I love eating watermelon--the juicier and messier, the better. But I also love the look of watermelons. They're so fresh, bright, and summery. I think this felt watermelon basket looks as cheery as the real thing. You can use your basket to hold the felt watermelon coasters shown in the photo (I featured them last July on my blog; click here for the link). Or you can fill your basket with cocktail napkins, wrapped candies, or other summer party necessities.
For each watermelon basket you'll need: 1 sheet each of red and green felt, scraps of green rickrack, black seed beads, and green, red, white, and black embroidery floss. (I like to use a double strand of floss instead of sewing thread because it has a nice sheen.)
To make the outside of the basket, cut a 4 1/2" circle from red felt, a 6" circle from green felt, and an 8 1/2" by 1 1/2" strip from green felt. Cut the red and green circles in half. Use black embroidery floss to sew large black seed beads randomly on the red half-circles. Pin a red half-circle to each green half-circle, aligning the straight edges. Use white embroidery floss to whipstitch the red pieces to the green pieces. Stitch only along the curved edges of the red half-circles.
Cut eight 1 1/2" pieces of green rickrack and pin them--horizontally and evenly spaced--to the green felt strip. Use green embroidery floss to sew the rickrack in place. Now pin the felt strip to one of the finished watermelon pieces along the curved edge with wrong sides facing. Sew the pieces together 1/4" from the edge with green floss. Attach the other watermelon piece to the strip in the same way. That's it! Just turn the basket right side out.
For the basket lining, cut a 6" circle from red felt and an 8 1/2" by 1 1/4" strip from green felt. Pin the felt strip to the curved edge of one red half-circle and sew the pieces together 1/4" from the edge. Attach the other half circle to the strip the same way. When you're finished, don't turn the lining right side out.
To assemble your watermelon, slip the lining inside the outer basket. (If you left the lining wrong side out, the seams shouldn't be showing.) Pin the basket and the lining together along the top edges, and then sew them together with matching embroidery floss. I used whipstitch, but you can also use blanket stitch or running stitch.
If you want to make a large basket--maybe one that can hold paper plates--just adjust the size of the patterns. Happy Summer!