Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fabric Basket Tutorial

There is a well-known quilter and crafter named Ayumi Mills, with a fabulous blog called Pink Penguin.   She posted a fabric basket tutorial  a few years ago that inspired me to make some baskets.  I took pictures recently as I made a basket, so you can see how I made mine (it's almost the same as Ayumi's).  Her tutorial is the definitive one; mine pales in comparison!  I only offer this because I was asked to show how I made my particular version of this fabric basket.

This is the first basket I made based on Ayumi's tutorial:

They are not too hard to make, and you get such a feeling of accomplishment from making something so useful!

In the very near future, my friend Susan and I will be organizing a swap of fabric baskets, bins, buckets and boxes on Craftster (sign-ups begin February 6th).  At the request of one of our regular swap participants, I took pictures recently as I made a fabric basket using my own design.  I will show you how it's made--the tutorial starts NOW!!

Here's the finished product; it measures 5 3/4" wide x 4" deep x 4" tall.

1.  Choose two fabrics, one for the inside and one for the outside of your basket; a fat quarter of each will be enough.  To make the basket sturdy, you will also need two kinds of interfacing.  They can be bought by the yard at fabric stores.
--1/2 yard of heavyweight sew-in interfacing (also called stabilizer)
--1/2 yard of featherweight or lightweight iron-in interfacing  (also called fusible interfacing)
(I buy mine by the bolt.  Pellon is a good brand.)

2.  Cut the fabrics to these sizes:
--inner fabric:  one piece 12 1/4" x 10 1/4"
--outer fabric:  one piece  12 1/2" x 10 1/2"
--handle fabric (I used the outer fabric):  one piece 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" (this makes both handles)

3.  Cut 3 pieces of the iron-in interfacing just a little smaller than each of your 3 pieces of fabric.  Following the package directions, fuse it to the wrong side of each piece.

4.  Cut 1 piece of the sew-in interfacing just a little LARGER than your outer fabric.  Pin it to the wrong side of the fabric, then baste it to the fabric using a 1/8" seam allowance, and your longest sewing machine stitch.  If it seems a little warped after sewing, try ironing it.

5.  Trim the excess interfacing from around the edges of the outer fabric.

This picture shows my fabrics with both interfacings applied.  The sew-in interfacing has not yet been trimmed.

6.  Make the handles:  fold the handle fabric in half lengthwise, and sew it into a tube, using a 1/4" seam.  Turn it right-side-out and press it flat.  (This picture shows my sewn tube before turning.  It also shows my handy-dandy tube-turning tool!)  Use whatever method works for you to turn the tube.

Sew a line of stitching along each side of the handle fabric, about 1/8" from the edge. 

Cut the handle fabric in half (each piece will be 5 1/4" long).

7.  Now to make the basket shape, starting with the outer fabric:  fold the interfaced fabric in half so the short sides are lined up at the top, and sew the two folded sides using a 1/4" seam.  (This picture shows the inner fabric sewn in half as just described.)

8.  Make the 4" gussets:  flatten one of the sides you just sewed, so the seam is centered and it ends in a triangular point.  With a ruler, find the spot where the width of the triangle is 4", and draw a line there that is perpendicular to the seam.  It is easy to do if you have a gridded mat like the one in this picture.

Sew along the line you drew, then cut off the excess fabric.  Make the gusset on the other side the same way.

I'm repeating this picture to show you how your outer fabric should now look.  Sew the inner fabric and make 4" gussets on it in exactly the same way.

9.  Attach the handles to the basket:  pin each handle to the outer fabric so it straddles the side seam, with each inner handle edge 3/4" from the center seam (the two handle ends will be 1 1/2" apart).

Sew the pinned handles in place using a 1/8" seam.

10.  Yay, now it's time to finish the basket!  Your outer fabric should be inside-out, as in this picture.  Turn your inner fabric so it is now RIGHT-side-out.

Place the inner fabric inside the outer fabric, and line up the side seams.  Pin the side seams together.

To figure out where to start sewing, hold the basket with one side seam in each hand and one flat side facing you.  Start sewing near where your right hand is holding it, about 1" ahead of the handles.  Sew around the top edge of the basket, using a 1/4" seam, until you come to the second side seam.  Stop here and remove the basket from the sewing machine.  Since your inner fabric is 1/4" smaller than the outer fabric, the two fabrics will not line up perfectly along the top edge (but it is important for the inner fabric to be smaller, so it fits smoothly inside the finished basket).

You need to adjust for the difference in size here, at the seam line. Pinch  about 1/4" of the outer fabric at the seam so it overlaps itself, and pin it in place. We're doing this at the seam line so the adjustment will be invisible in the finished basket.  Take a look at the remaining opening in this top seam; if the two fabrics are now perfectly aligned, continue sewing the top seam, but leave a 3-4" opening on the side to turn it right-side-out.  If the two fabrics are not perfectly aligned, unpin the seam and adjust it until the fabrics line up perfectly.  Then sew the remaining seam, leaving an opening for turning.

Whew, I'm glad that's over!  Turn your basket right-side out and it will look like this:

Iron the top edge flat, pushing the inner fabric down a little so it is recessed below the top edge.  Iron down the seam allowance of the opening, and pin it for sewing.

 11.  Sew a seam all around the top edge of the basket, 1/8" from the top.  Then sew a second seam 1/4" from the first seam.  This gives your basket a firm top edge.  Iron it nice and smooth, and you are done!

It came out great!

Yes, I'm happy!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Leslie for posting this Fabric Basket Tute. It's very clear & you did a wonderful job on it. Now I can make one, Ha Ha. We'll see!! Can't wait for the Swap to start.

Unknown said...

Ditto! Thank you, Leslie, for this tute. It sure looks like it covers it ALL! It's going to be a great swap!

LimeRiot said...

This is great, Leslie! Thank you for the tutorial.

Sadly I won't be joining your fun swap but I'll definitely be watching for the gallery!

waggonswest said...

Yay. Thanks for posting this with such great pictures. Your directions are very clear. I am also happy I have one of your lovely baskets as a model. It is on my sewing tray where it holds all the miscellaneous stuff I can't sew without. Thanks.

Suzy said...

Ms Leslie, I'm totally intimidated!! But I think if I follow this to the "T" I will be able to do it!!!! Thanks for posting!

cupcakesandcoffee schwartz said...

Found you on Pinterest! Love this tutorial. My house will not be cleaned tomorrow as I had originally planned, since I will be making this basket instead:)

Kim said...

What a great tutorial... clear instructions and wonderful stepout photos. I plan on making several, and will alter the sizes to nest some too. Great gifts! Great in the studio! GREAT!


Thanks for sharing, This is a great way for me to start designing my craft space and a way for me to use the practice quilt squares I made.

Anonymous said...

thanks!!!! hugs

Dawn B. said...

What a great tutorial. Thank you so much for taking the time to create this tutorial.

Sew Bee It Clothier said...

Beautifully done!

Alexa said...

I'm definitely adding this to my bag-of-the-week project list, although I might make it bigger.

maticrea said...

Great tutorial!!!

Thank you :)))


Walphie said...

Just made my little bag....and I just immediately want to make another one!! a couple of intricate bits which would be easier if the bag were bigger but I just want to go off and search for nice fabric to make them in now!!

KatieZ Creations said...

I made one today, it turned out great! Thanks for the awesome tutorial

Jody said...

This is an awesome tutorial! I can't wait to make this! THanks!

Anonymous said...

Leslie...I just finished 4 baskets....Love your instructions....I made (by mistake) 1 smaller and 1 longer and shorter. LOVE THEM! Thanks Teri

Leslie Andersen said...

Teri--hooray for you! Thanks for the feedback.

Unknown said...

Amei mais na tradução as medidas ficam diferente ai me atrapalhei toda.
Enfim aqui no Brasil as medidas são diferente
Mas ficou lindo msm

Deerie said...

LOVE this!! I am making for Christmas gifts.. I am adding a "count your blessings" jar similar to what is found here:
(I printed my own labels).. then laminated them onto the jar with wide clear packing tape.
I also am including in the basket a nice pen, a small note pad and a pad of sticky notes. I think it is a wonderful gift idea (and quite affordable on a budget!!)

mumbird3 said...

Love the basket!

Unknown said...

wow! what a gorgeous basket and such an excellent tutorial, photos really showing what to do! Thanks, Ellen

Unknown said...

wow! what a gorgeous basket and such an excellent tutorial, photos really showing what to do! Thanks, Ellen

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. Great gift idea for showers, etc. Just need to change up the fabric. :-)