How to Stitch Rope Bowls and Baskets

Making Rope Bowls

Stitching baskets and bowls out of cotton clothesline are a popular project. See how it's done here!

Natalie from Deerwood + Jones has kindly permitted me to share her rope bowl tutorial and, by all reports, it is rather addictive!

What You Need:

  • Quarter-inch cotton clothesline
  • 90/14 needle
  • Open toe foot
  • Zig-zag 5 to 5.5mm wide and 2 to 3mm long

How to Stitch a Rope Bowl

Completely unravel the clothesline and place in a basket or bowl on the floor in a loose pile.

    How to Make a Rope Bowl

    • Roll the end of the clothesline inward a few times into a circle and pin in place.
    • Sew a top-stitch across the top.
    • Use a zig zag stitch for the rest of this project. (I set the length on 4, the width on 5 and tension on 3.)
    • Place the circle under-and to the left of-the presser-foot.
    • Sew the two outer layers of clothesline together while rotating counter-clockwise.
    • Pinch those two outer layers of clothesline together and continue to sew while rotating in a counter-clockwise direction. (At this point, you may feel more comfortable to speed up.)

    How to stitch a rope bowl or basket with

    • Once you have reached the desired diameter, begin to guide the bottom of your basket upwards toward the sewing machine.
    • Sew until desired height, but still leaving plenty of slack left to use at the remaining end of the rope. 

    How to stitch a rope bowl or basket with

    Adding a Handle

      • Place your hand in the space between the top of the basket and loose rope to mark (or pin) your handle.
      • Measure halfway across and also pin so the second handle is evenly placed.
      • Leave gap for handles and-very slowly-begin to zig-sag stitch again, use your index finger and thumb.
      • Do this until you reach desired height and/or almost run out of rope.
      • Tuck loose end of rope inward and sew into place.

      Stitching a rope bowl or basket with

      Wrapping Up the Finish

      • Sew until desired height and with enough rope leftover to round the top of the basket halfway.
      • Roll end into a tight circle and zig-zag stitch together in the same fashion as you have been doing for the basket.
      • Hot glue or fabric glue circle to side of basket.

        Thank you, Natalie!

        Click here to find out how to embroider trivets or on the bottom of baskets.

        Debbie Henry
        Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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        • Cindy Locke - November 04, 2023

          Is it possible to make a rectangular basket?

        • Bonnie Welsh - July 17, 2023

          Mary—There’s a slight curve even in the pictured bowl. The sharper you make your angle while starting to sew up the side the sharper the curve will be.

        • Mary O’Neill - July 17, 2023

          I have been experimenting with rope bowls. But I want to make the bowl more pot shaped. How do I angle that so the edges are straight, not at an angle? Like the one you have pictured in your blog.

        • Debbie Henry - December 13, 2022

          Karen, two things could be happening. One is that the rope should be cotton. Poly has too much stretch. The other thing is that the rope may not be perfectly flat when zig zagging together. I know that I had go guide the rope rather than pushing or pulling while sewing. I think you will have much better results with cotton rope.

        • Karen - December 10, 2022

          I have been using polyester rope. I have problems with the bottom of the bowl because I cannot get any to lay flat. They turn up and looks more like a sombrero. How can this be correct ed?

        • Bonnie Welsh - November 07, 2022

          Ruth—We have a tutorial on how to embroider on a trivet using rope which would be the same type of steps here:

        • Ruth - November 07, 2022

          Have you an instructional on how you embroidered on this basket

        • Bonnie Welsh - March 25, 2022

          Phyllis and Bonnie—You’re most welcome! Enjoy!

        • Bonnie Welsh - March 25, 2022

          Shirley—You could wrap the cording with bias tape if you wanted to but it’s very pretty with natural cording too!

        • Bonnie Welsh - March 25, 2022

          Christina—Stay tuned as trivets or bottoms for bowls will be next week. =)

        • Bonnie J Tawney-Addison - March 23, 2022

          This project looks interesting something I will have to try. Thank you for the tutorial.

        • Phyllis A Ball - March 23, 2022

          Thank you so much! This is wonderful!!!

        • Shirley - March 23, 2022

          Very interesting I have made rugs but you wrap cording with bias tape

        • Christina Kelso - March 23, 2022

          Very good instructions on how to make the rope basket. Would like to learn how to embroider on trivets.

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