Fabric Friday: Clothesline

If you’ve ever crafted with clothesline, you know this cotton cord is soft, sturdy and surprisingly easy to sew. When covered in fabric, clothesline adds style and structure to some fabulous home decor projects.

Quick Clothesline Carry All, IJ899

We’ve thought up a laundry list of ideas for this fine line, starting with our adorable Quick Clothesline Carry-Alls (IJ899). Funky and folksy, this handy bag can be constructed in a few hours.

Want more inspiration? Try these tips.

Use clothesline to make your own piping for a pillow or upholstery project.

Swathe clothesline in scraps of fabric and stitch together to form a coaster, trivet, placemat or rug. Coil it into a flat circle and use a zig-zag stitch to secure each layer.

Hot glue a border of fabric-covered clothesline to a picture frame or wrap around a tin can to make one pretty planter.

We asked Jeri Lijewski, designer of the Quick Clothesline Carry-Alls, for her tips and tricks for crafting with clothesline.

Indygo Junction: What are the benefits of sewing with clothesline?

Jeri Lijewski: Cotton clothesline gives the bag, or project you are working on, dimension and stability. I like the old-fashioned rag rug look that you get with the continual lines of fabric covered rope. I also think that with the right fabrics the items have a wonderful “bought on our world trip” look.

IJ: What can you make with clothesline?

JL: Obviously, I like making totes and baskets with clothesline. Bowls are fun, coasters, placemats. I am working on a pincushion idea. A rug might be a fun project to tackle.

IJ: What other materials do you like to work with?

JL: I have had a thing for wool blend felt for a few years. I love all the colors, the ease of cutting and stitching – and no raw edges to turn under! Like clothesline crafts, felt has a traditional, old-timey feel.

IJ: What inspires you and your designs?

JL: Color is always what seems to get the creative juices flowing. I also like taking a difficult process and simplifying it. I am basically a teacher at heart and love to pass on ideas and shortcuts to other sewists.

Permission Purse (IJ910), design by Jeri Lijewski

IJ: What advice can you give to someone who has never sewn with clothesline before? Are there any challenges to sewing with it?

JL: Buy cotton clothesline. It can have a synthetic core, but pass on clothesline that is 100% synthetic. Use a heavy needle, either a 90/14 or a 100/16 topstitch or jeans needle. I have had students with all types of sewing machines, and they all can sew through the cord just fine. Some machines need a little manual lift on the presser foot to get the clothesline under, but then you are good to go. Just remember to lower the presser foot lever to engage the tension discs, or you will get a bird’s nest of thread!

How do you use clothesline in your crafting projects?

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9 Responses to Fabric Friday: Clothesline

  1. Diane says:

    Hoping that someone can advise on how to make the shape more vertical.

    • Cheryl says:

      Hi Diane,

      I’m going to send your request to our designer to see if she has some helpful tips. I’ll be in touch!! Thanks for your question.

      Cheryl

    • Cheryl says:

      Hi Diane,

      This is straight from the designer to help you keep your bags more like bags and less like shallow bowls: “Once the turn is made from sewing the bottom to sewing the side, keep the bottom as perpendicular to the bed of the sewing machine as possible. This will keep the sides straighter.” I hope this helps!!! Thanks so much, Cheryl & Jerilynn

  2. Diane says:

    I am having a VERY difficult time shaping these. Mine turn out too shallow. Any suggestions???

  3. Laura says:

    Thanks for the great interview. Jeri is a very good teacher and it shows in her well-tested, and easy to follow directions. Helpful tips like the ones she gives here about needle size and presser foot use are her trademark and make all her projects seem doable for sewists of any skill level.

  4. Shirley Stoner says:

    I can’t wait to make these cute clothline cutties…I am going to order the pattern right now…Thank You :>)

  5. Twylla Smith says:

    I would love to see a video of the process. I have too many patterns that were bought because of the picture of the finished product but never completed because once I started them I decided the process was not for me. I no longer buy patterns without seeing some part of the way they are completed.

  6. Susan says:

    Another fun,new technique to try from Indygo Junction!

  7. Kathy says:

    This is absolutely adorable. I’ve never worked with clothesline. I am anxious to make one of the bags.

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