Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy Basket Handles from Bias Strips

I love blogging and reading others' blogs too and this is a very inspiring site for me. Some of you already know me - I'm Kathleen Tracy from A Sentimental Quilter and Madame Samm has kindly asked me to blog for all of you again.

It's Spring here in the Midwest where I'm from and if there's one quilty thing that always reminds me of Spring it's basket quilts. I  think everybody loves basket quilts, and in my opinion every quilter should have a basket quilt or two in her collection, don't you agree?


I have an easy technique to tell you about today that I hope will get you started making a basket quilt soon.

My front garden last year. This year, nothing green yet.

I've made several small basket quilts (see a brand new one on my blog) and I especially had fun using some of my reproduction fabric scraps making this one that's in Remembering Adelia, my third book. 


It's called Civil War Baskets and if you're inclined to use '30s fabrics or brights or batiks instead of reproduction prints like I did, guess what? It will turn out great. The nice thing about traditional patterns from long ago, like basket blocks, is that they are time-tested. They've been around for a very long time and are still being used today in contemporary quilts. So don't feel you have to be limited by my fabric choices. Make it your own way with your own lovely fabrics.

Some of you already have this book with the Civil War Baskets pattern and have e-mailed me asking for a tutorial. So, if you're hesitant about making those handles for your baskets, either for this quilt or another (especially if you're just beginning to make quilts) never fear - here's an easy method that takes away a lot of the stress. It's very simple once you get the hang of it and you can use the same technique for vines and stems on other applique projects.

Here's how I made the curved handles for my baskets quilt.


The first step is to cut your strip on the bias--which means that it's cut on the diagonal of the grain.


I also like to use pressing bars, which are 12" long, heat-resistant plastic bars for making applique vines and stems. They come in a package with several bars of varying widths.


Cut your strip the correct width--for the basket handles in Remembering Adelia it's 1 1/4".  Fold the strip in half WRONG sides together, press and sew a 1/4" seam along the raw edge to make a tube.



Cut the ends of the strip to the correct length--for my quilt  it's 1 1/4" x 6". Trim the seam allowance a little to about 1/8".


Slide the rounded end of the pressing bar into the tube and press as you roll the seam to the middle of the tube. Press the seam in one direction. When you turn it over, the seam will be hidden on the back. Remove the bar CAREFULLY as it gets very hot and finish pressing the tube flat.


Now you're ready to shape the handle into the curved shape and pin it to the background fabric. Since the fabric was cut on the bias it will stretch easily into a curve. Find the center and pin that first, gently stretching the rest of the strip into shape. Using a blind stitch, sew in place. Voila! Easy bias-strip basket handles.


Piece the rest of the basket according to directions in whatever pattern you're using and sew the two units together, catching the ends of the handles in the seam allowance.



Thanks so much for dropping by and if you feel like leaving a comment, I'll be happy to give away a copy of my book Remembering Adelia to one lucky person. The book gives a glimpse into the world of a young woman living in a small town in Illinois in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War through the diary she kept. It contains 14 quilts and projects to inspire you and make the past almost seem to come alive. I had a lot of fun writing it and doing some research on the Civil War too. Adelia lived in a town that is not too far from where I live now and visiting the site where she wrote in her diary 150 years ago was a thrilling experience for me. I knew her story had to be told.



Visit me and check out my other books and patterns at Country Lane Quilts (including some free patterns for doll quilts) or contact me at countrylanequilts@comcast.net with any questions. Thanks for sharing time with me today!


congrats to Sandi.#8...she won this book...
she has been notified and she is sewwwwwwwwwwwww excited...
Book is on its way....
to everyone else...well we will have to Kathy back....x

102 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Kathleen for the great tutorial on basket handles!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for showing how to use the pressing bars; you make it look easy. I love basket quilts. Just got 2 new basket quilt patterns!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh wow. So Easy! Thank you for the tutorial...now I won't be afraid to try it on my newest project!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the tutorial, I've not seen the pressing bars before. Makes things so much easier

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love basket quilts of all kinds! Thanks for the turtorial...

    ReplyDelete
  6. You certainly make that look easy. I might have to add those pressing bars to my shopping list. I went over to your website and blog and poked around a bit too. You have some beautiful and inspirational things there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have those pressing bars in my tool drawer and don't get them out often enough ... thank you for giving me another reason of why I should find them again!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love your little basket quilt. And I would love to win a copy of your book and read more about Adelia. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. My, yes those bars do get hot! THis is a lovely book - love the line on the page 'quilt a lovely connection to the past' - so fitting for the quilts in this book. Thank you for sharing this tutorial with us on Stash and the book give away.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for the tutorial. I have never used pressing bars, but will definitely have to add them to my quilting equipment.
    Your book sounds interesting. Thanks for arranging the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the great tutorial! Basket quilt is on my list of to do... LOVE to win your book, love 1800's fabrics!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for such a clear tutorial. ... And I would just love to win that book!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for the tutorial.
    I'd love to read about Adelia.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Fun fast way to make the strips! Your book looks yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Kathleen thanks for the tut. I really want to have a go at a basket quilt so this will help when I eventually get around to trying one. Not sure if you will send this internationally or not as I know books are expensive to post. Hope Mr R. is doing okay. x

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have just ordered two of your books this evening(NZ time)Lol One of them being Remembering Adelia! I can't wait until they arrive, so can have a go at my very own basket quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the tutorial. I love basket quilts!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Kathleen - I have recently joined your yahoogroup and have Civil War sewing Circle on order so I would love to add this book too so thanks for the chance. All I want to do now is make a stack of little quilts - lol. I already have those bias bars but have only used them a couple of times. Shall I dig them out and make a basket ? xxx

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks Kathleen for the tutorial. I don't know those pressing barns. I'm going to look it in my quilt shop. Your book looks fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. The pressing bar sounds so much easier then the biasmaker I trew out last year. And your newest book will be on my wishlist.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for the tutorial! Sounds like a lovely book. I always enjoy the biographies of our quilting ancestors.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Kathy thank you so much for showing us this method for the handles. I know I always have a little trouble getting mine down flat and appreciate the tips. Would love to have a copy of your book. Take care

    ReplyDelete
  23. WOW, you make that look so easy. I love your civil war quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for the tutorial on the handles. I love the Civil War repros. How fun to read her diary.

    Rhonda

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you so much for the basket handle tutorial!
    I don't have much experience with making the basket blocks but I love them. Also, I would love to win this book.

    ReplyDelete
  26. All we need is a "easy" button!! Great tutorial for those handles!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello Kathleen!Your tutorial was so helpful! I love all that you do and was so glad you were chosen by Madame Samm. Sure hope I will win your fabulous book!

    Mugs, Mary Jo in Iowa

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you for a great tutorial on basket handles. Will make life easier for sure! Love you quilts!

    ReplyDelete
  29. It truly is a "lovely connection to the past" and a wonderful giveaway and opportunity. You are very generous. I always enjoy the tutorials about techniques the best. Thank you for yours. Judy C

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'd love a chance to win the book. I've always been fascinated by the Treasure in the Trunk stories and am working on the Civil War Chronicles block of the month that gives history of various Civil War women during that time. I'm a northerner living in the south - and a huge Lincoln buff - so I love the various perspectives. Thanks for the tutorial - I make bias bars like that for applique too but you've inspired me to make a basket quilt. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for sharing. I now feel confident to make the basket handles.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great tutorial on the handles. Put my name in the basket to win!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Kathleen, your post has brought back fond memories from my very first quilting class where I learned to draft and piece a sampler quilt. One of the blocks was a basket block. Thanks for sharing today.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the tutorial on making the bias cut basket handles. I think I need to get me some pressing bars. I love those little baskets.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for showing how to make the basket handles. I have been wanting to get the pressing bars and now I really want them. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this quilt book and make the quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks for such a great tip - pressing bars - no more steamed fingers, preparing strips! I have already penciled it in, on my shopping list! What a wonderful post; I'm really excited about the basket quilts, and your book, too. Hope I can win!
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wonderful post! Looooooooooove your quilts!
    xx, shell

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks for such a pretty post with many tips and gorgeous quilts. The quilts in your book inspire me to get up from my computer chair and move to my sewing room.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for a great tutorial. That looks like a wonderful book.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dear Kathy... I recently joined your yahoo group and found everyone quite helpful to a "Newbie" like me. Infact this is my 1st blogging experience too...lol. I have been fondly looking at basket quilts with longing in my eyes, and now with this really great tutorial; I would be more inclined to try to make one of these little beauties. I will have find a way to add these little quilter bars to my list of "must have's". I had your 1st book gifted to me and I LOVE IT!! I have visions of mini quilts dancing in my head with hopes of someday being able to add more of your charming books so I can make them all. So with that I would to quietly put my name in for book drawing too. Well I'm off for some more mini quiling..... thanks for the great tutorial Kathy!!! Tricia

    ReplyDelete
  41. Kathleen, thanks so much for the very informative posting, I will surely use this method for a variety of projects.
    I do a lot of reading and particularly true stories or memoirs, so I would love to be able to have your book to read.
    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great tutorial, Kathleen - thanks! I've never used bias bars but now I am excited to try this technique.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thanks for the quick tutorial. I'm just beginning applique and am going to be doing my first vine soon. Thanks for the help!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thank you for a great tutorial
    I would love to win your book. I have always find it so interesting to learn about quilt history and how patterns became about and who were the early designers for such wonderful quilts.
    Thank you for the chance to win :)
    Marta
    antoinemarta@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Good Morning Kathy, I can hardly believe it...and I don't have this...quilting pressing bars, never heard about them till now... OK< this is what I love about you guests, you always bring something to the table to share. Besides your lovely baskets, wonderful giveaway, you shared you...that is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank YOU!~

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks MadameSamm for asking Kathy to blog. And thank you Kathy for showing how you use the bias bars to make these cute little handles for our basket quilts. I see a new basket quilt in my future!!!
    Karen S.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I am especially enjoying the revival of interest in the Civil War and all the writing about the women of the era. I look forward to seeing your new book and have used your others --- keep up the good work!
    quiltschon@att.net

    ReplyDelete
  48. Wonderful! I recently made an Amish basket and wished it had handles! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I hope to try it someday Kathy. Thanks for the tutorial. I would love to win your book.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Kathie, thanks for a great tutorial. I've always shied away from doing baskets but now... no excuse, I must look for some of those pressing bars. I have two of your books and would love to add Adelia to my collection.
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  51. You make the handles look fun and easy. Thanks. The book sounds wonderful. If I don't get picked, I'll go buy it.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Many THANKS!!! for the tutorial and all the eye candy. Do appreciate time and talent shared!!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thank you Kathy, I am new to applique and I think I could do this! I have never heard of pressing bars but I now know, I need them!!! Your work is stunning, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi I love all your books. I love this little basket quilt and I think it may be in line to be made next. I belong to a "little quilt" group. I would love the book. I have purchased some of your books. They are fun.
    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    ReplyDelete
  55. Carol in Mid-Mich cgar88@ameritech.netApril 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Thank you Kathy for this wonderful tutorial. I now feel confident enough to try to make your basket quilt! I have read "Remembering Adelia" cover to cover (library book on loan to me) and love it! It would be super great to have my own copy, and that would round out my collection of your books, until that is that you publish your net one! Thanks so much for all the inspiration, Carol in Mid-Mich ... faithful follower on smallquilttalk group.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Kathy, you are inspiration over and over again. What a great tutorial. I just ordered your book last week after reading about you when you were a guest awhile ago. Glad to see you back. Suzie in Michigan

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thank you Kathy. You make that look so easy. Can't wait to try that out on my very own little basket block. Oh, I love your quilt books. I read them as if they were novels!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hi there, what a great tutorial! Thanks very much! And your book looks amazing. What a really cool concept. I will definitely be checking it out. >:D

    ReplyDelete
  59. Pressing Bars??? never heard of them till today!! What a great product and I must have it now!! Thanks you so much. Oh how I would LOVE to have your book and read the journey Adelia took!!!
    Blessings
    Gmama Jane

    ReplyDelete
  60. I love those little quilts, beautiful fabrics too.
    My machine is getting fixed today, so I can start sewing again, this week.
    I will look for those pressing bars, I have the bias tape makers, but this looks like a nice and easy way to do them.

    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
  61. Great Tut Kathy. I have those bars and have never used them. Now you know why my Son calls me the gadget lady. LOL!

    Linda in IN

    ReplyDelete
  62. Wow, I've learned something new this morning! I have long been wanting to make a basket quilt, but those handles have had me quite intimidated. Thank you for an easy tutorial and for explaining the importance of bias cut strips!

    ReplyDelete
  63. I've been wanting to make a basket quilt and I also have the bias bars but have never used them. Thanks for a great tutorial and inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  64. The tutorial is great! Thank you. Do you mind sharing which bar you used for these handles? I'd love to win a copy of the book - somehow I missed this one.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Great tutorial - I'd love to win the book!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Thanks for the great tutorial! I would love to win a copy of your book! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I would love your Adelia book. Combining quilting and history is one of my favorite things to do.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Mary - I used the pressing bar that measures 3/8". The package contains 5 diffreent sizes.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Love the idea for making baskets from Repro fabs. That's going on my To-dos right away. Good tutorial today using bias strips for basket handles!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Great advice on the basket handles and easy enough to inspire me for my civil war repro scraps. Love your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Thank you for the great tutorial! The book looks so great - thank you for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thank you for the tutorial, it makes it look so easy! And thanks for the giveaway too - I would love to make those little quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Thanks for sharing. I love baskets, but I've always been intimidated by the handles. Maybe I will try and few and see how it turns out!
    I think your book looks GREAT. I love history. Thanks for doing the giveaway!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I would love to win this book! I generally avoid applique, but I should just bite the bullet someday.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Your tutorial makes the basket handles so easy! Also, thanks for a chance to win your book, it looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Thanks for the tut. Will have to try the bias bars. I love, love, love basket quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Hi Kathy, I already have the book (love it) but wanted to thank you for the tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Such a helpful tutorial :-)) love the quilts in your book too!

    ReplyDelete
  79. Love the Tutorial. You make it look so easy. I need bias bars I see. :) I love the basket block alot. :)
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  80. Thanks for the great tutorial! I don't know why I've never made a basket quilt, but I'm thinking a small one may be in my future!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I live in the Fox River Valley and would love to read about Adelia's experiences in the area.

    ReplyDelete
  82. This is awesome information. Would love to get my hands on your book.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Great tutorial on those pesky basket handles. You make it looks so easy that I'm going to have to give it a try as I already have the bias bars, which I always use for vines. Baskets and stars are my absolute favorite quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  84. thanks for the tutorial. I have the pressing bars but have never used them. now you have inspired me to do a basket block so that I can try them out. I looks like fun. i would love to win the book giveaway. You can never have too many quilt books.
    Thanks Barb C at betcrawford at verizon dot net

    ReplyDelete
  85. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I love all of your quilts. Hope to win the book!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Kathleen, thank-you for the tutorial! I might be willing to tackle stems and basket handles now! I love your books--thank-you for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Great tutorial Kathy, I actually have a set of those bars!! had them for years but never used them! Thankyou for the inspiration!!!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. It was great. I would just love to win a copy of this book. I just love your newest book which I bought just recently. Having your 3rd book too would just be wonderful!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  89. Thanks Kathleen for a great tutorial. Now I know just what to do with my Civil War Scraps if I should be so lucky to win your book.

    ReplyDelete
  90. thanks for the tutorial....the bars look like a handy tool to have and use...thanks for the chance to win your wonderful book...LindaB

    ReplyDelete
  91. Wow! You did make those handles look easy! Now i have to try it! :-) Thanks for the great tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  92. You really do make those look easy... I could give them a try I think. Thanks for doing the giveaway too!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Kathy, many thanks for your great tutorial. Maybe I can also use this methode for another basket quilt I'm working on. Now on my way to the quilt shop to find those pressing bars. I've never seen them before, but when I ask for it maybe they can order them.

    Have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete
  94. Great tutorial!
    I grew up in Central Illinois, now living in Virginia. Glad I learned about your book...I want to check it out so winning it would be wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  95. Thanks for the tutorial , I love basket quilts!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Good tutorial on the cutest little basket block ever. I'd love to win your book; thanks for the give-away.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Pressing bars! I had never heard of them. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  98. The basket handles look easy enough I think I'm gonna try it! Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  99. I love your basket quilt!! Thanks so much for the instructions on making the handles -- looks fun and easy!

    ReplyDelete
  100. HI Kathy - I just picked up your Civil War Sewing Circle book (LOVE it!). Great idea about the pressing bars.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Congrats on the book. It looks like a good one, so if I don't win I am going to have to find myself one!

    ReplyDelete
  102. And I just loved seeing my name as the winner! Your e-mail really made me smile! Can hardly wait to get the book. Thank you, Kathy and thank you, Madame Samm!!!

    ReplyDelete

You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...