At this time of year, my thoughts inevitably turn to picnics. There’s just nothing quite like eating outdoors, and it’s a wonderfully cheap date to boot.
It’s easy to find baskets of all sizes at thrift stores, like this handled one. But they’re made even cuter with a liner.
A drawstring closure helps protect your food, but it can also be folded outward. That way, you can use it as a decorative storage basket when it’s not in use on excursions to the park. And since it’s lined, you get two different looks to play with.
This basket liner takes just one or two hours. We even made some handy charts for you, to help you calculate the dimensions needed for your basket of choice.
- outer fabric
- inner fabric
- pen or pencil
- grommets (optional)
Measure the basket
This is the view of the inside of the basket from the top down. The lighter square represents the bottom of the basket.
- Measure inside the basket along the sides B and A.
- Measure along the top of the basket along the sides, D and C.
- Measure the depth of the basket, E.
- Add 1 ¼” to each measurement for the seam allowance. So if A was 6″, it’s now 7 1/4″.
fill in the chart
Now we’re going to fill in our little chart, which will give us the dimensions of our pattern pieces.
- Fill in the descriptions for each in the first row (copy example chart below).
- Fill in the total seam allowance you’ll be adding in the second row (copy the example chart below).
- Fill in your own measurements for each of the measurements you took in the third row.
- Add the second and third rows together to get your final measurements.
The last column, Z, is the extra height you want to add to the liner. This is really your choice, depending on how tightly you want it to close.
Create the pattern pieces
Bottom Pattern Piece: For the bottom of the bag, your piece will be B and A in the shape of a rectangle. Remember to use the final measurments from your chart, not the original measurements you took.
Long Side Pattern Piece: Draw B and mark the middle of the line. With your ruler squared off (at a right angle) at the middle you just marked, draw the length of the E measurement. Square off at E and draw the D measurement, with E marking the middle.
Add height to the piece, using your Z measurement. Draw the D measurement across the top.
Now you will need to extend the sides by ½” on either side as shown. Draw new lines extending from the corners.
Short Side Pattern Piece: This piece is made by tracing the one you just made.
Trace along the side of the Long Piece.
Then draw the length of A across the bottom. Since we added 1/2″ on each side, you will need to add 1” to the C measurement, then draw it at the top.
Move the larger piece over and trace along the other side. This ensures that the pieces match along the sides.
Sew it up
This is really the easy part. We’ll now sew it all together, using standard 5/8″ seam allowances.
1. Cut out two of each side piece and one bottom piece for both lining and outer fabric.
2. With right sides together, stitch the long sides to the short sides along each of the side seams on the outer fabric pieces (we’ll do the lining later).
3. Now we’re going to sew the bottoms in. To make this a little easier, first clip each corner of the side pieces to 5/8″. Match up the bottom with the sides, lining up the side seams with the corners of the bottom. Pin in place.
4. Start sewing a few inches from one corner.
5. Stop 5/8″ from the next corner. Sink the needle down. Lift the presser foot. Pivot the fabric and begin sewing again. Having the corner snipped will make this part easier. Continue in this manner as you finish sewing the pieces together.
6. Along the top of the seam, sew two button holes 2” apart. Make sure it is about ¼” below the seam allowance.
7. Repeat steps 2 through 5 for the lining.
8. Right sides together, place the lining inside the outer fabric. Now stitch along the top, leaving a 3” hole.
9. Trim the seam allowance and pull the fabric to the right side. Almost done now!
10. Press the fabric once it has been pulled to the right side.
11. Hand stitch the hole closed.
12. Sew a line about 1” from the edge of the fabric. This is the drawstring channel.
13. Insert a drawstring. Make sure it is several inches longer than the length of the lining. A safety pin can help you guide the drawstring through.
14. Using velcro with a sticky back, place at all four corners of the basket, or at intervals if you like. Place corresponding pieces of velcro on the bag. You may need to sew the velcro to the lining for extra support.
There you go, a lovely lined basket that you can use for picnics, storage, or anything else!
- Add batting for extra cushion. This might be particularly helpful if you transport breakables in it.
- Use oilcloth for the inner lining. This would be helpful for dealing with spills, of course.
- Try a fun monochromatic look by using the same color in different tones for each piece.
- Alternate two colors for each piece such as red and white.
Finally, go out there and get some sun if you can!
Photos and styling by our good friend Anja Verdugo.