DIY Basket Liner
Sewing for the home can be a really satisfying thing because it can inexpensively bring order, beauty, and utility when you most need it. I needed to corral shoes by my front door and when I spied some old metal freezer baskets in my Gram’s garage, I knew organized footwear wasn’t far off. This post shares how to sew a liner for a basket and you can even download the measuring guide so you can make your own!
Chest freezers seem to be commonplace in rural or agrarian households because you need a lot of freezer space to freeze a whole beef or a whole game animal. Older style freezers featured wire baskets that helped separate different cuts of meat and made it possible for a girl to dig out a ham from the bottom of the chest without being buried in an avalanche of steaks. Now, of course, these baskets are often made of plastic which is nowhere near as good. If you come across these wire baskets, I’d suggest snagging one…or four, the way I did. The funky plastic handles can be snapped off and they are sturdy, useful, and now they are on-trend.
Of course, the baskets need a liner if you want to store anything small (like toddler shoes) in them. I had saved a queen sized sheet that tore after many mending jobs but still had lots of good fabric remaining. I imagined using some fabric dye like my tutorial here but realized the cream color of the sheet was a win.
Cutting out a basket liner is fairly simple. You will need to measure a few things, which I instinctively avoid but it’s got to be done. Get out the tape measure and jot down:
The overhang depends on what you prefer. If you want the wrong side of the fabric and/or the wire hidden, then you want an overhang to be the same as the height. I like a little wire showing so I did a 3 inch overhang on my 8 inch tall baskets.
I use a soft fabric tape measure (tell that man in your life to put the metal construction-style measuring tape away) and I start at one side of the basket and just measure from left to right; up the side, down the side, across the bottom, up the right side and down the right side. Write your number down and repeat for the other direction.
As for the seam allowance: I am generous and round up to the nearest inch with my measurements and sew only a quarter inch seam allowance and unless you want a very snug, precise fit, that should work just fine. I appreciate precision to a degree but if I can’t finish it before my babies wake from naptime then it goes into the giant stack of unfinished and unsatisfying projects and then I still have a tangle of shoes at the door. For me, I eyeball and round up and it works.
Now you have a set of measurements that dictate how big to cut your rectangle. I cut out the rectangle and then set the basket directly on top of the rectangle, in the middle. You can measure but if you are in the less-precise camp like me, this works well also. You will have 4 squares that will be cut from the corners, as indicated in my graphic.
I made this little graphic to show how to measure your rectangle and what happens after you cut it out.
Print yours here!
Sew the four corner seams. I zigzagged my edges first because I anticipate having to wash my liners but you don’t have to. Hem all the way around the top edge and/or make a casing for elastic or ribbon or whatever cute idea you may have. Often, a hem is all you need for the liner to stay put. Then you are done and can organize shoes, toys, or whatever and be impressed with your own industry and thrift, Wildflowers!
MY basket liner was a little on the wonky side for several reasons. I reused the existing corner seam of this old fitted sheet for one of my corner seams which didn’t exactly (literally or figuratively) add up but I was running out of sheet and I’m not about to be deterred by a little funkiness. I cut the elastic free from the sheet and used that in the casing to elasticize the top of my liner. I knew my basket would be pulled in and out often, and I wanted to help the liner stay in place.
Notice my totally wonky corner? That’s where the corner of the mattress belonged. See all the crazy seams? That’s where I patched and re-patched the bedsheet when it was still a sheet. Yours will surely be prettier.
This is the elastic that used to keep the sheet on the bed now being used in the casing around the top of the basket liner.
I love how this photo makes the basket look like something in which Moses would have floated down the Nile.
There you have it, Wildflowers! What salvaged materials have you used for organizing? Share in the comments section below!