Emily’s picnic basket liner tutorial

Today’s tutorial is from Emily at Strawberry Patch! She’s whipped up a brilliant picnic basket liner using the perfectly-suited More Happy Dishes prints from Ruby Star Sparkle by Melody Miller. I kept this basket as long as I could get away with it, using it to display books on our table, because I looooooove it! And now you can make one too, with any picnic basket you have. Read on for the tutorial…. Thanks Emily!

Make a cute basket liner and turn any basket into the perfect picnic companion, with pockets for cutlery, bottles, napkins and more with a drawstring top to keep food safe. Throughout the tutorial I will refer to my own measurements for my particular basket, when making your liner simply substitute these for the measurements you will take from your basket. You can buy baskets similar to the one I used online.

Fabric requirements:

  • 1 meter of main fabric
  • ½ meter of pocket fabric
  • Skinny quarter of contrasting print for drawstring channel (you could use the pocket fabric)
  • 2.8 meters of ribbon for the drawstring
  • 1.6 meters of ribbon for the side ties.

First measure the depth of your basket. Mine is 7”. Add 1” for seam allowances.
Measure the circumference of your basket at the top edge. Mine is 43.5”. Add 2” for seam allowances.
Measure the circumference at the bottom of your basket. Mine is 30”. Add 2” for seam allowances.

Side Pieces and Pockets
Divide your top and bottom circumference measurements in half (as we will construct the lining with two side pieces) Cut two of the following from your main fabric:

The easiest way to do this is to cut a rectangle 22.75”x8”, press this in half and measure 8” along the bottom edge, mark. Then line this mark up with the top corner and cut.

For the pockets cut 4 pieces from the lining fabric, using your bottom measurement (ie 16”) and make them large enough to extend approximately half way up the basket liner sides you have just cut.

I cut mine at 20.25” along the top, 5” along the side and 16” along the base.

Take 2 pocket pieces right sides together and sew along the top edge only using a ¼” seam allowance. Turn right side out and topstitch. Repeat for remaining pocket pieces.

Place one completed pocket unit on top of a main fabric side piece and mark your pockets. I marked the centre of each pocket and then 4” either side of the centre line.

Sew over the marked lines, backstitching at the top of the pocket edge.
Repeat for the other pocket and main fabric side piece. Adjust the size of the pockets if desired to hold different items.

Baste other 3 raw edges.

Put the two completed side pieces right sides together and sew down side seams using a ½” seam allowance. Finish seams.

Bottom piece

Draw around the base of your basket to ascertain the correct shape, then adjust until it matches the bottom circumference measurement of your basket you took earlier. Mine was 30” and I needed to move my drawn line in around ½” all the way around so it matched.

Cut this oval shape from your main fabric and mark the 4 quarter points by folding in half and half again and pressing.

Match the 4 quarter points up with the side seams and centre pocket stitch lines on the side pieces with fabric right sides together, pin in place. Sew with a ½” seam allowance. Finish seam.

Drawstring section

Take your original measurement for the top of the side pieces (mine is 22.75”) and determine the distance from the side of the basket into the centre at the top and add a 1” seam allowance (mine is 7.5”). Cut from main fabric 4 pieces 22.75”x7.5”.

Cut 2 pieces from a contrasting print for the drawstring channel 3”x22.75”. Iron in half so you have two pieces 1.5”x22.75”

Sew one 22.75”x7.5” pieces to each long side of the contrasting print. If using a directional print for the main fabric take care to sew them the correct way up (as one will be the inside of the drawstring section and need to face the opposite way)

You will have two of these completed units:

Put the completed units right sides together and sew down the two short sides with a ½” seam allowance. DO NOT SEW ON THE CONTRASTING DRAWSTING SECTION, backstitch before and after this section.

Press seams open.

Turn right side out and topstitch approximately 1/8” from each side of the seam line. Do this a total of 4 times (2 on each seam) this will help hold the seam allowance flat in the drawstring channel.

Fold the finished piece in half with wrong sides together.


Baste bottom edges together. Pin to the top edge of the completed basket liner inner, lining up the side seams and with the inside of the drawstring liner (any side if you don’t have a directional print) facing right sides together with the side of the basket liner.

Baste in place with a ¼” seam allowance.

Outer Basket Pieces

I decided that all my outer pieces should be 3.5” deep and added 1” seam allowance to get 4.5”. I then decided that between the handles should be 3.5” wide (plus 1” sa) so I cut two squares 4.5” from my main fabric (one for each side)

Press both sides and bottom edge over ¼” then another ¼” to enclose the raw edge. Topstitch and repeat for other piece.

Next measure from one handle to the other, mine was 17.5” (add 1” sa). Cut two pieces 18.5” x 4.5”. Again press under the raw edges and topstitch the 3 sides.

Now you are ready to sew the last pieces on!

Line up the centre of the small pieces with the centre on each side of the basket liner and pin in place.

Line up the centre of the long pieces with the side seams and pin in place.

Sew in place with a ½” seam allowance and finish seams.

Press seam allowance towards the bottom.

Topstitch just below the seam line to hold in place. You will be sewing the seam allowance and the inner side pieces together, the drawstring section and outer side pieces will be folded up out of the way.

This is how the topstitching will look from the right side when completed.

The last step is attaching the ribbons.

Cut 2 pieces 140cm long. Thread one through the drawstring channel and back down the other. Repeat with other ribbon this time starting on the opposite side of the channel.

Cut 8 pieces 20cm long and sew one to each corner of the outer (flap) pieces.

Put into your basket, tie up ribbons to secure and fill with a picnic!

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