I made the Fabric Easter Basket from 2009 on the Moda Bake Shop site and I have some tips to save your fingers if you are thinking of making one, too. I used the Bandana honey bun by Me & My Sister Designs, which has very nice spring colors/patterns, including a repeated basket weave pattern appropriate for a basket.
The tutorial on the original site is very good, and I found that the fabric is enough to do exactly as it states, contrary to one comment from someone running out of fabric. I had some left over, yet covered all the piping. I was careful to save strips of varying colors and patterns to make the handle fit in with the patchwork nature of the basket—you could accidentally end up with three or four strips of the same pattern in different colors if you don’t think ahead, but you might choose to make the handle stand out that way.
I did as the tutorial suggested and cut each strip in the honey bun in half at the fold, and then separated them into color piles before sewing the 4-piece strips. They were right that a longer strip would be hard to easily wind around the piping. As it was, I did all the wrapping standing up at the back of an armchair where I could have the piping coiled on the seat and then dropping into a large tote bag at my feet.
The sorting, matching, sewing, and wrapping was just as easy as it looks, even if the wrapping could be tedious, making me occasionally dizzy. The biggest task to master is sewing the piping into the actual basket shape. The flat bottom was easy, but my sore fingers gave a clue into how hard it is to push that needle through two rows of piping. Once you begin stacking the rows to make the sides, it is even harder to get the needle in at the right angle, both going up and down, at least until you have a few rows stacked.
I hurt my fingers and hands so badly that I had to put it down for a few days and look for better tools. I thought of using a large curved upholstery needle, but I didn’t want to poke such large holes in the cotton, which, after all, has unfinished edges and can fray easily. I tried a variety of thimbles—metal, plastic, leather—but they were so cumbersome that it was frustrating. I knew there must be some pliers that quilters use, and found the Fons & Porter rubber-tipped pliers online, but not at any local stores. I ended up finding a pair of Bead Buddy Nylon Jaw Flat-Nosed Pliers, normally used for beading projects, but they worked wonderfully. After finding those pliers, the job went quickly, although it seemed more like construction than sewing.
My basket seems a little more oval than the one in the tutorial, probably because of how I started the first coil, but I like it that way. It measures 8.5″ x 7.5″ and 8 ” high. I had been trying to sew the coil together at my granddaughter’s last week, but had to wait until I got home. She’s waiting to put some eggs in it, and it looks like it will hold a lot of them.
I never found a good way to make the inside free from the construction stitches—maybe that’s for a future basket—but I did keep the sides and outside bottom free of them. When I got to the top row, I was careful to make small stitches on top that hardly show. I won’t be trying this any time soon again, but now I know how to save myself from a lot of hand pain.