Monday 21 October 2013

Scrappy Fabric Basket Tutorial...

Today I'm going to show you how to make your own Scrappy Fabric Basket, using small pieces of fabric from your stash. Measuring 6.5" x 4.5" x 4" (16.5cm x 11.5cm x 10cm), this handy sized basket is sturdy enough to stand up by itself. Let's get started with the tutorial.

  • 20 pieces - 11 inches x 2 inches (28cm x 5cm)fabric strips for the exterior of the basket.
  • 2 pieces - 9 inches x 9 inches (23cm x 23cm) contrast colour for the lining
  • 2 pieces - 9 inches x 9 inches (23cm x 23cm) - light weight iron-on interfacing
  • 2 pieces - 9 inches x 9 inches (23cm x 23cm) - medium to heavy weight, woven, sew-in interfacing
The fabric strips can be any combination of prints. I used quilting cotton. You may not use all the strips. 

I like the combination of the light weight iron-on interfacing and the medium to heavy weight, woven, sew-in interfacing. This produces a basket that will stand up by itself, without being bulky to sew. You could substitute this with different weight interfacing, fleece or batting. It all depends on the look you are after and what you are used to sewing with.

Scrappy Fabric Basket TUTORIAL... How to make a fabric basket using small pieces of fabric from your stash ~ Threading My Way

All seams are 3/8" (1cm), unless otherwise indicated.
Use a NON steam setting for pressing.
Backstitch at the beginning and ending of seams.

Arrange fabric strips:
  1. Lay 10 fabric strips side by side for the front and the same for the back.
  2. Play with the strips until you are happy with the arrangement.

Sew fabric strips together:
Sew the fabric strips together, at random angles, making sure the seams are straight as you sew. The long edges of the fabric will not be level.
  1. Lay the 2nd strip on the 1st strip, right sides together and at an angle, beginning in the left corner. Line up your presser foot with the top fabric and sew.
  2. Trim excess fabric, before sewing the next seam.
  3. Lay the 3rd strip on the 2nd strip, right sides together and at an angle, beginning in the right corner.
  4. Continue sewing the strips, alternating the direction of the angles and varying the degree, until all the strips are sewn. You may find you only need 9 strips per side. It all depends on how you have placed the fabrics.
Step 1: place top fabric at an angle

Step 2: trim excess fabric from seam

Step 3: place next fabric at a different angle

Press seams open:
  1. When all strips are sewn for both front and back, press the seams open. 
  2. Trim the sewn strips into a square, 9 inches x 9 inches (23cm x 23cm)
  3. Sew down each side of both squares, 1/8th inch (3mm) from the edge of the fabric. This will secure the seams you have just cut.
Step 2: trim into a square

Step 3: secure seams by sewing along the sides

  1. Set stitch length to slightly longer than normal. I set mine to 2.8.
  2. Topstitch on either side of each seam, sewing 1/8th inch (3mm) from the seam.

Attach interfacing:
  1. Follow manufacturer's directions to fuse the iron-on interfacing to the wrong side of each square. I always cut iron-on interfacing a fraction smaller than the fabric and I place a cloth under the iron. This prevents any glue getting on the iron.
  2. Attach the woven, sew-in interfacing, to the wrong side of each square, by sewing around all 4 edges, 1/8th inch (3mm) from the edges. Sew with the interfacing uppermost. 
Step 1: iron-on interfacing

Step 2: sew-in interfacing

Exterior of basket - sew front to back:
  1. With right sides together, sew down one side, stopping with the needle in the down position 3/8" (1cm) from the bottom edge.
  2. Lift the presser foot and turn the fabric 90º.
  3. Lower the presser foot and sew across the bottom, stopping with the needle in the down position 3/8" (1cm) from the side edge.
  4. Lift the presser foot and turn the fabric 90º.
  5. Lower the presser foot and sew the 2nd side.
  6. Neaten the edges by zig zagging. Do NOT zig zag the seams together. Sew them separately.
  7. Press seams open.

Making the box corner:
  1. Measure 2 inches (5cm) from the bottom corner seam in both directions. (Measure from the seam. Don't measure from the edge of the fabric.) 
  2. Put a mark to show where 2 inches (5cm) is. You will have four marks, all 2 inches (5cm) from the bottom corners.
  3. Pull out the sides of your basket.
  4. Place one seam on top of the other seam.
  5. Put a pin through the top mark. If the pin comes out through the mark on the other side, your boxed corner will line up. 
  6. If the pin is not coming out through the mark on the other side, reposition the fabric until it does.
  7. Make sure the seams are open. 
  8. Holding the fabric in place, take the pin out and re-pin away from the marks.
  9. With a ruler, draw a line across the fabric, at right angles to the seam and through the mark you made.
  10. Remove the pin. If you would like, hand sew to hold in place .
  11. Sew across the line. I sew a couple of times for reinforcement.
  12. Cut the fabric and neaten.
  13. Repeat for the other side.
  14. Turn the exterior right side out and press.
Steps 1 & 2: measure 2" from corner

Step 5: check that the marks are lined up

Steps 8 & 9: rule a line to sew along

Steps 10 & 11: remove pin and sew

Step 12: cut fabric and neaten

Sewing the lining:
The two lining pieces are joined in the same way as the exterior fabric, except that a 3 inch (8cm) gap is left in the bottom seam, to allow turning later on. 
  1. With right sides together, sew down one side, stopping with the needle in the down position 3/8" (1cm) from the bottom edge.
  2. Lift the presser foot and turn the fabric 90º.
  3. Lower the presser foot and sew 2.5 inches (7cm) across the bottom. Stop and backstitch.
  4. Leave a gap and begin sewing  2.5 inches (7cm) from the 2nd corner. Backstitch as you start sewing. Stop with the needle in the down position 3/8 inch (1cm) from the side edge.
  5. Lift the presser foot and turn the fabric 90º.
  6. Lower the presser foot and sew the 2nd side.
  7. Neaten the edges by zig zagging. Do NOT zig zag the seams together. Sew them separately.
  8. Press seams open.
  9. Make boxed corners as per the exterior of the basket.
  10. Leave the lining wrong side out.

Attach the lining to the outside of the basket:
  1. Place the exterior inside the lining. ie: the right side of the exterior is next to the right side of the lining.
  2. Line up the top edges of the lining and the exterior.
  3. Match the seams on either side, making sure the seams are open.
  4. Baste (hand sew) the top edges of the lining and the exterior to hold in place.
  5. Sew a 3/8 inch (1cm) seam to join the top edges of the lining and the exterior.
  6. Neaten the seam.
Step 1: place exterior inside lining and line up top edges

t Steps 5 & 6: sew seam and neaten

Turn the exterior right side out:
  1. Put your fingers through the hole in the bottom of the lining.
  2. Gently pull the exterior out through the lining.
  3. Close the gap in the lining by sewing a row of stitching near to the edge.

Finishing off:
  1. Push the lining back into the basket.
  2. Press the top edge of the basket.
  3. Topstitch 1/8inch (3mm) from the edge, around the top of the basket.

You have finished your fabric basket. These little baskets don't take long to whip up. You could easily make one in an evening. The most time consuming part is topstitching the strips.

I made four baskets, each with a particular person in mind, although I'm tempted to keep just one. I think my favourite is the red... love the combination of checks and polka dots, teamed with Alexander Henry's Willow Berries.

Then again, the yellow/blue combo of stripes and geometric shapes, Oh Boy! by David Walker, is rather striking.

Although the lining on the floral, blue basket appears to be pieced, it's actually not. However, I deliberately chose it because it looked like patchwork. In fact, the lining could be two co-ordinating prints as I've done in the pink/maroon basket, although, it's a little hard to see. I just didn't have enough of any one fabric, which doesn't matter, as it works well.

Now all you have to do is decide what to put into your basket.

Tutorial originally written for AllFreeSewing, to help celebrate National Sewing Month.

... Pam


  1. Hi Pam! Long time no see. This post gave me an idea to make a cute basket for extra rolls of toilet paper, rather than just putting them on the shelf. Very cute!! :-) I hope you're doing well.

  2. Hi Pam! Nice baskets! Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. Perfect timing! I have been agonizing about what to do with my over-full scrap pile. This is getting pinned pronto!

  4. Thank you Pam. lately i made a bunch of soft cloth baskets, maybe i will try my hand at a `harder` one.

  5. I like these scrappy versions of your fabric baskets Pam, the red basket is just lovely.

  6. Very pretty! Great way to use up those scraps :)

  7. They're awesome Pam! Thanks for sharing x

  8. Your baskets are so beautiful, I love them all, love the colors !!!
    This tutorial is very good explained, thanks for all the detailed explanations and all the photos that accompany the tutorial. I pinned your tutorial! Another project to do and what I like is to use my fabric scraps. You did a beautiful job, your baskets inspires me to make one for me :))))))))
    Nice job Pam :)

  9. I love the pencil holder! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  10. Great baskets, love the red one :)

    Pinning :)

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays,,,

  11. GORGEOUS baskets Pam! Love the colour combinations -and as always a lovely clear tutorial! I'm pinning this to make some using up my scraps!!
    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  12. These are so cute! What a clever way to use some of those scraps we all have!

  13. I'm with you the red one is too cute! Thanks for the great tute!

  14. I really need to make one of these...I have threads and scraps everywhere!

  15. Love these bags! I'm adding this to my ToDo list for this weekend. Thanks so much sharing this!

  16. You know I LOVE fabric baskets!! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  17. I love fabric baskets and I really love this! So clever. I can think of all sorts of things to do with these. Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas

  18. What a cute and fun project. These are great craft supply organizers, too!

  19. Great tutorial Pam, thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

  20. Thank you so much,great tutorial.

  21. Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Love to see pics if you make a scrappy fabric basket.

  22. I love using up scraps - this is perfect:) Another great tutorial Pam:)

  23. Hi, Pam - absolutely adore these! I especially like how the lines are slanted just a bit - your eye follows the patterns and is entertained much more than if they had been all straight. Beautiful tute!

  24. Great idea, I love the idea of making scrap fabric baskets in a bigger size to hold colour organised scraps, that makes my heart happy lol

  25. A Genius idea to use up old fabric scraps and as always you make the baskets look like they were designed from really expensive materials. A real Trash2Treasure

  26. Replies
    1. Thanks, Olive. I kept one basket for myself and it's still in use four years later. It now houses all my scrap ribbons.

  27. Lovely pattern, and I too enjoy the red one. Maybe it's the lining fabric.


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