Project: Baskets

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I like the idea of giving gifts in a reusable bag that I’ve made. I mentioned this to my sister, Jess and she told me that she’s done the same, but has used baskets. Jess shared a basket tutorial from sew4home that I decided to use for both my mom’s Mother’s day gift and a bridal shower gift.

I used the following supplies (2 different baskets):

Pink Basket:

Total Materials Cost: $17.86

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Bridal Basket:

Total Materials Cost: $15.52

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The baskets took about 4 hours to make. Each basket has 4 layers of fabric, interfacing, and batting so assembly took a bit of time. I found the stiff interfacing to be quite difficult to work with. Especially at the seams, it was tough to sew through. I ended up hand turning my machine so that I could go slow. When I didn’t go slowly through this part, the thread broke on me.

Pinning with the stiff interfacing was also a challenge. I ended up weaponizing the basket to hold the pieces in place.

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Look at those amazing pins of stabbing!

I also didn’t really like the look that the stiff interfacing gave to the basket. It made the slantedness of the basket very obvious, in addition to being more rigid than I thought was required for a gift basket. So I decided to try medium interfacing for the bridal basket. That worked well – the basket sides didn’t cave in and it was much easier to pin and sew.

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Pins go right through the medium interfacing. No more weapons!

The lining fabric for the bridal basket was a bit difficult to work with. When I first tried to sew the batting, I found that the needle wasn’t passing through the fabric at all. I switched to a stretch needle and everything was better from there on out.

It was important to use a walking foot in both baskets. This helped to keep all of the layers of fabric together, especially at the thick seams.

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Rigid sides had the benefit of supporting a bottle of wine.

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I was happy with the look of each basket when they were filled with the rest of the gifts. I was especially happy with the look and feel of the bridal basket.

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Project: Tote Bag

Deborah Moebes’s Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time* includes instructions for a fairly simple tote bag. After making this project, I decided that I would make a tote rather than use gift wrap whenever possible.

I used the following supplies (2 different bags):

Bag 1:

Total Materials Cost: $10.77

Bag 2:

Total Materials Cost: $6.06

Total time per bag: about 2 hours

The book instructions were straight forward. Be careful with your cuts though, as a half yard will give you exactly the right amount of fabric for bag and handles. If you don’t cut carefully (as I didn’t for my first bag) you may not have enough fabric left for the handles.

When aligning your seams to make the bottom of the bag, make sure that you peek inside the bag to make sure the seams are aligned there too before actually sewing.

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Completed bag with handles from scraps!

I also made my handles a little wider than the book recommended, but I think this is a matter of personal preference.

This project is incredibly forgiving of errors. I know that the bottom of the bag is uneven but its not obvious from just looking it. The bag has held up well to use. I frequently carry a laptop in mine without issues. Its also reversible, so you can switch your look at any time!

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Using the bag!

Remember what I said about gifts? I made one for Alek’s mom for Mother’s Day along with a set of napkins to match the bag.

I may now be addicted to making tote bags. That’s probably ok though!