I love Fair Isle knitting, but my knitting skills are currently not up to par to knit anything as fancy as that. So earlier this year I made a very quick Fair Isle star quilt pattern and made a block with that very shortly after. I wanted to make a fabric basket with it, but unfortunately it sat among a pile of orphan blocks until very recently.
Making a fabric basket with a paper piecing block entails working with four individual side pieces that join to the bottom base piece with corners. I don’t like guesswork, so I was determined to find a formula for creating good, perfect corners every time. In the hope that someone else might find the method helpful as well, I wrote up this tutorial. This is more of a tutorial for sewing perfect corners than a tutorial for a fabric basket. I can definitely see using this method for sewing the pieces of a bag together.
My fabric basket is made with a 10″ square paper pieced block. You can of course mix and match the outer fabrics for the other three sides or even patchwork the sides.
Note – This tutorial uses the example of making a 10″ fabric basket with 0.25″ seam allowance.
Material For The Fabric Basket –
1 x 10.5″ square paper pieced block
4 x 10.5″ squares of outer fabric – for the other three sides and the bottom
5 x 10.5″ squares interfacing
5 x 10.5″ squares of lining fabric
Fabric Marker of your choice
Cut the corners of the interfacing pieces and iron them onto the back of the outer pieces.
Sewing the lining –
Step 1 –
First we are going to sew the two side pieces to the bottom piece. Start sewing 1/4″ from the top and finish with 1/4″ to spare at the bottom. I used 1/4″ on both sides because that’s my seam allowance. I would probably use 3/8″ seam allowance for sewing bags, so I would start and end the seam 3/8″ from the top and the bottom. So match the measurement with your seam allowance.
I marked the start and end points of my piece with red lines in the photo. If you need to, you can use a fabric marker to mark the start and end points before you start sewing. After you finish sewing, iron your pieces. You will have three consecutive stitched pieces. The middle piece is your bottom piece.
Check Point – I pinned the piece back in this photo to show you how I started stitching the pieces together 1/4″ from the top and ended 1/4″ from the bottom.
Step 2 –
Now let’s join the back piece to the bottom piece (the one in the middle). Note the seam line between the bottom(middle) piece and the side piece. We are going to use that seam line as a guide.
Place the side piece on top of the bottom(middle) piece, lining up the top and the corner, right sides facing together. Now feel the seam line from the previous photo and draw a small line right behind the seam using a fabric marker. That’s your start point.
Step 3 –
Fold the side piece down and pin it out of the way. That’s the left side prepared.
Step 4 –
Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the right side – feel the seam between the bottom(middle) piece and the side piece, draw a small line right behind the seam using a fabric marker and pin the side piece back out of the way. Those are our start and end marks for sewing the bottom and the back piece together. Stitch those two pieces together starting at the top mark and ending at the bottom one.
Step 5 –
Repeat steps 2 – 4 to join the front side. Iron them flat. Now you have all four sides sewn to the bottom(middle) piece with open corners.
Check Point – This is what the corners should look like. All the sides should be stitched to each other with 1/4″ opening at the corners.
Step 6 –
Now we are going to start sewing the sides to each other, starting from the bottom corner and sewing toward the top.
Line the corners of two sides together at the bottom, moving and pinning the bottom(middle) piece out of the way. You can see how I moved the bottom(middle) piece out of the way at the top corner. Make a small line with the fabric marker on the top piece perpendicular to the stitching line of your bottom and side pieces. You can see that in the picture here. I made that mark so that I know not to stitch behind the start point of that stitching line. You want to sew your seam to the immediate right of that line, and take care not to cross it. That creates a really perfect corner. So once you have that marked, make sure the bottom piece is out of the way and stitch the two side pieces together all the way to the top opening.
Check Point – This is what the corner should look like once you line the two side pieces together, moving and pinning the bottom piece out of the way.
Here’s your perfect corner! Repeat this step for the other three sides of the lining.
Sewing The Basket –
Repeat steps 1-6 to make the outside of the basket.
Sewing The Pieces Together –
Now put the lining inside the basket with the right sides facing each other. You will see the wrong sides of both pieces. Line up the corners of the two pieces and then start with pinning the corners together. Then pin rest of the top together. Sew all the way around leaving a 4″ gap. Turn the pieces inside out through the gap. Put the lining back inside the basket and iron along the top seam. Then run a 1/8″ stop stitch all around the top, that will close the gap as well.
Here is my finished fabric basket which is already filled with yarn. I had always wanted to make a fabric basket using one of my paper piecing blocks. Now that I have formulated a method for sewing corners, I am pretty sure I will be making more! I hope you found this tutorial helpful!