Fabric strips, piping cord, a little time and patience….you have made a unique one of a kind rag basket!
- Fabric – torn into strips
- Piping (cording)
- Large needle or large safety pin
- Masking tape
- Wire 18 or 19 gauge
The piping (cording) that I like to use for my baskets is found in craft stores in the upholstery area. It comes in different sizes, the cost is around 30 to 40 cents a yard depending on size. For the multi colored basket (6” round bottom) I used 7 yards of piping and about 1 yard of fabric, the oval basket (9” by 6 1/2″) made of all the same fabric, I used 10 yards of piping, and all use 2 yards of fabric. So it takes more piping than you think!
The needle: I’m using a plastic yarn needle (it has a large eye) but a large safety pin will work.
First you want to tear you fabric into 1” to 1 1/4” wide strips, if you are using scrap fabric you do need the strips to be at least 18” to 20” long. With masking tape, tape one end of the cord, then cover and wrap with a strip of fabric, wrapping 4” to 5” on the cord (wrap with a slight angle) and start to roll into circle. This might take one or two tries, don’t give up, the starting point is the hardest!
Slide on your large needle, or pin a large safety pin to the end of fabric strip, holding fabric wrapped piping in a circle, pull needle through, then push needle back up on other side of fabric strip. If it is not holding tight, try again…remember this is the hardest part of making the basket….do not give up!!
In the picture below, I have loosened up my circle so you can see where to put the needle. But you do want a tight stitch that will hold!
The picture below shows where to push the needle back up, making sure you are holding on tight to the circle! Now push needle down on other side of the fabric strip and wrap the fabric 2 times around piping and make another stitch!!
This is what up should have! Now it’s time for a new strip….just lay the new fabric strip under the one you have been stitching and wrap the new strip around (you want it tight)! And keep going!!
Keep going until you have the size bottom you like!! Tip: before you start the sides, count the rows, in the picture above there are seven rows for the bottom, all sides need to be equal, and I’m ready to start up the side! To make the sides going up (no worries the hard part is done), you want to push the piping up on the fabric wrapped cord and keep stitching!!!
You want the sides of the basket to be even also! So count up on all sides, you want one side to have one row more than the other. The handle will even out the sides! But I like to add wire for extra support! I like the wire to run around the top row and handle of my baskets. This means you need to start the wire when the side count is 7 on one side and 6 on the other (for this basket). Cut wire to your size (top rows and handle) and use masking tape to hold in place (it is easy to add more wire if needed).
Now that the wire is in place, go half way around, again the side count is not even. Now we are ready for the handle, this basket has a double handle, below I show a single handle and side handles!! Make a tight stitch and bend up and over to form the handle. The first side you will just wrap with a fabric strip, until it gets to the other side. Now bend cord with wire back to the other side. In the bend area make a stitch, keep tight and keep making more stitches around the wrapped handle side, holding the handle together.
Now bring the wired piping down and bend around the top of the basket, this will be the last row….All most done!! Cut the piping and wire where it meets back to other side of handle. Cut piping at an angle and wrap tight with tape.
Keep wrapping and making stitches. When you come to the end, wrap all the way to the tip (you do not want the piping to show through) then back to make the last stitches. With the needle push through a stitch inside of basket and make a knot and cut off any extra fabric. Done….now that wasn’t so hard!!!
This is the inside of the basket.
For a single handle basket, again the side count will be off by one! Add wire before you start the last row on the side, continue the wire for the handle, and for the last row on the other side of the basket. The single handle you bend over shaping into your handle size and then back the other way, making the last row of the basket. Make a good tight stitch before and after the handle on each side.
The oval (oblong) basket, you just need to shape the bottom and then make the sides! This basket I use smaller size piping and used the same fabric!
This is the bottom. I placed a button so you can see the center, and how I’m making both sides even.
If you run out of piping, it is easy to add more, cut the piping at angle (both the new and what you are using) fit them together and tape tight and keep going!
No one will know!!
This basket has side handles, and again I used wire to help shape them!
I love making these for gifts!
My next basket I’m going to try using ribbon instead of fabric….I need to find a sale on ribbon!
Hope you will be inspired to make rag baskets!
How much rope did you use for the oval basket? How much fabric?
For the oval basket I used 10 yards of piping and 2 yards of fabric.
Are you going to make a basket?
Thank you for this tutorial! I love your baskets with the bright colors! How do you get your shape so perfect? Mine came out a bit wonky. The rows don’t line up so nicely and don’t look at right as yours. Maybe I have to use more stitches and put them closer together? Mine just doesn’t look as neat and tidy as yours. Any tips are appreciated! Thank you!
Do not give up making the baskets, keep trying! Maybe if you make sure to wrap twice then make a knot, and pull a little tight on the knot! Also you might play around with your fabric strip size, try it just an inch wide!
It’s supposed so say … Not as tight as yours, not “as right”. Autocorrect.
Love these so much. Hope to try and make soon!
Have you ever tried the pre-made basket bottoms that are made out of fiberboard or wood that you stitch through and then begin the coils? My bottoms are always a bit wobbly and wondered if that would help?
Wow – GREAT tutorial. I appreciate all the detail and pictures. Best one I have seen so far. Will be making this soon. Thank you.