How to Sew a Fabric Bowlcomments (60) January 14th, 2009
Sew up a sweet and soft coiled bowl to stow all your notions, threads, and more. I learned to make these at my local sewing store, and they have been such a hit that I just had to share.
Here's what you'll need to get started:
- 50 feet of 1/4-inch- to 3/8-inch-diameter cotton clothesline. This is available at big box chains and hardware stores—just make sure it seems soft enough for a needle to pierce.
- Several strips of 1/2-inch- to 3/4-inch-wide fabric, cut selvage to selvage. You'll find that the thinner strips are actually easiest to work with. If slightly fraying fabric bothers you, you can cut your strips on the bias. This is too fussy for me but will give your finished bowl a cleaner look.
- Sewing machine loaded with a NEW quilting/sharp needle
- Thread to match or contrast with your fabric. (You will use a lot of thread to make a big bowl, so wind two bobbins before you get started to avoid later frustration.)
- One binder clip (they look like this)
- Cording foot. (This is totally optional—if you have one, use it; if you don't, your standard foot will be fine.)
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The basic idea is that you are going to build the bowl by coiling the clothesline around itself by sewing each successive coil to the previous coil. You will wrap the clothesline with fabric as you go, so the process involves a lot of alternating between wrapping and sewing the coils.
When you are close to the end of the fold, put the needle down, raise the foot, and pivot your work, turning the folded end to the left. Put the foot down again, hold the wrapped clothesline close to your work, and sew the next part of the clothesline to the piece. Continue to pivot the work, coiling and sewing more clothesline as you go to form a base for your bowl.
When you are about 4 inches from the end of your wrapped clothesline, stop sewing with your needle down (to hold the work in place). Remove the binder clip, and wrap the rest of the clothesline with the remaining fabric of the current strip. Continue sewing the coil.
Continue to sew, wrap, and add new strips of fabric as necessary. Make a base of at least 3 inches in diameter if you want to make a larger bowl; this way, you will still be able to fit the bowl under your machine as you add height.
Continue to coil around until your bowl is approximately the size you want it to be. If you don't want to add handles, skip the next step.
Cut the clothesline where you'd like to end the bowl. (You may have to unwrap back to that point—just make sure there's at least 4 inches of fabric strip overhanging the end of the clothesline.) Wrap the end of the clothesline as best as you can. I usually leave a little bit of the fabric strip hanging off so that I can hold on to it.
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