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Laundry Basket Liner

Martha Stewart Living Television

When it comes to laundry, as with any other household chore, having the right equipment is essential. A sturdy, oversize laundry basket with a removable liner is both practical and attractive -- the liner protects delicate clothing from snagging and is a washable barrier between the basket and dirty clothes.

This liner can be made for any size laundry basket. Note that a basket with straight sides will be easier to make a pattern for, but if yours has rounded edges, you can simply estimate the corner points and make your pattern the same way.

Be sure to use a sturdy ribbon for the drawstring (linen bookbinder's tape works well because it's exceptionally strong and elegant). If you prefer, you can substitute grosgrain ribbon or twill tape. Always remove the drawstring before you wash the liner, or it may get bunched up inside the casing and be difficult to remove.

Tools and Materials

  • Kraft paper
  • Ruler
  • Laundry basket
  • About 4 yards cotton muslin, depending on the size of your basket
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Large safety pin
  • 2 three-yard lengths of linen bookbinder's tape, or other sturdy ribbon, for drawstring

Laundry Basket Liner How-To
1. Start by making a pattern for the short ends of the basket (the ends with handles): Tear off a sheet of kraft paper, and place the short end of the basket on top. Mark dots on the paper at each corner of the basket, as well as on the outside edges of the handle. Using a ruler, connect the four corner dots, extending top edge 5 inches for the flap that will fold over the outside of the basket. Draw a line from the points on the outside of the handle to the top of the 5-inch extension. This will create an opening to accommodate the handle. Add 1/2 inch on all sides for seam allowance. Repeat this step for one long end and the bottom of the basket, making sure the end and bottom measurements match up to each other. Adjust the measurements, if necessary.

2. Pin the pattern pieces onto the fabric, and cut out each side. To make a fully lined basket liner, you'll need to cut out doubles of each piece of fabric (four each of long and short ends; two bottoms).

3. With one set of fabric panels, pin the long and short end panels together, allowing for a 1/2-inch seam. Alternate short and long sides when pinning, and make sure that all the seams end up facing the same way. When pinning, follow the shape of the basket -- all the wider edges should be on the top and narrower edges on the bottom. Stitch pieces together, leaving a 1/2-inch opening at the bottom of each seam.

4. Pin the bottom panel to the long ends, making a 1/2-inch seam on each side, and starting and stopping 1/2 inch from ends of seam. Stitch the short sides to the bottom the same way. Clip corners diagonally, and press seams open. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second set of fabric panels.

5. Pin together the top edges of the two pieces, with right sides together, making sure to match up the seams. Mark a 9-inch opening on one long side of the top edge. At the handle notch, mark openings 1 1/4 inches down from the top edge and 1/2 inch in from the side edge, to allow for the drawstring casing.

6. Sew around the entire perimeter, except for the 9-inch opening and casing openings. Clip the corners at the handle openings. Turn liner right side out through the 9-inch opening. Press the top edge, pinning the opening closed. Adjust the seam allowance at casing openings, and press.

7. Topstitch close to the top edge of the liner, around the entire perimeter, then again 3/4 inch below the edge. This will form the casing for your drawstring to run through.

8. Hand-tack the four bottom corners. (This step is optional, but will keep both sides of the liner from shifting.)

9. Cut two 3-yard lengths of linen tape for drawstrings. Run a drawstring through each side of the casing, using a large safety pin as a guide. Place the finished liner in your laundry basket, and tie the drawstring ends around each handle.

Linen bookbinder's tape is available at Colophon Book Arts Supply.

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