How to Make Basket Liner

Free Basket Patterns

Basket Case

By Barb Griffin

Browse upscale gift shops and you'll find a variety of embellished baskets filled with goodies. Line your own baskets, fill them with an assortment of homemade or bakery breads, soup or cookie mixes and small gifts, and give them as hostess gifts. Coordinate baskets to fit any hobby, holiday or home.

Look for baskets with relatively straight sides and even weaves. Determine whether the liner will be removable for laundering--a good idea for baskets holding food--or permanently attached to the basket sides. How big of a basket do you need? Are the handles sturdy enough to lift the goodies you've planned to add?

If the basket will be painted, pickled, whitewashed or glazed, do so prior to lining, and let it dry thoroughly. Spraying the basket with several light coats of liquid and stain repellent helps protect the it.

Rectangular Permanent Liner

For best results, match the basket hue to coordinate with linens or fabrics. As the liner will be hand stitched in place, it's easiest to use solid or woven plaids to blend with the basket colors. Natural fabrics such as 100% cotton or linen work well.


Note: Materials given are for a basket size similar to the 14" x11" x5" basket pictured.

Cutting & Construction
  • Pre-wash fabric to be used for the basket liner. If using purchased dishtowels, remove stitching from hems. Press the fabric using a spray sizing for a crisp finish.
  • Measure the basket liner width and length beginning at one side upper edge, into and across the basket bottom and up the opposite side to the upper edge. Add 2" to the width and the length measurements (Figure 1).

    • Cut the fabric according to the measurements taken. Turn the outer edges under 1" and press. Unfold the edges and insert the fusible web strips into the hem; press in place. Remove the paper backing, refold along the pressed creases and fuse.
    • Center and smooth the pressed fabric, wrong side down, into in the basket bottom. Secure the liner with pushpins at the inside corners.
    • Beginning at one side upper edge center point, secure the liner with pushpins (Figure 2). Work to within 2" of the corners, smoothing the fabric as you go. Repeat this step for all four sides.

Figure 1
Measuring rectangular baskets:

Figure 2
Secure liner in basket with pushpins.

  • At the corner, pleat the extra fabric to the wrong side, press the pleat to one side with your fingers and secure with a pushpin. Repeat in same manner for all corners.
  • Thread a tapestry needle with a 30"-length of upholstery-weight thread. Beginning at one inside corner, hand-tack the fabric to the basket base using small straight stitches. If it's difficult to maneuver between the basket's reeds, pliers can help pull the needle through the narrow openings. Take small stitches that will blend into the fabric background. Continue around the basket bottom perimeter, removing the pushpins as you go.

  • Rethread the needle and, beginning at a bottom corner, blind stitch up the corner miter to the fabric upper edge. Hand stitch along the liner top edge, securing it to the basket edge; continue to the next corner. Sew each liner side to the basket edge in this manner. Hide the thread ends by securing several knots within the basket weave. Remove the pushpins and smooth the fabric along the basket edges and at the corners. Press by holding a steam iron over the liner.

  • If the basket has an open weave at the upper edge, a ribbon or fabric tie can be woven through the wicker. Make two ties the basket length plus 20", by the width. The extra 20 inches allows enough fabric to tie a bow at either basket end. Determine the tie width, double it and add 1" for seam allowances. For example: For 3"-wide ties for a 10"x14" basket, cut two ties 7"x48".

  • Fold the ties in half lengthwise with right sides together. Cut each tie end at an angle (Figure 3). Leaving a 4" opening along the long edge for turning, stitch the tie long and shorts ends with a 1/2" seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn right side out and slipstitch the opening closed; press the tie flat. Repeat for the second tie.

Figure 3
Angle tie ends.

  • Leaving 10" free and beginning where you want one bow positioned, wrap or weave the tie through the wicker halfway around the basket, ending with another 10" tail at the opposite basket side. Repeat with the second tie, weaving it along the opposite sides. Tie the tails into bows.

Round Ruffled, Removable Liner

Baskets with ruffles spilling over the sides are both feminine and functional. The fabrics, ribbons and decorative floral trims chosen will determine how fun or formal a basket will be. Baskets with straight or gently sloping sides are easiest to line. Ribbon ties hidden under the ruffle secure the liner to the basket, so the liner may be removed and laundered as needed.


    Note: Materials given are for a 12" round basket.

  • One round or oval basket
  • 1 to 2 yards of 45"-wide fabric for liner and ruffle
  • 3 yards of 1 1/2"-wide wire-edge ombre ribbon to wrap handle
  • 2 1/2 to 3 yards of 3/8"-wide satin ribbon for hidden ties
  • 1/3 yard of fusible interfacing
  • Paper for tracing basket bottom
  • Coordinating single-fold bias tape
  • Matching upholstery-weight thread
  • Spray sizing

Figure 4
Measuring round baskets:

Cutting & Construction
  • Pre-wash the fabric to be used for basket liner. If using purchased dishtowels, remove the edge stitching. Press the fabric flat using a spray sizing for a crisp finish.

  • Place the basket on top of the paper and trace around the basket bottom with a pencil. This will be approximately 1/4" wider than the inside of the basket bottom. Cut 1/4" outside the traced line to create the liner bottom pattern. Press the pattern into the basket to be sure it extends 1/2" beyond the exact basket bottom. Use 1/2"-wide seam allowances unless otherwise indicated.

  • From the basket bottom pattern, cut two fabric pieces and one interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to one fabric bottom piece wrong side. With wrong sides facing, baste the two bottom pieces together with a 1/4" seam allowance.

  • Measure the basket sides from the lower inside edge to the upper edge. Check this measurement at several points around the basket perimeter, as the sides may vary in height. For the side lining width, add 1" to the longest side measurement.

  • For the side lining length, measure the inside bottom perimeter or the upper edge perimeter, whichever is larger (Figure 4). Add 1" to this measurement.
  • Cut two fabric strips equal to the determined measurements.

  • With right sides together, sew the side lining pieces together at the short ends. Press the seams open. Right sides together, pin one side lining piece to the basket bottom lining piece, aligning the raw edges. Ease the fabric to adjust for any imperfections in the basket.
  • For baskets with a wider upper edge, gather the lower edge of the side lining piece to fit. Quarter-mark the bottom lining perimeter and the side lining lower edge. Match the side and bottom quarter sections. Gather and adjust evenly to fit each segment.

  • Stitch the side piece to the bottom piece; clip the curves. For baskets with a handle, fit the liner to the basket and pin-mark the handle positions.

  • For baskets without carrying handles, find the ruffle length by multiplying the basket upper edge perimeter by 2.5. To determine the ruffle width, multiply by 2 and add 1". Cut a fabric strip using these measurements. Pin and stitch the ruffle short ends, right sides together. Press the seam open. Fold the ruffle strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, aligning the raw edges. To gather the raw edges, zigzag over upholstery thread, staying inside the seam allowance. Quarter-mark the ruffle and the side lining upper edge. Gather and pin the ruffle to each side segment, adjust evenly; stitch and press.

  • For baskets with handles, break the ruffle at the handles. Find the length and width as above and cut a fabric strip using these measurements. Cut the ruffle fabric in half lengthwise. Fold each ruffle piece in half lengthwise with right sides together, sew the short ends using 1/4" seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn right side out and press. Align the ruffle raw edges and gather by zigzagging over upholstery thread. Pin-mark each ruffle midpoint and quarter-mark the lining upper edge, beginning at one handle position. Allowing 1/4" between ruffle ends, align the ruffle and lining raw edges. Pull the upholstery thread to gather the ruffle pieces to fit the lining; adjust the gathers evenly and press.

  • Attach the remaining side lining piece. With the ruffle sandwiched between the lining layers and with right sides together, align the raw edges; pin (Figure 5). Stitch around the upper edge of the liner. Turn right side out and press.

Figure 5
Sandwich ruffle between
lining layers.

  • Match the outer side lining with the basket liner bottom, gathering as necessary to fit. Stitch the liner sides to the bottom, aligning raw edges. Trim the seam to 1/4" and edge finish using single-fold bias tape and overlapping the ends.

  • At the lining outside upper edge seamline (under the ruffle), divide the perimeter into eight equal segments and pin-mark. Cut eight 10" satin ribbon lengths. Tack the center of a ribbon length at each pin mark. Fit the lining into the basket. Flip the ruffles to the basket inside and tie each ribbon in a bow around the uppermost side reed. Flip the liner to the basket outside and fluff.

  • For a decorative touch, add wire-edge ribbon threaded through the basket handle. Tie the ribbon center in a knot around one handle base. Crisscross and twist the ribbon around the handle, working across the basket. Finish at the opposite side with a large bow and streamers. Add silk ivy and floral embellishment as desired.