DIY Rope Basket
I am always looking for new ways to organize my stuff. I have always been a pile maker. When you look at my work desk, sewing table or cutting table (really a covered up pool table), you will see piles everywhere! It may look like absolute chaos to you but I know where each and every thing is that I need. Piles, clear tubs, rolling carts with drawers. You name it and I have something stored in it.
Now, with everything that I use in sewing, sometimes I need a container to store smaller items that can get lost in the shuffle of things. Things like rotary replacement blades, clothing tag fasteners, safety pins, etc. But as I searched the store shelves to find something that might fit that need, everything looked so…plastic. I wanted something to fit in with all that surrounded me. Fabric!
I searched a bunch of my scrap piles thinking that I could make some fabric basket squares but wasn’t sure if they would be sturdy enough. Then I came across a package of clothesline. I have no idea why I had this clothesline but I could probably figure out how to make a rope basket that would be pretty AND functional.
So with the backstory having been said, here is what you will need:
Cotton clothesline that measures 3/16" and 50 or 100ft
- I used most of the 100ft package and my basket ended up with a 7 in base and 6 in tall.
- Polyester rope will be too flimsy so go for the cotton
- I chose a neutral color to match/hide my white thread stitches
Strips of scrap fabric
- I used 1 inch wide and 20 inches long
- Because you wrap the rope, go for color and not a detailed pattern
You start off by unraveling the whole package of clothesline. If you don’t, you will end up with many knots that you don’t want to have to deal with as you are sewing. I had a “helper” as I unrolled mine! Once it is all untagglened, go ahead and re-wrap it into a ball.
Above is how I set my machine.
To start the base of this basket, you are going to roll an inch of clothesline and pin it to keep it secure. I don’t like to sew over pins, so once I got it safely under the pedal, I took the pins out. To keep this in place as the start of your basket, you are going to sew a zig zag X across the whole circle.
I started at one end and went forward and back three times and then turned the circle and went forward and back three times, creating an X.
With this piece secure, I set up my “space”. The clothesline ball was to my left. This was easier for me to turn the circle and sew the new length of clothesline onto the basket.
I place the center of my presser foot in between the two pieces of clothesline as I sewed. With my zig zag setting, I found that this alignment allowed my needle to hit both cords in the center. I start off slowly, turning the beginning circle as I sewed. Once I got into a rhym, it was actually pretty easy.
Once I felt that I had the hang of it, I tried to add in a pop of color. I had some teal dyed cotton left over in a small measurement that I couldn’t use much of anywhere else. Also, I thought that it would be an awesome addition to my Kuddle Bumz craft booth set up since teal is in my logo. I cut my strips 1 inch in width and 20 inches in length. You could cut them different lengths as well to get more of a random pattern.
You will want to start wrapping the colored fabric around the clothesline, being sure to tuck in the raw end. If any of the colored strip happens to hang out or stick out, just zig zag over it and trim any ends that may not have been totally secured. With some of the strips I went ahead and tightly wrapped them all the way to the end and some I wrapped and then sewed and wrapped and sewed, making it a process the whole way. I place just one colored piece on the base of the basket.
Once my base was about 7 inches wide, I decided it was time to make some walls. To do this, simply take the base in your hand, lift it and place it against the side of your machine. You will continue to sew just like you did the base but you will turn the base vertically, against the side of the machine.
I added color about every third time around, staggering it between the beginning and end of the last color so that all the color wasn’t on the same side. I started with 100 ft and had a small amount left when I reached a basket height of 6 inches.
When I got to the height that I wanted, I cut the clothesline and tucked it under to create loop for hanging. To do this, just tuck it under and then sew a zig zag stitch over the tucked ending, reverse and then zig zag over the top cord and reverse. I did this twice just to be sure it was secured. I'd do this twice, especially if you are hanging it with items inside.
Now that I have finished this basket I keep finding new uses, giving me more excuses to make another one. In the winter I can use it for hats and mittens. You could use this basket in the spring to hold a potted plant. In the summer I can use it to collect veggies from the garden. And anytime of the year I can use it for dog toys or treats!
Depending on the length, you could make a small basket to hold really small items or you could add multiple clotheslines for a larger basket to hold pillows or blankets.