motivated and learning new skills. We invite you to visit the SIY-Sew It Yourself!™ website for more details, additional easy-to-learn tutorials, and a full list of participating retailers (there are over 350 across the US and Canada!) where you can find the fabric as well as options for in-store or virtual classes.
For this Nesting Basket Set, the large basket finishes at approximately 7½” in diameter, the small basket at 6”.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot; best for some seaming and applying the bindings
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but makes handling the thicker layers easier – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines
Fabric and Other Supplies
Our custom nesting basket set uses FIVE coordinated prints. Two each for the exterior and lining of the large and small baskets plus one common fabric for the top accent bands on both baskets. We originally executed this design in four different collections from within the Jaftex family of fabrics: Henry Glass Co. Inc., FreeSpirit Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp., and Studio E Fabrics.
For the most part, the fabrics we chose had random motifs, which is the easiest option for placing and cutting all the pieces within the yardages recommended. If you choose a different fabric with a very strong directional motif, more yardage may be required to properly fussy cut. This was the case with the wavy stripe we used as the top accent bands on our FreeSpirit basket set. This Kaffe Fassett stripe was cut vertically for the best look and so required ¾ yard rather than the standard ⅓ yard specified below.
The illustrations below show all the pieces and their cut sizing. By referencing the size of each of the pieces, you can determine the yardage changes necessary should you wish to include fewer fabrics, more fabrics, and/or – as noted above – you need to do some directional fussy cutting.
As aways, our goal is to recommend more than enough fabric. With a project designed specifically for beginners, we want to make sure extra is available, in case there’s a mistake as someone gets used to precise cutting. This means we usually round up to the next nearest standard yardage cut. For the “super sewers” out there, you can look at the size of each of the pieces and plan your most efficient yardages.
- Fabric A (large basket exterior side and base: #1, #3): ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric; we used Musical Elephants in Pink #364-22
- Fabric B (large basket lining side, base, and binding: #2, #4, #6): ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric; we used Tulip Floral in Lavender #361-51
- Fabric C (small basket exterior and base: #7, #9): ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric; we used Tossed Baby Lambs in Green #362-66
- Fabric D (small basket lining side, base, and binding: #8, #10, #12): ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric; we used we used Tulip Floral in Aqua #361-64
- Fabric E (top accent bands for both baskets: #5, #11): ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric; we used Daisy Grid in Yellow #368-44
- 1 yard of 20”+ wide fusible foam; we used Pellon’s 20” one-sided fusible foam
- ¾ yard of 1” wide cotton twill tape in a color to coordinate with the fabric; we used white on the featured samples, but did change out to a brown, navy, and natural for the other three sets
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Fabric clips; optional, but sometimes easier when working with thicker layers and circular sewing
Getting Started and Pattern Downloads
- Download and print FOUR COPIES of the TWO pattern pieces: Large Basket Base and Small Basket Base.
IMPORTANT: This PDF is a single 8 ½” 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 to confirm your print out is to size.
- Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Using the printed triangles as a guide, rotate and line up the four sections to create a full circle for each of the sizes. Butt together the pieces, do not overlap, and tape.
- If you prefer to cut on the fold, you could assemble a single half circle for each size.
- From Fabric A (Musical Elephants in Pink in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 25” x 7” rectangle for the side panel
Using the Large Basket Base pattern, cut ONE
- From Fabric B (Tulip Floral in Lavender in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 25” x 7” rectangle for the side panel
ONE 7” x 2½” strip for the side seam binding
ONE 25” x 2½” strip for the base binding
Using the Large Basket Base pattern, cut ONE
- From Fabric C (Tossed Baby Lambs in Green in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 21” x 6” rectangle for the side panel
Using the Small Basket Base pattern, cut ONE
- From Fabric D (Tulip Floral in Aqua in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 21” x 6” rectangle for the side panel
ONE 6” x 2½” strip for the side seam binding
ONE 21” x 2½” strip for the base binding
Using the Small Basket Base pattern, cut ONE
- From Fabric E (Daisy Grid in Yellow in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 25” x 5” strip for the top trim of the large basket
ONE 21” x 5” strip for the top trim of the small basket
- Trim both basket base patterns along the dotted lines.
NOTE: If you wish to save your patterns, you could print two sets of everything, allowing you to keep one of each base pattern at full size for the fabric cuts and one of each base pattern at the reduced size for the foam cuts.
- From the fusible foam, cut the following:
ONE 24” x 6” rectangle for the large basket side panel
ONE 20” x 5” rectangle for the small basket side panel
Using the TRIMMED Large Basket Base panel, cut ONE
Using the TRIMMED Small Basket Base panel, cut ONE
- From the cotton webbing, cut FOUR 7” lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
NOTE 1: Unless otherwise noted, your machine should be threaded and re-threaded as necessary with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. In addition, unless otherwise noted, set length and width for a standard straight stitch and attach a basic presser foot.
NOTE 2: We are showing the small basket in the instructional steps below. This allowed us to best capture the process within the camera’s frame. The steps for each size of basket are exactly the same.
Prepare the binding and accent band strips
- Find the 5” top accent strips.
- Fold each strip in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease line.
- Unfold, wrong side up. Fold each long raw edge into the middle, meeting at the center crease line. Press well.
- Re-fold along the original crease line and press once more.
- Set aside the top accent bands.
- Find the 2½” binding strips for the large basket and the small basket (each basket has one long and one short strip). Fold each strip in half wrong sides together.
- Set aside the lining binding strips.
Fuse both the exterior side panel and the exterior base panel; layer the base panel
- Find the exterior sidewall and the exterior base panel along with the two coordinating pieces of fusible foam.
NOTE: Remember, we are just showing the construction of the small basket. Both baskets are constructed in exactly the same manner.
- Center the appropriate fusible foam panel on the wrong side of each exterior fabric panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the foam on all sides.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the foam panels in position. We like to first lightly fuse from the wrong side, then flip over and fuse for a longer duration from the right side.
- Layer the base exterior and lining panels wrong sides together, sandwiching the foam between the layers. Lightly pin through all the layers.
- Attach a Zipper foot.
- Run a seam around the entire perimeter of the base panel layers, keeping your stitching as close as possible to the edge of the foam circle.
- Set aside the layered base panel
Layer and quilt the side panel
- As above, layer the side exterior and lining panels wrong sides together, sandwiching the foam between the layers. Lightly pin through all the layers at the outer edges.
- Using your ruler and a fabric pen or pencil, and starting at the edge of the foam panel, mark in 1” increments across the width of the side panel.
NOTE: Any time you are working on the right side of your fabric, make sure your marking tool is one that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. Also make sure your marking tool’s color will stand out on your fabric: white lines for dark fabric, black/blue lines for light fabric.
- Draw in full quilting guide lines at each marked point.
- As noted above, make sure your machine is threaded appropriately with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and to best match the lining fabric in the bobbin.
- Re-set for a slightly lengthened straight stitch. We used 3.0mm. If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system. This will make quilting through these thick layers much easier and more precise.
- Stitch along each drawn guideline.
- For added security against the shifting of the layers throughout the remainder of the construction process, we recommend also stitching across the top and bottom of the panel. As you did with the base panel above, run this stitching as close to the edge of the foam as possible. A Zipper foot is best for this.
Seam the side panel into a tube and bind that seam allowance
- In order to make sure the foam lines up perfectly, we recommend doing the side seam that turns the flat panel into a tube in two steps.
- Re-set for a standard straight stitch and continue using a Zipper foot.
- Pull back the lining layers slightly to reveal about 1-2” of the foam. This means you may need to release a bit of the top and bottom security stitching you did. That is okay. The key here is to make sure the corners of the form are perfectly aligned and flush at both the top and bottom of the panel.
- Still holding back the lining, place the exterior layers right sides together.
- With a Zipper foot attached, stitch this short seam. As above, run the seam as close to the edge of the foam as possible. You are just stitching the exterior fabric layers.
- With the exterior seam complete, and the foam perfectly flush, bring together the sides of the lining to either side of the existing exterior seam allowance.
- The lining edges are wrong sides together, sandwiching the exterior layers. Pin in place and once again stitch the short seam. And (let’s say it all together now) run the seam right along the edge of foam.
- Trim back the seam allowance to ¼” – you are trimming through all four layers of the seam allowance.
- Find the shorter of the two lining binding strips, which should be folded in half wrong sides together.
- Align the raw edges of the strip with the raw trimmed edges of the seam allowance. Pin in place.
- Still using a Zipper foot, stitch the strip to the seam allowance, running this new seam as close as possible to the original seam allowance stitch line.
- Wrap the folded edge of the binding strip around the raw edges of the seam allowance, enclosing them within the wrap.
- Stitch down the length of the folded strip to secure it in place.
- Remember, throughout this process, you are only working with and stitching on the seam allowance. Do not stitch onto the sidewall panel.
Insert the base into the tube and bind the seam allowance
- Find the layered circular base panel. Lightly 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.
- 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.
- Repeat this process with the basket tube. 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.
- With the tube lining side out, set the base into the tube so the two pieces are exterior sides together. Align the quadrant pins of the tube with the quadrant pins of the base circle.
- Pin at these 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.
- Carefully snip into the seam allowance of the tube (not the base) so it can flare out slightly to better match the circular base. Looking down from the top with the layers pinned in place, it looks a bit like a flower pot.
- Using a Zipper foot, stitch around the circle through all the layers TWICE. The first time around is to set the layers in place – this seam can be a bit messy. The second time around, stitch right up against the foam, snugging up to create a smooth seam all the way around. Go slowly and carefully; slow and steady wins the race.
- Find the remaining longer binding strip. Unfold it and bring its 2½” ends right sides together, and using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ends together to form a loop.
- Press open the short seam allowance, then re-fold the binding strip wrong sides together.
- The basket should still be lining side out.
- Slip the folded binding strip over the body of the basket, sliding it towards the bottom until the raw edges of the folded strip are flush with the raw edges of the base seam allowance. The seam of the binding strip should be aligned with the side seam of the body of the basket. Pin in place.
- Using a Zipper foot, stitch all the way around the base panel, staying close to the original seam line. Remember, you are stitching through the binding strip and the seam allowance – do not stitch into the body of the basket.
- Trim back the seam allowance to ¼” all around so all the layers are nice and flush.
- Pull the binding strip away from the body of the basket so its folded edge is extending beyond the base.
- Similarly to how you wrapped the side seam above, bring the folded edge of the binding around the seam allowance, encasing those raw edges in the folded binding and covering the previous seam lines. Pin in place. You could also use seam clips at this point, which might be a bit easier to handle.
- Stitch around once more to secure the binding to the seam allowance.
- You now have a tidy, finished seam allowance all around, and once the basket is turned right side out, it becomes nearly invisible at the bottom of the basket.
Add the top accent band and handles
- Trim all around the top of the basket as needed to insure the fabric layers are flush with the foam.
- Find the top accent band. At both ends, open up the folds so you can align the 5” ends right sides together. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ends together to form a loop, similarly to how you formed the base binding loop above.
- Re-fold along the original crease lines and re-press.
- The body of the basket should still be lining side out.
- Open up the top accent band along its center crease line. Slip the open band down over the top of the basket. The wrong side of the binding is sitting against the right side of the lining. Pin in place.
- The accent band’s seam should be aligned with the side seam of the basket.
- Looking from the other direction, the center of the accent band should sit just just above the trimmed top raw edge of the basket.
- If your machine has a free arm, now is an excellent time to use it. In addition, we found it helpful to scoot the machine so the end of the free arm is near the edge of the work surface. This allows you to gain access to the top of the basket without scrunching up the sides.
- Stitch around the entire top of the basket. This seam should be about ⅛” to ¼” from the bottom folded edge of the accent band. This positioning is important. When the front of the band is folded down into position, this seam should not be visible on the exterior of the basket; it should be hidden behind the 1¼” reveal of the front of the band.
NOTE: This first of two seams helps secure the binding in position, making the second seam easier to stitch with precision. If you are more advanced, you can seam in just one step – see the Alternative Option below.
- Find two 7” lengths of cotton webbing.
- Turn the basket right side out.
- Fold each length of webbing into a loop as shown in the photos below and pin one loop at each side of the basket.
- The seam should now be considered the back of your basket. Using this as your guide, you can measure from the seam to the right and to the left to evenly position a handle at each side. The raw ends of handles should be flush with the top raw edges of the basket. Pin the handles in place.
- Bring the accent band down into position against the exterior of the basket, over the top of the handle ends, and pin in place all around.
- Stitch in place all around through all the layers to secure the bottom edge of the binding and to secure the handles in position. This seam should run very close to the bottom fold of the binding, about ⅛” is recommended.
Alternate option for binding
- If you are more advanced and confident about sewing in a circle through multiple layers, you could place the handles into position at each side and then simply slip the accent band loop over the top of the basket. Make sure it is aligned front to back, then stitch around just once, through all the layers to secure. Go slowly and carefully to insure you completely catch the front and back of the binding in one fell swoop.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever