Crafty Basket!

Well in spite of the return of the Storks about a week ago, with promises of spring, winter is still here.  It has been wet and grey for several days in a row so I have been forced to look for projects to do in the house.

Luckily or unluckily I have huge stashes of off cuts and old curtains and just a mish mash of fabric with no specific ideas in mind.  There was a time when I couldn't pass by a charity shop without picking up an old curtain or bedspread simply because I thought the fabric would be useful for making something... at some point...

Well the time has come to use it up.  My first thought was to make a bag - I always make bags - but I don't really need any more bags and everyone I know has already received a bag as a gift from me... so... I had a womble around the web for ideas and came across an interesting way to use up my fabric.

Fabric covered coiled rope baskets.  Just google that if you want to see what other folk have done.

I began with turning my fabric offcuts into bias binding strips.  This was a revelation in itself.  I had no idea that there was a magic technique to create a long length of bias binding from a square of fabric.  The interesting tutorial is here, the lady in the video is using her bias to finish off a patchwork quilt but bias binding has a myriad of uses.  The key is making sure that your fabric is square to start with.

Having got my continuous bias strips I then dug some rope out of the garage.  I had initially thought that the bigger the rope the quicker and bigger the basket but I forgot that you have to be able to get it under the foot of your sewing machine!

So... I had to split the rope into two... which was a bit messy to do but on the plus side it means that I can make double the amount of baskets.

Then you wrap the bias fabric around the rope and secure it with a clothes peg or a bulldog clip.  Start to roll it up and slip it under the foot of your sewing machine.  A few zig zag stitches to secure it and then start to turn and coil the covered rope around, sewing the coils together with zig zag stitches.

It's very fiddley to start with and I thought it wasn't actually working out but the larger the work gets the easier it gets.

You could make place mats with this technique or coasters but I started moving the disc of fabric to position the new coils on top of the previous row in order to shape it into a basket.

Every time your zig zag stitching gets close to the peg you stop sewing and wrap a bit more around the rope, secure your peg again and then continue to sew.

As a first attempt I am fairly pleased with my basket.  The last lot of bias fabric wasn't quite right and the edges have frayed a bit so I put some lace around the top to detract from that but you could cover the top layer with ribbon hand sewn in place as an alternative.  For future I think I will be much more careful about the cutting of the bias binding.  The more precise you are the better the end result.

Things to try next... changing fabric to produce a more colourful end result.  Making place mats and coasters to match.  Making baskets with lids, perhaps different shapes, ovals... mmmm I wonder could you do an oblong basket?  Food covers to stop flies getting at the sandwiches.... as the advert used to say... recycle... the possibilities are endless!


  1. Hi Jane, I saw that idea on the tube, what a good idea to use up fabric. Thanks for that, you make it look easy. I'll give it a go one day.


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