Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Ring's The Thing: Roped Fabric Basket Tutorial

Today I've got something a little unusual to share, my Roped Fabric Basket Tutorial.  This ring-style basket is simple, but what gives it the real twist is what it's made from: strips of cotton filled with thick cotton welt cord, so each layer is fully rounded.  No need for lining or stabilizing.  Think old-school kiddie pool shape, but all cotton.

Having a solid, filled body means this basket won't collapse or easily tip over, but it's still soft and squashy because it's still all cotton. That quality is usually lost when you decoupage fabric or have to use extra firm stabilizers to hold a shape.

And the added bonus is it makes a great pincushion too:

Timeless Treasures offered me a set of their new Tonga Treats 6 Pack to play with and I was eager to give them a go.  I'm a sucker for a rainbow assortment of fabric and this had so many pretty colors.  And I laughed out loud at the button they sent with it:

I saw this fabric as a way to challenge myself in a new area.  I don't often work with pre-cut pieces, or do a lot of quilting, so I wanted to come up with a way a non-quilter could get creative with a set of pre-cut strips.

Mixing the coordinated batik strips and the piping filler gives a totally unique look compared to most fabric baskets & bins.  It has a gradient rainbow of shades, for some ombre style, and real dimensional finish: 

I made mine desktop-sized at 7 inches tall with a 6 inch diameter, but this could be scaled up to make some nice big baskets too.  I plan to do a few more with the other colors in my set. Here's how to make 'em!

Materials Needed:
- Five 6 inch high cotton strips.  (I used pre-cut Tonga Strips from the Sugar set)
- 3 yards of 1 inch cotton welt piping cord (you'll find it in the upholstery section)
- A 7 inch square of medium weight fabric for base
- Sewing notions (shears/rotary cutter, iron, pins)

Take the strips and cut to a width of 22 inches.  Fold in half, right sides facing, and stitch together with a .5 inch seam allowance to make a tube.

Turn each tube right side out and press flat so that the seam is in the middle of the back side.  

Stitch the strips together with the seam sides out:

Take the piping cord and cut five pieces that are 20.5 inches long.  It's like rope, but made from a fluffy batting loosely wrapped in thread.  Insert into each of the tube sections, leaving .75 of an inch room on either open end.

With the right sides facing out, match up the raw edges of the tubes and pin together.  I found it helped to push in the cord a bit.  Stitch together with a .25 inch seam allowance.  Go slow and pull along to help keep things straight.  Trim down.

Then turn the newly formed cylinder inside out and fold along the newly made seam.  Repin as before and stitch together again with a .25 inch allowance.  This makes a sort of french seam.  

For the bottom I used some scrap twill fabric and made a circle that was 6.5 inches in diameter.  As luck would have it, I had a small dish that was the perfect size so I just traced and cut it out.

To make things a little easier when attaching the bottom to the rest of the basket, pin around the bottom, as close to the cord as possible, before pinning the base on. 

Then pin circle base to the cylinder portion:

Another handy tip when sewing around tight curves or bulky items (or both in this case), is to switch to a zipper foot.  It makes it a lot easier to keep your seams straight and not have to fight to get things past the foot.

I trimmed down the raw edge of the circle with pinking shears to prevent fraying. Turn right side out.  

The inside will look nice like this, since the edges will be pretty hidden by the bottom ring when it's standing up:

I've got my basket right on my sewing table and not only does it look cute, but it's given me a great place to stick spare pins, dump scraps & generally keep things looking neat and tidy. Now even when I'm smack in the middle of working, it at least appears I've got things under control!

I'm also sharing this project with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I received fabric from my Sponsor, Timeless Treasures, to use as I desired.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.   For my complete disclosure policy, click here. 


  1. ok, I must be a cat lady b/c my 1st thought was that would make an awesome cat bed/toy haha!

    1. Lauren, I LOVE that. You totally could with this!!!

  2. Wow, your basket is really lovely, Cheryl! Love it!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  3. Pretty basket. I love the color choices.

  4. I am in love with this as a basket and a pin cushion. Awesome.

    1. Aw thanks. I love that it does double duty in my craft room - fun & functional:)

  5. really cute idea, love it as a pin cushion. Pinned.

    1. Thanks Patty! I love hearing when something is pinned:)

  6. Well, I have never seen a basket quite like this, Cheryl and I LOVE it!!! Well done on thinking outside the square. I'll be looking out for 1" piping cord, as I can see lots of possibilities.

    1. Hi Cheryl, I've featured your basket today...

    2. Hi Cheryl, I've featured your fab rope basket again, this time in a roundup of scrap busting projects...

    3. Thanks very much Pam!! I'm sharing that on my social media - it's a great list of ideas for using up those scraps.

  7. Hi
    Wanted to let you know your project is being featured this week @ Sew Crafty Angel.

  8. This is such a cute project, Cheryl! Thank you so much for sharing at Marvelous Mondays. Pinning and sharing on Facebook and Twitter tomorrow!

  9. This is such a cute project, Cheryl! Thank you so much for sharing at Marvelous Mondays. Pinning and sharing on Facebook and Twitter tomorrow!


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