If you have a wire or metal basket, you know how easily items placed in said basket can fall out or look untidy. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way.
Basket Liner Tutorials are hard to find! Maybe because basket liners for round baskets are not easy to make.
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How to Make a Rustic Liner for Your Basket
After searching Google and YouTube for quite some time, I decided to create my own “shabby chic” basket liner out of a cotton drop cloth.
A few notes (or warnings):
- This method only works if your fabric is the same on both sides or is reversible. If your fabric has a definite right side and wrong side, you will not want to use this method.
- This method makes for a very rough & ready look. There will be frayed edges and messy pleats involved. If this rustic/shabby look is not your vibe, you will not want to use this method.
OK, I feel better.
The video I made should help if any of my written explanation doesn’t make sense.
Use Drop Cloth for Your Basket Liner
100% cotton drop cloths are the perfect inexpensive material for any project that calls for a rustic, textured, lived in look. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a 4′ x 15′ drop cloth for less than $10. Drop cloths are definitely bargain material, so don’t be surprised if you find some imperfections and different colors in the woven fabric, but the price is very low and you can work around whatever you find that doesn’t work for you.
Wash your drop cloth before cutting or sewing it. It will get softer and easier to use.
I’d recommend going with the lightest weight drop cloth you can find. I had to use a heavy weight drop cloth for curtains in my sister’s AirBNB in Florida (here’s a video walkthrough if you’re curious; the curtains can be seen around the 1:30 mark in the video), and the heavy weight material was more difficult to work with and harder to install than a lighter weight material. However, the heavy weight did give them a nice drape and since we were using them in a room that gets a lot of light, that heavy fabric worked well.
Once you’ve washed and ironed your fabric drop cloth, it’s ready for use.
Here are the steps I followed in stitching my own perfectly imperfect fabric basket liner:
Step 1: Clean and Paint Your Metal Basket if Necessary
If your basket is vintage and not perfectly circular, don’t worry about it. As you will see, we are going for a very rustic look.
My basket was very old and rusty. I bought it at an antique mall in North Carolina. (See this link to learn how to get a great deal at an antique mall!)
I used three coats of a clear coating spray paint to seal in the rust before I did anything else. This keeps the rust from coming off all over your home without changing the look of the basket.
You may like the look of the rusty vintage metal, but you probably don’t like the rust flaking off of your basket onto the surrounding area, so this extra step is worth taking.
Step 2: Measure the Bottom of Your Basket
Your basket liner will be made of two separate sections:
- the bottom liner
- the long section that wraps around the sides and over the edges of the basket
Measure the bottom of your basket from side to side. Add 1 inch to that measurement.
So if your basket measures 10 3/4 inches across the bottom of the basket, you will want to cut out a circle of fabric measuring 11 3/4 inches in diameter.
Step 3: Cut out the Fabric for the Bottom of the Basket
If you have ever tried to cut a circle out of fabric without a pattern, you know that it isn’t very easy.
The simplest method I’ve found (which works for this application) is to cut your fabric in a square. In my case, the measurement was 11 3/4 inches, so I just rounded up and cut an even 12 inch by 12 inch square.
If you want a little more body and substance to your liner, cut out two pieces of fabric.
I folded my fabric over and cut a 12 inch square.
Cut the circle: to cut the circle,
- fold your two pieces of fabric in half two times, top to bottom and side to side. You should end up with a square that is 1/4 the size of your fabric originally.
- Keep the center point of the fold in the bottom right and sketch out 1/4 of the circle from the top right to the bottom left. (Watch this part of the video to see what I’m talking about.)
- Once you’re satisfied with your sketch, use binder clips to hold your fabric together still folded, and cut along the 1/4 circle line you sketched out.
- Unfold your fabric and see how you did!
Step 4: Stitch the 2 bottom circles together.
Using a 1/4 or smaller seam allowance, stitch your two circles together. Set aside
Step 5: Measure the sides and top of your circular metal basket.
Using a flexible measuring tape, measure from the bottom of the interior of your basket, over the top of your basket, and however much of a collar you want your liner to have.
For example, if your basket is 12 inches tall from the inside bottom to the rim of your basket, you may want to cut your liner 15 or 16 inches to allow for the liner to drape over the side of your basket. This is a personal choice.
Also measure from one side of the top of your basket to the other side. You are trying to find the diameter of the top of your basket, which will usually be a bit bigger than the diameter of the bottom of your basket.
Once you’ve measured the diameter of the top of your basket, (in my case, this was 14 inches from one handle to the other handle at the top of the basket) multiply that number by Pi (3.14). This number for me was 43.96 inches, so I rounded up to 44 inches. Than I added 3 more inches to that because I wanted my sides to overlap.
After all that figuring, you will know the width of your fabric (in my case, 47 inches) and the length of your fabric (In my case, 15 inches). Cut two pieces of fabric to those dimensions (in my case 47″ x 15″).
Step 6: Stitch one of the long sides of your rectangles together.
Normally when we do this, we would stitch this long line and then press the seams out and turn the fabric inside out or wrong sides together, in sewing terminology. But this is quick and messy sewing, so we will not be bothering!
I ran a single straight stitch on one long side of my fabric and then took it to my basket.
Step 7: Pin/Dry Fit Your Two Sections of Fabric Together.
Put the bottom circle of fabric into the bottom of your basket. It should be slightly bigger than the bottom of your basket and come up the sides just a little bit (1/2 inch to be exact, but we’re not being exact right now).
Then bring over your big rectangular section. Drape it over the side as much as you wanted that collar or overlap, and pin your side fabric to your bottom fabric.
You will have excess side fabric down at the bottom of your basket, so just fold it over and make a pleat when you need to. This is a little bit like slip covering a chair; you have to pin the fabric in place and be willing to adjust your pins as needed to get a decent fit that you like the look of.
Step 7.5: What to Do if Your Basket Has Handles:
Because we are living in the land of quick and messy sewing, we will take the quick and messy approach here.
Begin and end your fabric sides at one handle. If you cut your fabric long enough. the sides should overlap where they meet. Pin them together as far up the interior of the basket as you’d like and use a horizontal pin or two pins close together to indicate where you want the stitch to end.
This method will leave you with two unfinished edges hanging over the side of the basket. You can leave them unfinished or use a zig zag stitch or straight stitch to stitch the two separate edges or flaps for a more finished look. This is just a personal preference; I skipped it.
Where the other handle pokes up should be right at the halfway point of your fabric liner. Stand your fabric straight up and cut a slit just far enough into the fabric to allow it to overlap the edges on either side of the handle.
Use a zig zag or straight stitch to keep that cut slit from fraying excessively. Drop cloth fabric will fray excessively if you don’t stop the fray with some sort of stitch. (I used a zig zag stitch and got pretty close to the edge of the fabric with my zig zag. You could also finish that edge with an overlocking stitch if you’d like.)
Step 8: Stitch Your Two Sections of Fabric Together.
If you are a fastidious sewist, you may want to look away from this part.
Take your pinned-together liner over to your sewing machine.
- Sew down the side where you joined the ends of your long rectangle together. I recommend a wide zig zag stitch here, just to get as much of that fabric joined together as possible.
- Turn your fabric and slowly stitch around the bottom circle of fabric, approximately 1/4 inch in all around the bottom. You will need to go slowly because you will have a lot of thick fabric where you’ve created your pleats. This isn’t a race. Back stitch at beginning and end to lock in that stitch.
Step 9: Try Your New Fabric Liner in Your Metal Basket
OK, moment of truth!
I suggest turning your fabric liner so that the part you just stitched faces out. This means that those pleats and raw edges are tucked away on the bottom of your liner. You will still have a raw edge at the bottom of your basket when you peek inside, but it will most likely be not as noticeable on this side.
Shift your fabric around until you’re happy with the pleats and alignment of the handle areas.
This video is a little scattered, so here’s some time stamps to help you out:
0:00 – 8:23 Explanation of How to Make the Basket Liner
8:24 – 17:23 Watch me make the Basket Liner
17:24 – 29:30 Step by Step Instructions of How to Make the Fabric “Blankets” Tag using a sewing machine and an electronic cutter (like a Silhouette or Cricut).
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