Sewing a Nature Basket - Materials and FAQs

Nature baskets hold a special place in our hearts at Twig + Tale.  Our very favourite kind of plaything, the baskets encourage open-ended, creative play: in the hands of a child, they can be used in a hundred different ways, and the detachable hood just adds to the possibilities.    

The baskets are not a quick sew - they require some time, patience, and care - however the result is an heirloom-quality plaything that will be treasured.  Here is some information about the materials for nature baskets, as well as frequently asked questions.  We hope that this information will help you to plan your project, so that the time and materials you invest will result in handmade, sewing magic.  


With three different nature-inspired themes - forest, ocean, and cloud - selecting fabric for nature baskets is so much fun.  Will you go with a solid fabric, or patterned?  Contrast fabrics for the outer and lining?  Appliqué details?  

Here are some practical considerations about choosing fabric for nature baskets.  For the main basket outer and lining fabric, we don’t recommend using anything heavier than a quilting cotton.  Heavier-weight fabrics may result in the layers being too thick to sew through.  Look for stable, woven fabrics (avoid anything with stretch - it will make sewing around all those curves very challenging).  Cotton, linen, lawn, lightweight chambray, and silk are all suitable. 

If you would like to add appliqué to your basket, this is the perfect opportunity for using special little scraps of fabric that tend to pile up, but are too pretty to part with.  Heavier-weight fabrics would work fine for appliqué details.

Consider upcycling fabric for your basket: this project is a lovely way to give pre-loved textiles a new life.  Dresses, skirts, curtains, and linens such as tablecloths would all yield plenty of fabric for a basket.  


Interfacing is a key element for the success of your basket: without it the basket and hood will be too floppy.  The interfacing commonly used for apparel projects does not have enough rigidity for making baskets.  Instead, we will be using a heavyweight interfacing suitable for crafts - think hat brims, structured bags and the like.  If your fabric store doesn't have the recommended interfacing, ask for a mid- to heavyweight craft interfacing (note that buckram is too stiff, so don't use it).  

The world of interfacing can be confusing: since brands vary from one country to another and bolts of interfacing often lack any sort of identification, it is a bit difficult to come up with a comprehensive list of recommended types.  If you happen to find a type of interfacing that works very well for baskets, please let us know and we will add it to the list!

We will be using two different types of interfacing: heavyweight fusible interfacing, as well a layer of heavyweight sew-in interfacing.  The sew-in interfacing should be roughy the same weight as the fusible, and transparent enough to trace the lines from the basket quilting template.  

Australia/NZ North America Europe
Fusible Interfacing Formfuse 1600f Pellon 809 Decor Bond Vlieseline S320 or S520


The layer of batting plays an important role in adding extra structure and thickness to the baskets, and accentuates the beautiful shapes in the quilting lines.  Anything from 5-20mm batting is appropriate.  If you have thin batting, it is always possible to double up for more depth.   

Sewing Machine Needles

As the baskets come together, there will be several layers of fabric, batting, and interfacing to sew through: heavy-duty sewing machine needles are a must.  A heavy-weight jeans needle is a good choice - they are sturdy and have a good, sharp point to punch through the layers.  Look for size 110/18 or similar.  

More information on supplies for nature baskets, including interfacing can be found here.

Nature Basket FAQs

I can't find the recommended interfacing - will xxx interfacing work?

Unfortunately, interfacing can be a rather vast and confusing subject.  Names and numbers vary from one country to another, and often the bolts of interfacing in fabric stores aren't labelled at all.  The pattern specifies brands of interfacing that have been tested and shown to give good results.

If you can't find one of the recommended products, look for something that has good body and rigidity - remember, it will play an important structural role in the basket and the hood.  However, it still has to be pliable, so avoid the ultra-thick interfacing (there is some that is very rigid - almost like cardboard - this will be way too thick and stiff for the basket).  I have had the best luck asking for craft interfacing intended for bags and hat brims.  

I can't find heavyweight sew-in interfacing - what should I do?

It will work out just fine to use an extra layer of your heavyweight fusible interfacing instead - just don't fuse it to anything.  Trace the stitch detail template lines onto the non-glue side of the interfacing.  

How thick should my batting be?

A range of batting thickness will work for the baskets - the pattern calls for anything from 5-20mm.  Keep in mind that if you use a thin batting, the basket will have a "flatter" look and the quilting lines won't show up quite as much.  

If your batting is thin, it works just fine to use multiple layers.  

What type of batting should I use - polyester or cotton?

Both work fine.  Polyester batting results in a lighter-feeling basket, while natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo, or wool tend to feel a bit more dense. 

Can I use stretch fabric for my basket?

We haven't included stretch fabric in the recommended fabric list since it is undoubtedly more challenging to work with and we haven't tried it out.  However, if you are an experienced sewist, used to working with knits, it may be possible.  Interface the fabric well for extra stability.  In general, stretchy, shiny, slippery fabrics are going to make basket sewing much more challenging.

Can I use a heavier fabric, such as denim, for the basket?

We don't recommend using anything heavier than a quilting cotton because there will be many layers to sew through at some points in the project - most home sewing machines will not be able to handle stitching through all of them.  It may be possible to use heavier bits of fabric for the appliqué though.  

Can I sew nature baskets with a regular home sewing machine?

Yes, baskets can be sewn using most regular home sewing machines, however some particularly light-duty machines may balk at the thick layers.  Using a new, sharp jeans needle can help immensely.  Taking the time to trim seam allowances very well, as described in the tutorial, helps to reduce the bulk and thickness that your machine will have to sew through.  

Read more about Twig + Tale Nature Baskets here: