As promised, I wanted to show you how to make the lovely things I sewed for a small Craft Bazaar at our church a couple of weeks ago. I started with another tutorial, so this post is kind of a tutorial-ette. My “what to make” criteria was simple:
- Must be quick and enjoyable to make
- Must be able to be sewn on the serger except for finishing
- Must primarily use items already in my CCFC (Carefully Curated Fabric Collection)
Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a wondrously festive stack of Christmas themed fabrics, and since it ’tis the season, it was my goal to greatly reduce the stack. If you have said stack in your sewing space, I think I can help! Of course, I hope you’ll be a bit more thoughtful about this than I was. I didn’t think up this plan until two weeks before the bazaar – sigh.
Today we’ll start with Fabric Baskets, but in the days to follow, I’ll also show you how to make the Strip Pieced Potholders, Raggy Strip Trees, Reusable Gift Sacks and Fold-It-Like-a-Christmas-Tree Napkins I made. All fun, all simple, all primarily stitched from the CCFC.
You just never know with a Craft Bazaar. Attendees may love what you loved, or they may pass that over and buy the things you weren’t too sure about. In this case, they loved and bought every one of my favorites – the Fabric Baskets. I started with a tutorial I found on the Threading My Way blog. Australian Pam designed a basket that looked super easy and that was just what I wanted. You can click here to see Pam’s tutorial. She did a great job and you’ll need it, too!
Making My Baskets
True Confession: I did purchase a couple of yards of Robert Kaufman’s Essex fabric to use for my baskets. That meant there was a little expense, but it’s a fabulous linen style, 50/50 cotton and linen fabric and it was well worth it. The combination of linen and quilting prints thrills my sewing soul and I love how they went together in my baskets. Essex is a beautiful fabric with a wonderful hand and I’ve used it often in my handmade wardrobe. If you can’t find it locally, click here.
- Following Pam’s directions, I cut a rectangle of Essex approximately 12″ by 20″ and an equally sized rectangle of Christmas print fabric. I chose that size because it fit the fabrics that I had on hand. As she wisely suggests, I ironed a slightly smaller piece of fusible fleece to the Essex so that the basket would be supported by the lining. No, I did not buy fusible fleece. There’s a LOT of fusible fleece stashed in my Sewing Spa, because it’s amazing stuff and I never want to be without it!
- Pro Tip: Put the fusible fleece “fusey” side up on your ironing board, then lay the wrong side of the fabric on top of it. Fuse with the iron on top of the fabric. This helps to preserve the loft of the fleece and prevent fusing gunk on your ironing board. Resist the temptation to iron back and forth when fusing. Just place the steaming iron, count to 10 or 15, then pick it up, place it down again and repeat.
- Once the fusing was done, I serged the center back and center bottom seams of all of my lining and outer fabrics. Eight baskets were assembled all at the same time, so I just fed the pieces through the serger one after the other. To keep it simple, I used the classic and oh-so-versatile white thread for all the inside seams.
- After pressing all the seams to the side, I followed Pam’s directions for creating a boxed bottom on the basket lining and outer pieces. Her instructions are excellent and it was easy to do – also on the serger.
- Years ago at a sample sale, I bought a huge spool of linen lace that I absolutely love. It was perfect for adding a bit of uniqueness to the baskets and I added it around the edge of each one. To attach the lining to the outer fabric, I turned the outer fabric right side out and inserted it into the wrong side out lining piece. To save time, I sandwiched the lace in between the outer and inner pieces, but did not baste it to either one before the final serging.
- And, this is when I became an even bigger fan of Clover’s Wonder Clips than I have been before! Rather than pinning the three layers together, I was able to clip them and they stayed securely together until stitched. Wow, wow, wow!! I’ve always thought they were cool and clever, but oh, my . . . I would not have been able to assemble my baskets in this quick way without these little magic wonders. Must be why they call them that, right? Again, shop locally first, but if you can’t find them, click here.
- There was more pressing along the way after each seam, including the top seam once the basket was turned right side out. After the top edge was pressed, I Wonder Clipped the opening closed, then top stitched around the top edge about an 1/8 inch from the seam. My amazing Bernina Walking Foot was the star here as it allowed me to smoothly stitch through all the layers with no problems at all. I did opt for matching thread on this step!
And, that’s it! The last step was to fold down a cuff, put them on the bazaar table and sell them for $12 each. And, they all sold – yippee! Just a note on pricing. I’m really big on including enough in the price of an item to cover the expense of both your time and your materials. But, you have to know your audience and your community and $12 seemed good for something made with little time and little expense. Up to you, but that’s my philosophy!
Okay, it’s time for you to basket up! My pastor’s wife bought one, lined it with a plastic bag, scrunched it down a little and put a poinsettia in it. One of the purchasers was going to fill hers with scented pinecones and another was going to assemble gift baskets – so she bought five. Woohoo! So many uses for any season and they were totally fun to make – try it.
Enjoy your sew and Merry, Merry!
Moment of Further Truth:
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