Easy Sewing Tutorial for the Perfect Rectangle Basket – free!
I know you’ve been waiting for this… Get everything organized with this darling rectangular fabric basket that is so sturdy it can stand up by itself! Yes, you can sew a professional looking fabric basket using easy to find supplies – no one will guess that you made it yourself.
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When finished, this fabric basket is approximately 6’’ wide, 15’’ long, and 5 1/2’’ tall.
It’s great for organizing your sewing room…
or any room in the house! I’m thinking of putting one in the car to help catch the odds and ends that are always rolling around.
Let’s talk about supplies. There are 3 ‘secret ingredients’ that make this basket sturdy enough to stand on it’s own – and that’s what makes it fantastic. All of these secret ingredients are easy to find and use.
First – get some inexpensive cotton duck canvas fabric for the basket lining. I bought mine at Joanns, but here’s a great source on Amazon. It’s 60’’ wide, so you can make a lot of baskets with a small amount. For example, you can make 2 baskets with 1/2 yard or 6 baskets with 1 1/4 yards. I bought the natural color cotton duck, so it looks great with just about any fabric that I pick for the exterior.
And speaking of the basket exterior, feel free to use quilting cotton fabric, cotton sateen, or any home decor weight fabric. Denim fabric would be great too! In the photo above, the red and white fabric has Amy Butler quilting cotton on the exterior and the blue floral basket is home decor weight fabric from Lecien. (sorry – both of those fabrics are now out of print)
The second ‘secret ingredient’ in this basket is a wire rim tucked inside the top edge. I tested two different kinds of wire for this project and both worked great in my baskets.
First, I looked in the garage and found a bunch of 16 gauge utility wire that we use to make an electric wire around our chicken coop to keep the foxes and coyotes out (Florida is wild). The utility wire was easy to cut with my small jewelry making wire cutters and was easy to form into a rounded rectangle yet firm enough to hold its shape and make the basket stand up. It’s not very pretty but it worked well.
I also purchased a spool of 12 gauge aluminum crafting wire from Amazon. When the gauge of a wire goes down, the wire gets thicker, so even though the 12 gauge crafting wire was thicker than the 16 gauge utility wire, it was just a little bit more pliable than the utility wire. And just a little bit easier to cut.
However, both of these wires would make a great choice inside the rim of this basket because they are easy to cut and easy to shape. If you want to save money or shop at your local hardware store, you will be happy with the less expensive utility wire because the wire is not going to show. But if you think you might use the wire for a crafting project where it will show, you might prefer the pretty aluminum wire.
The last secret ingredient is dressmakers ‘featherlight boning.’
I thought my white basket looked good without it (see photo above right), but then when I tried using it in the blue basket I was blown away. It makes an amazing difference! This is what makes my baskets stand up on their own and look so professional, even when I used regular thin quilting cotton for the exterior.
You’ll need just 22’’ of easy to sew Featherlite Boning (found at Joanns here or Amazon here) for each basket. This boning is made from 1/4’’ wide flat plastic that is encased in fabric. The boning is about 3/8’’ wide including the fabric casing. Other types of dressmaker’s boning might work in this project too. Let us know in the comments if you try something else that works just as well.
Now that we have gone over all of the special materials, let’s get sewing!
To make 1 Perfect Rectangle Basket, you will need:
1/2 yard of fabric for the basket exterior (quilting cotton, cotton sateen, home decorator fabric, etc.)
1/2 yard of cotton duck fabric for the lining (see links above)
46’’ of 16 gauge utility wire or 12 gauge craft wire for the rim (see links above)
22’’ of Featherlite Boning (see links above)
fabric marking pen
heavy duty needle, 90/14 or larger (these are my favorite – I use them all the time)
1. From the fabric for the basket exterior, cut:
1 rectangle 18’’ x 22’’
2 rectangles 5 1/2’’ tall x 6’’ wide for the handles
2. From the cotton duck canvas fabric for the basket lining, cut:
1 rectangle 18’’ x 22’’
3. Fold the 18’’ x 22’’ fabric rectangle for the basket exterior in half with the long 22’’ edges together. Use the fabric marking pen to mark an almost square to cut out of the lower corners at the folded edge.
The cut-out piece should be 3’’ wide and 2 1/2’’ tall (before you unfold it).
Repeat to cut the same shape from both lower corners of the cotton duck canvas piece too.
4. Use the wire cutters to cut a 46’’ piece of wire.
5. Cut 4 pieces of boning, each 5 1/2’’ long.
Sew in the Boning
1. Unfold the cotton canvas fabric piece with the corners cut out as seen above.
Use the fabric marking pen to draw lines 3’’ away from each side edge.
2. We’ll cut away 1/2’’ from the plastic inside each boning piece so that there won’t be plastic in the basket bottom seam allowance.
To do this, scrunch up the fabric casing over the plastic in each boning piece until you can pull the plastic out by about 1/2’’. Cut off 1/2’’ of plastic. Then push the end of the plastic back into the casing.
At one end, the boning piece will be soft because it won’t have any plastic.
3. Sew the four pieces of boning to the wrong side of the lining piece as seen above.
The boning pieces are sewn against the inside edges of the marking lines.
The soft ends of the boning pieces (with no plastic inside) are lined up with the horizontal edges of the cut out corner sections.
I didn’t find that it helped to pin the boning pieces in place before sewing.
It’s easy enough to line the soft end up with the edge of the cut-out and the long edge up with the marked line, and then sew the boning piece down.
Stitch on both sides of the boning piece right on top of the topstitching that is already on it.
Then rotate the basket lining around as you sew on all 4 pieces of boning. For this step, you do not need to sew over the plastic that is inside the boning.
Sew the Basket Together
1. Fold the basket exterior piece right sides together with the long edges together (the same as it was when you cut out the corners).
Stitch the side edges with a 1/2’’ seam allowance.
2. Sew the side edges of the basket lining in the same way.
Press the seams open.
3. Arrange the basket exterior with the side seams flat against the middle of the basket piece as seen above.
Pin and stitch the corners with a 1/2’’ seam allowance.
Repeat this step with the basket lining too.
4. Next, we’ll sew the bottom corner seams together so your basket won’t have a baggy lining.
Place the lining right side up on your workspace as seen above, with the side seams facing up and the corners flat. Then. place the basket exterior on top with the side seams facing down.
The side seams on both pieces should be lined up.
Pin the corners together and then sew right on top of the previous stitching.
5. Turn the pieces so that the bottoms are together and the right sides of the exterior and lining are facing out.
6. Fold the basket exterior up and around the lining so that the right side of the exterior is facing out and the right side of the lining is showing inside the basket.
7. Line up the top edges of the exterior and lining. Pin if desired.
Stitch around the top edges to hold them together, 1/4’’ away from the top.
Make the Handles
1. Press the side edges of a 5 1/2’’ tall x 6’’ wide handle piece over to the wrong side by 1/2’’
2. Then fold the piece in half with the top and bottom raw edges together. Press
3. Open the handle and fold the top and bottom long edges to the center. Press.
4. Fold in half again lengthwise and press.
You should have a handle piece that is approximately 5’’ long and 1 3/8’’ tall with all of the raw edges tucked inside.
Repeat to fold and press the second handle the same way.
5. Topstitch all the away around each handle piece close to the edge.
6. Use the fabric marking pen to draw a line 2’’ below the top edge on each end of the basket (right over the side seam).
7. Pin a handle piece against one end of the basket with the top edge of the handle against the drawn line. The handle should fit perfectly between the boning inside the basket.
8. Attach the handle by sewing a 1/2’’ wide rectangle at each end of the handle. Sew on top of the handle topstitching for 3 sides of the rectangle. Make sure you backstitch to secure.
Repeat to attach both handles at the ends of the basket.
Finish the Top Edge of the Basket
1. The basket is finished with a 1/2’’ hem that holds the wire rim.
Start by folding the top edge to the inside by 1/4’’ – right along the line of stitching that holds the layers together.
Sew all the way around the basket close to the fold.
2. Prepare the 46’’ wire piece by curving it into a rectangle that is roughly the same shape as the basket.
Don’t worry about making it perfect, you will curve it to the correct shape at the end.
3. Fold the top edge of the basket down over the wire by about 1/2’’ and use the Wonderclips to hold the hem and the wire in place.
Don’t be intimidated, this step is actually so, so easy!
Work your way around the basket, folding the top edge down over the wire and clipping them in place.
The ends of the wire will overlap inside the casing by about 1’’. Don’t worry about securing the wire ends together. They are fine with some ‘wiggle room’ so you can mold the basket top to the perfect shape later.
4. Sew the casing/top hem down right on top of the previous line of stitching.
5. As you sew around the basket, you will sew over the top ends of the boning at the corners. Go slow and make sure you are using a heavy duty needle.
The top edge of the basket will get a little bent out of shape as you sew. Don’t worry!
Once you are done sewing all the way around the top edge, form the wire rim into a pretty shape and your Perfect Rectangle Fabric Basket is done!
As usual, I love to see the things you make with my free patterns and tutorials. Please post a picture to Instagram and tag me @sewcanshe or #sewcanshe so I can take a look!
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Oh what a sweet surprise- 2 new sewing items- wire and boning! I’ve never tried either one- but they are ordered and I’m thrilled to learn a new sewing technique! Thanks Caroline for all your sewing patterns, for all the pics, for the joy you bring each month by letting us pick a new inspiration! You are appreciated and greatly loved for sharing!!! Marie from Maryland.
Bias tape and cable ties instead of boning work great.
Do you have any tips on taking the curl out of the boning? Comes in a roll and doesn’t seem to want to straighten.
My boning was curling before I sewed it in too. The curling is not noticeable after sewing the boning to the basket.
I ended up ironing the boning with a cloth over it. That was the only way I could get mine to lay flat. Thank you!!