Custom size fabric baskets

great for keeping things tidy and organised

I’ve seen quite a few different fabric basket tutorials out there and have made several myself over the years but I wanted to make some for the shelves under my changing station and they had to be a certain size and after looking around online I couldn’t find anything wanted.

So, here is my tutorial for how to make a basket to any size that you want! All you need is the height, width and depth of the finished basket and I’ll show you how to draw a pattern and put it together.

I made two large ones for the shelf underneath (finished size 46x36x20cm) and a little one to keep cotton wool handy (finished size 12.5x10x10 cm).

It’s a bit easier to show you the pictures for the little one as they fit in the frame of the picture better – but its all the same principles for whatever size you are making.

For my baskets I used this gorgeous mustard coloured cotton cord that has a good amount of stiffness and body to it. The bigger the basket the thicker the fabric should be.

I lined them with a medium weight cotton, but if you are only making little ones then you could use medium weight cotton for the outside fabric too.

You'll also need interfacing to give the basket body and help it stand up. I use firm weight as my baskets were quite big but again, if you were making smaller ones then the medium weight interfacing would be fine.

Step 1 Measure the space you want the basket to occupy or what you want the finished size to be

Measure the height width and depth that you want the finished basket to be. If you want to have a turn back on the basket like mine don’t add this into the measurements yet.

Step 2 Draw out your pattern and add seam allowance

The pattern will be for half of the basket so you will need to cut out two pieces of fabric for the pattern that you draw.

Start by drawing the front of your basket – this will be the finished width by the height. Then add on however much you want the turn back to be along the top. This will depend on the finished height of your basket – I added on 5cm to mine.

Next, add on the side and bottom panels by dividing the depth of the basket by two. So my finished depth was 46cm for the large basket – so I added on a 23cm panel to each side and the bottom.

This will give you a template minus the seam allowance. You can add on whatever seam allowance works well for you, but for a project like this I think 1cm is fine.

Step 3 Cut out fabric and interfacing

Using your pattern – cut two of the main outer fabric, two of the lining fabric and two of medium to firm weight interfacing. The thickness of the interfacing will depend on how firm your fabric is and also how big the basket is. For my little one medium weight would be fine, but for the larger one you need the firm weight to help the basket stand up on its own.

Step 4 Iron interfacing on the back of the main fabric

With the rough or shiny side of the interfacing touching the back of the main fabric – iron it on, making sure its well adhered

Step 5 Add on the handle (optional)

Whether you add this on or not will depend on how big your basket it. My larger ones are pretty big so its just looks a bit more in proportion to have a handle.

To have a handle at each end of the basket cut out two rectangles in outer fabric and two in lining fabric measuring 20 x 6 cm. You may want to make them a bit smaller if your basket is smaller. Sew one lining and one outer fabric together with a 1cm seam, leaving a gap to turn it inside out. Clip the corners and seam allowance and turn inside out and press flat.

Mark the centre point of the main fabric section and centre point of the handle. Line them up and then pin the side edge of the handle closer towards the centre than it naturally sits so that the handle will sort of stick out a bit once its sewn on.

I sewed my handle in place with the top edge 13.5cm down from the top edge of the basket and the outer edge of the handle 8cm from the centre point. The exact measurements aren't important to replicate - as long as its consistent on your basket and looks in proportion to the size you are making.

Secure the handle in place by sewing a square and then a cross. Take your time to get it nice and neat.

Step 6 Sew the outer fabric together

Place the two outer fabric sections right sides facing and sew with a 1cm seam allowance along the two sides and bottom edge. Then press open.

Open out the sections and make the side seam lines up with the bottom seam and then sew across the side edge of the basket. Snip the fold at either end of the seam so that the seam allowance can be pressed open. Repeat on the other side.

Step 7 Sew the lining fabric together

Following the same steps as above, sew the lining fabric together but use a slightly bigger seam allowance than 1cm so that the lining is a fraction smaller than the outer fabric.

Step 8 Sew the outer and lining fabric together

With right sides facing, place the lining inside the outer fabric and match up the side seams. Pin all the way around and sew together with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a gap so that you can turn it inside out.

Turn inside out and press the top edge of the basket, folding in the seam allowance where the gap was.

Top stitch all the way around the top of the basket 3-4mm from the edge. This will also seal up the gap that was left. If you are making a small basket then just turn the top over to create your turn back and you are finished!

Step 9 Top stitch all the edges of the basket (optional depending on the size of the basket)

For my small basket this step wasn’t necessary, but for larger ones, it will help them to stand up much better.

Tuck the lining right into the corners of the basket so that it lies flat. Pinch the bottom edge of the basket and top stitch about 3mm from the edge. Sew all the way around, one side at a time.

Repeat the process for the corner edges of the basket, pinching it and then pining in place before topstitching. Remember to stop 5cm from the top edge so that you can easily fold back the turning.

Having that extra top stitching just gives more of a skeleton support to the basket when it is a large size.

I'm sure I'll make a lot more of these as time goes on to keep things organised in the nursery. It's a lovely way to keep things co-ordinated as you can use the same fabrics or fabrics that tone well together for various different projects.

Happy Sewing!

Image credit to Victoria Beddoes Photography

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