this is the project that marked my return to sewing.
i learned to sew as a youngster (on my sew easy) and carried on with it right through high school. my twenties, however, saw me neglecting my sewing skills in favour of travel and adventure. when i finally settled long enough to start nesting again, i bought my first grown-up sewing machine. despite moving with me from the arctic to the rockies and from the rockies to ontario, my machine didn’t see much regular use until i faced 3 months away from work after knee surgery. i found myself a copy of sew liberated and became inspired. i started searching for fabric shops and discovered the likes of amy butler and purl soho online (this would be akin to a trendy bargain-hunter finding h&m). i planned all kinds of nifty projects to while away my time off, and this was my first.
i chose molly’s sewn stash basket pattern from the purl bee (one of the most amazing craft blogs ever). these make great multi-purpose storage baskets – perfect for corralling yarn, books, knickers, extra toilet paper…they have so much potential!
the bird basket was take one. i chose lightweight cotton for both the exterior and interior (that great bird fabric was from ikea), which i learned wasn’t particularly well suited for this use. even though they were stabilized with a mid-weight interfacing, the fabrics weren’t sturdy enough for the basket to stand up on its own when it was empty. still, it’s perfect for holding mitts and scarves and shopping bags – all of the bits and bobs that collect near the front door.
i wised up for take two. i used heavier canvas-weight fabric for the exterior and the lining, et voila – they stand on their own and hold their shape nicely. i thought that the mama basket needed a baby basket, so i modified the pattern in order to make a smaller version of the purl soho size. aren’t they cute together?
actually, when i think back, i made another slight modification – instead of hand stitching much of the bottom and back seams as instructed (sooo tedious and time-consuming, not to mention super difficult to do with 4 to 6 layers of canvas-weight material), i machine-sewed everything and it worked out perfectly (but see the safety caveat below).
these baskets taught me that i need to sew and create. they led me to discover that there are legions of like-minded crafty folk out there, eager to share their patterns, ideas and experiences. they also taught me a valuable safety lesson worth noting…whilst powering my machine through said thick layers, my needle broke and the tip flew from the machine, narrowly missing my left eyeball. yikes! from thereafter i donned my cycling glasses whenever sewing the thickest sections. who says sewing is for sissies?