Thursday, January 23, 2014

Barb's baskets

My mother-in-law, Barb, has a really cool built-in bench near her front door.  It's a great place for her to stash things that she needs to remember next time she leaves the house.  Inevitably, she has three piles going on that bench at any one time -- things to go to her mom's house, to Stephanie & Don's house, and to our house.  She was collecting them in three different shopping bags, but then she decided that maybe there was a more aesthetically pleasing solution and commissioned my help.

I showed her my Pinterest board with pins of sewing tutorials for fabric baskets and boxes and she liked the looks of the Square-Bottomed Canvas Bucket.   She wanted them to be about the size of the knitting "bagsket" I had made her last year (which I really should take a photograph of next time I'm at her house), which was 12" in diameter, so I sized up the bucket tutorial to end up with a 12" x 12" x 12" cube (without a top, of course).  I have a special talent for photographing projects at bad angles, so please believe me when I say that in person they don't look so lopsided and wonky!

I altered the tutorial in many other ways, too.  I added clear vinyl pockets to the front so she could insert labels, and I sewed on the handles (using a different attachment method) before the lining was sewed in (so the stitching wouldn't show on the lining).  Piping around the top was a must, because I am currently obsessed with piping.  It's a scientific fact that everything is cuter with a bit of piping.  I also added a layer of felt to give the baskets more substance, and some sew-in Peltex (Pellon 70) on the sides (but not the bottoms) to keep them standing up straight while empty.  Basically, the only thing I took from the original tutorial was the basic construction method.

The buckets/baskets/whatever you call them are lined with different colors of duck cloth (well, the blue is actually a bottom-weight denim, but it's virtually the same weight).  The outside fabric is home décor gingham left over from the roman shades that Barb just had professionally made for her kitchen windows.  I wish I could have fussy-cut them so the pattern would have looked the same on each of them, but I was working with scraps (that I had to actually piece together, which is ridiculously difficult with a geometric pattern!) and didn't have that luxury.

The handles are nearly double the width and length of those in the original tutorial (to account for the increase in overall size), and they are made from some floral home décor fabric left over from recovering the chair and bar stools in Barb's kitchen.  

To contrast with the gingham squares, I made the clear vinyl pockets for the labels rounded just for fun.  I'm going to give Barb some of the coordinating card stock so she can make labels with better handwriting (or even print them out with a computer).

I hope she likes them!  She's in Grand Rapids for the night, and when Larry (my poor father-in-law, who was left behind for Barb's trip) comes over for dinner tonight I'm going to give them to him to sneak home and put in place.  That should be a fun surprise when she gets home tomorrow.