I enjoy making sewing accessories. I sometimes think I could quite happily just sew pincushions, needlecases and sewing bags forever!
I spotted a wicker basket in an op shop (thrift shop), and thought it would make a lovely sewing basket if I lined it. It cost me less than $5, and all I had to do was give it a jolly good scrub and dry it in the sunshine when I brought it home. Everything else I used came from my stash.
I will show you step-by-step how I made the basket lining, but if you plan to make a lining for a your own basket, you will have to adjust the measurements as no two baskets are the same size.
If you are inspired by this tutorial and have a Flickr account, I would love to see pictures. Please post a photo of your basket on the Granny Maud’s Girl stuff Flickr group.
It took me ages to decide which fabrics from my stash to use. In the end, I chose a selection of Fig Tree & Company fabrics as they have a vintage feel and I had everything I needed – ribbon, lace and even felt – in coordinating colours in my stash. No shopping = inexpensive project!
Apart from the usual sewing supplies, like scissors and pins, you will need:
- paper or lightweight interfacing to make a rough pattern
- quilt wadding or stiff interfacing
- narrow elastic
- lace and other decorations (optional).
Read all the instructions before you start, and leave a comment if you need me to clarify anything.
Prepare the base
I started by making a rough base pattern or template and cutting out the pieces for the bottom of the basket.
Here I cheated a bit. I spray-basted (yes, glued) the orange base to the quilt wadding. If you do not have fabric glue in a spray, just sew a line of basting stitches around the outside edge to hold the two layers in place. Keep the underside of the base (in my case, the strawberry print) separate for now.
Make the sides
I made my sides and pockets double-sided as I like the neat finish of this method. Of course, if you prefer, you can make both single thickness and make casings for the ribbon and elastic by turning over the edge.
In my case, the outside circumference of the basket was 39¼ inches and the measurement from the inside bottom of the basket to the edge of the ribbon casing was 5 inches, so I cut a rectangle that was 40 x 10½ inches. I added a smidge extra to the circumference just for ease of calculation.
Before tackling the next steps on the real fabric, you might like to make a mock-up on a fabric scrap just so you can see how it works. I did this as I was making it up as I went and I wanted to be sure it would work as I imagined.
To mark my fabric, I used a Frixion pen: a pen that has ink that vanishes when ironed. One advantage of these is that the lines are dark enough to show in photos.
Here, the outside line is my fold line and the inside line is my cutting line. I allowed half an inch for turning and seams.
Measure the handles carefully. My wicker basket is not symmetrical, and I needed to mark where the handles are and not assume they are an equal distance apart.
My handles needed a 2-inch-wide gap, and I wanted the bottom of the gap to line up with the top of the pocket.
How wide your ribbon channel is will depend on the width of your ribbon!
Make the pockets
The pocket is optional, but I like being able to keep small loose items out of the way. Putting threads into the pockets stops them getting tangled among themselves.
I made my pocket piece out of two fabrics because I did not have enough of the one I wanted to use. My pocket is 2¾ inches deep, so I cut two long rectangles, each 40 x 3¼ inches, and sewed them together. I could have just cut one piece 40 x 6 inches and folded it to make the pocket.
Once you have cut the pocket piece, sew it into a tube as you did for the sides by sewing the short edges together, right sides facing, using a ¼-inch seam allowance. Press.
How big to make your pockets? It depends on what you want to put in them. Mine are between 3 and 5 inches wide, and I put the bigger pockets on the straighter sides of the basket.
Attach the base to the sides
A walking foot will really be helpful for these next steps.
Unfortunately, in this photo, you cannot see that the sides are pinned to the orange base and the quilt wadding layers, which I basted together earlier. The underside of the base is not attached until the next step, below.
You might notice lots of rows of stitching. I tried to gather the fabric with long machine stitches, but with four bulky layers of fabric in the sides, it did not work. They snapped. I hand stitched long gathering stitches, and they did the trick.
Before joining two pieces that need a turning opening, I like to sew a row of stitches along the seam line where the opening will be on each piece. It acts as a guide later when hand sewing the opening closed.
If you like, you can topstitch around the edges, quilt or add some decorative stitching to your basket base. I thought about it. I might do it later. For the moment, I am happy with the basket as is.
Decorate your basket
Every basket needs more ribbon and a pair of strawberries on a string! I really do need to learn how to tie a decent bow.
Now, I think I also want to make a little pincushion and maybe a tiny purse to coordinate. I need something to show off the cute strawberry print that I foolishly hid on the bottom of my basket.