Jester Bag


  • Two 12 1/2in x 5 1/2in rectangles of green Christmas print fabric
  • Four 5in x 1 3/4in pieces of the same fabric
  • Two rectangles of red (or other contrasting colour) Christmas print fabric 12 1/2in x 5 1/2in
  • Scrap pieces of wadding for stuffing.
  • Two yards of narrow red ribbon
  • 24in of frilled lace
  • 4 1/2in square of fairly stiff card
  • Thread in matching or contrasting colours.

For optional handles

  • Two 12in x 1 1/2in strips ofgreen fabric
  • 8in of narrow red ribbon.

Skill Level


You can download the original pages for printing here, Padded Cells.

This Christmas basket can be made with or without the handles. Make several from different Christmas print fabrics and fill them with coloured baubles for decoration, with sweets, or with a gift. They have the added advantage that they can be untied and laid flat for storage.

Making the basket

Place one red rectangle on the table face up and place one green rectangle on top face down (ie right sides together). Using 1/4in seams, stitch both long side edges. Turn through to the right side and press. Repeat for the second pair of rectangles.

Lay one stitched rectangle on the table with the green fabric face down. Lay the other stitched rectangle centrally on top, at right angles to the first piece, with the green fabric face down (Fig.1). Pin, tack and sew the two rectangles together around three sides of the central square where they cross each other, leaving one side of the square open to form a pocket. Slide the 4in square of card into the pocket and slipstitch the fourth edge closed.

Mark three lines on the side sections of the basket approximately  1 1/4in apart. Sew along these lines to make four channels (Fig.2). Stuff each channel to 3/8in from the top with scrap wadding (pulled apart to make it softer). Use the blunt end of a pencil to help push it down. Tack, or machine stitch, across the top edge of each side section to hold the wadding in place, 3/8in from the top. Gather in the top edge of each side section to 4in wide.

Sew frilled lace to the top of each side section on the outside. Stitch one binding strip of green fabric, 5in x 1 3/8in, to the outside (green fabric) of each side section, right sides together, leaving 1/2in free at each end. Fold the ends in neatly and hand stitch lightly in position.

Cut eight pieces of ribbon 6 1/2in long. Sew the end of a strip of ribbon to each end of the side sections, on top of the folded-in binding strips (Fig.3). Fold the binding over to the wrong side, turn a hem under and slipstitch neatly in place. Fold up the side sections and tie the ribbon in bows at each corner.

Optional handles

Fold in and press 3/8in on one long edge of each 12in x 1 1/2in strip of green fabric. Then fold in and press 3/8in on the other long edge. Fold in half and press. Slipstitch or machine sew to close the folded long edge. If desired, machine stitch close to the other folded long edge and zig-zag down the centre to add a little stiffness to the handles. Fold under 1/2in at each end of both handle pieces and slipstitch.

Mark 3/4in from each end of one side section. Sew the ends of one handle piece at the marked positions on the inside of the side section. Sew the other handle piece to the opposite side section in the same way. Fold up the side sections and tie at the corners with the ribbons. Cut 12in of ribbon and tie the two handles together at the top centre point.

First published in Popular Patchwork November/December 1993