Friday, March 30, 2012

Celebrate Easter: Reversible Basket Liner Tutorial

I bought an Easter basket for P this year, a simple, classic white one from Target. I know there are much cheaper places to find them, but I couldn't make myself drive to one more store. You know how that is?

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make a fabric liner with buttons on the sides. It was really easy and you could finish one in about an hour.. I debated between light blue and white seersucker or this black and white gingham, but I have been sewing so much with seersucker that I really needed to feel and look at another fabric! I'm happy with how it turned out and I love it against the great Easter grass I found at World Market.

You Need:
   Fabric, two different colors/prints (about 1/2 yd of each)
   fusible interfacing
   tracing or freezer paper
   2 buttons
   ruler, flexible seamstress' measuring tape
   thread, scissors, sewing machine, pins

Making the Pattern Pieces:

      You'll end up with these four pieces once we're finished! The cone shapes are cut on the fold (still folded in photo below).

1) Start by measuring the diameter of the bottom of your basket, I used the handles as guides so that I would get a straight line directly across the bottom. On a piece of paper, use a ruler to draw a straight line exactly the length of your diameter. Make a mark exactly at the center of this line. Now you're just going to continue to draw lines at different angles, matching the center of your first line with the center of each new line, like spokes on a wheel. Draw 4 or 5 lines so that you have a good idea of where the outside of your circle will be. Now find a bowl (size of bowl you need depends on the size of your basket). Use the curve of the bowl to trace lines from line to line, creating your circle. (this is the precise way, you could also just cut out a paper circle and keep snipping until it fits in your basket.)

2) For the sides and overlap fold of the liner, you need a large cone shape. The lower curve needs to be the length of the circumference of the basket.
              Circumference=diameter x pi  (Brush off the cobwebs...pi=3.14)
On a large sheet of freezer paper, use your flexible measuring tape to sketch a curved line the length of your circle's circumference (plus 1/2 seam allowance on each side).

Now measure your basket from the bottom inside edge, up over the lip and down as far as you want your overlap (mine is about 3 in) and add 1/2" seam allowance.

Go back to your freezer paper and use the ruler to draw a straight line out from the ends of the circumference curve, on a diagonal so that the outside edge of the cone shape will be longer than the inside edge (see picture top).

Next, use a large bowl to connect the diagonal lines with a gradual curve.

Cut out your paper pattern and put it right in the basket to be sure that it fits, make any adjustments needed then go on!

Putting things together:
3) Cut out the pattern pieces. For the circular base of the liner, add 1/2" seam allowance all the way around. (one outer fabric and one inner fabric) Back both pieces with lightweight fusible interfacing.

For the cone shapes, add 1/2" seam allowance to the lower curve only. Cut out one of each pattern and back with fusible interfacing.

4) Construction is super simple! First, start with the outer fabric and sew the diagonal raw edges of one large cone together, press seam to one side then pin right side of circle to right side of cone (small end). Sew.

Stick it in the basket just to make sure our calculations were correct :). Bingo!

Repeat the process with the inside fabric, leave an opening at the bottom for flipping later.

5) Now turn right sides together, matching seams and raw edges and pin together. Center the seam at the center back. Cut a slit down each side (exactly where the handles are), continuing just below the lip of the basket.

Sew the outer fabric to the inner fabric, all the way around the edges, sewing around the slits in a rectangle, see below.

After sewing, snip the corners of the slits like this... (also clip off the corners at the top of the slit) 

6) Turn right sides out through the small opening in the inner fabric. (sew up the small opening by hand or by hiding raw edges and machine stitching--it will never show once you fill your basket with Easter grass and goodies). Press, making sure the edges and corners are fully turned.

7) Put the liner in your basket and fold over. Pin the open sides (with enough overlap for a button and buttonhole). You'll notice that there is still a fair amount of slack in the front and back, we are going to add a few little pleats to make things fit a little more snugly.

Keeping things symmetrical, add two small pleats in the front (all thicknesses and pin securely) and two in the back. Unpin the liner at the sides and topstitch the liner around all edges, sewing pleats in place as you go.

7) Put the liner back in the basket, repin the sides and mark where your button and buttonhole need to be using a disappearing fabric marker. Sew them in place.

Done! That's it! Now you have a cute reversible basket liner, you can add your child's name or some ruffles, piping, ribbon, any number of fun things. I think these probably improve every time you make them (especially since you're making your own pattern from scratch, an awesome skill to learn) and you'll get new ideas every time.

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