Tutorials, Uncategorized

Make a little basket Tutorial

It’s wonderful seeing our customers learning new crafts and finishing projects.

Today, Craig and I were super chuffed to see this little basket finished by S.D.

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This is one of her first sewing projects! She and her son have picked out some more fabric, so there will be a whole family of little baskets being made.

Talking with S.D about how she went about putting this basket together, I realised that there are many steps in sewing that we take for granted, if we’ve been sewing for a while.

So, S.D inspired me to make another one of these cute baskets this afternoon. I’ve taken a few happy snaps and I’d like to share with you how I made it and a few tips.

This is a Leesa Chandler Designs pattern. Details below. This tutorial is not intended to be a replacement for the pattern.

This is a lined basket and the inside and outside are both made using the same template (house shape). Four pieces of each fabric are cut and then joined in pairs. The pairs are joined together to make a X.

The seam width isn’t given in the pattern. I just used the edge of the foot, but you can also use a quarter inch. The important thing is to keep your seam width the same for each seam, so that everything goes together OK. I pressed the first seams to the side and the centre seam open, but you could just as easily press all the seams open.

The pattern recommends finishing your seam at the seam allowance, which means that you will be able to open out all your seams when you sew the sides together. I skipped this.

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After you’ve made the X’s, a layer of fusible wadding can be added to the wrong side of the outside fabric. I used Vilene H640 (Medium weight Pellon/Fleece) because I had a piece left over from another project. When I’ve made these baskets previously, I used H630 which is thinner and actually gives a better result, I think (We put H630 into our kits)

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Use the wool heat setting and a piece of baking paper (or a Teflon sheet) if there is any chance of the glue melting onto your iron. Don’t underestimate how long you need to sit the iron on the fabric. Each fusible batting manufacturer will have different guidelines, but it is usually around 12 to 15 seconds. It will seem like a really, really long time to leave your iron sitting there.

But don’t give in to the temptation to move the iron about. You want to give the adhesive a proper chance to bond to your fabric. So when you move the iron to the next spot, let go of the iron and count to 15.

Many of the fusible products also like a bit of moisture. You can use a damp cloth (which will also protect your iron). I cheat and give the fabric some bursts of steam before I put down the baking paper.

Oh, and a last suggestion before you try to attach any adhesive product. Remember, cotton shrinks! So, preshrink your fabric first (either prewash or press with steam) otherwise the fabric will shrink while it’s being glued and you may get wrinkles. For perfect adhesion, prewashing also removes the ‘sizing’ which can sometimes prevent adhesion.

Here’s the outside X with the wadding neatly trimmed. The pattern suggests trimming the wadding after adhesion; you can also trim the wadding to the final size before adhesion, but then you do have to be careful that all the edges are aligned and the fabric doesn’t shift. I’m lazy. I prefer to iron it then trim it back.

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Next step is to make your box shape by pulling up the four ‘arms’ and matching the edges. Here it is pinned ready for sewing, right sides together.

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And here’s the lining fabric pinned into the box shape (it really is a box shape, but it’s just all floppy)

Of all the things that you need to remember when making any project with a lining, there’s one that you mustn’t forget – leave a gap in the seam for turning your item right side out.

And don’t make the gap too small! This is soooo easy to do when you’re using a wadding that adds bulk. I’ve made bags where I’ve had to unpick the gap to make it longer because I’ve been too stingy with the gap length.

I’ve marked my gap with yellow pins. It’s about 4 inches long.

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Here’s that gap. Remember to reverse stitch at the ends to lock the stitches. Don’t turn the lining right side out.

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Once the inside and the outside are stitched into their box shapes, you can….

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Turn the outside box right side out. Now put the outside box inside the lining box. Your fabrics should be right sides together.

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Match the seams at the corners and pin all the way around. There should be no excess fabric “bubbling” between the pins in either the lining or the outer fabric. If there is, just take in the side seams a touch so that the side lengths match.

Take the time to make sure the side lengths match, otherwise you will get a pucker when you sew around.

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Most sewing machines will have a ‘free arm’ option. Usually this means taking off the accessory box. Then you can put the basket over the arm and rotate it around as you sew.

As you’re sewing around the rim, you may need to ‘help’ the fabric a little. There is a lot of thickness, so go slow and steady. If you’ve got a walking foot, it can be a good time to use it. But as you can see below, I’m using my normal foot, so if you don’t have a walking foot, don’t be put off trying this project.

If you find that your machine is having a bit of a tizzy sewing the thickness, it’s probably because the fusible wadding moves around a bit and doesn’t feed evenly.  Sometimes, it kind of bunches or wrinkles under the foot. Try reducing the pressure on your pressure foot. This is usually controlled by a dial on the top of your machine, or there will be a setting you can change on a computerised machine. Changing foot pressure can make a world of difference, when you’re sewing something thicker. It will actually feed better.

Oh, and please, please, please, try to not sew over your pins. It burrs your pins and can damage or even break your needle.

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Here’s the accessory box removed from another machine. Most just pull away, but check your manual if you’re not sure.

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My bucket sewn around the ‘rim’. I opened the seams on the outside fabric to reduce the bulk at the seams, but it’s not the end of the world if the seams go to one side.

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And it’s time for the big reveal. Turn your basket right side out through that hole you (hopefully) remembered to leave in the lining. Otherwise, give your unpicker something to do.

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And Voila!

Now you can either finish here (after stitching up the gap in the lining) or you can do one more step…

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I like to stitch around the top. It helps to keep the lining neatly inside the bucket.

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And here she is, ready for the rim to be folded down.

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And sitting on top of the fabric I used – Australiana Prints

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This is a Leesa Chandler pattern that is a free download from her website, or we’re happy to give you a complimentary copy if you’re buying fabric from us. We can also send you an electronic copy that you can print out yourself. Just Contact us

It makes a great gift as a kit or a finished item. We have kits in the shop ready to go, especially featuring our favourite Leesa Chandler Fabrics

I’d love to hear your comments below. This is my first tutorial blog, so any feedback is most welcome.

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