Sewing With Home-Made Fabric Twine
A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to make fabric rope out of fabric scraps. And I started making a basket. I chose to make an oblong shaped basket but I didn’t really have a clear vision of what I wanted it to become. It was my “test” project. And it ended up being a basket for my daughter’s dolls. I added two little handles. And she is very happy with it. I also noticed that it is important to keep the thickness of the twine consistent. Cut the strips thinner if you’re mixing some thicker fabric scraps with lightweight fabrics. If not, it will be harder to control the shape of your basket.
Now it is for real :-))) .. I want to make a present for mothers’ day and I also want a new little rug for our covered patio.
Assembling your home made thread to a basket, coaster or rug.
Color: your bobbin thread will be showing on the outside of your project and your spool thread on the inside. You can choose matching threads or opt for contrasting ones.
I just used regular nylon Gütterman machine sewing thread
The shape choice
If you want a rug or a coaster you need to position the twine as horizontal as possible to get a flat result. For a basket you start off the same way for the base, that is also flat.
Choose a zigzag stitch that is wide enough to cover both sides of the twine that you are sewing together. Put 2 strips together and test how wide the stitches need to be according to the thickness of your thread.
I used a 5.5 mm width and 3 mm length.
Also engage the Needle Stop Down function if you have this option. This is very helpful, as you will stop to pivot very often in the beginning.
I like to use a zigzag foot for this or any foot with an open toe and a mark in the middle. When stitching the rope together, pay attention to that mark in the middle of the presser foot. If you keep the mark right in the center between the two rows of rope you will always catch each side in the stitching.
You can also use an open toe foot, metal or plastic.
In the picture: from left to right the zigzag foot, the metal open toe foot and the plastic open toe foot.
I use a 90/14 universal sewing machine needle
How much twine
It is hard to say how many yards you have to have ready before you can start sewing. I haven’t measured my twine before I started. You make a lot and you stop when you have a result that you like. Freestyle sewing!
What I do know: For a little round coaster of 4 inch in diameter you need about 32 inch twine.
The good thing is, that you can always add twine, even when a part of your project is already stitched.
The base of your basket can be either round or oblong.
A round shape is more predictable if you have a specific size in mind. It grows regularly and you just stop adding thread when you get where you want to be.
To start, coil the thread in a little circle, as tight as possible. The first curve has to be as small as possible. Stitch the little disk down, while turning or just sew a big cross over the disk.
For an oblong shape you need to fold over the end of the thread about 2 inches to start and sew them together. Depending how long you want that oblong shape you have to add some extra inches to that first row.
Don’t start off with a huge basket. That is for the more experienced basket makers among you. Max 8” accross for the base is ok.
After the start, the process is the same for both oblong and round baskets. Position the little disk under your machine, select the zigzag stitch and turn the disk counterclockwise, while feeding the twine towards the presser foot. Keep turning the little disk and adding twine.
Once you have the base size you want, you can start building up the sides of the basket. Wedge your hand under the base circle as close to the foot as you can and hold the base up against the left side of the sewing machine. Turn the base so that it is perpendicular to the sewing machine. Continue sewing your way across the coils, using the same zigzag stitch as before.
Continue stitching. It is important to keep the cord under tension at this point to prevent the sides from flaring outward; if enough tension is applied, the side of the bowl will curve inward. When working on the sides, always keep your work vertical.
If you want you can add handles like I did, on the basket for my daughter.
To end, you either turn the end of your twine inwards and stitch it down with the same zigzag or you lay the 2 ends flat on your basket and sew them on the basket with a hand stitch.
Making Rugs & Coasters
You can make a coaster of a rug like the base of a basket: round shaped or oblong and make them as big as you want. The challenge is to keep the result nice and flat. If you want a rectangular shape you can sew different long strips parallel together and make U-turns at both sides.
General sewing advice
No matter what shape you choose, make sure your cord supply is coming out of the left side of the circle or the 2 parallel ends. This way your project will stay on the left side of your machine and not in between your machine. Very important if you have plans for a large rug or a big basket.
Hold the twine you are adding against the side of your project to avoid any holes in your project. The first inches are always the most challenging, especially if you have to pivot constantly, but rest assured, it will become easier.
Hope it inspired you to start making twine! I’m addicted :-)))
Find out here how to make twine
And please share your projects in our Facebook group or on instagram with the #madamsew hashtag. Show what you make and inspire others!
And above all... Enjoy your sewing adventures!
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