By May 22, 2014 2 Comments Read More →

Making Coiled Clothesline Baskets


 I recently discovered that my new neighbor, Margie, is a fellow crafter. Her specialty is weaving pine needle baskets like this. . . needlebasket Beautiful, right?

I asked Margie if she had a simple craft project that would be good for my blog. She suggested fabric wrapped clothesline baskets. I had the advantage of a live demonstration from Margie; but, you can learn how to make clothesline baskets by watching a few short YouTube videos:

First is a two part video by Katharine Ringo, at Katie’s Quilting Corner. In the Part One video, I found Katie’s wrapping technique very helpful. Katie recommends a metal pressure foot, but I found I needed a clear foot in order to see my zig-zag stitching. Also, I followed Katie’s suggestion by using a little pointed tool to press the fabric coils together when beginning and ending my basket. From the Part Two video, I followed Katie’s method of building the sides and finishing my basket.


The video by Vanessa, at the CraftyGemini, is very informative. This video covers the specific materials needed. Also, Vanessa wraps the beginning and ending cord so that there is no exposed raw edge. This is how Margie does her baskets.

Nancy’s Notions video features a great tool by Shape Cut Plus for cutting the fabric strips. If you are old school like myself, you will want to view the videos How to Use a Rotary Cutter by Professor Pincushion and How to Cut Fabric with a Rotary Cutter by Leah Day.


My first fabric basket!

Materials I used:

  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide fabric strips
  • thread
  • 3/16″ diameter cotton clothesline
  • sewing machine fitted with a 90/14 or 100/16 sharp needle
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • binding clip or clothes pin
  • straight pins
  • spray starch or Scotch Guard (optional)

I don’t feel it is necessary to show step by step pictures of how I made my basket. The videos are much better than what I could show in photos. But, I will tell you what I learned and the mistakes that I made. If I had it to do over, I would make an oval basket for my first project. All the circular sewing of the round basket was hard for a first timer. I picked a dark, small printed fabric which made it hard to see where I was stitching.  A plain, light colored fabric with a contrasting thread color would have made the sewing easier.

cutting fabricTo make my fabric strips, I folded the fabric by bringing the two selvage edges together and then folded it in half, again. Cutting through four layers of fabric was harder than I expected. I will be investing in a better rotary cutter and a professional fabric ruler!

basketcoilAfter coiling a small circle I secured the coils together with stitching. Margie and several websites recommended this when making a circular basket.

basketwinding When adding a new strip, I found that clipping the cord and gluing the fabric strips together was very helpful.

basket1insideMy zig zag sewing was not great, but this is a very forgiving process in which mistakes aren’t obvious. I was pleasantly surprised to see how the fabrics blended together.


I decided to make a second basket!

The videos I watched all stressed the need to use cotton rope. However, Margie had used nylon rope for some of her baskets. I decided to use nylon cord for my second basket. I tried stitching the bare clothesline on my machine and it was fine. However, after I wrapped the nylon cord with a layer of fabric, my machine jammed. I returned to using the cotton clothesline.

basket2fabric One thing I discovered in making my first basket is that you cannot predict how the fabrics will look when they are wrapped around the rope. That is one of the fun elements in making the basket. It will always be a surprise. For my second basket I picked a group of fabrics that either had blue or rust in them, hoping that they would coordinate.

basket2stitchingI made an oval basket using a larger, contrasting zig-zag stitching.  This was an improvement from my first basket.


Margie had one tip that I did not find in any of the videos. She sprays her baskets with a light coat of spray-starch. This will help your basket hold its shape and keep it from fraying. You could even try spraying your project with Scotchgard if you want it to be stain resistant.

This was a fun project and I feel that I have learned a useful skill. I will definitely be making more baskets. I have found myself looking around the house for things that to store in a basket, just so I have an excuse to make another one. I’m going to use my round basket to hold my ball of crochet yarn. Margie made matching fabric napkins for some of her baskets and gave them to friends as bread baskets. Baskets can be turned into totes and purses. Flat coiled pieces can be made into coasters, trivets, place mats and small rugs.

Follow Lisa Ault – ‘s board DIY- Wrapped Clothesline Baskets on Pinterest

If you want to make a basket, connect to my Pinterest Board for instructional videos along with a variety of photos of other clothesline coiled baskets and projects. Examine the photos to see how other crafters have used their fabrics, thread color, and zig-zag stitching to create different effects. You will also find imaginative ways to embellish the baskets. Get inspired, make a basket today!

Posted in: Crafts, PROJECTS, Sewing

2 Comments on "Making Coiled Clothesline Baskets"

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  1. Kathy putman says:

    Please help!! What am I doing wrong my round placemat will not lay flat, and the back , the zigzag looks really bad, HELP

    • Lisa says:

      I’m not an expert, but it sounds like maybe the tension is off. Since you are sewing thru such a thick material you might have to adjust the tension on your machine. Hope that helps.

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