Learn How to Sew Attractive Linings for Your Baskets

Baskets require linings for several reasons, and keeping delicate items safe is one of them, along with the fact that a lining makes the basket that much more attractive!

I think there’s no denying that baskets are made for storing stuff.  Sure, they can be totally decorative or even totally functional like a laundry basket, but I have found that at my house, they have become receptacles for toys, magazines, books, DVD’s the television clickers and the list goes on.

They do have one small problem though.  If you are trying to store anything fibrous in them, they can easily ruin what you are storing.  So, to make all those baskets you have around the house suitable for storing scarves, sweaters, towels or any fabric, you need to add a fabric liner for protection. And, I’m going to show you how easy it is to make them.

Here’s my basket from home, and what a great size this is. I can put mail in it, it will corral socks, it would be nice in a bathroom with guest towels in it, and the possibilities just go on and on.

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I currently have a very patriotic colored lining on it, trimmed with a polka dot ribbon that would work for all of the patriotic summer holidays.  I’ve been using it to collect all those odds and ends that need to be put away after a week’s worth of just living.

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But for you I’m going to demonstrate another summer lining, a pretty bright floral with a small print for trim that can work for the rest of the summer!

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To start, you need measurements.  Using my fabric measuring tape I see that the bottom of the basket is 10” square.  The top is actually 11” square and the height is 6”.  I need to consider the overlap to the outside as well and I’d like that to be 3” so it covers the open handles in the basket – otherwise the reverse side of the fabric would show through.

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So, here’s my drawing to keep all the measurements fresh in my mind.  Now, I have to figure out how to make it. I know I want ½” seam allowance all the way around my bottom piece so that one’s easy.  It will be an 11” square.  The sides are a little tougher.  I decided to try using two pieces for the sides instead of four separate ones and it actually worked out pretty well.  I also knew that the base was smaller than the top so I would have to angle the sides of the pieces.

Next, make a template.  To do this I just taped a couple pieces of my printer paper together, but I’ve been known to use paper towels or brown paper grocery bags too, so use something you have around the house that you are getting rid of anyways…

So I made my 11” by 11” square base and then drew up what I thought would be right for the two side pieces at 21” on the bottom which is the 10” plus 10” plus ½” seam allowance on both ends.  Then at the top I figured 23” because of the 11” plus 11” and ½” on each side.  Well, I use the templates for the first lining, and when it was complete I put it on, but it was real big along the edge.  Well, I forgot that the 11” was only 6” up from the base and that as I folded the fabric over, the basket got narrower again.  This is where you make adjustments to your template until the liner fits as you like.

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Once all three pieces and a 1 1/2” wide strip of trim 1” longer than the perimeter of your top edge are cut out, stitch the two side panels together along the angled sides with right sides facing each other.  When the stitching is complete, of course remove the pins and trim the threads.

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Then, finish off the seam allowance by cutting it in half and zigzag stitch along it to neaten up the raw edges.

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Next, let’s get the bottom attached.  Do this by starting at one of your stitched corners and pin the corner of the bottom to it making sure you have right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Pin the opposite corner of the bottom to the other stitched edge and then fill in with pins.

The sewing of this does get a little tricky at the corners.  Just put your hand inside the lining as you stitch so you are keeping the side panels flat as possible.  Stitch into the corner stopping ½” of the end of the fabric, lift up the presser foot and swivel the fabric and flatten it so you can continue sewing along the next side.  A little pinched fabric here and there won’t make that big of a difference in how the basket functions for you so don’t get stressed about it.

When you finish, cut this seam in half and zigzag stitch it all the way around.

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The last step is to add a seam binding or trim of some sort to finish off the top edge. If you want to make your own seam binding, it can be nice because you can add a coordinating pattern or an accent fabric if you like.  You just need to cut a strip of the cloth at 1 ½”.  Go to the ironing board and iron the strip in half lengthwise and then fold each end into that halfway line and iron it down.  Then when both sides are ironed in, fold it all together and give it a good pressing to hold it in place for sewing.  Then just add it to the top edge of your fabric.

Now I guess you could just pin it over twice and hem it if you like, but make sure you add material to your template for that. Ribbon is an easy option because you just fold it over the edge, pin it in placed, and stitch it on.  When you get back to where you started, cut the ribbon long and fold it over then stitch to the end and you’re done.

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OK, let’s get this one onto the basket and see if my adjustments to the template worked. If not, do you know how to fix it?  Grab another piece of fabric and try, try again – yeah!!

Shari

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