My grandmother used to recycle birthday cards by using them to make baskets to hold anything and everything. The cards were cut into shapes and then put inside some kind of plastic and stitched together with a blanket stitch.
These baskets from a time gone by, came into mind when I was designing some handmade Easter baskets for the Easter bunny to fill. I thought I would write another tutorial to help you on your merry making way. These instructions are for a basket measuring D9cm x W9cm x H11cm – which might seem small, but even at this size they hold plenty of eggs.
Step 1 – Cut Fabric
Basket Main Fabric
- Base = 12cm x 12cm
- Sides = 12cm x 14cm
- Handle = 25cm x 9cm
Basket Lining Fabric
- Base = 12cm x 12cm
- Sides = 12cm x 14cm
- Handle = 25cm x 4cm
Basket Fabric Stabiliser
- Base = 9cm x 9cm (Timtex)
- Sides = 9cm x 11cm (Timtex)
- Handle = 25cm x 4cm (Heavy Weight Interfacing)
- Backing = 30cm x 15cm
- Scraps = Various widths and lengths
Step 2 – Prepare and Stitch Decorative Fabric for Egg
Iron scraps and then lay them in any way you please across the base fabric. You can use some fabric adhesive or Bondaweb to hold them in place until you stitch, but I find I can hold them in place by supporting the fabric to the side of the needle with card, Timtex or template plastic as I sew.
Then stitch to secure the scraps. This stitching doesn’t need to be in straight lines, in fact it probably looks best if it isn’t. A free motion embroidery foot is great for this as it allows you to stitch back and forth without breaking thread. If you don’t have one of these, a normal foot will work too.
Step 3 – Cut Egg Shapes
Draw around a template and cut out your eggs. You will need four eggs, one for each side.
Step 4 – Applique Eggs
Centre the first egg on one of the side sections of the main fabric. Sew around the egg twice, just inside the edge. Sewing a wonky stitch can add some charm. This can be done easily with a free motion embroidery foot. Repeat this on all of the main fabric side pieces.
The edges can be fluffed up a little by scratching around the outside using your fingernail.
Step 5 – Attach Lining Fabric to Main Fabric
With right sides together: stitch down one side; turn and stitch across the bottom; and then turn again to stitch up the other side.
Trim corners before turning the right side out and ironing.
Insert the Timtex into the pocket you have created. Repeat these steps to make the remaining side sections and the base.
On two of the side sections and the base, tuck in the unsewn edges. For the base, stitch all the way around to close the top opening and add detail. For the two sides, just sew across the top and bottom.
Remember to leave two side sections open at the top to attach the handles.
Step 6 – Prepare Handle
With the right side facing down, turn in 3cm from one side. Attach any decorative trim along this turned in edge. It should be attached to the top of the turned in edge, otherwise it will be hidden inside the handle. Turn in the other side by 1cm and then fold this over again so that it is slightly covering the decorative trim. I didn’t need to do this 1cm turn in because I was using fabric with the selvedge still attached. Leaving the fluffy selvedge adds a nice bit of texture. Machine stitch just slightly in from the edge.
Step 7 – Attach handle to side sections
At this stage you should still have two side sections that haven’t been closed up. Tuck in the top edges of the side sections. Insert the handle in to the centre of these sections, ensuring the decorative trim and the egg decoration are facing the same way. Pin these in place so they don’t move from the centre as you sew.
Attach the handle by sewing a line of stitching across the top of the side sections.
Sew a line of stitching across the bottom of these side sections to match the sections that you have already prepared. Now all the pieces for your basket are ready and you can begin to stitch it all together.
Step 8 – Attach side sections to base
Line up the bottom edge of a side section with an edge of the base. The insides should be together and the egg decoration on the outside. Attach these by hand sewing a blanket stitch. I have used a top stitching thread, which is slightly thicker. Using a thicker thread makes the blanket stitch more visible and decorative.
Work your way around the base section attaching the side sections. You will need to alternate between a side section with a handle and a side section without a handle. Another thing to remember when attaching the sections without the handle, is to make sure the egg is the right way up.
Step 9 – Attach the sides together
Lightly pinch two side sections together and attach using a blanket stitch. Start at the top and work your way down to the base. This will ensure the top of the basket has a nice line around it as any little differences in the height just seem to disappear in the stitching.
And there you have it…the cutest little basket for the Easter Bunny to fill. My son’s lovely teachers will be receiving these for Easter – I will be a little sad to see them go but there is a certain gift in the giving.
I have given you instructions for a particular design and size, but these can be made in any size with any design. I made a larger one for my son, Timothy, a few years back and have appliqued a bunny rabbit hopping through the grass.
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