Some time ago I wanted to send a gift basket cross country, but ran into a few problems when it came to shipping: I couldn't find a box big enough to accommodate the basket's handle, the basket made any shipment way too heavy to ship inexpensively, and the empty space the handle created meant too much space that needed filling to avoid shifting during transit. Figuring there must be a better alternative, I delved into my craft room and came up with this little gem: a simple, lightweight basket with a flexible handle that has the added benefit of being washable and easy to store, since it folds flat!
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 1 yard outer fabric
- 1 yard heavy interfacing
- Low loft batting
- Ruler or tape measure
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
- Iron and ironing board
Cut two 7-by-26 inch rectangles from your outer fabric and one each from your interfacing and batting. Do the same for your 9 1/2 inch circles; then cut a pair of 2-by-26 inch rectangles from the outer fabric for the handle. Trim the batting pieces half an inch smaller to reduce the bulk in your seams.
Match the handle pieces right sides together and sew along each long edge into a tube. Turn the tube right side out and press flat with the seams on either side.
Place the two side pieces right sides together, inserting the handle edges at the 1/4 and 3/4 points. Layer the piece of batting, and then the interfacing on the top of the stack, and pin into place. Sew through all the layers along one long edge, being careful to catch the two handle straps in your seam allowance.
Open up the side piece and line up the two shorter edges, right sides together. Sew along this edge beginning 1/2 inch on either end, but angling in slightly (another 1/4 inch) towards the center where the two long edges meet. Turn up the edge without the batting and interfacing 1/2 inch and press.
Layer one circular fabric piece (wrong side up) with batting and interfacing, followed by the other fabric circle (right side up) and stitch through the layers 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around.
Pin, right sides together, the stitched circle to the edge of the side tube that has the batting and interfacing attached. Stitch around the circle, through all of the layers, 1/2 inch all the way around. Press the resulting seam up along the side piece, clipping as necessary.
Fold over the loose edge of the basket's side and whip stitch the pressed edge to the seam around the base. Turn right side out and fill as desired!
Tips and warnings
- You can use any fabric for this, from printed cottons to upholstery fabric.
- Use coordinating bias tape (either braided or as separate strips) for the handle.
- Coated craft wire inserted into the handle will make it stand up, yet still allow the bag to be stored flat and washable.
- If you want a larger or smaller basket, use the geometric equation for circumference to determine how long your side pieces need to be. Don't forget to add at least a 1/2-inch seam allowance all the way around.
- For extra stability, a cardboard circle can be placed in the bottom of the basket before being filled.