Monday, January 4, 2016

Tutorial: Basket in a Flash

There's a number of tutorials out there for fabric baskets, but I found often they had unnecessary steps or were more complicated than they needed to be. I came up with my own method for baskets, streamlining the process so you can make one in a half hour or so. Hopefully my way isn't too fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants for a tutorial! Please let me know if something isn't clear and I'll do my best to clarify.

When you're done, you have a good-sized basket that is about 6.5" long, 5" wide and 8" high before folding down the cuff.

Usually I'm working with fat quarters, so I cut two pieces - one for the lining, one for the outside - that are 12" by as long as I can make it using a FQ. Normally this is about 21". If you're cutting from yardage, you can go for an even 22". You'll also need a piece the same size of one-sided fusible fleece. I like this stuff because it's pliable, but still sturdy enough for a basket.

Generally I avoid directional prints because then you need to piece it together so things aren't upside-down, and that adds time. Who's got extra of that?!

Now here's where I start doing things differently, but trust me! Iron the fusible fleece onto the lining. Yup, I said lining. I find that way the inside is nice and neat, and the outside wraps snuggly around it.

Fold each rectangle in half and sew down the sides to the folded bottom. Use a quarter-inch seam. I like to backstitch at the start to lock in the stitches. Don't worry about the bottom because we're gonna snip that off later.

Draw a 2.5" square on all the bottom corners. Be sure to measure from inside the seam allowance on the side.

Flatten the corner to make a point. To do this, kinda pinch the corners of the square you just drew so they're on the folds of the fabric. Do not trim. I find it's easier to sew along the line if there's more to hold on to. Again I backstitch at the start and stop of the seam, and over the middle seam to make sure it's extra secure.

Now you can trim the points, leaving 1/4". Optional: put the triangles on a nearby cat or dog as a jaunty cap. I keep trying with my cats, but they don't seem to appreciate the hilarity of it.

Iron open the seams on the side.

Turn the outer piece inside out and put it inside the lining.

Grab your handy Wonder Clips or pins and clip the pieces together, making sure to match your seams.

Slide it onto your sewing machine and stitch around the top, leaving a gap of 2.5" to 3". I find it handy to use my quarter-inch foot to be accurate and fast.

Pull your basket right-side out through the gap you left. Iron the seam flat carefully. I like to put clips on the open part so I know where it is when topstitching.

Topstitch around the edge. I usually do two lines in a co-ordinating thread for a nice detail. Be careful while sewing at the turning gap to make sure it's tidy and secure. Then turn the basket right side out. I like to fold down the top because the cuff adds a nice detail and a little extra sturdiness.

And voila! Your fabric basket is done! In a flash!

Make it bigger:
It's easy to make the basket bigger. You can use about the same length of fabric and just make it wider. Be sure to make the corners a bit larger when you add width.

I hope you liked this tutorial and have fun making your own fabric baskets. They're so handy to have in the sewing room to hold fabric and projects, and they make great gifts or swap extras. If you make baskets using this tutorial, please share them on Instagram using the hashtag #basketinaflash.


  1. Replies
    1. Be sure to share any baskets you make. I'd love to see them.

  2. I just made two of these - this is a great tutorial!!! So simple - Thanks.

  3. Just read this. Thanks! Easy to read. Was going to buy baskets to fill for some family members - but no...I think I'll use fabric and batting from my stash. Super Cute.

  4. I absolutely love this tutorial! It is so simple and love the pictures along with the explanation! Thank you, so very much! I agree with you that some of the other tutorials are to complicated for me!

  5. I just made this basket and I think it is just awesome, thank you for sharing this tutorial :)

  6. This is such a sweet basket. I did make three last week, but I think I'm missing a step. Where does the bottom seam happen? It doesn't show in the picture where you measure the 2 1/2 inches in the corner, yet it's there after you cut of the "cap". What am I missing? I added it in, where I thought it should go, but I want to do it correctly. thanks!!

    1. Hi Debbie - You've probably already figured this out... The tutorial is showing the basket made with a large piece of folded fabric, so the bottom of the basket is on the fold. That's why there is no mention of a bottom seam.

  7. Just made it and it's turned out great! Thank you!

  8. Just made it and it's turned out great! Thank you!

  9. Sinceramente, não entendi muito bem!!!! A maneira de se expressar ficou confusa! Que pena!!!Gostaria muito de aprender!

  10. Infelizmente, também não entendi muito bem. A maneira de se expressar está confusa. será que o texto foi mal traduzido?