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You Asked 4 It: Structured Fabric Baskets

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Another You Asked 4 It survey request crossed off the list. Several people asked about structured fabric baskets. We're guessing there must be a lot of Sew4Home fans out there with a lot of stuff they need to organize in some terrific totes. We've come through with not just one but a pretty pair: a large basket measuring 10" wide x 8" tall x 6" deep and a small companion at 8" wide x 7" tall x 5" deep. The two nest perfectly together. Wouldn't these make an awesome wedding shower gift filled with kitchen or bath goodies?!

We dove into our stash for this project and came us with four beautiful Michael Miller Fabric prints that are still available through numerous outlets. Divine Damask and Dressforms are from the Black and White collection, which we originally used for a week of beautiful pillows last spring. We accent the dramatic black and white combo with Apple and Black Ta Dot - Michael Miller classics.

We found Divine Damask in Black at, Hawthorne Threads and Emerald City Fabrics. Dressforms in black is available at Fat Quarter Shop, and Emerald City Fabrics. And, you can get Ta-Dot at and Hawthorne Threads.

Our You Asked 4 It survey article is still live on the site and we still check for new comments. Please leave your idea if you haven't already.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Our fabric cut recommendations are generous to allow for fussy cutting.

Large Basket

  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the basket exterior: we used Divine Damask in Black by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the basket lining and top of handles: we used Ta Dot in Apple by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide fabric or scrap for back of handles: we used Ta Dot in Black by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¾ yard of heavyweight fusible OR sew-in interfacing, such as fusible Fast2Fuse or Heat 'n' Bond or Pellon's sew-in heavyweight interfacing
    NOTE: These type of products are normally only 18"-20" wide. We found and bought our interfacing off the bolt at our local fabric store so getting ¾ yard wasn't a problem. If you have to by packaged interfacing, carefully check the amount; you may need more than one package.
  • ½ yard of 44-45" lightweight batting: we used Kyoto Bamboo Batting from
  • 1 yard of wide coordinating rick rack; we used 1" in black
  • 1 yard of wide velvet ribbon; we used 2" black velvet

Small Basket

  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the basket exterior: we used Dressforms in Black by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the basket lining: we used Ta Dot in Apple by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide fabric or scrap for back of handles: we used Ta Dot in Black by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¾ yard of heavyweight fusible OR sew-in interfacing, such as fusible Fast2Fuse or Heat 'n' Bond or Pellon's sew-in heavyweight interfacing
  • ½ yard of 44-45" lightweight batting: we used Kyoto Bamboo Batting from
  • 1 yard of wide coordinating rick rack; we used 1" in black

Both Baskets

Getting Started

Large Basket

  1. From the fabric for the basket exterior (Black Divine Damask in our sample), fussy cut TWO 12" high x 17" wide panels.
  2. From the fabric for the basket lining and handle tops (Apple Ta Dot in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 12" high x 17" wide panels
    TWO 2½" x 10" strips
  3. From the back handle accent fabric (Black Ta Dot in our sample), cut TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  4. From the batting, cut TWO 12" x 17" panels and TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  5. From the heavyweight interfacing, cut TWO 12" x 17" panels.

Small Basket

  1. From the fabric for the basket exterior (Black Dressforms in our sample), fussy cut TWO 10½" high x 14" wide panels.
  2. From the fabric for the basket lining and handle tops (Apple Ta Dot in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 10½" high x 14" wide panels
    TWO 2½" x 10" strips
  3. From the back handle accent fabric (Black Ta Dot in our sample), cut TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  4. From the batting, cut TWO 10½" high x 14" wide panels and TWO 2½" x 10" strips.
  5. From the heavyweight interfacing, cut TWO 10½" high x 14" wide panels.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

The steps below show me assembling the large basket. The steps for the smaller basket are the same.

Layering the panels

  1. Place a piece of interfacing against the wrong side of each exterior panel.
  2. Align the two layers on all four sides, being very careful to make sure both pieces are super flat. Pin in place.
  3. Machine baste the two layers together around all four sides, staying about ¼" from the raw edges. I used my Janome walking foot since I was dealing with layers of different thicknesses and types.
    NOTE: If you've chosen fusible interfacing, follow your manufacturer's directions to adhere the interfacing to the fabric rather than stitching as I did.
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  4. Press well. If need be, once everything is sewn, pressed and flat, trim the interfacing so it is completely flush with the fabric.
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  5. Repeat to stitch a batting panel to the wrong side of each lining panel.
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Seam panels and box the bottom corners

  1. Place the two exterior panels right sides together. If you are using a directional print as we did, make sure both panels are lined up top-to-top.
  2. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. I'm still using my Janome Walking foot.
  4. With the basket still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners. Be aware the heavyweight interfacing will make this technique a little harder to do than with plain fabric, but it is still pliable... you can do it!
  5. Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one bottom corner.
  6. As you keep pulling, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with the corner point at the top and a seam line running down the middle of both sides. Fold one seam allowance to the right and the other seam allowance to the left.
  7. Precisely match the two seams front to back. I work first from the wrong side, then I look down inside the basket to see if my seams are lining up. Below is a photo of me looking straight down into the basket, lining up my side and bottom seams.
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  8. Our bag is sized for 6" sides and base. To create this width, you need to figure your boxed corner seam at half the finished width. Therefore, in our sample, we measured 3" from the tip of the corner peak and drew a horizontal line.
    NOTE: For the small basket, the sides and base are 5", so your corners should be measured at 2½".
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  9. Pin your folded and measured 'peak' and stitch along the drawn line. With most boxed corners, I would recommend stitching and then backstitching to reinforce. However, since this project is so thick and stiff, I recommend stitching straight across, locking at the beginning and end, removing the project, then replacing it under the needle, and stitching straight across again.
  10. Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼" from the seam line.
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  11. Repeat these steps on the opposite corner.
  12. Turn the basket right side out and push out to form the boxed corners.
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  13. Repeat ALL the steps (1-12) to create a matching lining.
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  14. Fold down and press the top raw edge of both the basket exterior and the lining ½" all around, creating a nice finished edge. Pin in place.  
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  15. Pin the rick rack to the top folded edge of the lining. Start at a side seam and 'dip' the curve of the rick rack down to hide the raw edge. The middle of the rick rack should be aligned with the top fold of the lining so the half of the rick rack's 'wave' sticks up from the top.
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  16. Machine baste the rick rack in place, staying close to the folded edge, which should be right through the middle of the rick rack. I used thread to match my lining fabric in the top and thread to match my rick rack in the bobbin.
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  17. Slip the lining inside the basket exterior so the two layers are wrong sides together. Push the lining down into place so the side seams match up and the top folded edges are flush.
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    1. Collect the SIX 2½" x 10" strips: two top fabric strips, two bottom fabric strips and two batting strips.
    2. Make two three-part layers: batting, back fabric right side up, top fabric right side down. Align all raw edges. Pin in place.
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    3. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch both sides through all layers. Leave both ends raw and open. Trim the seam allowance back to approximately ¼".
    4. Turn each handle right side out and press.
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    5. Topstitch along both sides close to the edge. As with the rick rack, I made sure my top and bobbin threads matched each fabric: in my sample that meant green in the top and black in the bobbin.
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    6. Insert each handle between the layers, positioning them over the side seams. Each inside edge of the handle should be 1" from the side seam and each raw end should be 1½" from the top folded edge. Pin in place.
      NOTE: I pinned from the inside to hold things in place while I was measuring. But then I transferred the pins to the outside before final stitching. Otherwise, the pins will trapped between the layers.
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    7. Realign the the lining and the exterior basket, making sure the top folded edges are flush with one another, the side seams match, and the rick rack is sticking up.
    8. Topstitch all around the top of the basket through all the layers, keeping your seam line 3/8" from the top folded edges. Again, I'm still using my Janome walking foot!
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    9. Then go back around with a second line of topstitching 1/8" from the first line of topstitching.
      NOTE: I switched back to black thread as both my top and bobbin thread because I liked the look of the accent lines of topstitching inside and out. If you'd prefer a more subtle look, stay with a color to match the exterior as your top thread and a color to match your lining in the bobbin.



You are sewing through a LOT of layers. Be prepared! Our Janome machines power through tough jobs like these, but even I was extra cautious and hand-cranked over the thickest part: the side seams. By 'hand-crank,' I mean I took my foot off the pedal and used the handwheel on the side of the machine to walk the machine stitch by stitch across the super thick layers of the side seams. Once I'd cleared this area, I put the pedal to the metal again. Not all machines are up to the task. I would suggest testing your machine with a multiple layer ‘mock-up' first, such as a stack of folded scraps.

  1. As a final touch, we tied a pretty velvet bow around one with the handles.

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Project Design: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation: Liz Johnson


Comments (66)

Enjoli said:
Enjoli 's picture

@Liz ... Aww that's ok. I'm going try it. It may take a few runs but I'm going to get it. I will let you know for sure!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Enjoli - yes! please let us know - I'm sure you'll do great.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Enjoli - we do not do video tutorials at this time. 

Enjoli said:
Enjoli's picture

I'm really interested in trying this. Is it hard for ppl new to the sewing world. I'm learning how to use a seeing machine. Is this easy to learn for newbies?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Enjoli -This is not a super-beginner project, but there are lots of helpful steps and photos, so I bet you can do it. My only caution would be to make sure you have access to a Walking foot as shown or at least test your machine's ability to sew through thick layers with out jamming. That's the only area where I see you could have any frustration, and it would be you - it would be your machine not pulling its weight. 

Kathie55 said:
Kathie55's picture

These are super cute and will make great gifts for my four grand daughters! It'll cutesie up their bedrooms some more!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Kathie55 - Thanks, so glad you like them. We've made a LOT and they are always super fun... and "super cutesie" 

raajia said:
raajia's picture

  Merci beaucoup pour votre tutoriel  de ces paniers!!!!! Elles sont géniales!!!!

Janette said:
Janette's picture

Could these baskets be used as Easter baskets?  Or is there another basket pattern that would be better?  I want to make my grandchildren Easter baskets and I like the look of your baskets.  How would I make a handle?  Sorry for all the questions!  I'm a quilter, not a sewer!  Thank you!

jenlorelle said:
jenlorelle's picture

Just made this beauty for a retirement party and stuffed it with goodies! Thanks so much for the clear, detailed instruction!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Verochangechip - very cute - thanks for making sure to link back to us.

Katie Adams said:
Katie Adams's picture

Thank you for this awesome tutorial!  Pinned because I definately need to make this!

Wendy Wood said:
Wendy Wood's picture

First of all I love the baskets!!  I am in the process of making both the large and small baskets.  I have some confusion.  When assembling the lining, the instructions say to repeat steps 1-12.  This means that the linig as well as the exterior walls have both interfacing and batting.  When I cut out the interfacing and batting the instructions said to cut TWO of each for each basket.  Shouldn't the instructions say to cutFOUR if the lining as well as the exterior fabric has batting and interfacing?

Wendy Wood said:
Wendy Wood's picture

Rats!  Nevermind, I see what I did wrong.  I just didn't read instructions carefully enough.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Wendy Wood - good news... onward you go.

Jennifer J said:
Jennifer J's picture

Dumb question here - you sew the rick rack to the liner as close to edge as you can, right? So there is a seam showing all the way around on inner part of the basket. So once you place the liner inside the outer, you sew a topstitch and you have a seam that is again seen, now on both the inner and outer parts of the basket.  You mentioned above that you go back around with a second line of topstitching 1/8" from the first line of topstitching. Doesnt this make 3 lines of stitches on the inner liner of the basket? Or am I missing a step? In the photos above it looks like there are only 2 lines of stitches. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Jennifer J - there are no stupid questions! We don't really show the inside again in a super close up, but you are right, if you add the optional second line of topstitching, you end up with three stitching lines on the inside, two on the outside. That second row is totally optional.

Cocobb said:
Cocobb's picture

Your instructions and photos are excellent! Howevr, I am confused about something. Is the large bag 10" wide at the top and the bottom? You've asked for the fabric to be cut at 12"x17". How will this size give me a 10" wide bag at the top? (The bag looks square in the photos)


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Cocobb - these are actually baskets not bags. Yes, it is 10" wide and 6" deep. So your cut is, as shown, 12" high x 17" wide. That 17" is 10" across plus 1/2 of each side (3" x 3") plus 1/2" seam allowance for each side seam (1" total). So 10" + 6" + 1" = 17"  

nathalie said:
nathalie's picture

Merci pour ce site et ces explications. C'est très joli !

From France (grenoble)

Nel said:
Nel's picture

Woaw ! Amazing tutorial ! I was wondering what to do with old jeans, I'm gonna try these baskets ! Thanks sooooooo much for sharing and made this tutorial avilable freely, very kind from you ! God Bless you !

GloriaLaVonne said:
GloriaLaVonne's picture

Super Easy with your great instructions.  I made one for my sister's birthday basket. I am filling it with Sew4Home things too. .  Thanks Sew4Home. 

judi said:
judi's picture

{♥} ... love these! Thank you for making it so simple even a novice can do it.

KaylaW said:
KaylaW's picture

I am excited to try this tutorial!  Any tips for adjusting the measurements for different sized baskets?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ KaylaW - the trick with re-sizing is to make sure your change things proportionately. We did use this same basic pattern to do more shallow dishes for candy and cookies and well as a slightly larger version for a sewing basket. You could look at these patterns to see how we changed our proportions.®-sewing-basket-pincushion

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

I'm on holidays at the moment and have just found you! This storage solution is wonderful, the colours you've chosen are stunning and your instructions are very clear, so thankyou  so much for sharing and you can be sure I'll be giving these a try when I return home.

Jacqui in australia said:
Jacqui in australia's picture

Whoops I posted the above comment but did'nt intend to be anonymous...sorry :o)

Carol-lynne said:
Carol-lynne's picture
The tutorial on how to make your baskets is wonderful, but your fabric and trim choices are fantastic!!!! I want to make a couple of the large one's to use for grocery shopping!!!! Thanks!!!!!
smilegeek said:
smilegeek's picture
Thank you so much for your awesome tutorial of these baskets! I made them for my kids for Easter and filled them with treats! They absolutely love them and can reuse them as storage/organizer. I also embroidered their names on their baskets and it was so personal! Thank you so much!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
@ Kim @ The Educators Spin On It - A very info-packed article. Thanks for doing such a great job with the photo credit and link. We appreciate the outreach. smilies/smiley.gif
Kim @ The Educators Spin On It said:
Kim @ The Educators Spin On It's picture
I love your tutorial and your fabric selection! Thank you! I can't wait to make a few for our house and car. I shared and pinned your link with a post today about how to create and store toy stations for your baby, toddler and preschoolers. Hope you get a chance to check it out!
Kim @ The Educators Spin On It said:
Kim @ The Educators Spin On It's picture
I was just getting ready to blog about ways to store baby toys around the house in containers and found your site. I love these and plan to link them up to my post. Thanks for sharing.
Daisy Dog said:
Daisy Dog's picture
awesome! I kinda didn't get my act together at Christmas for my best friends gift. I just may have to throw in a couple of these to save face! LOL!
SandiG said:
SandiG's picture
Just found your website. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! Your fabric selections are so vibrant and inviting!! Will be exploring and sewing many of the projects!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
@ CraftBliss - thanks for the post!
CraftBliss said:
CraftBliss's picture
These are practical and beautiful. I featured them on the DIY Gift Tutorials section of my blog and linked back to you. Thanks! ~Dee
Wendy aka Roo said:
Wendy aka Roo's picture
These are perfect for what I need to store in my craft room, but I'm totally new to sewing & not sure this is a beginner project-may give a shot anyway though! Happy to have found your website!
BarbJ said:
BarbJ's picture
I made this using Soft and Stable (it's similar to headliner foam) and it worked great. Also, my Pfaff sewing machines ( I have several) have a built-in wlking foot, which is a dream. I used a regular needle and sewed straight through all the thick stuff. My machine motor never changed sounds! Love it!
Yone said:
Yone's picture
I love this tutorial!!, Thanks a lot, I'll try it soon. smilies/grin.gif
Greta said:
Greta 's picture
Absolutely superb pattern and tutorial. For the final step of sewing all the layers together I used a leather needle in my Bernina ACTIVA 240. This worked perfectly and there was no need to slow down and crank by hand for the thickest layers. Many thanks for the lovely pattern.
Barbie said:
Barbie's picture
I made these!!! It was super easy and super cute. I even made a smaller third basket with the leftover scraps!!!
Linda at Quilting Under the Influence said:
Linda at Quilting Under the Influence's picture
What a fabulous bag! This is my next project for sure!

Cheers! Linda from
TrinaQ said:
TrinaQ's picture
Thanks for the instructions- it's a great project and comes together quickly.
I just made my first basket and I'm a pretty experienced sewist- but had some difficulty with the instructions as written. If you have batting and interfacing and you double them over when you nest the baskets together, that is a LOT to get through even for a heavy duty machine. I wound up cutting away the interfacing and the batting from the seam allowance, which helped enormously. I also don't think you really need the batting in the liner part if your machine struggles with multiple thicknesses.

They are very cute though!
Sugar Pink Boutique said:
Sugar Pink Boutique's picture
Love your website a friend recommend it to me! These fabric baskets are so pretty!
Joni P said:
Joni P's picture
Love these baskets. My sister and I had a sew-a-thon and made a dozen for sewing room storage. We modified them and created four different sizes. One was taller and narrower so we put longer handles on the longest sides of the boxes. We also used Fairfield's fusible bamboo batting with Fast 2 Fuse and fused the lining flat on the inside when we got finished with all our sewing. We've got plans to make more for gifts, even one for a baby gift filled with bath care products or nursery items. I want to make one for the guest bath topped with grosgrain ribbon instead of rick rack and fill it with soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc. for visitors.
Marie S said:
Marie S's picture
What a lovely idea!. They would be great for co-ordinating the decoration of a room. I will be trying them.

I would just add that I am new to the Sew4Home site. it was mentioned in my sewing magazine (I am in the UK). It's a super site and I shall return again and again.

Marie S


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