How to Sew a Fabric Bowl
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.
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You Will Need
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.
To start, cut one short edge of a fabric strip at a 45-degree angle. Fold it down over the end of the clothesline and carefully wrap it around the clothesline a few times. Even if it's a little messy, you won't notice on the final product.
Place the end under the foot of your machine. Put the needle down, using the machine to hold the clothesline in place. Wrap the fabric around the clothesline counterclockwise, angling the fabric strip slightly so that the wrapping doesn't get too bunched up. Wrap anywhere from 12 to 18 inches of clothesline, then use a binder clip to hold the end in place.
Next, fold about 1 inch of the wrapped end down to the left of the length of clothesline. Place the fold under the foot of your sewing machine as shown. Using a zigzag stitch, sew down the fold.
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.
About 4 inches before the end of the clothesline and fabric wrap, stop sewing with your needle down. Cut the fabric end at a 45-degree angle as shown, then cut a second fabric strip in a reverse 45-degree angle. Insert it underneath the fabric strip on the clothesline, hold it in place, and begin wrapping the clothesline with the second strip.
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.
To begin adding height to your bowl, hold the base at an angle. Continue to coil and sew around the base while holding the bowl at an angle. If you hold the bowl at a shallow angle, it will slowly grow taller and wider. If you hold it at a sharp angle (almost perpendicular to the machine's foot plate), it will grow taller without gaining much width. With time, you'll get a better feel for this.
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.
To add a handle, pull the wrapped coil away from the bowl and continue to sew along the edge of the bowl, skipping the wrapped coil for about an inch or two, as shown. Press the coil back into the side of the bowl, and catch it again where you'd like the handle to end. Continue sewing around and add another handle directly opposite of the first, if desired.
When you come around to the handles again, just line up the wrapped coil with each handle and sew it in place. The easiest way to do this is to place one on the left side of the handle and one on the right, holding the coil to the handle as you sew. I only add two rounds of coil for each handle on small bowls, but as always, you can play with it.
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.