Introduction: Denim Wrapped Rope Bowl

About: I've always been happy making things. It started with macrame back in the day and went from there. Quilts are my mainstay, but now that I am retired I just pretty much go with what feels good. If I can upcycle…

This is one of my favorite pastimes. I recycle fabric from clothing, scraps or in this case discarded denim, wrap the fabric strips around rope and sew it together to create a useful and decorative bowl. There are many different materials you can use, but I had just finished helping a friend clean her closets and there was a lot of outgrown denim to be had. I couldn’t resist!


Rotary cutter and mat

Fabric cut into approx. ¾” strips

Clothesline rope ¼ to ⅜” thick


#16 Denim needle for your machine

Sewing Machine

Optional glue stick for wrapping the rope

Optional stilletto - to help hold the rope in place while sewing

Step 1: Cutting the Fabric

Cut several strips of denim into ¾” strips. If the strips are wider than this, the fabric doesn’t lie flat on the rope. If the strips are narrower than this, you’ll have a harder time with the fabric overlap. Ask me how I know this!

Step 2: Wrapping the Rope

Start wrapping your rope at an angle so you are overlapping the previous wrap. When you run out of fabric, place the next strip directly over the end of the last strip, This is where the glue stick may come in handy.

Step 3: Start Sewing

After you have wrapped a sufficient amount of rope, start sewing. Set your machine stitch to the widest zigzag it can make and set the tension very low. Your machine can handle this thickness, but set the upper thread tension low to deal with the bulk.

Don’t try to wrap all of your rope initially, it’s easier to wrap as you go.

The initial turns are the hardest, but go slowly, stop often and readjust the turn as often as you need to. Don’t worry, after this first step it gets a lot easier.

Use the stiletto to hold the turns in place while zigzagging. Make sure your zigzag stitch catches each side of the rope to hold it together.

Step 4: Tilt Up the Base

Keep sewing and turning until the base is the size you want. 8” or 10” diameter makes a nice size. Then tilt the base to as near perpendicular as possible and continue to sew. I made my base 11" because I wanted a bigger project, but a smaller bowl would be just as handy for holding keys, remotes, silent auction items or anything else you can think of.

Step 5: Finish the Edge

When you are satisfied with the size of your bowl, finish it off by adjusting the size and width of the zigzag stitch while tapering the denim down to the edge of the bowl.

Step 6: Add Handles - Optional

Add handles as you prefer, I used the waistband from one of the denim pieces I salvaged.

Sew the handles just the same as you join the rope coils.

That's it! you have created a useful, unique bowl out of recycled fabric. Pretty cool, huh?

Step 7: Use Your Bowls

Sew Tough Challenge

Participated in the
Sew Tough Challenge