During a recent trip to my in-law's, my mother-in-law and I took an afternoon to do some crafting.
I taught her how to decoupage a suitcase; she taught me to make fabric catch-all baskets.
These easy-to-make baskets are fun, practical, and make good use of old fabric scraps.
I had recently cleaned out my crafting closet of all old sewing scraps, so I was in need of fabric. Not wanting to purchase new fabric for such a project, I went to one of the local charity shops and found some colorful flat sheets that I thought would lend themselves well to this particular project.
To begin, I laundered all the sheets. Next I cut off the seams on all 4 edges of each sheet.
I then began to tear 1" wide strips. Above you can see how I cut a short slit into the sheet to get the tear started.
I then tear the strip the entire length of the sheet.
I repeat the process until I have a large pile of fabric strips from a variety of sheets.
Using cotton clothesline, wrap a fabric strip around the clothesline overlapping the strip over itself so no part of the clothesline is visible.
When one strip finishes simply begin wrapping a new fabric strip over the previous making certain it overlaps.
Repeat this process over and over until you have a long piece of fabric covered rope.
Set the stitch on your sewing machine to the stitched zig-zag and a stitch length of 2 to 2.5.
Adjust your machine to whatever works best for you. You just must be certain the stitch you select is wide enough to catch both of the side-by-side ropes.
Begin to coil your rope around itself in a flat, clockwise circular shape stitching the butting ropes together. (Adding rope clockwise is very important! This will allow you to manipulate your basket while adding rope. If you do it counter clockwise, the basket will not be able to clear the opening between the base of your sewing machine and the arm.) Stitch the neighboring ropes together using the zig-zag stitch as you go. The rope is quite thick and your machine's tension may need to be adjusted. Also consider putting in a newer, sharper, heavy duty needle.
Continue to coil and stitch ropes together until you get a circle basket base about the size you desire.
To build the sides of your basket, begin to tilt the basket up. Continue to add rope while tilting the basket. You will begin to see your basket taking shape.
Once you have built up the sides of your basket to the desired height, or you run out of rope, finish off the end by sewing, and backstitching, the rope end to the basket edge.
Once you get the hang of it, these fabric baskets are so fun to make. From a tiny ring or rosary basket for your bedside table to a large laundry hamper, the process is the same. You are only limited by your imagination and amount of rope and fabric scraps!
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.