Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Toy Basket

By-Jenny2

I hope you had a great 4th! We had to cancel all our holiday weekend plans due to Ben's fever and suspected ear infection. On top of it all, it was a cold, rainy few days. I am ready for summer! But, instead of wallowing in my disappointment over this whole gloomy package of a weekend, I decided to be productive! I had been wanting to make a couple of fabric baskets for a while, to store and hide a bunch of Ben's miscellaneous toys in the living room. It was time to get to it!

Jenny: Toy Basket

Since we have a bunch of red and natural tones in our living and dining rooms, I picked those same colors for the baskets. I often buy table cloths and curtains when thrift shopping so that I have a good amount of medium to heavy weight fabric to repurpose. This was the perfect project for these thrifted fabrics! I used a striped table cloth (Ben has been obsessed with stripes lately, I figured that would make him happy!) and a beige canvas curtain. I also had strips of natural linen in my scrap box, I thought this was a great project in which to use them.

Jenny: Toy Basket

As usual, I drew my little plans and wrote down my measurements in my trusty notebook. The reason I drew 2 identical baskets is that I started out not knowing whether I would make 2 containers with the same fabrics. I realize it's a bit of a waste of time to draw 2 of the same, he he. I had learned the basics of container-making from Maya's bucket pattern and then experimenting with my own designs, so I just based this toy basket design on that experience.

Jenny: Toy Basket

I cut and prepped the fabric for 2 baskets. I then attached the linen strips to the top of the striped fabric. I ironed the seam toward the linen and top-stitched over that. Have I mentioned how much I love top-stitching?

Jenny: Toy Basket
Jenny: Toy Basket
Jenny: Toy Basket

After sewing all the panels together, then attaching the bottom, I pinned the handles on the short sides of the baskets and secured those on by stitching then back-stitching close to the edge. The handles are simple rectangles of scrap curtain fabric -- I folded and pressed 1/4 inch on both sides, then folded in the middle and pressed, then top-stitched closed along one edge and top-stitched for prettiness and evenness along the other edge.

Jenny: Toy Basket

I repeated the panel and bottom assembly for the lining, including a layer of batting.

Jenny: Toy Basket

I placed a layer of recycled cardboard at the bottom of the outer basket, then stuffed the lining/batting inside. Despite all those layers, the basket was too wobbly for my taste.

Jenny: Toy Basket
Jenny: Toy Basket

After much debating, I decided to give interfacing another shot. I know I complained about it recently... But, I had a good amount of heavyweight interfacing left from making my pincushion caddies, enough to finish one basket. So, I gave it a go.

Note: including interfacing in a project should be done BEFORE you sew all the parts together. What a pain to cut and trim the pieces to the right size, then insert and iron them into the assembled basket. But, it worked well enough. As seems to be habitual, my results were quite sloppy, but the interfacing actually worked as it should, without ridges or bubbles in the fabric. Probably because I ironed the hell out of it!

As you can see, the basket actually stands up properly!

Jenny: Toy Basket

After I top-stitched all along the top to close the basket layers, and after I ironed the edges one more time, I let Ben have his way with his new toy basket! He immediately filled it with all the furniture and accessories for his little farm house.

Jenny: Toy Basket
Jenny: Toy Basket

Altogether, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. So much better than the ugly plastic storage we were using until now! I decided not to attach the extra handle in the middle of the long side (see my drawing), I think it's enough to have the two handles at the top, and Ben doesn't seem to have a problem sliding the basket out of the shelves (neither does the cat, for that matter. Argh!)

Another note: the basket turned out bigger and more substantial than expected, despite my measuring everything carefully. I think once the panels are connected and it is filled with stuff, it expands in all directions. I was planning on putting the two baskets next to each other on a shelf, but they won't fit. Oh well. I need to go buy more interfacing to finish the second basket, and I guess that one will go on another shelf.

Jenny: Toy Basket

Once again, my baby boy was thrilled with getting another mama-made thing. That was the first thing he asked when he woke up from his nap: "My toy bah-ket done yet, Mommy?" He is starting to ask me to make him stuff now, I love it! He wants striped pajamas next. I told you, stripes are "it" lately!

Angel-mini-buttonJenny do you think anyone has noticed that you are the productive one out of this duo? I've decided not to even try to keep up with you, at least for now. We have talked about this before, it's not so much that I want to be driven to create just because we try to post something each week that we have created. It's more about WHY I haven't created anything that week that starts to get to me. If that's out of whack, I can be pretty sure that things are off elsewhere.   I love that we check in each week, it is a wonderful touchstone for me.  A gentle reminder that I haven't been grounded enough to focus on real time with myself to just sit and really use my hands.  Your consistency and productivity is an inspiration!

I am instantly in love with anything handmade that replaces something plastic, and this bucket is no exception. I also love watching your sewing skills and pattern making skills improve as we continue along with this blog of ours. There is no doubt in my mind that you inherited the sewing gene from your "belle Maman".  I can't wait to see what you come up with next............


(Which pajama pattern are you looking at??????)

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