Friday, January 27, 2012

Moses Basket Makeover

This is not a tutorial exactly (as I was too lazy to take photos while I was doing it), but I thought I'd give you a bit of a rundown of how I revamped this basket to help out if you are thinking of doing a similar project.

So with little S I had borrowed a bassinet from my cousin, but I can't for this one as said cousin is also expecting soon!  Of course what I love are moses baskets.  Particularly the really nice modern organic designer moses baskets.  Oh look, that one is $350.  Plus shipping.  To Canada.  Not going to happen!

So I picked this one up for $30 from a lovely lady on our local facebook swap group.  It's a jolly jumper basket on a rocking stand.  It's from 2003 and is obviously not terribly gender neutral.  Also, all the bedding and the rocker seemed a bit big for the basket itself.  Not sure why.  Also it has ruffles.  I don't really do ruffles.  But $30 is pretty awesome.

For this project I used:
- 1 yard cute flannel fabric (it was barely enough)
- 1 metre (yes I buy my fabric in the US and Canada) brown flannel
- 1 metre(ish) unbleached factory cotton (you could use anything, it doesn't show)
- 1 metre nice quilt batting
- 2 things of green ribbon
- wrapping paper

I stripped off all the bedding and the hood and made a pattern for the basket with the wrapping paper.  I made a piece for the bottom of the basket, and one for the sides.  The side piece was half the basket on the inside, I then reused it for the other half and the outside.

Prewash everything.  You don't want it to shrink after you spend all this time fitting it.

- Using my bottom pattern piece, I cut enough flannel and batting to make 2 mattresses.  So 2 pieces of the brown flannel and 6 of the batting per mattress.  I cut them all with a lot of seam allowance, I should have done even more.

- I layered the mattresses with 3 pieces batting, two of flannel then three pieces batting (think, right sides together).  Then sewed all the layers together around the edge, leaving a hole for turning.  I flipped it right-side-out and ran a few seams across the top to quilt it (so that it would hold together better in the wash) and then hand sewed the hole shut.  I broke a normal machine needle doing the top stitching, and a serger needle when cleaning up the edges. C'est la vie.  Be careful, it's a lot of work for the machines.

Basket Cover

I wanted to have it be soft and comfy but not poofy or sloppy, there are a lot of tutorials for big fat fluffy bumpers for these baskets and that just doesn't strike me as terribly safe.

- I cut one piece of the factory cotton for the bottom.

- For the inner sides I cut 2 pieces of cotton, two of flannel, and two of quilt batting.  One layer of batting was enough to make it soft (so you can't feel the basket through the sides) without being poofy.

- I then layered one each of the cotton, batting and flannel.  I measured where the hole for the handles would be and sewed the edges there first to have a finished hole.  Then I ran some quilting lines up them.  So I had two quilted sides and a one layer bottom.

- I then did a lot of pinning and trimming and sewing together until I had it perfectly fitted to the inside of the basket.  Thus the seam allowance.  I am no expert in these things, so it was good to have some wiggle room.  Because of the shape of my basket, I was very careful to line up the curve where it slopes up at the head when pinning.

- For the outside, I used my side pieces again and cut two pieces of the cute flannel.  These were shorter because I was running out of fabric (plus, they would be shorter anyway), but the important thing was the shape of the top of the piece.  Especially with the way my basket is taller at the head.  I again measured where the hole needed to be for the handles and finished that bit of edge.

- I sewed the outer pieces first to the inner pieces (right sides together) at the top, leaving the hole open for the handles.  Then the two outer pieces together.  These weren't as tightly fitted or I wouldn't have been able to get the cover on and off with the shape of the basket.

-  Then I pinned the bottom edge all the way around the basket to attempt to make it a straight line (it totally was, until I added the elastic later.  Curses) and hemmed the edge.  This was getting a bit awkward to do with the sewing machine...but it worked.

- Once everything fit nicely I finished all the raw edges from the back of the cover, so that it will wash up nicer.  I used the serger till I broke the needle and then used a zig-zag stitch.  Either way is fine, just finish the edges and trim off the excess bulk.

- To make the cover tight while still possible to get on and off, I added a bit of elastic to the seam at each end.

The Base
- The base has a white plastic band around it to hold the basket.  You couldn't see it before because it was covered by gingham ruffles.  It wasn't put together quite right and thus was too big for the basket.  I didn't want the basket sliding around when it was being rocked so I got Craig to unscrew it and make it tighter.
- Then I wrapped the whole band with some pretty green ribbon (I hot glued the ends) to cover the plastic.
So there you go!  Tadah!  I totally think this is as cute as the designer versions.  And I only had to buy the basket, batting,and the ribbon as I had everything else kicking around the sewing room already.  So probably spent about $40 total, although it could probably cost up to $100 depending on your fabric choices.

I'm super happy with it, and glad to make something new just for baby #2!