Use this basket liner tutorial to sew a liner for any size square basket!
Disclaimer: I was provided with free product to write this review. All opinions in this post are 100% mine and not influenced by the company providing the product.
I’m always amazed at how much a simple coat of paint can do! I had this basket sitting around my house, just a plain rectangular basket. The large size made it super handy for storage, but… it’s kinda ugly. Maybe even a whole lot ugly. It was this yellowish color that was popular in the 90s (which is pretty sure when I got it.)
Notice I used the past tense… was. Because I spray painted that baby and now it’s useful AND pretty!
Read below how I did it. PLUS, I’ve got a basket liner tutorial so you can make a custom liner to fit any rectangular basket.
As easy as it is to just pop a coat of spray paint on something and make it pretty, I tend to avoid spray paint projects because I don’t have a good place to do the project. The best I’ve got is my driveway, which requires me pulling out a drop cloth and hoping that it’s not too hot or too cold or too muggy for the paint to work. And then there are all the stray dust particles that always seem to land on my wet paint.
But that’s no longer a problem. The Spray Shelter by HomeRight allows me to set up a spray paint space inside my climate controlled house!
The Spray Shelter is a small pop-up tent that’s made just for spray painting. It’s covered on three sides and has a built in drop cloth to catch your overspray. Setting it up was as easy as popping up the tent and sitting it on my dining room table. 30 seconds and I was ready to spray paint!
And though it’s big enough to spray paint small- to medium- sized projects, it all folds down into a small carrying case so it stores easily.
See that little stand that my basket is on? That’s a Turn Table for Spraying that makes it easy to paint all sides of your project without having to wait for the paint to dry. Or, for those of us who are more impatient, getting fingerprints all in the wet paint.
I painted a side, rotated, painted the next side, until I’d made it all the way around. When I’d gotten it all painted from the top, I gave it some time to dry before turning the basket upside down and painting the bottom, again using the turntable to reach all sides.
When I was done, I just folded the Spray Shelter back up and slid it into the storage bag, ready for my next spray paint project!
So now that you’ve seen how absolutely easy it is to give a plain, ugly basket an updated look with just a coat of paint, let’s take a step further and sew a custom liner.
A lining for a rectangular basket is just 4 easy seams and a casing. The only tricky part is making the pattern so it fits your basket, and that’s not really hard as much as it is just taking measurements and drafting some simple shapes.
Custom Basket Liner Tutorial
Fabric for the liner
Large paper (old newspaper, packing paper, or even the tail end of a roll of wrapping paper)
First things first, we’ve got to take some measurements so you’ll know how big the basket liner needs to be. Unless otherwise noted, take the measurements of the interior of the basket. Because of the thickness of the basket, the outside measurement will be slightly bigger and using those measurements will result in a liner that’s too big for the inside of your basket. (I speak from experience…)
So…. Get out a tape measure and take the following measurements:
Width of the top edge. I’m going to call this the lip.
For my basket, the measurements are length 14”, width 11”, height 6”, and lip 1”. My basket has a pretty wide lip – most baskets will have a smaller lip than this.
Draw the Rectangles
Now that we’ve got the basic measurements, let’s draw some rectangles that represent the main pieces of your basket liner. Get out some big pieces of paper and a ruler, and draw these rectangles. Leave a couple of inches between each of the rectangles, as we’ll be adding on to them at the top edges.
Basket Liner Base - This is the easy one. Just draw out a rectangle that matches the length x width. My rectangle was 14” x 11”.
Basket Liner Sides – Now we’re getting a little more complicated. The side of your basket liner needs to be taller than the side of your basket, to allow it to wrap over the top and have a casing around the bottom. Also, the part that wraps around to the outside will need to be wider than the part that just sits on the inside, so we’ll need to add a bit to just the top.
To start, let’s figure how tall the side pieces need to be. We’ll use this formula:
Basket height + lip + 1” overlap + 1/2” casing (for 1/4” elastic)
I didn’t add in any extra to fold under the edges for the casing – we’ll add that in later as seam allowance.
For my basket, it would be:
6” (basket height) + 1” (lip) + 1” (overlap) + 1/2” (casing) = 8 1/2” side piece height
So, now let’s draw 2 rectangles using that measurement:
--Length x Side Piece Height
--Width x Side Piece Height
My rectangles were 14” x 8 1/2” and 11” x 8 1/2".
Now to add the extra fabric to the top edges of your rectangles.
Feeling overwhelmed with all these measurements? Hang in there! This is the hardest part of the whole project, and we’re nearly done.
Mark the basket height on the sides of the rectangles you drew, measuring up from the bottom.
Measure OUT from the top edge of the side pieces the width of your lip. My lip is 1”, so I measured 1” from either side.
Draw a straight line connecting the dots. These are your side piece patterns. That extra angled bit will give enough width to the top the liner to wrap around the thickness of your basket.
Assemble the Pattern
So now that we’ve got all our basic pieces made, let’s put them together to make a one-piece pattern.
Cut out the basket liner base and side piece patterns.
Trace around the both side piece patterns to make copies, then cut those out as well.
You should now have 1 base and 2 long side piece and 2 short side piece patterns. Arrange them as below, with the base in the center. Tape the pieces together.
At this point, you can place your pattern inside your basket to test the sizing. If it needs adjusting, go ahead and do it now.
VERY IMPORTANT: Your pattern does not yet have seam allowances added. You can do that now by tracing around the pattern again and adding a ½” seam allowance.
The pattern is both horizontally and vertically symmetrical. To save paper and make cutting easier, I folded my pattern in half, and then half again before tracing, like below.
Sew the Liner
Now that we’ve got a pattern, let’s get on to the easy part – actually sewing the liner!
First, cut the pattern out of the fabric. Remember to add your seam allowance when cutting if you didn’t add it to your pattern already.
Sew the 4 corners, right sides facing.
I folded my fabric in half diagonally and sewed 2 corners, then rotated it around and sewed the remaining 2 corners.
Now for the casing. Turn under 1/4”- 3/8” around the top. Press.
Turn under again 1/2”. Press.
Stitch the casing down close to the bottom folded edge, leaving 1 1/2” open to insert the elastic.
Use a safety pin to thread elastic through the casing. The amount of elastic you’ll need will depend on the size of your basket. Basically, you’ll need enough to go around the basket with a little bit of stretch required. (The stretch is what will keep your liner snug in place.)
Overlap the ends of the elastic and sew them together. I usually go back and forth a few times to be sure the seam is good and strong. Trim the ends of the elastic to ¼” to reduce bulk.
Sew the casing closed.
Your liner is finished! Put it in your freshly painted basket and admire your work.
I ended up giving my newly updated basket to my mother. It looks pretty in her bathroom holding towels by her sink! The farmhouse style is a perfect match for her gorgeous 1920s house. (See my recycled wool artwork of her house here.)
But it's also pretty gorgeous as a knitting basket. It's the perfect size to sit by her couch to keep her knitting projects right at hand while she watches TV.