Baskets and Bags from Fabric

You can make baskets and bags using any scraps of fabric you have. They could be t-shirts, pillowcases, sewing leftovers, placemats, or even damaged tote bags.

The following instructions are just one way to make a basket. You can also hot glue or staple everything together. Feel free to experiment with different sizes of fabric.

You will need:

  • Fabric (preferably upholstery, canvas or something heavy)
  • Scissors
  • Needle & thread or sewing machine
  • Iron

Applications Across Subjects:

  • Measuring units (using rulers and other measuring tools to prepare materials)
  • Geometry units (looking at different shape and size fabrics to create different shape and size baskets/bags)
  • These baskets/bags can also hold math materials in place of plastic bins.
  • How-To books (about making the basket/bag)
  • Non-fiction writing about fabric- the history, uses, around the world
  • Fiction writing about the basket/bag
  • These baskets/bags can also hold books in place of plastic bins.
Social Studies
  • Units around other cultures- how fabric is used, how baskets and bags are used, who makes them, how they are made
  • Planting units- creating homes for plants
  • How fabric is woven (by hand vs machine, history)
Social & Emotional
  • These baskets and bags can be made very small and filled with sand, beads, buttons in order to create stress balls for students who need sensory input to self-regulate.
  • These baskets and bags can be used for sharing objects, taking them home, and bringing transition objects around the school.


  1. Select the fabric(s) you want to use.
  2. Start with two pieces of 9”x 23” and 10”x23” in size, should look like a rectangle. To see what the size of the finished opening will be, fold the piece sideways to bring the loose ends together and try to form it into a circle.
  3. Put the two fabric pieces on top of each other, making sure the right sides are facing out on both sides and aligning them over the bottom edge.
  1. Fold down and press the 1” rim. Sew along the edge, so the two fabrics are now attached on the upper longer side.
  1. Fold the piece in half along the horizontal line, so shorter sides meet. Make sure the interior side is facing up. You will be sewing a seam over the shorter edge.
  1. Turn the piece inside out, so the seam that you’ve just created is inside:
  1. Now it’s time to sew over the bottom edge on the outside, so on the finished product it will stay on the outside (it will be on the bottom, out of sight):
  1. At this point you should have something that reminds you of a simple bag. Last step is to bring together the bottom corners, sew them together by hand and for extra security you can attach the corners to the bottom seam.
  1. Press with your hands to mold it into shape:
  1. Once it’s filled it will hold its shape beautifully. You can add extra features such as handles or decoration.


Use the basket to hold gloves, fabric remnants, yarn, toys/building blocks, phone cables/chargers, or even to camouflage flowerpots!


Instructions and photos by Anna Kiraly

Houses and Other Dwellings