Thursday, April 21, 2016

Basket Case or a Nut Bag

That is right.  I am a basket case right now. Or you could call me a nut bag.

There is no dearth of inspiration (or temptation, depending on your perspective) in blogland.   Seeing so many 1-hour baskets, I dived in too.

One-hour basket

It took me 2+ hours to make mine.
I am sure that after I have made a dozen, and I remember the pattern by heart, and all the fabric/interfacing is cut to the correct size, and I don't make any mistakes, and I don't get distracted...I will be able to make such a basket in one hour.

Basket #1
You get the picture.

According to the tutorial, the outer fabric should be home decor.  Missed that detail.
Silly me. Proceeded with quilting cotton.  And the basket ended up being a bit on the flimsy side.

Decided to put SF101 on the handles to give them a little more body.  Definitely like the outcome.

1. The instructions are very well-written
2. Different seams for the exterior and the lining - Brilliant!!!

1. The handles need interfacing. Not mentioned.

The other thing that is a personal preference - I did not like the seam in the lining.  Ideally, I wanted it to be smooth.

Attempt # 2
Looked for another tutorial.  This one was from

Smaller basket.  I made the exterior panel using 2.5" squares and linen for the main basket body.   Used SF101 to stiffen it first.

2.5" squares, linen
I used decor bond interfacing on the handles.  See picture below.

Decor Bond Interfacing on the handles

Ready to quilt

Then I quilted the exterior panel with batting. I went ahead and also used interfacing (decor bond) on the lining.  

Since I wanted a smooth inside, I chose to do a drop-in lining (contrary to the instructions in the tutorial).  It did not come out well.
The two - exterior and lining - did not quite match, causing the exterior to be puckered :-(
Once finished, I showed it to a dear friend, Nancy.  Bless her heart. She did not see the imperfections and took it off my hands.

Tried again.
Attempt# 3 -  Smaller basket.  Much better but still not perfect.
The finished basket is 6.5" by 4.5" at the base, and it is almost 5" high. Actually, I am pretty pleased with this one.

The exterior panel was first interfaced with SF101. Then quilted with batting.  The lining was interfaced with decor bond (maybe try SF101 next time).  Since the lining was dropped in, the insides are smooth :-)

Smooth Insides
Since the lining has decor bond interfacing, there is added bulk along the top.  It is top-stitched but that could be neater.

Attempt # 4 - Making the initial 1-hour baskets

I decided to use my just acquired knowledge to try my hand at the 1-hour basket again. I used quilting weight cotton (gorgeous blue/purple batik) but this time I interfaced it first with SF101.  Then used Thermolam as a second layer of interfacing.
Like before, I did not use any interfacing on the lining, because I wanted to avoid the bulk in the top stitching.  Used interfacing on the handles.

But my lining still had a seam and it was just a tad bigger than it needed to be, making it look wrinkly and crumpled on the inside.

Attempt #5 - Repeat Attempt #4.
The only thing I did differently this time was measure the lining and the exterior just before stitching them together. the lining was tad larger than required.  So, I increased the seam by 1/8". Remeasured. Much better.

Attempt #4 on the left, Attempt #5 on the right

Do you see the difference? The lining on the right one fits just a tad better.
These baskets are 9.5" by 5.5" at the base. The height is almost 6.5" They are pretty and I am sure they will make someone happy enough that they would pay for them :-)
Just wish that they did not have that seam in the lining.

By now, I have made five baskets using two different tutorials and I am still not completely satisfied.

So, I tried once again. Attempt # 6.
This time, I referred to no pattern. Made a much smaller basket.  It measures 4" by 6" at the base and it is almost 4.5" high.  Since it was small, I reasoned that Thermolam would be enough.  Interfaced the handles.
This time, when I made the lining, I did not leave an opening in it.  Once the lining was made, I matched it with the exterior of the basket.  It was a little bigger. I chose to sew again, increasing the seam by 1/8" to make it fit better.

After the handles were basted, I put the exterior inside the interior, RST.  Stitched all around at the top but left a 2" gap. Turned it inside out, and sewed the opening shut using top stitching.  Now, the interior was smooth :-)  Makes me very happy.

Smooth on the inside :-)

How smooth? I turned it inside out and it could be (almost) reversible basket :-)

However, I realized that I should have used SF101 on the exterior, followed by Thermolam.
Should have used SF101 on the lining. I am sure there is an Attempt #7.

Medium and Small (ignore the screwdriver, please)

Paul: More baskets. Pretty!!!
Me: Yeah, but I am still not there yet.
Paul: Where?
Me: Where I have all the features I want and it is neat.
Paul: Try a different pattern
Me: I did
Paul: Is it a free pattern or did you buy it?
Me: (I knew where he was going with it. I got irritated.)
You know there was this one time I bought a pattern for making zippered pouches.  It included fabric as well. In a kit.
Paul: The kit and caboodle?
Me: NO. There was a kit but the caboodle was missing.
Paul: How so?
Me: So, the pattern says - use interfacing. But they do not tell you which one.  You have no idea how many different kinds of interfacing they have out there.
And I have made bags with no interfacing and with wrong interfacing.  I am ashamed to show them to even myself.
Paul: So a free pattern may or may not work. Buying a pattern may not have everything.  What is the solution?
Me: Trial and Error. That is WHAT I AM DOING!!!
Paul: Could you take a class or learn from a live person?

Once again, Paul had a made a valid point.  However, by now I could (almost) teach a class on the dos and don'ts of fabric basket making.

Three sizes - Nested Baskets

What if the tutorials and pattern still leave something to be desired. Yes, you could do what I have been doing - Trial and Error.

Did you know there are classes (yes several) on making bags, and pouches, and organizers on Craftsy? Best news - they are on sale!!!
Wish I had known this sooner. Silly me. Check them out.

And if you are into making fabric baskets and organizers, you must check out these two classes.

Some of these classes are on sale now which makes me feel like this!!!


Paul: What if you don't like the class? 
Me: Well, Craftsy will refund your money.

In the mean time, I am making more pouches for the quilt show.

A Bag a Day!!!

Cuteness Overload!!!

Light Aqua inside

Green Swirly Lining

Dotty - Inside and Out :-)

Pretty in Pink!!!
I feel very guilty right now.  I am addicted to making baskets and pouches while several quilt tops languish away waiting to be quilted.  I am Sew Preeti - No Quilts!!!

Now, that I have confessed, it is time to put away these little evil distractions and finish a few quilts this weekend. What do you think?
As always, I'd love to hear from you.

This blogpost contains affiliate links.


  1. I loved reading about your bagcapades.

  2. He should have stopped at, "More baskets! Pretty!" Lol.
    Trial and error is a good way to learn. Probably more effective, in the long run, than a class. I think all your baskets look great. I do mine with quilting cotton and fusible fleece. It gives it a nice body. I don't worry too much about the interior having a wrinkle or two. I gift them stuffed with baby supplies, and figure that they will stay stuffed with something or other in baby's new room, so no one will really see the inside, anyway!

  3. So much fun to read:),,, I only wish i had that "gene" of perfection in my body...LOL I sew with "wild abandon"...GB

  4. Love this post, you are so descriptive I felt I was there. If I ever have a basket problem I know who to ask for advice. Thank you for sharing.
    Smiling and laughing

  5. Just think, only 6 more baskets and you'll be an expert 1-hour basket maker. Seriously, I'm usually a planner when I make a quilt; improv makes me a little nervous. But when I make wallets or pouches or whatever, it always turns into an improv session until I can't really explain how I got from start to finish. This post is great because you showed exactly how you made the changes and what the results were. Whether or not you were pleased, your baskets are adorable--and so are your pouches!

  6. Thanks for sharing your adventures basket making! Great story and they really look great!

  7. You are a hoot! You just need to fill up all your baskets...with fabric...that way you won't see the lining and they will fill out nicely!

  8. Those are cute zippered pouches! I have been struggling with baskets the past few weeks. I'm not sure why I didn't think of Craftsy. I use them for everything else.

  9. Preeti, you have a lot of stick-with-it-til-it's-perfect will power! I'm really impressed by how you didn't give up and how you kept refining your techniques until you had that lining just how you wanted it. All of the baskets are pretty! Especially that charming hat basket you modeled, LOL. Your zippy pouches look great too! You and Paul are so funny!

  10. Kudos for sticking it out for so many attempts. I would have given up. They look great! And the bags are great as well.

  11. First of all I LOVEABLE all your fabric choices and combos--you are the goddess of pretty! In a goddess hat to boot lol. As always I find myself laughing out loud more than once while I read. "I am ashamed to show them to even myself" LOLOL. I like your smooth seamless lining method! ;-) This took such patience as well as perseverance to keep making more baskets, keep taking the photographs, and then write out your process. Thanks for sharing this with us! You and Tish make me want to do 3D sewing now! See Preeti-No Quilts! Still chuckling...

    1. When I type the word SEW sew sew MANY times a day you'd think my flipping phone would learn it!! Ugh! And I meant LOVE although you my dear are LOVEABLE in your goofiness.

  12. Hi Preeti,
    Wow, great post! All your baskets look so pretty! I really enjoyed reading how you sorted out your lining!
    Barbara x

  13. Even with your trial and error kind of method you made some amazing baskets. These have been on my bucket list for awhile. ;)

  14. I loved seeing all your bags. As I was reading your first one and how the lining was a bit too big, I said I have to mention to you to sew a larger seam in the lining(I make purses and do this), so I was glad to see you figured that out already;-) Your baskets are gorgeous, I LOVE the batik one! Enjoy the process!

  15. Your tale of basket woes was a fun to read. (ok, that sounds heartless but you do write a good tale!) I have (or maybe had is more accurate) a link to a blog that had instructions for a basket very similar to the one you showed. I suspect I deleted it because the writer pretty much quit writing. Sigh. If I find it I'll try to forward it to you. I like all of your baskets! Just a thought -- when folks use their baskets they won't be looking at the inside all that much. Something to think about!

  16. That conversation was too funny ... but trial and error really is the best way to learn!

  17. I would say YOU are now an expert on little baskets! What a nice bunch of projects! WOW!

  18. Your baskets are beautiful! I can see the improvements you've made in each version, and you're right that the smooth lining looks nicer. Have fun figuring out how to make exactly the basket you want :)

  19. I love that you persisted and kept on going until you got what you wanted!

  20. I love you as a basket head. Love all the baskets and the bags. The 1 hour basket takes me longer as well.

  21. I look forward to checking my blog to see what people say too, and your witty comment "When I grow up I want to be like Izzy" bought a smile to my face! Thank you so much, Preeti! Have a lovely day!
    Barbara xx