Yuba Bread Basket Liner DIY Tutorial
We love our Bread Basket on the Yuba Mundo. It took some coordination of efforts and the kindness of strangers, but we managed to find this basket at Calhoun Cycle in Minnesota, and reader, Nicole Nafziger, picked it up to make a custom basket liner before shipping the whole kit-and-kaboodle down to West Virginia. This scenario played out as part of an effort to bring you the DIY Tutorial. I am very excited to share with you Nicole’s extensive work in lining up photos and instruction with a fun narrative. Now, ride out to your fabric store, or upcycle something from home, to crank out your own liner! It is certain to expand the function of your Bread Basket.
How to make a Yuba Bread Basket Infinitely More Functional? Add a Basket Liner, Of Course!
And if you’re going to bother to do it, you might as well make it fun! ~~designed, written, & documented by Nicole Nafziger
When we first got our Yuba Mundo in June 2012, we elected not to purchase the Bread Basket, thinking we’d have plenty of capacity with just the Go-Getter bag. It quickly became apparent that having a basket, when two kids were taking up space on the deck, would be invaluable.
For all its brilliance in design—the frame mounting especially, but also the sizing and capacity, the Bread Basket has a mostly open bottom. That’s great if you have a package or a box that’s larger than the gaps between the bars, but what if you just want to throw your helmet, your purse, your keys, kids’ coats and mittens, etc. etc. in there? Clearly, it needed something, and that something would require dusting off the sewing machine, because I couldn’t think of anything, aside from a perfectly-sized cardboard box, that would do the trick. And, if I was going to dust off the sewing machine, I was sure going to make it fun! I mean, biking with kids on board is already a high profile activity, and really, don’t you want to be as visible as possible with your kids on board? So, I was dreaming of bright colors and fun fabrics…
When I started thinking about fabric—I thought I’d probably use a home-decorator-weight fabric and use something like a piece of flat plastic or some foam core to make a sturdy bottom. I imagined I would French Seam everything to make it neat and tidy with matching ties or webbing to attach it to the basket. It would be great! And with that in mind, off to my favorite little local fabric store in St. Paul I went!
Treadle Yard Goods carries all sorts of wondrous fabrics that you just don’t see in the big box places, and even though you pay a premium for all that variety, you usually end up with something fabulous in the end. Once again, it did not disappoint. This store carries a rather large selection of oil cloth fabrics:
Hmmm… waterproof. Not a bad idea on a bike.
Easily washable or able to be wiped clean: not a bad idea when transporting foods, beverages, and all things child-related.
A relatively stiff structure: we might be on to something here…. No need for a foam or plastic base!
Oh, and don’t forget the very colorful and coordinating fabric selection! Yowza!
It all started to come together when I saw a reusable grocery sack made of oilcloth hanging on the wall. Bingo! This was going to work!
I decided to double-layer everything to help retain structure, and provide the opportunity to use more than one fabric print. I chose a green apple and green and white stripe fabric for my Boda Boda (one Yuba just wasn’t enough!), and a Dr. Suess-themed “laminated cotton” for the Mundo. The laminated cotton would require three layers for rigidity, so I planned to put an oil cloth layer in the middle.
The example grocery bag used binding tape all around the cut edges, which really had a nice look to it, and the coordinating ties attaching it to the basket could use the same tape (it matches and it was one less thing to buy—double win!).
Armed with my yard goods, I went home and started putting it all together. My first attempt with the green version went splendidly. The only flaws we noticed, after attaching it to the basket and using it for a little while, were:
1) When empty, it sounded like a bass drum accompanying you down the road
2) A pocket for keys and a phone would be awfully nice
3) I didn’t attach the ties perfectly to the binding in places, and where I did it directly to the oilcloth, it was starting to tear a little bit
However, as we expected, it made the usefulness of the Bread Basket go up exponentially! This basket can hold a serious amount of stuff! And if you don’t have to worry about placing things “just right” so nothing falls out the bottom, you’ve got yourself a good container. (And have I mentioned how amazing the frame-mounting feature is? Seriously. How is that not the standard way to mount a basket on a bike?!?).
So, I endeavored to “fix” the flaws on my own liner and felt confident enough to cut into the Suessified version. Sadly, this did not go as planned. I thought a triple layer would be stiff enough. It wasn’t. I thought it wouldn’t matter which sides were just a continuation of the bottom verses added as panels. It does. I didn’t think it would matter which side the pockets were on. It does. Poor hubby’s liner just isn’t quite what we hoped it would be. He’s on the short list for a new, proper, one. It’s all form and no function. Alas. (Okay, it functions, but it’s not nearly as good).
Saggy, baggy sides and pocket
Sagging through the bottom bars
Lessons learned. We zip-tied it in place as much as we could for now. Then the opportunity have another go at it for Stacy, and put this tutorial together, fell into place. So, here is the step-by-step guide to making your very own Bread Basket liner!
- 2 –19” pieces of 45” wide oil cloth fabric of your choice (do NOT substitute laminated cotton. You need the stiff stuff)
- 2 packages of either regular or extra-wide coordinating double-folded bias tape*
- Size 14 needles
- 1 spool of good, sturdy thread. (Do not buy the cheap stuff! I use Mettler 100% poly, per my fabric store’s recommendation)
- A couple sheets of tissue paper (Left over gift bag stuffing is fine)
- A rotary cutter and a mat are highly useful, but not required
*I’ve used both and prefer the wider bias tape. The narrower works fine, and you get a few extra yards to work with, which is helpful depending on how many add-on’s you’re planning.
The measurements of the Yuba Breadbasket are: 18” wide x 13” deep x 6” tall. This is a bit confounded by the extra bars nearer the bike frame, so the back edge is more like 17.5” x 12.5”, but it wasn’t enough difference that I wanted to bother with trapezoids rather than rectangles. Just make sure to use up your full seam allowance—especially on the back size.
Here’s a look at the fabric selection Stacy and her daughter London settled on. Very lively!
You may want to create a square edge to work with right from the start. (Sorry for the blurry pics!)
Lay out your fabric as thus. I do like to mark the backside of the fabric before cutting with some washable markers. That way I can make sure I’ve done it right: (left side) Main Base piece 30.5″x13.5″, (right side) 2 Sides measuring 18.5″x6.5″
A better view of the layout after one piece of fabric has been cut. Base in the center, sides laid out top and bottom.
You can use the first set as a template for the second set of fabric cuts
All the layers of oil cloth laid out together. I elected to mix fabrics on both the inner and outer part of the liner. You may want to have all one design on the inside, and all one on the outside—whatever works best for you!
Shown Here: The top pieces of fabric are one long side panel of the liner (such as the front or back of the basket). The large middle pieces are the base and the panels that will wrap up the side (saves on cutting and sewing!). The bottom pieces are the other long side panel (again, front or back, since it’s a rectangle).
The view from the reverse of the fabric, pieces all laid out together.
If you are going to add pockets, pick which side panel of fabric will be facing into the basket, closest to the bike. These were your smaller rectangles. For me, it was one of the yellow-striped panels.
In the contrasting fabric, cut the size and shape pockets you’d like, and lay them out on the side panel.
I like a little smaller one with a narrower top for keys so they can’t bounce out easily. I like a little wider one, but still pretty deep, for my phone and/or wallet. You may prefer one bigger pocket, but inevitably gravity wins and your keys end up rubbing against your phone. I recommend separating them.
Stacy expressed interest in a cup holder, so I gave it a shot with a 2” wide strip of fabric that I attached in a circle to the side panel with a nice x-box and two additional side seams to snug it up more. I’m still not confident it will hold coffee as well as a handlebar mounted holder would, but it might be nice to keep a water bottle upright and close by… we’ll have to see how Stacy likes it!
Stacy’s Note: It holds a bottle in view where I need it (that under the legs on the frame thing is not easy for me), but a handle on any open top mug, hooked over the frame, keeps it from tipping, otherwise they need a firm lid, which all our water bottles have.
Now the actual sewing begins!
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP: You must use a piece of tissue paper (I even used some plain writing paper that was nearby at one point) on the top while sewing your seams, or the bottom and top pieces of fabric will not pull through your presser foot evenly. (Unless you have a walking foot, in which case you’re probably a better seamstress than I am anyway, and you should do what you know how to do!). You do not need the tissue paper when sewing the binding on though—the fabric of the tape functions the same as the tissue paper on the oilcloth.
For each pocket attachment, I sewed a strip of binding tape across the top (and bottom on cup ring only) using a fairly wide, normal length, zig-zag stitch. I then taped each pocket in place on the panel (one would normally pin them in place, but scotch tape actually works better with oil cloth) and sewed them on applique style. (A very short, fairly wide, zig-zag stitch).
Again, the pockets were added to the inside of the back of the basket, closest to the rider. For this example the cup ring is on the stokers right side and the small pocket is in reach of the left side. Adjust your pockets for your best fit.
Using an appliqué stitch to sew the pocket in place–also showing how easy it easy to tear back the tissue paper after sewing
Pocket panel ready to go. Mug not included with liner.
For the base/side liner seams, I used a normal-length straight stitch with a ¼” seam allowance (basically, I kept the edge of the fabric to the edge of the presser foot, and the needle in the middle).
You do not want to use a very short stitch on the oil cloth, because you actually weaken it the more holes you put into it.
This liner only requires two seams (excluding the pockets and binding), but it requires you to work with a sticky fabric that does not pull through your machine evenly, and you also have to turn corners and re-align some stubborn pieces. Be patient. Go slow. Don’t sweat it if the corners don’t work perfectly.
The biggest thing, is to capture all four layers of the oilcloth together and smoothly. Even if that doesn’t work perfectly, you’ll be going back over it again with the binding tape, so your mistakes won’t be completely obvious.
Your beginning corner will be the top of the short side of one of the front/back panels with the top of the long side of the main (base/side) panel. So when you sew, it will be 6” down the short side, Turn the corner of the side panel (your bottom piece will stay flat—this is tricky), 18” down the long side of the front/back panel, turn corner, 6 inches down the other short side. If you measured well, the bottom corners should more or less meet up nicely.
Second verse, same as the first. Sew the other front/back panel as before. Remembering to line up your pockets toward the inside of the basket, with seams toward the outside.
Pockets right side up, phew!
Less than perfect corners, but it works.
At this point, I decided it was a good idea to make sure it was going to fit properly inside the basket. I actually hadn’t used my full ¼” seam allowances, and it made a difference—it was running a little wide—especially on the part of the basket nearest the bike that has some extra reinforcement bars. I went back to the sewing machine and ran around that seam again (the pocket side) a little closer in. Pulling it in just that little bit made a big difference.
So, if you’re finding yours running a bit large (I purposely made mine so the corners stick out the bottom), don’t be afraid to go back and bring your seams in a little bit. You’ll just trim off the excess before adding the binding tape.
Now that we’ve finished the seams, it’s time to attach the binding tape. First, go around and trim along the edge of the seams if needed to make it nice and tidy, and close to the same distance from the seam to the edge of the fabric all the way around.
For attaching the binding, you will no longer need to use the tissue paper, and I use a fairly wide, standard length zigzag stitch. I think if you selected the wider bias tape, you could get away with a straight stitch, but with the narrower tape, it’s really hard to capture all those layers perfectly all the time—the zig-zag does a little better job.
To start, sew the binding on both of the previously sewn seams, sandwiching the seam into the open edge of the tape. Leave the top edge of the liner for the next step. When finished with each seam, trim the edges of the tape close to the top of the open liner (don’t worry about your seams unraveling, they will be sewn down again).
When affixing the binding to the top edges of the open basket liner, you will be simultaneously making the corner ties. Love another short cut!
Overlapping these pieces of bias tap at the corners is a little tricky, and slightly messy, but I found that you get less strain on the oil cloth by doing this as a continuous step.
So, taking ONLY your binding tape, and zig-zag stitch for about 3” (open side of tape to the left). Leaving your needle in the down position, pinning your cloth to the machine, raise your presser foot and slide one of the top corners of the liner into the open edge of the tape. Continue down the length of that side (any side you choose to start with is fine), and when you finish the corner, keep sewing an additional 3” of the tape without the oil cloth edge, creating the ties you will use to attach the liner to the basket. Voila! When finished, you should have two lonely ties and one top edge finished.
Do the same on the OPPOSITE side.
For the remaining two sides, you will be doing just as you did with the first two sides, starting with 3″ of tape exclusive of the liner, than feeding the liner in, but when you join up the tie part of the tape to the liner, be very careful to hold the existing tie as much out of the way as possible. Read the next step before finishing your final stretch of bias tape. When you’re finished the corners will look much like shown above and below.
Almost done! We just need to add six additional ties to keep it all in place. Two on the top edge as shown above. Four along the bottom.
While sewing that last 3″ section of bias tape for your final tie, don’t stop!, continue sewing an additional 3 feet of binding tape with the zigzag stitch. Cut into six, 6” lengths, remembering to leave the 3″ on the liner.
Still using a zig-zag stitch, but shortening the stitch width by about half, attach the center of a 6″ strip to the top edge binding tape (be careful to catch the tape, and not just the oil cloth or you’ll put too much tension on the oil cloth and it will start to tear at this stress point) in the outside center of the long sides.
To lock it down, I sewed my tiny seam forward, backwards, and forward again. I was afraid any more would start to weaken the fabric. Detail image below.
The final step is to add four extra ties to the bottom of the liner to make it more like a snare drum rather than a bass drum while you’re rolling down the road. (That’s a joke…kind of…).
Put the liner in your Breadbasket, turn it over, and mark lightly where the middle of the two bars and the liner meet. Mark the placement of the outer bars as well (not shown in the photo!).
Affix these last four ties to the bottom of the liner. Note that these are sewn directly to the oil cloth (not along any bias tape as on the top edge of the basket in the previous step). I’m hoping they don’t see too much stress and start to pull and create holes in the fabric. Using a nice wide stitch and not overdoing the sewing will help reduce oil cloth stress.
Ready to roll….or rather, ship!
Nicole did an amazing job of detailing the steps to make this liner. I didn’t want to short cut any of her hard work, or leave out anything for the beginning seamster. I was happy to see there were no pins involved, minimal measuring and cutting, and so many bright (nearly blinding) photos to go along with each and every step. We kindly ask you to use this for your own purposes, but not for resale. Give credit where it is due, you would ask for the same.
To see the many uses I have gotten out of this amazing liner and basket combo, check out this post! There have been many more since, including some of these…
Pizza box! PeanutShell lap bar and gloves underneath. Ignore those cute boys on the deck.
Groceries. Large Thirty One insulated tote, on end, and grocery bag full of bread. How appropriate right?
Diaper bag dump.
Fro yo nestled amongst coat and gloves, pre Kidical Mass ride.
Keep up with Nicole on twitter @NicoleFNafziger where she posts her own prideful hauls, including children, tomatoes, and lawn mowers, on their Yuba Mundo and Yuba Boda Boda, complete with stylish and exceptionally function Bread Baskets, fully lined, of course.