Sewing: fabric baskets

Grete Greenshpon calls these Grete’s Baskets.  It’s a good name, although I’ve seen them before in other circumstances, so maybe she didn’t design them originally (although hers are quite beautiful and amazing.

It’s not actually possible to have enough storage for all the things that you might want.  It’s not even possible to have storage for all the things you might even need.  However, without organization, you usually find yourself buying the same things again and again — because you don’t know you already have it.  If you don’t know where a specific material or tool is, it’s like it doesn’t exist in your workspace.  You have to go and get another, and wait until the thing you already owned emerges from the chaos.

Or… you could get organized.

So that’s what I’ve been doing today.  I shifted a bunch of things from short-term storage in my bookshelves, to longer-term storage in the cubby space at the very top of the bookshelf.  And this made it possible to get all the fabric out of the boxes on the floor, and give myself some more working area.  (well… not all the fabric. But some of it, at least).   But it would help to make some baskets or containers to hold the fabric in place, and manage the contents of my fabric stash a little more effectively.  So I did some research, and settled on the basic version of this design, though I still want to learn the Dresden Plate design, too.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have made two of these baskets the same.  I wound up making a distinguishing mark on one, by adding a ring of bias tape around the top, to differentiate the Fat Quarters basket from the “larger fabric pieces” bin.  Whether or not I remember which basket is which remains to be seen.

And here they are on the shelf.  I made some significant mistakes in assembling the first one.Fabric Baskets.JPG It happens.  I thought that you assembled the sides first, and then assembled the two halves together in a single seam.  Not ideal. The second bag is much more stable and sturdy because the lining and the shell (and the batting between them) are all more integrated into “a bag” together.  I still need to make a half-dozen more of these, I think — maybe more, for sorting fabric into different colors.  But it’s still an ideal way of managing materials, I think — “this basket is fabric, so it contains fabric; and it’s blue so it contains blue fabric.”  Which is why I need to make many more baskets, I think.

It occurs to me that Sara over at Traif Banquet could use these for her materials storage, too — seven baskets in the seven planetary colors, for storing materia related to her seven categories.  It’s an open question whether she has space for seven such baskets, though — I know that I have to reorganize my shelves still further to have room for the baskets so they don’t get crushed on top, as they do here.


I had to make myself a little diagram to help myself understand the process more effectively.  In essence, you have a T-shaped pattern piece turned sideways.  Two of those, seamed base-to-base, gives you an H-shaped piece, which is then pinched and folded in various ways to make the basket shape.  You make two such shapes, of course: one for the shell, and one for the lining (why not start with an H-shaped piece? Because you can usually get two T’s out of a Fat Quarter, but you may not be able to get the full H).

I made a downloadable diagram that more or less explains the process (at least to me). But if you want the pattern for the Dresden Plate design (or ideas about the quilting on the sides), you need to see Grete’s blog post on the Bernina website.

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  1. These are great, and they’re what i store fabric in too, but not magical materia, because they’re not great for little stuff, because you have to dump the whole basket to get at the stuff on the bottom.

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