This DIY Coiled Basket Tote project looks tricky but is very simple and really addictive. It uses cotton sash cord – available from hardware shops, and you build the shape on your sewing machine with a spiral (coil) of cord, anchored as you go with a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine. You can change the colour of thread as often as you like. I just waited until the bobbin ran out and changed it then, winding a new colour on the bobbin and changing the thread at the same time.
The same technique can be used to make coasters, placemats, or mats – keeping the base flat instead of curving it. You could also forget the handles and make storage baskets of any size. If you were really keen you could make a floor mat and matching baskets!
Once your project is finished you can further embellish by sewing pom poms around the rim, painting designs on the side with Acrylic paint or with a tassel tie as we have.
You will need
- Approx 50 metres of 5mm cotton sash cord (available from your hardware store)
- A sewing machine set to a wide zig zag stitch
- Sewing thread in a variety of colours of your choice
- Sharp Scissors
- Embroidery floss in colours of your choice
- Sharp needle with an eye large enough for the embroidery thread
- Round nosed pliers (optional)
Let’s get started!
Unwrap your cord and roll it into a large ball – the cord twists as you sew and every so often it helps to untwist the ball.
Fold over approx. 10cm of cord and then push both pieces of cord together so they are touching and start sewing. The first little bit might be a bit tricky but it gets easier really quickly.
Now we start coiling!
When you reach the beginning, wrap some cord around it and keep sewing. Go slow as you round the corner.
It doesn’t take long for the curves to be easier. If you slipped while sewing and think you might have missed a bit, just cut the threads, go back a bit and sew it again. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect – it won’t be noticeable.
On a roll! (Sorry, can’t resist a pun.)
When you think you have enough for a base, take a big breath and we will start to curve for the sides. Don’t worry, it’s not tricky.
If you wanted to make a mat you could just keep on going as you are here until the mat was big enough. You might need to make sure you had a long table to support the mat as its growing or it will get difficult to handle.
Tilt the base at an angle and keep sewing. The lower the angle the more gradual the curve will be.
Each time the bobbin runs out you could change to a different coloured thread. To start a new colour, pull the work out from the machine, change threads, then put it back in again and resew the previous 2 centimetres so there are no holes.
When you are happy with how tall the bag is, take it out of the machine and mark where you want the handles to go with glass headed pins. Check that they are in the same location on both sides of the bag.
Then move the pins to the inside of the bag – making sure they are well clear of the edge so the needle doesn’t hit them and put the work back under the machine.
Sew to the first pin, then go back and forth a few times to reinforce the area – this is where your first handle will start. Remove the work from the machine and cut the threads.
You can leave the handles off if you want to keep this as a storage basket.
To make the handle, pull out a length of cord around 70cm long (however long you want your handle to be), keep it as a loose loop and move the work to the next pin marker. Push the cord back down to meet the work and go back and forth a few times to reinforce the area where the handle meets the work, then continue sewing around to the next marker.
Repeat for the handle on the other side.
When you get to the loose section of cord for the handle, attach a second row of rope, and keep sewing around as before until you have 3 cord widths for the handle.
To finish, Cut the cord at an angle and sew right up to the cut piece, holding it as close to the previous round as possible.
Do one more round (2 if you like) at the finished edge, then remove the work. Cut the threads and trim off any loose threads you might see.
Now it’s time to make a tassel tie!
Cut a length of cord approx. 40cm long and tie a loose knot in one end.
Use a pin to tease out the ends of the cord to loose thread. Go slow or you’ll end up in a tangle.
Use sharp scissors to even up the ends.
Undo the knot so your cord is loose.
Thread a needle with embroidery floss. Push the needle into the cord starting in the body of the cord and ending at the beginning of the frayed section. This will keep our floss in place without making a knot.
Wrap the floss around the end of the cord working up the body. When you have wrapped a few centimetres in length fasten off, and push the needle back down through the middle of the cord. If you find the needle hard to grip a pair of round nosed pliers may help to pull it through.
Trim the floss off where it meets the frayed end, or leave it the length of the frayed section and tease out the floss (your choice).
Repeat for the other side.
Attach the tassel tie to the bag but passing the loop under one handle and pushing the tie ends through the loop.
You are done and now have yourself a cute DIY Coiled Basket Tote!