Fabric baskets though! My fave DIY; easy peasy + highly useful!
- You can make the exact size you need,
- It doesn’t break and leaves no marks,
- It takes hardly any time to make; it’s quicker than going to the store to see if maybe they have anything in the size and shape you need.
I.e., perfect solution for all your organizational needs!
Well. Most of them. V.v. handy in drawers to separate different types of tights. Or contact lens cases. Cat toys. I’m sure you get the idea.
Bonus: the feeling of accomplishment that you can actually make something yourself. Even if it is dead easy. I kid you not, let me show you just how easy it is.
First things first! Consider your fabrics. You’ll want a piece of fabric of a sturdier nature, because we want the basket to be able to stand on it own, and not collapse in on itself.
Jeans is a perfect material, thicker curtains you’re no longer using, or a thick cotton from IKEA are some of my favorites. But if you’ve got something you can upcycle, all the better! I’ll be using a pair of jeans and a skirt.
All you’ll need to assemble the basket is scissors or a fabric cutter and a mat, measurement tape and/or a ruler, and a few pins. Sewing machine is optional, but quite handy.
I make these baskets a few different ways, I’m going to show you my two favorite ways. The easiest of course.
Type 1; single layer of fabric, a maximum of 2 pieces of fabric
For this, I’m using an old pair of jeans. If you use the bottom of your jeans you can skip the step sewing two pieces of fabric together, making it even simpler. We’re talking a total of three seams, all of which are straight. So you could well do it by hand if you have that kind of patience.
But I don’t. So I set up my machine and decide how large I want the basket to be. I use no set measurements, which is another thing I like about these baskets. All you need to keep in mind is that you’ll fold down the edge, you’re going to need a few extra centimeters for that, and another few for the bottom, add these figures to however high you want the basket to be.
Cut off the bottom of your jeans. Turn the piece inside out and pin.
Sew a straight seam, seam allowance, about this much:
Press your seam, and sew a straight seam across each corner. It’s entirely up to you where you place the seams, it’s a matter of how large you want the bottom of your basket to be. You can test it by pinning and turning it the right way if you want. Just make sure to measure so that you’re seams are placed the same distance from the edge.
My basket is tiny so I’m skipping the pinning, but for a larger basket pins are useful as a guideline.
Now, turn inside out, fold down the hem and you’re done!
Note: using one layer of fabric is better for small baskets, if you’re making a larger basket I recommend using double fabrics. Which is what we’re doing next!
Type 2; double layer of fabric, a total of 4 pieces of fabric
This is a bit trickier, because, as mentioned, we’re using 2 fabrics, and we’re also sewing 4 pieces of fabric together (!). Dear oh dear, how will we ever manage.
Get your fabrics; I like to pair a plain fabric and a patterned fabric, as you can see. The patterned fabric goes on the inside, which you’ll then fold so that you see it on the outside. Bonus of the folding: makes your basket a little sturdier, which is ganz ganz wichtig I’d say.
If you’re just going to put the basket in a drawer or similar, skip the folding. Just remember to take into account whether or not you’re planning on folding the edge of your basket when you measure your pieces.
First, decide what size basket you need. I generally make the bottom between 15 x 15 and 20 x 20 cm. Cut out two pieces that measure 20 x 20, one in each fabric. Next, cut one piece from each fabric that measures 82 x 36. 36 is usually the height of my baskets, but it can be adjusted as you like. The other figure depends on the size of the bottom of your basket; if the bottom piece is 20 x 20, you’ll need 20 x 4 + seam allowance in order for the fabric to reach all the way around the bottom piece. Probably obvious I imagine?
This should leave you with 2 rectangular pieces and two square pieces.
Place the two rectangular pieces right side to right side and pin along one of the longer sides, and then just sew them together using a straight seam.
Press the seams if you like. It’s not absolute necessity, but you could. I’m going to this time. But I don’t always.
Again, pin together right side to right side, i.e. fold and pin so that it makes a tube, like so:
Straight seam again and press if you fancy, then pin the plain bottom square to the tube. Plain fabric to plain fabric. It should be the fabric you want on the outside of the basket. In my case, the jean fabric:
This is just for show. If you pin it like this, turn it the other way round, the bottom should be on the inside when you sew. Tip: start next to the seam, makes your life simpler.
Another tip: let your stitch stop approx 1 cm from the edge, to make it easier when your start on the next side. See?
You could pin all sides of the bottom at the same time if you like. It’s how I did it originally, until I realized it was way easier to just do one side at a time. If you’re a proper seamstress you just skip the pinning. (Hitherdither: It’s how gradma did it. Just so you know what’s expected of you.)
When the first square is all stitched up and done, do the same with the inside bottom piece, but leave a 5 cm opening on one side. This so that you can turn it inside out.
…turn it inside out, fold down the edge.
Depending on what you’re using the basket for, and how neat you are, you might want to stitch up the opening (by hand). I stopped doing this because
A) I’ve never had anything disappear into this opening,
B) I don’t ever see the opening because the baskets are always full,
C) I’m lazy, and
D) I frigging hate sewing by hand.
Practically easier than making a pillow case.