Collapsible Bucket




A simple fabric bucket that has been designed to be rigid enough to stand on its own, yet pliable enough to be folded for easy storage.

The use of heavy-weight fabrics, rather than paper-like interfacing, allows for great recovery even after folding/storage.

Etsy Sew Useful Listing

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Step 1: Recommended Fabrics

Duck, heavy twill, drill, canvas, denim

Step 2: Material List

Choose 2 coordinating fabrics at least 45" wide.
Fabric #1 3/4 yard
Fabric #2 1/3 yard
Buttons, 2 or 3 or 4. Vintage or new. Matched or not.

Step 3: The Pattern

(Top to bottom in photo)
Lining. 29.25" x 9.0" Cut 1
Shell A. 29.25" x 6.5" Cut 1*
Shell B. 29.25" x 3.5" Cut 1
Handle. 24" x 2.5" Cut 2
Base. 9" diameter Cut 2 (trace a pie plate or dig out that compass)
Note: Lining, handle, base, and Shell B are all the same fabric. The only contrasting fabric I use is for Shell A.
*modifications for Shell A. If you opt for a light or medium decorative fabric, interface with a layer of duck. I recommend sewing/basting decorative fabric to duck, rather than an iron-on interface. It provides an easy and informal look to the bucket. It also minimzes fold lines later after bucket has been stored.

Step 4: Assembly; Shell

~1/4 inch seam allowance.
~Sew right sides together,leave one end open, turn, topstitch. I personally prefer to do the button holes last only because I generally can't pick buttons before hand.
~1/2 inch seam allowance.
~Fold Shell A in half length-wise and sew right sides together, press open seams.
~Repeat for Shell B.
~Face (right side to right side) Shell A & B making sure that seams line up. (photo #1)
~Insert unfinished end of strap between both shell pieces assuring that it's centered.(photo #1)
~Sew together. 1/2" seam allowance. (photo #2)
~Unfold and press seams flat (photo #3)
~Topstich (photo #4)

Step 5: Assembly; Shell Wall to Shell Base

Joining shell base to shell wall:
~Mark the quarters on the circle with pins.(photo #1)
~Do the same with the shell wall.
~Match up quarter marks on base and wall, pin together. Gently ease pieces together adding more pins. (photo #2) *note. I can about guarantee that these pieces will not fit together if you don't "pre-ease" using pins, so do this step even if you hate pinning. I strongly dislike ripping seams. lol.
~1/4 inch seam allowance.
~Sew right side to right side.
~Trim closely or snip seam allowance. (photo #3)

tips: I sew so that the base is being fed with my feed dogs. Some people are more comfortable having the dogs help the ease of the walls along. It's all a preference and I don't know that one is more correct.

Step 6: Assembly; Lining Wall

Lining wall:
~1/2 inch seam allowance.
~Fold in half length-wise, right sides together, sew together but leave open at pin marks in photo. This is where you'll pull the bucket right side out later.

Step 7: Assembly; Lining Wall to Base

Adjoining lining base to lining wall:
~1/4 inch seam allowance.
~ Right sides together.
~Repeat instructions from step #5.

Step 8: Assembly; Joining Lining to Shell

Joining lining and shell;
~ 1/2 inch seam allowance.
~Right side to right side, making sure handle is tucked in, sew together. (photo #1)
~Turn bucket out through the opening you left in the lining.
~Press as needed
~Top stitch where lining meets shell, catching the handle in the topstitch.
~Use a ladder stitch to close opening in interior. (photo #2)

Step 9: Adding Buttons and Buttonholes

Buttons and buttonholes: Decide size and placement. I like to have the end of the handle rest right at the top of the bottom of exterior.

I'm leaving this up to artistic expression, maybe you want to run 6 buttons up the side.

Step 10: Fold It Up

~Unbutton handle
~Collapse one half into the other half with handle on top. (photo #1)
~ Fold bottom up flat (photo #2)
~Fold in each side to the center and fold the handle down over folds, flip, and button. (Photos # 3 and 4)
~Stuff in your back pocket and head to the garden or yarn shop to lug out your bounty.

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    17 Discussions


    Cool :) I've started using reusable bags for grocery shopping and I feel bad for the baggers when they won't stay open. I've been on a 'recycle with denim jeans' kick so will try a blue jeans version... ASAP!

    1 reply

    I agree! I am learning new sewing techniques and developing some of my own. I've considered using an old coat hanger sewn into the rim... will bend into keep closed, bend out to open. We might want to use coated hangers, though, for while washing they might rust. What do you think?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I REALLY love this bag and hope to make one soon. I have an Etsy shop and sell bags there. I like to use recycled materials. Do you think it would stand nice and stiff if I interface it with denim? Vicki


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much for the instructions, It will come handy.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome. I love this idea. When I saw this tut I thought I was gonna need some flexible plastic or something like that. But it's just a circular pattern :D Beautiful choice of fabrics and I love the buttons.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    What changes would need to be made to convert this into a foldable "survival" bucket that can hold and transport water?

    3 replies

    Maybe use Goretex like fabric- and use seam sealant to waterproof your stitches. Or if you were wanting to go the old fashioned way I believe they used canvas or tightly woven hemp burlap (modern burlap is not close, but you could "reweave it" to be tighter) and it was waterproofed with pitch. Heat the pitch in a can wired to a stick, over the fire. smooth it onto/into the fabric with a hot rock while wearing thick gloves. It flows into the fibers well then cools to a pliable, water proof barrier. When rolling or folding up we stored our dishtowels and washcloths in it so it didn't stick to itself.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Three things I can think of right off: Line the bucket with a plastic grocery bag Oil the fabric with linseed oil to make old fashioned oilcloth Make the bucket from modern vinyl oilcloth


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not certain but just speculating..... A self healing fabric, maybe a neoprene of some sort for avoiding leaking through stitch holes. I know that 'back in the day' canvas was used to transport water at least for short distances. But I think it was heavier grade than I've used or at least heavier than I'm willing to put through my machine. A vintage machine could handle that sort of weight. Another line of thinking....I used to cloth diaper my children and I used wool as a moisture repellent. You could try to make the bag in a wool flannel and then felt it up when it's done. That would minimize wicking through stitch holes. I'd definately raise the walls several inches, just to maximize volume. Katie

    Lucky Bear

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for this! I made one yesterday! Mine isn't quite as rigid as yours looks, although I used heavy cotton curtain fabric...perhaps I will use a heavier fabric B next time, as I just used dress material for that bit. Anyway, a really sweet design, just wanted to say thanx so much because I love it!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I cannot believe it! I made virtually the same thing, same fabric et al for teacher's gifts this past May. I did ribbon handles with grommets but it is nearly identical. How crazy is that. Oh, I also stitched coordinating pockets to the outside and filled them with summer goodies, like flip flops, bubbles, journals etc. How interesting.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I've been looking for a grocery tote that will stand up on its own.