With Easter just around the corner I thought it would be fun to share a tutorial for these cute Easter baskets using a wool felt applique method I learnt in the Sweet Life Pillow class I did at QuiltCon with Betz White (a picture of the pillow I made can be seen in my previous post). I love the definition this method provides and, being a touchy feely kinda person, the 3D effect it produces.
If Easter Baskets aren’t your thing you could always make a fabric storage or scrap bin by sourcing a different picture to suit the purpose of your basket. This tutorial is for a basket that is 6″ high, deep and wide but you could easily adjust the pattern to make any size you like. Ready?
You will need:-
- 3 fat quarters or scraps from your stash
- Wool felt
- Bag batting/ByAnnie’s Soft & Stable
- Water Soluble stabilizer – I used Sulky Printable Fabri-Solvy
- 505 spray adhesive or similar
- Heat & Bond Iron on Adhesive
- Paper Cutting Scissors
- Small Embroidery scissors
- Coordinating thread
- Printable Templates available here – Bunnies or Easter Eggs
From the fat quarter you will be using for the main part of the basket cut:
- 4 – 5″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles for the basket sides
- 1 – 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ square for the bottom of the basket
From the fat quarter you will be using for the accent pieces & handles cut:
- 4 – 2 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles for the accent pieces on each side
- 2 – 4″ x 7 1/2″ rectangles for the handles
From the fat quarter you will be using for the inside of the basket cut:
- 4 – 6 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ rectangles for the lining sides
- 1 – 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ square for the lining bottom
- You’ll use some of the leftovers for the applique
From the bag batting cut:
- 4 – 6″ x 6″ squares
- 2 – 1″ x 7 1/2″ rectangles
Wool Felt Applique
You will be working on the wool felt appliqué first. Print or trace the templates onto the water soluble stabilizer. Tip: Make sure your printer does not auto scale or rotate the templates when printing! I only placed the applique on the front and back of the basket but you could pop them on all sides if you prefer.
1. Peel the back off your water soluble stabilizer and stick it on to the wool felt. Layer the wool felt on top of a piece of your basket lining fabric which is right side up. Pin the three layers together making sure you don’t have any big wobbles or bobbles (yes they are official terms here at SheQuiltsAlot!) in the fabric.
2. Using a standard stitch on your sewing machine sew around the applique shape at least twice. I used my standard 1/4″ piecing foot but you could use a walking foot if you prefer. Sew slowly to make sure you stay on or fairly close to the line. Once you’re done sewing, follow the directions on the packet to remove the stabilizer from the applique piece and hang it up to dry. (You can skip ahead to the basket construction while the applique is drying if you want to).
3. With the stabilizer washed away and, after its dry, your applique will look a little something like the picture below.
4. Carefully insert your pointy (and sharp!) embroidery scissors between the felt and fabric and cut away the wool felt leaving a 1/16″ or so of felt inside the sewn line. IMPORTANT: Don’t cut the fabric behind the wool felt otherwise you’ll need to start again like I did the first time I tried this.
5. Apply the Heat & Bond iron on adhesive to the wrong side of the fabric behind the wool felt applique using the instructions that came with the product.
With the Heat & Bond attached, you can now trim around the outside of the applique shape leaving 1/16″ of wool felt outside of the sewn line. When you’re finished your applique shapes should look like the image below (the Easter Bunny has been intentionally left wrong side up so you can see the Heat & Bond). Set the applique shapes aside for now.
7. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew a 2 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ accent rectangle to a 5″ x 6 1/2″ basket rectangle. Repeat with the remaining accent and basket rectangles (you will need 4 side panels). Press the seams open and then make a pencil mark 1 1/4″ in from each side on the right side of two side panels. These marks will be used later to line up the basket handles. Next, on the wrong side of each of the 4 side panel make a couple of small pencil marks 1/2″ down from the top of the accent piece. You will use these marks to line up the bag batting.
8. Lightly spray a 6″ x 6″ square of bag batting and place it on the wrong side of one of the side panels. Use the marks you made in the previous step to make sure the bag batting is placed a 1/2″ down from the top of the accent piece and a 1/4″ from the sides and bottom. Repeat for the remaining side panels.
9. Lightly spray the remaining 6″ x 6″ square of bag batting and place it on the wrong side of the 6 1/2″ square of fabric. This will become the bottom of the basket. Tip: I like to quickly press the fabric after I’ve attached the bag batting, I find it helps ensure that the adhesive is set properly, it also lets me smooth out any wrinkles if I need to.
10. The sides and bottom of the basket will need to be quilted to prevent the bag batting from shifting later. I used a simple straight line stitch 1/8″ on either side of the accent/basket pieces and again 1/2″ up from the bottom of each piece. For the bottom of the basket I used the same straight line stitch 1/2″ in from each side.
11. Ensuring that you place the side panels which have had the handle lines marked on them on opposite sides of the bottom panel, use a 1/4″ seam allowance to sew each side panel to the bottom panel. Start and stop 1/4″ from each end and tack back to secure your stitches. Repeat with the remaining two side panels
12. Place the completed wool felt applique shape/s on the side panels which don’t have the handle marks on them (or on each panel if you prefer). When you are happy with the placement, cover with a spare piece of fabric or pressing cloth and press with a hot iron to adhere them to the basket panels.
13. Carefully match two side panels and pin in place. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance sew together. Try not to sew the bag batting into the seam allowance. Repeat with the other side seams. Tip: Make sure the join between the accent and basket piece matches up before you pin in place.
When all of the side seams have been joined you basket should look like the image below.
14. Turn the basket right side out. It’s worth spending a little time at this stage to ensure the seam allowances are pulled through to the inside and the bag batting is sitting nicely on all sides.
15. Repeat steps 11. and 13. with the fabric cut for the basket lining. Make sure you attach a 6 1/2″ side of each 6 1/2″ x 6 3/4″ piece to the lining piece (6 1/2″ square) and not the 6 3/4″ sides.
16. Press a 1/2″ seam around the top of the basket lining. This will make it easier to match it up with the basket.
17. Press each of the 4″ x 7 1/2″ handles pieces in half along the long side. Open them up again and then press each side towards the centre leaving slightly less than a 1/4″ gap from the first pressed line. Insert the 1″ x 7 1/2″ strip of bag batting in one side (image 2). Fold the half again and use binding clips or pins to hold the open side closed (image 3). Sew 1/8″ in from the open side to secure it in place and repeat on the opposite edge (image 4). The handles can be popped aside for a minute while you get the basket and lining together. Tip: I like to place a pencil mark a 1/2″ from each end of the finished handle to use as a guide when I insert them into the basket.
18. With the basket right side out and the lining wrong side out slip the lining inside the basket. Start by folding the basket outer fabric over the bag batting. Pop a pin through from the inside to the outside to mark where the handles will go and then place a pin on the outside of the basket in the same spot. You can then remove the pin from the inside. Insert the handles between the basket fabric and lining fabric and pin securely in place to the outside only. Tip: The basket handles start 1″ from the corners if you run into any trouble or forget to mark the spot with a pin.
Work slowly around the basket ensuring that each of your corner seams match up pinning the basket to the lining as you go. As you go past each handle reposition your pin so that the lining is caught as well.
19. Finish off your basket by sewing 1/8″ and then 1/4″ around the top of the basket.
20. Fill your basket up with lots of lovely Easter goodies or treats or, maybe if you leave it out the Easter Bunny will fill up for you!
If you make one of these little baskets it would be so great if you could let me know. I’d love to see pictures of your finished work too :), feel free to send me an email, tag me @shequiltsalot on Instagram or use the hashtag #shequiltsaloteasterbasket so I don’t miss it!
Until next time,