Make This Clever Rag Basket Using Clothesline Rope

Making rag baskets is a vintage craft implemented by our early ancestors. The technique requires wrapping rug coils with fabric strips and with each coiled round of the basket, the strips are “sewn” together with the same rag strips. With this pattern, the rug coils are actually clothesline rope and the wrapped rope is sewn together to form the basket using a zig zag stitch on a sewing machine. This project makes it easy to gather the supplies needed, especially if you do not live near a craft store. Use clothesline rope made of cotton, rather than vinyl coated clothesline rope. The vinyl coated clothesline rope tends to cause skipped stitches on a sewing machine. Try simple coasters if you are not ready to tackle a basket to get the rhythm of the technique.  Simple and impressive designs are provided to the person related to sewing machine buffs. The decision of the person will be great to meet with the need and requirements. The results on stitching over the clothes will be there to get the perfect designs and pattern to the person. 

Things you will need:

1 yard fabric (this will be enough for one large basket)


Rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat

Measuring tape

Elmer’s School Glue

One bundle cotton clothesline rope

Straight pins

Sewing machine

Leather or blue jeans sewing machine needle

Thread to complement fabric

Steps to make the basket:

Using the rotary cutter, cut the fabric into 1/2″ wide strips. Place a dab of Elmer’s School Glue on the beginning end of the clothesline rope. Fold one end of a rag strip over the end of the rope and begin wrapping the strip over the folded end and along the clothesline rope.

Continue to add the school glue every few inches to help hold the fabric in place. When you come to the end of your first fabric strip, glue it to the end of the rope. Glue the next fabric strip over the end of the first and continue to wrap the clothesline rope.

When coiling your basket, start in the center bottom and begin coiling. When your coil reaches a diameter of 2 inches, stitch an “X” across the circle using a straight stitch. This will give you a secure base to grow off of.

Continue to coil the wrapped clothesline rope using straight pins to help hold it in place. The coils are sewn together with two coils side by side and the “ditch” in between, centered under your presser foot. Zig zag stitch the coils together using your widest stitch so that you can catch two rows of coils together at a time, creating the basket.

Continue to sew the basket as you wrap more of the clothesline rope. When you are ready to build the sides, tilt the bottom of your basket at a slight angle so that the new coils will begin to curve upward. Continue until you have the size basket you want.

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