Monday, January 16, 2012

Cotton clothesline baskets!


This is a tutorial for an easy-to-make and extremely useful basket. Nicholas' mom first taught me how to make these a few years ago, and I've been making them ever since. You need to have a sewing machine for this project, but it
doesn't have to be anything fancy. In addition to the machine, you'll need to grab some clothesline.


I got both of these at Ace Hardware. I think they run about $9.99 for the 100 feet package. The most important
thing is that you get the cotton and not the nylon kind. Also, you'll want to get the thinnest stuff you can find.
This is medium load, 12 lb-strength clothesline.


Then you'll want to grab some thread. What color or kind you use is completely up to you. I like variegated
thread because it creates a bit more festive of a look. I started out using this metallic spool,
but I found that the metallic thread kept breaking, so I stopped.


Get your bobbin and your machine all ready to go...and remember even if your bobbin isn't on your side,
Ryan Gosling is. This is the part where your pets will start helping you craft. Aren't they thoughtful?


To start making the baskets, you first need to make a base.
Using your hands, wrap the clothesline around itself a couple of times...like so.


Then you're going to sew across the circle in a few different directions to hold it all together.
This project is done using the zigzag stitch. You'll understand why in a few moments.


Make sure this little circle is nice and secure. The rest of the basket is built off of this.
Now you're ready to start expanding the base. The basket is sewn together by turning this circle as you go.
The zigzag stitch sews the last round of clothesline to the next wrapping of clothesline. Make sense?


This is what it looks like up close.  You'll just keep sewing around and around in circles until
the base of your bowl is as big as you want it. You can make little bowls or big bowls (baskets).


Peanut is overseeing the whole operation.
I wanted to make a really big bowl for my some yarn that I've accumulated.
The base is almost ready!


 Peanut says it's just about there.


When you're ready to start sewing the sides of your bowl, you simply urge the clothesline to start
climbing up instead of building out. I know this sounds strange, but you really do form the
walls by lifting the base up and encouraging the walls to build out from there.


This is me urging the walls to form.


You can see that after twice around, it's starting to work.


Voila! You have walls!


The rest of it is a piece of cake. You just keep sewing until you have the size that you want.
I decided to go until I used one entire spool of clothesline (100 feet).


Almost there...


And I'm officially done.
To end the basket, sew back-and-forth over the end piece a few times.


Very easy and very satisfying. 

 
The basket is perfect for some of my yarn, and Peanut immediately showed me what else baskets are good for.


Peanut!


You know she's comfortable when she starts "grooming" in the basket. 


A new favorite. 



Peanut is pleased and so am I!

More variations:
  • You can wrap the clothesline in any fabric you want. Simply glue strips of it around and then sew in exactly the same way. I've seen this done but have yet to try it.
  • I've also thought about dying the cotton line before sewing. I think that would look so charming.

GO FORTH AND GOOD LUCK!

72 comments:

  1. Just remember cats and thread don't mix. I lost mine to a secretly held thread caught on his tooth and destroyed his stomach and had to be put to sleep.
    In memory of toast...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my, these kitty pictures are too cute! Great idea for the bowl too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks ladies! Sorry to hear about poor Toast kitty. I'm always very observant of the kitten helpers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful idea and a really great tutorial! Thank you for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great idea! I have GOT to do this. It seems like the easiest way to make a basket that I've seen yet, and I'm always in need of a basket or five! Have you ever tried it with jute twine? I see a tie-dye effect on the clothesline, but that can be done after the basket is made. You've got me going!!! Many thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kat, I haven't every tried it with twine, but I imagine that if your machine is sturdy enough it would work and tie-dye would be awesome!

      Delete
  6. I am so excited! this will be great for many things!! I cant find (online) any colored braided cotton. do you know of a place to get any??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Randiocoy, I haven't heard of any colored braided cotton. The closest thing I think you would be able to use would be dying it before hand. I have seen colored nylon before, but I don't know how that sews up.

      Delete
    2. Oooh - you could get a really pretty gradient from dyeing it yourself! I just dyed a duvet cover with the fiber reactive dye from Dharma Trading, and now I'm thinking I want to do something with cording and pillows, too - great inspiration post!

      (Plus I love the cats - too cute!)

      Delete
    3. Oh, here's the dye http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/3796-AA.shtml?lnav=dyes.html. From all the research I did, it seems to be the industry best for natural fibers.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the info, Lindsay!

      Delete
    5. Love it! and Peanut too!

      Delete
    6. I'm sitting here having visions of covering the clothesline with a light material (probably gingham or calico) as you would cover piping for upholstery, trimming the excess with pinking shears and leaving the excess on the outside...?

      Delete
    7. I have covered quite a few of the rope baskets with fabric, it's tedious work but looks great. I cut the fabric with a wiggle edged rotary cutter about 3/4"- 1" (don't use a rotary ruler, the blade hits the ruler and really chunks up the ruler and isn't good for the blade). I put a dot of fabric glue stick on the end of the fabric and started wrapping the fabric on. I wrapped with about a 1/4" overlap. When it's time for another strip, another dot of glue is added to the next strip of fabric and off you go. I have wrapped many yards of rope but I personally do 1 strip of fabric and then stitch on the bowl.
      Have fun... Kitty (Nicholas' Mom)

      Delete
  7. What is the number of your singer machine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sewing machine was purchased from Target about 2 years ago. It's a really basic Singer. They still have it on the website which you can view here:
      http://www.target.com/p/Singer-Tradition-2250-Portable-Sewing-Machine/-/A-10869415#?lnk=sc_qi_detaillink


      It is a Singer Tradition 2250 Portable Sewing Machine. Super light weight and full size. It's basic but it does everything I need it to (and more).

      Delete
  8. I totally love this! Planning on trying it soon!!I was thinking about making straps so I could use it as a bag. Also, how do you know when to start making the walls?
    XOXO Katie <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It all depends on preference, Katie. If you're making a big basket, like Catherine's, you'll want to build a larger bottom, which means sewing a fairly large circle before turning the basket on its side. Just remember, as soon as you start shaping the wall, the width of the bottom of your basket is set. Also, make sure that the bottom of the basket is wide enough to support the walls--otherwise, you'll end up with a basket that keeps falling over.

      Hope that helps!

      Delete
  9. We're so excited that everyone is so excited about making clothesline baskets!

    ReplyDelete
  10. So, can I borrow Peanut when I make mine? She seems to make a great project manager. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's the best project manager when she's not being really bad. : )

      Delete
  11. using your concept but without the walls, it would be fun to make a little area rug, door mat, coasters, placemats, trivets, etc :0) even play wih the initial circle and make it more squared... oooh the creative juices are flowing lol :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a good idea! I never though to try making a rug with this!

      Delete
  12. The metallic didn't work because it is primarily for embroidery. You need a special needle. I do basically the same thing when I make braided rugs. I cover the cotton cording with fabric (don't use glue) and then stitch it with my sewing machine needle. I have to use heavy thread and the cotton breaks too easily and the poly isn't durable enough. The best is the craft thread or upholstery thread. It is the most durable unless you go to nylon thread which is clear and last forever ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for all the tips! You must be a pro at this sort of thing. :)

      Delete
  13. I have tried doing this, but my sewing machine needle doesn't want to go through both sides... what am I doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carren, you might want to try reducing the width of your zigzag stitch. You want to catch the fabric covering the clothesline but not the inner filling.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I would try adjusting the length of your stitches. Also, you might want to make sure you don't have other zig-zag stitches to use. My machine has several zig-zag options and some are longer (cover more width) than others.

      Delete
    3. While you're talking about sewing machine problems I'd like to remind everyone about this potential problem. The thickness of the rope with this project makes it very easy to forget to put the presser foot down. Without it fully down it can either create a huge hairball of thread on the underside of your work or else it doesn't catch the bobbin thread.
      Happy sewing!
      Kitty (Nicholas' Mom)

      Delete
  14. I'm wondering if we could get this cotton laundry line at Bed, Bath, and Beyond with coupons.... that might make it a little more economical. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh good idea. I've never checked there. I would love to find a hardware store that sells it by the yard in bulk. Sometimes they sell rope that way, but no luck yet. Maybe it's more of a summer item. : )

      Delete
  15. Lovely idea, but living in England I don't think we can buy it over here. Where do they sell it in America x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, we usually pick up cotton clothesline at Ace Hardware, but if you can't find it at your local hardware store, you can also get it online. Try Amazon.com. Just type in cotton clothesline. They have several different types. Good luck!

      Delete
  16. I have dyed wool using kool-aid, as cotton is also a natural fibre, it might work as well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What type of needle are you using on your machine? I'm excited to try this out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just using the basic needle that the machine came with--nothing fancy.

      Delete
  18. I purchased a book about these bowls but your instructions are so much better. Thanks for the photos & captions and Peanut too. I now have the courage to try this, yeah!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love this!! Will try to do this really soon!! Has anybody tried to make the bottom more oval? Would that make it harder to make the walls? I was thinking a heavy duty tote would be cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you could make it more oval at the start--I think that's the key.
      A tote would be awesome!

      Delete
  20. This is purrfect. I will definitely do this. Thanks a basketful. www.dishofgreen.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh this is so cool. Only goes to show there's a DIY use for everything. ^ㅅ^

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love your basket idea!! I twitted it for you and it goes to my facebook pg! I really enjoyed the whole story and Peanut!!! What a living doll!! Adorable! Sandy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Replies
    1. Awww thanks Sandy! Peanut is a living doll (albeit a bad one)!

      Delete
  24. Best ever tutorial for clothes line baskets, ever. How long did the whole thing take you AND whats the diameter of the cord you used?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ellen! I think the whole basket took about an hour, maybe 40 minutes if you're not stopping to take pictures or get cats out of the way. I tried to get the smallest gauge I could find at Ace Hardware which was 12lb gauge "medium load" clothesline. You just want to make sure you find a size small enough that your machine can stitch through it without any issues, as for the diameter, it's approximately 1/4 inch.
      Hope you love your basket!

      -Catherine

      Delete
    2. You can purchase clothesline and other cording that works with this project at Jo-Ann's. Great way to use those coupons!

      Delete
  25. Aileen's makes a fabric stiffener spray. Use this on the completed project to stiffen it-it makes your project much sturdier! You can get it at and craft/hobby store like Joann's, Michaels or AC Moore.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ooooh I might have to try that. Thanks for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Replies
    1. After spending a second with google translator, I can now say, Thank and I'm glad you like it!

      Delete
  28. Love this! Do you think it would be difficult to make it more closed rather than bowl like? Im wanting to make a large one for my daughters bedroom but I would want it taller and Id make a lid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm maybe...I bet you could starch it after you sew it, or even paint on a glue wash to make it sturdier!

      Delete
  29. You guys make it really easy for all the folks out there.
    Retractable Clothesline

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've made one basket using 1/2" fabric and it came out great. But I seem to have a problem when I try to make a basket of just the cotton cording. (exact same Walmart cotton clothesline cord) I use the same width and length of zigzag stitch as before, but now my machine will go a few inches doing great and then it hiccups or something because it will zig but not zag for several seconds, then start properly zigzaging again for a few inches, then repeats the dropping of the zag. No pattern to it at all, just a few good inches, then hiccup, then zigzag.......hickup. What is wrong with this machine? Please help me. It only does this when making plain baskets (no cloth added).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try a wider zig zag stitch that sometimes works and the line has a cotton core.

      Delete
  31. Wonder how it would take Rit dye? Natural clothesline could be dyed, dried, then sewn. It would be interesting to try. I like wrapping baskets in fabric but it does take a while and the natural one is a great alternative I never thought of.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Target is selling very similar looking bowls right now in the seasonal section - they're pretty pricey! You ladies were waaaay ahead of the trend, and DIY is a much better way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Just made one from your instructions! Great tutorial. My kitty was a big help as well!

    ReplyDelete
  34. How many meters or feet of cotton clothesline is need for this project?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It all depends on how big of a basket you want to make. It's entirely up to you!

      Delete
  35. Best ever tutorial!! Love the natural look, no fabric!! And I can just dye it! Oh oh oh I'm sew excited!! Thank you so muccchchh! Amie :0)))))

    ReplyDelete
  36. For those wanting more color, check out the fabric wrapped clothesline bowls here:
    http://www.craftstylish.com/item/33825/how-to-sew-a-fabric-bowl/page/all

    ReplyDelete
  37. Things that might be said in order to make this advice more readable? I am a college student, and am desiring your guidance on information in this kind of topic http://rosemonttextiles.com/weldable-webbing

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...