Like a lot of crafters, I’m a big fan of the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy. I’d much rather fix something than throw it away and buy a new one. Plus, I like the challenge of working out how to fix things.
So when the lining on our linen basket tore off, I switched into my ‘make do and mend’ mode. The original lining was just a thin plastic, which had torn off before and I’d just sewn it back in place, through the wicker of the basket. But this time it broke, it had become too short to reach the bottom of the basket if I mended it. So I got to play with some fabric instead…
Linen basket inside
As you can see, I didn’t have enough of any one fabric in my stash to line the whole thing, so I used three different fabrics, which I think go together – and anyway, I like the patchwork look!
Now, figuring out what size pieces I needed was a challenge of mathematics, involving the use of a tape measure and pi – no, not apple pie (although I’m sure that would’ve helped!), but the old 3.14 pi that relates to circles.
So if you need help lining a basket, or anything else, here’s how I did it…
First, I worked out the size of the circle to go in the bottom of the basket. For this, just measure across the inside of the basket, at the bottom, from the widest point to the widest point. This is the diameter, mine was 24cm. Draw a circle with this diameter onto some paper, plus your seam allowance all around (I used a 2cm seam allowance, so my circle was 28cm in diameter). This will be the template for the lining bottom.
Linen basket diagram 1: lining circle
Next, I worked out the height of the two side pieces I would need. For this, just measure the side of your basket, on the inside, from bottom to top. Mine was 45cm. I added a 2cm seam allowance for the bottom, making 47cm. At the top, I decided to create a 15cm fold of fabric over to the outside to help hold the lining in place. So I added 15cm to the height, plus a 2cm hemming allowance, making 17cm. The overall height of each of my side pieces is 64cm, divided into 47cm for the area inside the basket and 17cm for the fold over to the outside.
Linen basket diagram 2: measure side of basket
With me so far? Good, because this next bit is where pi comes in.
Next, I worked out the width of the bottom of the two side pieces. For the bottom, take the diameter measurement you took before – for me, this was 24cm – and multiply it by pi (3.14). For me, this comes to 75.36 – this is the circumference of the bottom circle of the basket. Since I wanted to have two side pieces, I needed to divide this by 2, which for me equals 37.68. I rounded up to 38cm. Then I added my 2cm seam allowance to both sides, which comes to 42cm. If you only wanted one side piece, just use the circumference measurement (such as 75cm) and add your seam allowance to both sides of that (such as 75 + 2 + 2 = 79cm).
Linen basket diagram 3: side piece bottom measurement
Next, I worked out the width of the top of the two side pieces. Follow the same process as above, first by measuring the diameter of the top of the basket, from the widest point of the circle to the widest point on the other side. For me, this was 35cm. Multiply this by pi (3.14). For me, this comes to 109.9 – this is the circumference of the top circle of the basket. Because I was having two side pieces, I divided this by 2, which equals 54.95. I rounded up to 55cm. Then I added my 2cm seam allowance to both sides, which comes to 59cm.
Linen basket diagram 4: side piece top measurement
I cut a piece of paper using all these measurements to form my side piece template (I tend to use wrapping paper because it’s so nice and roomy).
Linen basket diagram 5: side piece template
Then all I needed to do was cut my fabric, sew all the pieces together and hem the top. It’s a fairly snug fit at the top, but this is good for helping to hold it in place. Have fun lining your baskets and other items!