How to Cover Baskets with Fabric…Sew or No Sew Methods

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How to Cover Baskets with Fabric…Sew or No Sew Methods

One of my favorite organizing ideas for our very busy office/ sewing room/ school room/ craft room, was to label a bunch of fabric covered baskets with the types of activities done in this ‘activity’ room. 

Up until a couple of months ago, this room was ALWAYS a mess. What can you expect when I have three-four computers and two sewing machines all being used in the same 14-16’ room?  We have four desks (one a huge U-shaped one) taking up most of the room. 

fabric baskets 007-2000

So I purchased some small 6 x 11 fabric (approximate size ) baskets from Wal-mart at $2.50 a piece and labeled each with an activity. I have baskets for our main sewing supplies, devotional materials, school materials, pet food and medicines, bills & receipts, my father’s business papers, computer games, photos, gift wrapping and other postal supplies, returns, and filing.

I was thrilled to discover that this worked perfectly to contain the chaos. Someone can walk in, grab the postage/shipping basket, wrap a package and label it using the labels, sharpie, tape and scissors. Then all they have to do is pitch everything back in the basket and put it back on the shelf.

fabric baskets 003-2000 

The only hitch in my mind is that they were so ugly! If money is not problem for you, there are a lot of cute baskets out there, but I bought baskets that cost very little and were very plain. In fact the fabric was some kind of synthetic that wouldn’t last a week of regular use.

Really though, it’s nice to be able to coordinate your baskets with the theme of your room. I think there’s nothing prettier than a fabric covered basket. There are more involved ways that I can think of to make a nicer basket cover, but I didn’t have a lot of time to get ready for the company that was coming. I needed a quick solution.


I started out sewing these covers exactly the way I cover everything else..pillows, people, furniture cushions, podiums…

  1. Cut out pieces to fit all ‘faces’ of the basket. (I cut a long rectangle for the big sides..and then ‘squares’ for the sides.
  2. Pin the pieces wrong side out onto the basket.
  3. Pull the perfectly tailored cover off.
  4. Sew the seams.
  5. Finish the raw edge by trimming off the excess.

Then either ….
  • hem the raw edge
  • fold the raw edge over and glue in place
  • sew a ‘casing’ in the upper edge of your fabric cover and insert elastic.
  • or just glue the raw edge to the basket..which is what I did this time since I was in such a hurry.
If you want to this VERY nicely, you could do TWO covers…and turn one inside out to cover the INSIDE of your basket as well as the outside.

fabric baskets 010-2000 


If you aren’t a seamstress…or if you run out of time as I did AND you can wrap a gift..then this is the method for you! :o)
  1. Take your basket and simply place it in the middle of a rectangle or wide strip of fabric big enough to cover both large sides with just a little bit of excess. 
  2. Fold over the edges (over the rim and into the basket about 1”) and either pin or glue in place.
  3. Now trim off some of the excess where the basket angles down to the base since most baskets are usually wider at the top than at the bottom.
  4. Fold the fabric up and over the rim of the basket on both sides so the fabric is pretty snug. Pin in place if necessary.
  5. Hot glue the raw edges to the basket to attach it.

fabric baskets 013-2000
fabric baskets 011-2000

  1. Now for the ends.  Lay your basket on one end and trace around it on the fabric with a pen (inside of the fabric..not the outside).
  2. Cut two end pieces out  of your fabric leaving a border of about a half an inch or so with enough raw edge to fold under neatly.
  3. Iron the end pieces so that the raw edges are folded to the inside and it’s the perfect shape of the ends of your basket. (Leave the top edge unfolded.)
  4. Now glue your end pieces in place. The folded edges should cover the raw ends of your wide piece of fabric.  Glue the top unfolded edge over the rim of the basket.
  5. If you want to this again for the inside, you can cut out two of your long rectangle and your end pieces. If you do this, be sure to fold under the top edges of everything so it looks nice at the rim of the basket.

  6. fabric baskets 012-2000

There are all kinds of ways to tweak this, but hopefully I’ve gotten you started. Try using scraps of color coordinating fabric. I used a lot of scraps so I had to find all sorts of ways to glue my pieces in place.
But I do think the results were pretty good. I loved having nice fabric baskets and it was the perfect touch for what is ‘mostly’ my sewing room.  

Be sure to email me if you have any questions. Have fun sprucing up your messiest room!  Baskets are lifesavers when it comes to clutter!  

What is your favorite way to use a basket in the house?

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Amy said...

These look great! I feel like I should bookmark this page. . . I, too, love to use baskets. They've come in the most handy in my bathroom closet. . . dental, kids' medicine, first aid, soaps, etc. One time I divided everything into categories and made up tags for the baskets. We've used them for years now. I remember thinking it took less time than a couple of scrapbook pages, but we see it a lot more. Seems they could use a bit of freshening up now:)

Room for More said...

PERFECT! I have been shopping for baskets to go under the changing table and have struggled to find 6 baskets that coordinate and that are affordable. I never thought to buy the canvas ones and recover! PERFECT idea. When I am finished I will post on my blog and link the tutorial back to you! Thanks again!! I am almost finished with our draperies for the family room and our bedroom and then I will get those baskets completed!

nanasknoll said...

What a great idea.
I usually cannot buy things until they are at a thrift store price, so this would be a great way to make them pretty and usefull again.

Jenni said...

they look awesome! wow! you are organized! i am envious!

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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