How to Sew Fold Up Baskets – Medium Sized! (free sewing tutorial)
Organize your home with easy to sew fold up baskets that can be sewn from a fat quarter! This fast and easy project make a great gift.
In addition to the blog post, this sewing tutorial has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here.
These fold-together baskets are easy to handle, fast to make, and don’t waste fabric… each one uses 2 fat quarterst!
And look… they are perfect for holding patterns, pieces of a project in progress, and pom-poms too!
The finished dimensions are approximately 5 3/4” tall, 5 3/4” wide, and 7” long.
Don’t miss my other free sewing tutorials for:
mini fold up baskets (3’’ tall x 4’’ wide and x 6’’ long)
big (cubby sized) fold up baskets (10’’ tall x 10’’ wide and 12’’ long)
Plus these baskets are totally reversible.
To make things easier for you, I tested 2 different kinds of stabilizer (Peltex 72F and Soft & Stable), plus I tried out 3 different methods for finishing the edges. Every basket turned out cute, so I’ll just show you what I think of each, and you can sew yours the way that you want!
This basket was sewn with Peltex 72F (ultra-firm, double sided fusible stablizer). I finished the edges with a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine. It’s firm and sturdy, and the edges fray less than the one with straight-stitched edges.
This basket was sewn with Soft & Stable stabilizer from ByAnnie’s. If you love that stabilizer, then I suggest substituting the Pellon version, Flex Foam 2 sided fusible, because unfortunately Soft & Stable doesn’t come in fusible varieties. This basket is soft but still plenty sturdy enough to stand up.
I finished the edges on this one with a 3-thread balanced stitch on my serger (only one needle so I could turn the inner corners). It was tricky to serge the inner edges of the flaps. I had to raise my knife 4 times so I wouldn’t cut into the bottom of the basket. My Juki MO-1000 serger lets me raise and lower the knife easily mid-project, so that wasn’t a problem. I’d only recommend finishing the edges this way if you are comfortable with your serger.
This one also has the Peltex 72F (because I liked the double sided fusible stabilizer better), and I finished the edges with a straight stitch. It looks really cute, but it frays quite a bit. If you don’t mind the fraying, the straight stitch finish is the fastest and easiest.
Are you ready to sew an adorable basket? Grab 2 fat quarters and let’s go!
How to Sew a Fold Up Basket
You will need:
2 fat quarters of fabric
an 18” x 20” piece of double sided fusible stabilizer (recommended: Peltex 72F or Flex Foam 2 Sided fusible)
a fabric marker
a sewing machine and thread (serger optional)
Cutting & Fusing:
1. Trim the fat quarters to 18” x 20”, to match the piece of stabilizer.
2. Smooth out one piece of fabric on the stabilizer and iron over it very lightly to secure the fabric to the stabilizer without fusing the other side of the stabilizer to your ironing board.
3. Smooth the other piece of fabric over the opposite side of the stabilizer. This time press slowly, with lots of heat and steam until the fabric is completely fused to the stabilizer.
4. Now turn back to the first side and press slowly and with lots of heat and steam until it is completely fused too.
Don’t worry if all 3 pieces (the 2 fabrics and stabilizer) are perfectly aligned at this stage. if they are off by 1/4” or less on any side, you will be able to trim everything to look right in the next step.
Trimming, Marking, & Sewing the Basket:
1. Trim your fused piece down to 17 1/4” x 19 1/2”. Cut away the side(s) that are unevenly fused first, and then trim it to the right size.
2. Using the fabric pen or marker (make sure the ink will disappear later), draw a line 5 3/4” away from each edge.
3. Sew straight lines along all 4 lines that you drew.
4. At the sides, cut right over your horizontal stitching lines until you reach the vertical lines. Stop cutting before you cut into the vertical lines.
This will make 3 flaps on each side.
5. Using the fabric marker again, draw horizontal lines on each of the 4 corner flaps. These lines should be 1 1/2” from the top and bottom edges of each flap and 1/2” from the sides.
6. These lines are cutting lines, so stitch around each one of them about 1/8” away from the line. Backstitch over your starting point to secure the stitching.
7. After sewing around each of the short horizontal lines, cut them open without cutting into the stitching. I like to start with my rotary cutter and then carefully finish with my scissors.
8. Referring to the white dashed lines in the photo above left, trim the center side flaps.
Cut in about 3/4” away from the edge on either side, and then angle in to the corner. Do not cut the stitching.
9. Finally, finish the all the edges on the basket, including around the flaps. You can choose a straight stitch 1/8” from the edges as seen here, or you can zig zag over the edge.
Here you can see my short zig zag stitch that was very close together. This is also called a satin stitch. I also used a zig zag stitch around the slashed opening here, but I didn’t like that very much.
Or you could serge around the edges. As I mentioned, that’s the trickiest finish. I recommend using only 1 needle (3 threads) and you must be able to lower the knife as you approach the inner corners.
To use the basket, fold two corner flaps together, and weave the trimmed flap up through the slots on both at the same time. Repeat on the other side.
If you make some, I’d love to hear which stabilizers and techniques you used, and what you use them for. Please post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe so I can take a look.
Happy basket sewing!
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As I was looking at the slashes on the sides, I noticed that it’s basically a very large buttonhole….there has to be a way to do that….stitch the zigzags on each side, a big tack on either end, and then seam-rip it open…then it wouldn’t be awkward to sew after slashing it open.
HI Jen – You are right, it is a large buttonhole. I tried using the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine, but it wouldn’t let me make a buttonhole that long. Then I tried to DIY a buttonhole using a zig zag stitch and bar tacks at the ends, but I wasn’t as happy with the look as with the straight stitch (you’ll see a photo of that near the end of the tutorial). Also – make sure you do sew first and then slash as indicated above. Let us know if you try something different and like it! xoxo – Caroline
Looks like fun and do I ever need them. thanks Caroline.
Any hints on how to make other dimensions. I real want one that has larger dimensions and shorter sides. The different dimensions is planned to a fold up to take to retreats or classes for parts and pieces of work i progress. The pattern as written will be done today. Really like the idea.
This is such a cool project I am going to make this I have lots of novelty fabric with sewing themes, thanks for sharing.
love the folding basket, add some straps that would tie and you could have a reusable easter basket
I always enjoy your posts but this one takes the cake! Love, love, love these!
This might be my favorite UN-tutorial to date. Thanks for working it out. :o)
Thank you for the tutorial. What a great way to use the odds and ends fat quarters that I bought.
Thank you for the tutorial.
First basket done. Looks great. Used a blanket type stitch on the edges; worked great.
That sounds lovely!
The fabric basket looks great, but I would love a larger version. Did you try a larger one? If so, what would the dimensions be?
Hi Suzanne. It gets tricky because who wants to buy 3 yards of Peltex for 1 basket? But I’m trying to figure out a way around that. 🙂
I really like this one Caroline. Thank you for all of the work you do in putting these together
Could use Fray Check around the edges, but those little bottles wouldn’t go very far.
These will be fantastic for lightweight storage in the camping trailer we plan to buy soon! I am thinking using them in my armoire for panties, bras, sleepwear, etc. And just moving the boxes from armoire to trailer and back again! Sewing supplies, hobby supplies, kitchen pantry items – sew and stash all! Wow!
Yay! Sounds like the most fun use for them yet!
you could use ‘Fray Spray’ on the edges,, it’s made by Sullivan
Thank you so much for the suggestion. I ordered some and will give it a try. Then I’ll let everyone know how it works!
Hi have just made one of these to hold my patterns.
Thank you for a great tutorial.
I just did a small zig zag around the edges at the end .Looks good.
You are very good at doing tutorials so anyone can follow them.
So thank you again.
Yay! Thank you for the compliment. 🙂
Made one the other day. Quick project. Thanks for the tutorial.
Have you tried the double side fusible from Bosal? It feels like soft n stable but comes either single sided fusible or double sided fusible. I order mine on Amazon.
I haven’t tried it but I will! Thanks for the tip. 🙂
First time I’ve tried anything like this. It was so much fun! Thank you!!
Hi Caroline. I love your blog! I was just wondering if you had thought to try a bias trim edging? I was thinking of giving these a go and would try a ready made bias tape or ribbon but thought I’d ask first because you very well may have tried that already.
I still love your emails and look forward to getting them daily before bed. Mine arrive close to midnight the night before. Kind regards, Kelly, Victoria Australia
Using bias trim on the edges did cross my mind, but I decided not to because of those sharp inner corners. I thought it would be hard to make them look good. If you try it… be sure to let us know how it turns out!
And thanks for reading my emails!
So awesome! I love that they are reversible and collapsible. Thanks for the tutorial. I love fat quarter projects.
I was wondering if you had made any that are rectangle and how you would do that. I would like to make one about 15 inches long. The other dimensions would be fine. If you have a pattern like that could you email it to me or post it? Please let me know and I will private message you my email address. I would really appreciate your help. I am a beginner sewer. Your things are beautiful, I love your site. Thanks in advance, Karen Meyer
I don’t know if this has been answered for you or if you figured it out but I think the cuts on the "short" side of the rectangle as the way she has them will still be okay and only lengthen the top and bottom? I don’t know how to explain better but I can see it in my head haha sorry
Lovely pattern. I’m addicted to storage examples. ALi
Hi, I like these baskets, which I first saw at Ikea made in stiffened felt. I am trying to work out how to stiffen felt for myself. Maybe I could use fabric on outside and felt inside with lots of stitching. Ikea make lots of different sizes. Shirley
Vos idées sont super, seulement je suis en France, vous serait-il possible de donner les explications dans ma langue?
Merci par avance.
Carolyn – I love these baskets and can’t wait to try the pattern. Quick question about Step 4… when you say "cut right over your stitched lines", do you mean cut just to the side of them, or actually cut the stitched line? I’m new to sewing, so I’m always asking questions!
Hi Cyndi – I cut right on the stitched line. Good luck!
Thank you for this great idea! I’ve made 2 of them so far and they fit perfectly in my drawer, I use 1 for bras and 1 for panties. Finally my drawer is not a mess anymore:-)
I only had single sided fusible stabilizer on hand which made it a little more challenging and I don’t recommend it. It is doable though.
I made a little basket tonight. It was quick and easy. Turned out super cute! I’ll probably keep it in my cutting table to toss usable scraps in. I used the Peltex P72. It worked perfectly. I’d post a picture if I knew where to do that. Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial.
I read the comments about the ‘buttonhole’ in the basket. I made a buttonhole in the sides of my hat to slip a sash through. It was about two inches long. I used the open toe pressure foot and set the function on the buttonhole where you press the return button to change direction. It stitched out perfectly.
I made this. It turned out so cute and was really easy. Thanks so much. I think I will make one (or maybe two) for my granddaughter.
Love these baskets! I want to use them as gift baskets full of fabulous goodies. Loved them so much, I included them as my favorite and linked your tutorial to my blog post "10 Ways to Wrap with Fabric". https://whatsnanamaking.com/10-ways-to-wrap-with-fabric/
Thank you so much
Thank you Nana!
Are these baskets machine washable?
Probably not. At least I don’t think they would look the same. Has anyone else tried washing them?
If the fabric was washed before the baskets are sewn, these should wash up beautifully – wash on the gentle cycle or by hand. By washing the fabric first, they should be able to keep their shape. I’m going to make some this afternoon – if they don’t wash up well, I’ll come back here and tell you!
Great pattern. I made my first basket in paper and it was easy and fast to make. Next project will be a fabric basket
Hi! I just finished my first basket. I am a real new to sewing and it wasn’t too hard to do. Good instructions. I’ve not done any zigzag or satin stitching before and this basket is going to be a gift. But what I did do is do a lot of the cuts with pinking shears and I think it looks really great that way.