Monday, January 19, 2015

Boxy Fabric Basket -- Sewing Tutorial

I made this basket to hold some Valentine's Day treats for my son's preschool teachers, but I didn't want it to scream "VALENTINE'S DAY".  With the aqua and the dark pink on the exterior and the teal (which looks much more blue in all of the photos for some reason) on the interior, the color combo looks both sweet for Valentine's Day but appropriate for year-round as well.

This basket has more of a boxed-out shape than the typical one because of the construction method.  I got the idea for this basket when making my Toy Tote.

Boxy Fabric Basket -- Sewing Tutorial

Materials Needed:

Quilting cotton or lightweight home decor fabric:
  • Exterior -- 1/4 yard if non-directional print, 1/2 yard if directional print
  • Lining -- 1/4 yard if non-directional print, 1/2 yard if directional print
Felt OR fusible fleece (a piece at least 14" x 21")
Piping -- about 2 yards
Cotton or nylon webbing (1" wide or so) -- 15 inches
Thread to match the piping AND thread to match the lining fabric
Freezer paper (regular paper would work fine too)

materials needed

Finished dimensions: approximately 6 1/2" wide by 6 1/2" deep by 6" tall.

All seam allowances will be 3/8" unless otherwise indicated.

STEP ONE: Drawing the pattern and cutting the fabric

Draw the pattern piece as shown below on a regular piece of paper, or if you have some, on freezer paper.  Essentially, this is a 7" x 10.5" rectangle with the bottom corners chopped off.

drawing the pattern

If you used freezer paper, you can iron the waxy side of the pattern piece right onto the fabric.  Then, it will temporarily adhere and keep the pattern piece from shifting while you cut.  I like to fold the fabric such that I can cut multiples out at the same time.

Cut out FOUR of the pattern piece shapes from the LINING only.

cutting the lining fabric

Then, grab your pattern piece and hack 3/4" off the top.

cutting 3/4" off the top of the pattern piece

Now your pattern piece should have the dimensions shown in the photo below.  Cut FOUR of the newly-resized pattern piece from the EXTERIOR and the FELT/FUSIBLE FLEECE.

cutting the exterior fabric

You should have these now:

fabric pieces cut out

Now, adhere the felt or fusible fleece to the exterior pieces.  You can either use basting spray with the felt, or you can baste with your sewing machine all the way around each of the pieces 1/4" away from the edge.  If you have fusible fleece, then you can just iron those puppies on to the exterior.

STEP TWO: Constructing the exterior

Grab your piping and cut FOUR lengths that are each 6 inches long.

piping lengths cut to 6" each

On the RIGHT side of the EXTERIOR fabric (which already has the felt/fleece attached), pin each of the piping lengths down the right vertical edges, matching the raw edge of the piping with the raw edge of the fabric.  The piping will hang off of the bottom of the fabric just a bit.

piping pinned to exterior pieces

Pop your zipper or piping foot onto your machine.  Using the thread that matches the piping, stitch right on top of the stitching that holds the piping together, right down to where the fabric ends.

sewing on the piping

Yeah, you can't really see the white stitching on the white piping, but believe me when I say it's there.

piping sewn on

Trim any of the piping off that extends beyond the bottom of the fabric.  It's easiest to do this if you flip the fabric over first.

trim the excess piping

Repeat with each of the other pieces.  You should have this now.

exterior pieces with piping sewn on

Place two of the pieces with the right sides together.  Repeat with the two other pieces.  Pin them down the LEFT side.

exterior pieces matched together

At a spot 3/8" up from the bottom left corner (where the piping ends), make a little mark.

mark at left corner

Do the same thing 3/8" up to the left from the bottom point.

bottom point marked

Start stitching at the mark you made at the bottom point.  When you get to the mark you made at the left corner, leave the needle down, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric to start stitching on top of the existing stitching line (the one that attached the piping), put the presser foot down, and stitch all the way to the end.

sewing exterior pieces together

Now you should have this:

exterior pieces sewn together

Repeat with the other pair of exterior pieces.  if you open both of them up, you should now have this:

exterior pieces opened up

Place the two sets with the right sides together, matching up the corners and seams.  Pin.

exterior sets matched together

Flatten out the places where the bottom points meet, like this:

bottom point flattened

Sew them together stitching with two different seams with a 3/8" seam allowance.  Starting at the bottom point (3/8" in from the point), sew up the diagonals and up both sides (on the existing stitching lines).

exterior sets sewn together

Turn the exterior right side out.

exterior turned right side out

Take the rest of your piping and pin it around the top edge with the raw edge of the piping matching the raw edge of the fabric..  Leave a tail of about two inches unpinned at the beginning and at the end.  Don't trim the ling end of the piping just yet.

exterior pieces with piping pinned on

Sew the piping on (sewing on the stitching that holds the piping together), but leave a couple of inches on each end unsewn.  Make sure about an inch or so of the end of the piping overlaps the beginning of the piping and cut off the excess.

exterior with piping sewn on

Using a seam ripper, rip out about an inch of the stitching holding the end of the piping together.  Cut off the cord inside at the point where the beginning of the piping meets the end of the piping.

matching piping ends together

Fold in about a half an inch of the piping casing on the end and finger press it.

matching piping ends together

Nest the beginning of the piping into the end of the piping, butting up the two ends of the cording together.

matching piping ends together

Close the piping casing around and pin into place.

matching piping ends together

Stitch the piping down, closing the gap.

stitching down piping ends

STEP FOUR: Sewing the lining and assembling the basket

Assemble the lining with the same construction method as the exterior, only without all of the piping mess.  Now you should have this:

lining sewn together

Turn the exterior wrong side out.  Trim a bit off of the corners and at the bottom points of both the lining and the exterior.  You can also trim a little bit of the felt out of the exterior seams to cut down on the bulk.

trimming corners

trimming corners

With the exterior turned wrong side out and the lining turned right side out, nest the lining inside the exterior.  Yup, the lining will be sticking up about 3/4" above the exterior.  Double check to make sure the pretty sides of the fabric are facing each other before you pin and stitch.

nesting lining in exterior with right sides together

Shove the lining down to align the raw edges with those of the exterior.  Pin into place, matching all of the seams.  Then sew them together on the stitching line that attached the piping, BUT LEAVE OPEN A 4" TURNING GAP!  I like to leave the turning gap open on the side where the piping is attached.

pinning lining and exterior together

Carefully turn the basket right side out through the turning gap.

turning the basket right side out

Shove the lining down into the basket with the excess wrapped around to the exterior.  Now the lining should fit nicely down inside the exterior.

settling lining into exterior

Press it all down neatly into place, including the part with the turning gap.

pressing lining into place

Switch your thread to match the lining.  Using your zipper foot, stitch along the top edge as close to the piping as you can get.  This will close the turning gap and keep the lining down into place.

stitching around top edge

stitching around top edge

Now it should look like this.

finished body of basket

STEP FIVE: Adding the handles

Take the 15" length of webbing and cut it into two lengths, 7 1/2" long.

handle webbing

Fold under an inch on the ends of each piece and press.

pressing ends under

Pin them onto the sides of the basket, 1" down from the piping on the top and 1" in from the piping on the sides.  This will make the handles bow out a little so they won't lie flush against the basket.  I like to make one of the sides with the handle be the one with the piping join and the turning gap.

pinning handles on

First, switch the only top thread in your machine to one that matches your webbing.  Keep the bobbin thread the same color as your lining.  This will disguise the stitching on the lining.  You always could just sew on the handles before you attach the exterior and the lining, but I think it helps keep the lining in place to have the stitching for the handles go through the lining as well.

Stitch the handles on by sewing a square with an "x" through it at the end of each handle, enclosing the raw edges of the webbing.  Repeat on the opposite side with the other handle.

sewing handles on

From the outside, you should only see the white stitching.

handles sewn on

From the inside, you can hardly see where the handles were attached.

handles sewn on from interior

Grab your iron and give the basket another press.  Give it shape by folding where the edges of the box should be and pressing a sharper crease.

pressing basket into shape

Looks cool from the inside as well, doesn't it?

basket's interior view

Voila!  A sweet little basket to fill with treats for your favorite teacher or friend.

finished basket

Boxy Fabric Basket -- sewing tutorial by Roonie Ranching


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  1. I love this basket! Who couldn't use a couple of these? While reading your (well-written) directions, I thought of at least three people who will lust after the one I make for myself. :-o Thanks for sharing your pattern.

  2. Hi Niki! Beautiful fabric basket! I love this project and the clear tutorial. Thank you for sharing.
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  3. wow great tutorial and those baskets are very useful. Thank you

  4. What a great tutorial. That gorgeous basket can be used for any number of things and adapted for any season. This is on my 'to do' list for sure.

  5. wow turned out beautiful! love the boxy fabric basket and appreciate the full tute!

  6. Nice tutorial! This may be tomorrow's project. Thanks so much for sharing it.


  7. oh my goodness that is so sweet!!

  8. Great project. I love the colors your choose, they really make great projects. Thank you for sharing it on KISMIF and come back sometime. I'd love to see your projects!--Shannon

  9. What a sweet little basket! This would be a great design for shelf organizers - Thanks so much for linking up to Awesome Life Friday! Hope to see you again this week!

  10. Perfecto el tutorial
    Gracias por compartir

  11. Thank you very much for sharing this perfect tutorial for great baskets!

  12. Love the addition of the piping, Niki!!! A fabulous basket.

  13. That is so stinking cute! I can think of endless uses for these little baskets. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I love it... Thank you very much for sharing this nice tutorial..

  15. Love it, love it, love it! Beautifully finished, incredible detail, easily altered in size and the embellishing possibilities are fairly endless. Absolutely Fabulous -- especially for those of us to who live to organize!

  16. These boxy baskets are too cute! I'm going to make a dozen or so... Thanks for sharing!