Sew Your Own Basket: Create Something New With Cotton Rope | Casey Gallagher Newman | Skillshare

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Sew Your Own Basket: Create Something New With Cotton Rope

teacher avatar Casey Gallagher Newman, Natural Dye and Textile Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Finding the Perfect Zig Zag Stitch


    • 5.

      Sewing the Basket


    • 6.

      Finishing Touches


    • 7.

      Bonus: Changing the Shape


    • 8.

      Bonus: Adding Handles


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Can you really ever have enough storage baskets? Would you like to make your own home decor items in the size and color that’s perfect for you? Are you interested in learning a fun new way to use macrame rope? 

In this class you will learn you everything you need to know to sew your own baskets using cotton rope. Join textile artist Casey Newman (@cedardellforestfarm) as she shares all the tips and tricks she’s discovered over many years and sewing hundreds of these versatile and stylish home accessories. 

In this class you will learn to use your sewing machine to sew something totally different than fabric. This class is perfect for anyone with even a little experience using a sewing machine. You don’t need any advanced sewing skills but you should be comfortable using your sewing machine and know how to change the stitch settings. That’s all you need to make a stylish, functional basket - no knitting, crocheting, macrame, or basket weaving skills needed!

In this course you will learn how to:

  • Choose the perfect cotton rope to sew with
  • Change your sewing machine setting to achieve the perfect zig zag stitch for your basket
  • Secure the rope to create a smooth, flat bottom for your basket
  • Create gently curved sides
  • Change the size and shape of your basket
  • Add handles

By the end of this class you will have a cute, new basket to use in any number of ways. Organize your desk, hold art supplies, contain kids’ toys, use as a fruit basket, give as a gift, or make a bunch of baskets with different sizes and shapes and use them for everything!

Meet Your Teacher

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Casey Gallagher Newman

Natural Dye and Textile Artist

Top Teacher

Hello, I'm Casey! I am a naturalist and a textile artist so it is no surprise that nature has a starring role in all of my work. I dye fabric using all natural dyes - many that I gather and grow myself - and also print leaves onto fabric using only the natural pigments found within each leaf.

I am inspired by living and working at Cedar Dell Forest Farm (@cedardellforestfarm), our farm in the forest on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Living on a farm makes me appreciate all the gifts that we receive from the land and our animals. I raise Shetland sheep for their fiber and friendly personalities, gather leaves and natural materials to use to dye fabric, and grow many of my own dye plants as well as fruit and vegetables.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: What is there not to love about storage baskets. As a creative person, I have been known to make a big old mess, but there's just something about organizing things that feels so good. Am I right? I mean, there's a whole industry devoted to this. But why spend your money on generic containers when you can make yourself the perfect basket for your needs. Cotton rope baskets are an incredibly versatile addition to your home decor, and they're easier to make than you might suspect. It's super fun to use your sewing machine for something totally different than fabric, and you can have a fun new basket in no time at all. I'm so glad you're interested in sewing these cute baskets. My name is Casey, and this kitty cat here is Cleopatra. She will pop in and out because she loves sitting on that window sill. I'm a natural dye and fiber artist, and I am also a top teacher here on Skillshare, where I teach a variety of classes on natural dying, hand stitching, and other nature inspired art projects. I live on a farm in the middle of a forest just outside of Portland, Oregon, and here I teach in person art and nature classes for kids and adults. I also have a studio here where I make a variety of leaf printed and naturally dyed textiles. I love offering my customers eco friendly goods that are functional, as well as beautiful, and that describes these rope baskets perfectly. They have been a staple product in my shop since I started making them over five years ago. And the most common question I'm asked about them is, how do you make these? So I'm really excited to put all of my tips and tricks and years of experience into this class and teach you how to do it yourself. I start with sharing the supplies that you'll need, including my favorite types of cotton rope and where to find it, but you don't really need any specialized tools or equipment. If you have a sewing machine that can sew a zigzag stitch and some basic sewing supplies like thread and scissors, you can start making a basket as soon as you have some rope. In this course, I teach you how to change the sides of your basket from sloping to straight to curved and even add handles so that you can create the shape that you desire. Finishing the end of the basket is another way that you can add your personal preferences, and I cover several methods in this course. With all these options for creativity, you can make the perfect basket to fit your needs. I hope that you're inspired to create something totally new with your sewing machine and that you will join me in class so we can make rope baskets together. 2. Class Project: The class project for this course is to sew a cotton rope basket in this versatile size right here and finishing it with your choice of embellishments from a really plain edge to a fabric tab, a little loop or even a tassel. If you've never sewn a rope basket before, this is a great size because it's very manageable to maneuver on your sewing machine, and it doesn't take very long, so you will have acute new basket before the afternoon is up. If you want to make bigger or smaller baskets, I've got you covered too. All the skills you learn in this class can be used to make baskets of any size. I walk you through all the basic steps from starting the beginning of the coil to creating the curved edge, and I teach you how to control the tension of the rope, to create baskets with different shapes, show you multiple ways to finish and include some ideas to even add handles. Are you excited to make one? I am really looking forward to teaching you. Let's get started in the next lesson where I share the supplies that you will need. 3. Supplies: In this lesson, I'll be sharing the supplies that you will need to make yourself a rope basket. The first thing you'll need is a sewing machine. And it doesn't have to be anything fancy. You just need one that can sew a zigzag stitch. And you will want to adjust the width and the length of the stitch. So be sure to familiarize yourself with how that works on your sewing machine. You might want to have your manual handy if that's not something that you have done before. Now, the rope. I strongly recommend using 100% cotton rope to make baskets because it won't be too difficult for your sewing machine to sew through it. Polyester rope can be really hard and stiff and difficult to work with in addition to being really hard on your sewing machine. I'll show you a few of my favorite kinds. This rope is marketed as clothes line. It says it's cotton. And indeed, these outer fibers that you see are 100% cotton, but it has a synthetic core. This makes it a little more durable for outdoor use if you were to use it as clothes line, and I find that it gives a nice structure to baskets. I've used a lot of different sewing machines to make these cotton rope baskets, and none have had any trouble sewing through this rope. It makes a really smooth surface when sewn together, and it's a little bit flexible still, but it holds its shape really nicely. This rope is a quarter inch wide, and I find that a really nice size for baskets. For a completely 100% cotton option, braided macrom rope is great. Macrom rope usually comes in millimeter measurements, and I choose six millimeter diameter, which is very similar to the quarter inch clothes line. You can see it's cotton fibers all the way through, and it has a pretty textured appearance. It's not as smooth as the clothes line. When sewn into a basket, it's a lot more flexible than the clothes line rope. Also, the textured look of the braided macrome rope stays and adds a textured appearance to the basket. You can also find macrom rope that has a twisted construction, similar to plied yarn. You can use this to make baskets, but it's a little more fiddly than the braided rope. The construction is really loose and it can come apart a little bit if it untwists. So you need to make sure that it keeps a nice twist in this rope while you sew with it. It's also more flexible than the clothes line rope and is a little smoother in appearance when sewn together than the braided macrom rope. When deciding between clothes line rope or macrom rope, you may want to consider color. I usually buy white rope because I like dying it myself, but you can purchase macrom rope in a rainbow of colors. Starting with colored rope is a really easy way to make a basket in your favorite color. I'm not going to cover exactly how to die the rope for baskets in this course. But since I have a business dyeing fabric and dying rope for baskets, I do want to give a few tips because it can be really fun. If you buy a large spool of white rope, you can cut it into some smaller links and die each section a different color and end up with a variety of colorful baskets with just one purchase of rope. I recommend dying the rope before you sew it into a basket. If you dye your basket after sewing it, you risk it becoming misshapen during the die process, and it can also be hard for the die to penetrate evenly on the basket because it's sewn so tightly together. T dyes are one of the most commonly found fabric dies, and they come in a formula that works on many different fibers, including cotton. This jackerd brand eye die comes in two formulas. This one is for natural fabrics, which includes cotton. You can even use T shirt tie eye kits to make multi colored rope. Just make sure to follow the instructions that are included with the brand you choose and make sure that it's for the same fiber as the rope you're sewing with. Now, back to the basic supplies. You will need some thread that matches your rope. All this zigzag stitching uses up a lot of thread, be sure that you have more than you think you'll need. I like to fill up several bobbins with my thread because these will run out before the bigger spool does, and this way you can switch out the bobbin quickly and keep sewing. You can use all purpose sewing machine needles to make a basket, but they do occasionally break while sewing through thick rope. I recommend picking up some heavy duty needles like those that are used for denim or leather. They'll have the easiest time sewing through the rope. You will need some scrap fabric to test out zigzag stitches, a pair of scissors and a few straight pins. Isn't this pincushion cute? My mother in law made it for me. A few optional items include a tape measure or ruler. This is helpful if you want to follow along with the measurements of the bowl that I'll be sewing as the demonstration, and it's also useful if you want to make handles for your basket. I share several options for dealing with the end of the rope when you finish your basket. One style has a decorative loop, and it can be fun to hang a pompom or charm from this loop to add a personal touch to your basket. Another finishing method I teach is to cover the end of the rope with a piece of fabric. This is a little piece of wool, but you can use any fabric you'd like. You'll just need a small rectangle. Okay. The supplies are pretty simple, right? Let's head to the next lesson where I will show you how to pick the perfect zigzag stitch to sew your basket. 4. Finding the Perfect Zig Zag Stitch: The zigzag stitch is the key to holding your basket together. In this lesson, I will teach you how to choose the perfect width and length for the rope that you have. For this lesson, you will need some scrap fabric. I'm just going to use this piece of white felt and you will want to thread your sewing machine with a contrasting color. I usually use a width of 5.5 and a length of two for the main part of my baskets, and that stitch looks like this. Okay. You might want something a little different depending on the size rope that you're using. Let me explain how I chose these particular settings. I'm going to do this Goldilock style and show you too little, too big, and then just right. You will want to pay the closest attention to the width of the stitch because this is how the zigzag stitches catch each piece of rope as you sew the basket and hold everything securely together. If the stitch is very narrow, it might barely catch the edge of each piece of rope. This will make the structure of your basket a little loose because they're not held together very securely. Another concern is that it only takes a tiny shift out of position while you're sewing to possibly miss catching one side of the rope together, and then you could have a gap in your basket where you did not intend one to be. If your stitch is very wide as in this sample, your zigzag stitches will overlap those of the previous row. This is not a bad thing, and some folks do this on purpose, especially if using a contrasting thread to add color to the basket. If you like this look, there's nothing at all wrong with it. I just prefer a width that's easy to sew, but stays clearly in its own lane where they don't overlap with the previous rows. I found that setting a width that's just a tiny bit narrower than the rope I'm using is perfect. For this rope and the settings on my sewing machine, that's a width of 5.5. Now for the length. These are all set with my preferred width of 5.5 and they have varying length. This is my preferred stitch, which is that width of 5.5 and the length is two. It is a really nicely space zigzag stitch and it holds the pieces of rope together really well. A long length means the stitches are very spread out. You can see there's a long space between the points where the needle went into this rope to create these zigzag stitches. There just aren't as many stitches holding your basket together. This can create a looser structure for your basket. You can see how it pulls apart a little bit. A short length means the stitches are going to be very dense along your rope. You can see there's just the tiniest little space in between each stitch. This uses a ton of thread to sew, and your rope will be nearly all covered up if you use a stitch like this to sew your entire basket. I don't recommend this for the main body of your basket, but you are going to need a stitch like this to secure the very center of the basket. Using your scrap fabric, play around with adjusting the width and stitch lengths. Compare your zigzag stitches to the rope that you're going to use and determine what width and length you want to sew with. One that's a medium length to use for the main body of your basket, and one with a very short length that looks something like this one and write down both of those numbers. For your convenience, I have this graphic in the resources tab, so you can print it out and fill it in with your stitch lengths. I've made it this small size because I like to cut it out and I tape it to the side of my sewing machine. This way, even if I don't sew a basket for a few months at a time, I have my preferences right here and I don't have to remember or figure it out again. It frees up some brain space for other things. When you have your zigzag stitch settings written down, join me in the next lesson where we will use these to sew a basket. 5. Sewing the Basket: This lesson is the main course of this class. I'm going to walk you through all the steps of using your rope, your perfect zigzag stitch, and your matching thread to sew a basket. If your rope is in a scheme like this, I suggest taking a minute and winding it into a big old ball. This will keep it from tangling up as you sew. Okay. The basket is started in the very center of the bottom by making a small coil of rope. Sometimes the end of the rope phrase a lot where it's been cut and it can look a little messy. Here's my trick to keep it looking tidier. You'll need a length of thread. Usually I match the thread to the rope that I'm using, but here I'm going to use this dark blue so that you can clearly see what I'm doing. I wrap the thread around the rope and tie it into a secure knot. This keeps the rope from unraveling any further and you can cut the end off close to this thread. Now, this end can be tucked into the center of the coil and it looks really neat and tidy. As you coil the rope, you want it to be snug, but don't pull tightly on the rope. If you create a lot of tension here, when it relaxes, it'll curve, and then the bottom of your basket will not be flat. I usually coil the rope five or six times around and then secure it with some pins. To secure this coil of rope and anchor down the center of the basket, you'll need to sew across it using that zigzag stitch with the short length, the one that looks something like this. Start by sewing straight down the middle of the coil. I like to begin in this direction so that the stitches hold down any loose ends of rope in the center. If you start from the bottom, the sewing machine may press the cut ends upwards, and Well, that's not a big deal, I like to keep them laying flat whenever possible. Straight down the center and then you'll sew again across the other way. You can make an X or add a third line like spokes of a wheel. I'll use a fabric marker to show you where I'm going to stitch this. Make sure your sewing machine is set to the correct stitch length and then place your disc under the presser foot. You can see from this view that I have the needle placed a couple rows into the disc. This is so the presser foot is nice and flat across the top and it'll sew through this easily. If it's placed right at the edge, you can see the presser foot has this big angle and it won't be able to get over the lip of the rope. Start a row or two in from the edge so that your presser foot is nice and flat. Then as you sew, stop a row or two before you get to the end. Okay. And with your needle down through the rope and in the left hand position. Lift the presser foot, rotate your disc 180 degrees, and then so right back to where you started. You should have a row of dense stitches across your coil that looks something like this. Repeat this process of swing back and forth across the coil of rope in the other directions. When you've finished, take it off the sewing machine and cut any loose threads. You can see that the center of the coil is held together pretty securely with all the stitching, but the outer row is pretty loose. The next step is to begin sewing around in a spiral. But start back here where the loose part begins. You'll stitch around this last row, holding it down securely, then continue spiraling around and around, adding more rope as you go. But before you do that, this is very important, change your stitch length to that main setting that you determined in the last lesson. Line it up so that the edge where the rope meets the coil is right in the center of your presser foot. These beginning rounds of stitching can be rather tight. You may need to stop occasionally, lift the presser foot and rotate the disc just a little bit so that your stitching stays centered. As the circles get bigger and bigger as you go around, it becomes easier to gently turn the disc as you sew to keep the stitches centered. When you start adding new rope to the spiral, gently guide it into place snug against the previous round. But just like before, don't pull it tight or the basket will not have a flat bottom. You can cut these threads from the beginning of the stitching anytime to get them out of your way. I'm going to take this off of the sewing machine for a minute to show it up close. You can see the center is secure and the zigzag stitches that spiral around are pretty evenly centered over the edges of the rope. If I hold it like this, you can see that it's creating a nice flat base. Usually, I sew baskets with thread that matches the rope. And now that we've gotten past this tricky beginning part, I don't need the contrasting thread anymore, so I'm going to swap this out for one that I've started just the same way with white thread. Okay. While you're sewing the basket, be sure the rope does not twist. You want it to lay nice and smooth against the rope before it. I'm sewing with braided rope and you can see that if I twist it, it creates these ridges and a weird texture. This can create unevenness in the basket, keep the rope nice and even. If you're using a rope like this, you'll want to make sure it's not coming untwisted as you sew. You may need to help it keep just the right amount of twist as you bring it along. Continue sewing the bottom of the basket until it measures approximately 5.5 " across. These last couple rounds are going to become the curve up to the sides of the basket. The bottom of the completed basket will be a little bit smaller than this is right now. I'm going to mark this last row with an erasable fabric marker so that you can see what happens to this row as I make the curved edge. This next part feels a little bit like a magic trick, but trust the process, it totally works. On this next round, lift up the flat bottom of the basket that you've sewed and hold it as vertically as you can. It's okay if it bends because of the shape of your sewing machine. What's happening up here doesn't really matter. Only this part next to the presser foot that you're actually sewing. While you sew the next round, keep the base as vertical as you can. This will likely feel a little awkward and you will have to keep readjusting your hold on it to keep it upright. Okay. Go slowly and after just one round, you will be able to see that it's curving into a basket. I'm going to take this off the sewing machine so you can see how it's progressing. You can see this pink stripe on the row that used to be the edge of the flat bottom. Now it's two rows high on the side of the basket. This is why you always want to sew the flat disc for the bottom, a little larger than you want the finished basket to be. The base measured 5.5 " when it was flat, and now it's four and three quarters. I'm going to put this back on the sewing machine and continue sewing until I reach the height that I want, which for this basket is going to be about 2.5 ". Now that you have a basket on your sewing machine, how do you end it and deal with the rest of this? P right here and head to the next lesson where I will share with you a couple of different options for finishing that top edge of your basket. 6. Finishing Touches: In this lesson, I will teach you several ways of finishing your basket, starting with the simplest and getting a little bit fancier. The first way I'll show you is the closest you can get to an invisible finish. In this method, the end of the rope tapers down to the row below. When your basket is the height that you want, cut the rope and enter two from where you've left off sewing. Cut it at an angle with the cut edge towards the rim of the basket. Lay this cut end of the rope against the top of the basket and secure it with a couple of straight pins. Continue sewing all the way to the end, being careful to remove the pins as you get to them. When I get close to the end, I find it helpful to use the tip of my scissors to press that cut end firmly against the top of the basket to make a neat finish. I sew a little bit off of the edge and then back stitch an inch or two. Repeat this process of sewing forward to the end and back one or two more times to be sure that the cut edge is securely covered with stitches. Then you can remove your basket from the sewing machine. I like to leave a long tail of thread attached to the basket, and I'll show you how I finish that. I don't like cutting these threads short because sometimes they come loose and can stick out a little. This is how I finish all the thread ends on my baskets. I gently pull one of the threads until the loop from the other side starts to pull you can pull on that tiny loop until both of the threads are on the same side of the basket. Then I thread both of those through a needle and push it into the basket coming out anywhere that's convenient. Then I cut the threads as close to the basket as I can, and the ends are safely tucked inside. T, a finished basket. A little step up and style from that nearly invisible finish is to purposely fray the end of the rope to create a little tassel. To finish your basket this way, stop sewing when you reach the desired height for your basket, remove it from your sewing machine, leaving a long tail of thread attached to the basket. Cut the rope one to 2 " away from where you stopped sewing and then thread those long tails of thread into a sewing needle. Bring the thread up and over the top of the basket right where you stop stitching and push your needle through the basket from the side. Pull it tightly and wrap the thread around the spot several more times. Then you can tie a knot bury the ends of the thread in your basket and cut them off. Now you can unravel the rope on this loose end and you'll have a cute. Another decorative finish that needs no extra supplies is making a loop. For this finish, sew your basket to the desired height, then leave it on the sewing machine, but cut the rope, leaving a tail of at least 4 " long. To keep the cut end from fraying too much, I tie some thread around it and then cut it close to that thread. This is the same thing I did with starting the very center of the basket. Now that this cut end looks neat and tidy, I'm going to fold it back and make a loop. Be sure that this cut end is in the middle, between the edge of the basket and the top of the loop. It can help to secure it in place with a couple of pins. When I start sewing again, I'm going to come forward with my zigzag stitch all along this edge right here, about to where the pin is. This will anchor down the loop. Then I'll back stitch covering this little gap and stop about where the sewing machine is stopped right here. I'm going to come forward again this time across these two top pieces, and just stitch a little bit into this about to here. That will leave this area open and be acute loop on the top of the basket. When I stitch across this gap that's created by this cut end being shoved into here, I'm going to use the edge of my scissors and just gently press the side to try to close that gap as much as possible. When you've stitched back over that gap, you can remove it from your sewing machine, and this basket is done. The last finishing option I have to show you is one that uses a piece of fabric to cover this cut end. To finish a basket this way, I simply stopped sewing when I got to the height that I wanted and then cut the rope off right there. You will need a small rectangle of fabric, and the exact size depends on how much of your basket you want to cover up. I usually estimate the size I want and then hold it onto the basket, take a look and see if I want to trim it a little bit smaller. This looks pretty good to me, so I'm going to go ahead and use a couple straight pins to hold it down. You'll want to thread your sewing machine with thread that matches the color of your fabric and change your setting back to a regular old straight stitch for this. It can be a little tricky getting this back under the presser foot of your sewing machine. I find that flattening the edge of the basket as much as possible really helps. And also, if you can lift your presser foot up a little higher than normal, that will also help get this back in there. Once it's back under the presser foot, go ahead and sew a straight stitch right across that fabric tab, removing the pins as you get to them. Take it off the sewing machine and there you have it. Acute piece of fabric covering that end of the rope. I like to use wool felt for this because the edges don't fray, but you can use any fabric you'd like. You might want to use some pinking shears on the edges to keep cotton fabric from fraying. Now that you know several ways to finish your basket and deal with that pesky end of the rope. You can finish your basket and have a beautiful handmade addition to your home. You can use these steps that I've shared with you to make a basket of any size. In the last video of this class, I share some care tips for the baskets, as well as inspiration for creative uses and ways to personalize your basket. You can head there now or stick around for the next couple bonus lessons where I share some additional skills that you can use to customize your basket. Starting with the next one, where I teach you how to change the shape. 7. Bonus: Changing the Shape: In this lesson, I'll teach you how to change the shape of your basket. The one I made in this demonstration is one of my favorite shapes. It has these gently sloping sides. But what if you want straighter sides or curved edges? This lesson, I'll show you how to do that. Any tension on the rope while you're sewing affects the shape of the finished basket. By tension, I mean, whether you're holding the rope loosely or pulling on it as you sew. You can see here that when I pull gently on this rope, it stretches out a little. If you sew the basket with the rope under this little bit of tension, it will relax afterwards and pull the sides inward. To sew a basket with straight sides, the first place to pay attention to the tension of the rope is when you first lift up the flat basket bottom and begin sewing the curve. Pull slightly on the rope as you sew the first few rows of the curve. Don't pull so tightly that you prevent the rope from feeding into the sewing machine, but just a little tension that causes the rope to stretch a little bit as it's sewn. This does make the sewing go a little bit slower because you'll have to keep readjusting your hands. I'm going to take this off after I've sewn a couple rows and show you what the curve of the basket looks like so far. You can see that it's making some really straight sides. I could stop here and have a really shallow basket like a tiny little tray, but I'm going to keep going and show you how to make taller sides that stay straight. To continue sewing straight sides, you want to keep that same bit of tension on the rope as you sew the entire basket. Depending on the size and shape of your sewing machine, you might find that this basket has a hard time fitting in the sewing area. It's okay if the basket has to be squished or bent a little bit to keep sewing. The only part that matters is this area right here under the presser foot. If the rest of the basket is a little squished up, it's totally fine. With my sewing machine, I find that once a basket I'm sewing reaches a certain height, it doesn't turn smoothly anymore. I help it along by pulling the front edge of the basket down towards me. This does usually create this hump right here in the side of the basket, but that's totally fine. Don't even worry about it. This creates a nice flat edge that you can easily sew across. When I reach the end of that section, I reach up and pull the forward edge of the basket down again to create another section of the basket to sew. I keep doing this until I reach the height of the basket that I want. I'm going to add a fabric tab to this basket later, so for now, I will just cut it off, and there you have it. You can see this basket has nice straight sides, and this is what it looks like compared to that original basket that I sewed earlier in the course. When I sewed this basket with straight sides, I started with a flat base exactly the same diameter as the first basket I sewed. When I put them together, you can see that the bottoms are indeed the same size. The straight sided basket ends up smaller because of the way the sides pull in, creating a narrower dimension across the top. When I put it inside the one with sloped sides, you can see just how much the sides pulled in. That was from pulling on the rope and creating that tension while sewing it. You can play around with this technique of increasing tension in different places while you sew the basket, and you can create a variety of shapes. I'll show you a few more examples. This basket on the left, I sewed about the same as that original basket. You can see it's the same size with the same sloping sides. But instead of stopping where I did on that first basket, I sewed a couple more rows. On those, I created some tension on the rope. The last rows of this basket are straight, creating a little different look. I created a nice rounded shape to this basket, and I did that by letting the rope be loose for the first half or so, and then I gradually increased the tension of the rope a little at a time as I sewed the top portion of the basket. This caused the sides to pull in gradually and made a gentle curve. This basket has a shape that I think is really cute. I increase the tension of the rope just in these middle rows, causing the center of the basket to narrow, and then the top widens back out. This does take some practice. If the first basket you make trying to control the tension is a little bit uneven, that's totally normal. This is one of the first baskets that I made years ago, and it is definitely a little lop sided. But I think there's beauty in everything handmade. I keep this on my sewing desk here all the time and use it to hold all those little knickknacks that just accumulate in my workspace. And I love it, even if it is a little bit crooked. The best advice that I can give you aside from just practicing is to try to sew your whole basket in one sitting if you can. I find that if I'm interrupted by something and I have to stop mid basket and maybe not get back to it for a couple of hours or even the next day. It's like my hands lose that muscle memory of how much tension I'm putting on the rope, and it's really hard for me to match what I had been doing before I stepped away. So go have a try. I'd love to see whatever shape basket you make. And if the basket you want to make includes handles, I will cover that in the next bonus lesson. 8. Bonus: Adding Handles: In this lesson, I'm going to teach you how to add handles to your basket. To do this, you will need a few straight pens and a tape measure. A flexible one like this will be easiest, but if you only have a ruler, you can make that work too. Start by sewing your basket just as I showed in earlier lessons until you get to the height at which you want to add handles. I'm going to make a shallow kind of tray shaped basket and add some handles at this height here. Before you take it off the sewing machine, backstitch just a little bit to anchor the stitches and then take it off the machine. Can cut the threads and move your sewing machine out of the way for a minute while we make the first handle. To make a handle, you're going to stop stitching just the way I did, leave a length of the rope loose, reattach it farther down the basket, and then continue sewing. This gap in the stitching is what will create the handle. The first thing that you need to decide is how long you want that gap to be. You could make a very short handle that you could hold with your fingertips or even use as a hanging loop if you want to hang your basket up, or you could leave one that is wide enough to put your whole hand through. This is where you will want to use your tape measure. My basket is not very large, so I'm going to leave a gap of 3.5 ". I'll place a pen right here and mark the spot where I'm going to reattach the rope to start sewing the basket again. The next measurement to consider is how long of a piece of rope to leave loose to create the handle. The length of this piece also affects the size and shape of the finished handle. If you want your handle to be more upright, then this length of rope needs to be fairly short. That helps give it the structure to stay vertical. If the length of this piece is very long, then the handle won't have a lot of structure and we flop to the side of the basket. The opening I left was 3.5 ", so I'm going to see what it looks like to have this length of the rope measure 4 ". I think this looks really good. It seems to be in proportion to the size of the basket. And so I'm going to put a pin in it right here and hold it together at that 3.5 inch mark. Now I'll show you an easy way to make sure that the second handle matches up exactly with this first one. I fold the basket in half, making sure that the spot where I stop stitching matches up exactly with this pin I put in it. Then I fold the whole basket together like a little clam shell, and the center point on the other side will be the center of the second handle. I'm going to put a pin in it right there to mark that spot. Since my first handle that gap measured 3.5 ". I know that this pin is right in the center of 3.5 ". So I'm going to place the tape measure here so that 1.75 " lines up with that pin. I'll place another pin to mark the beginning of the handle and then make sure the tape measure is firmly against the side of the basket. I'll make my way over to the 3.5 mark and add a second pin there. Now I can remove that middle one, and these two pins will indicate that gap for the second handle. When I put this back on the sewing machine, I'm going to start about here and backstitch right to the spot this pin was placed. Then I'll sew forward until I reach this pin that marks the beginning of the second handle, and I'll backstitch just a little bit there and remove it from the sewing machine again. So here is the first handle. You can see the importance of backstitching so that the stitches right here at the edge of the handle are really secure. This rope measured 4 " over on this side, so I'm going to start from right here and measure 4 " to create the second handle. And then I will pin that down just like I did with the first one. When I put this back on the sewing machine, again, I'm going to start a little below this pen and back stitch and then sew all the way around. This time, when I get to this handle, I'm going to sew the new rope right up against this loose rope from the handle just to give it a little bit more structure. When I sew a basket with handles, I like to end it approximately in the middle between the two handles, and then you can finish it with the finishing of your choice. I'm going to do a little loop on this basket. Here's the finished basket. I love it. I think these narrow handles work well for the small size. They look evenly spaced, and it came out just how I was hoping. If you make a basket with handles, I would love to see how yours turn out. You can share a photo in the project section or tag me in a photo on social media and I would love to see what you make. Now join me in the final lesson of this class where I share some further inspiration to be creative with your rope basket making, as well as some creative uses for these versatile containers and some care tips. 9. Final Thoughts: I'm so glad you joined me in this class to learn how to make these cute rope baskets. I hope that you have found a lot of value in all the tips and tricks I've included here so that you can go out and make your own. You have learned how to choose your materials, how to secure the center of your basket, and create a nice flat bottom, how to form a nice curve that creates your basket sides, and you know how to finish your basket to create different looks, change the shape of the basket, and even how to add handles. But there are even more ways that you can add your own creativity to this project. Instead of coiling your rope in a circle, you could start with a long oval coil of rope. Sewing it this way will create an oval shaped basket. There are also other ways that you can add color, including painting your basket with fabric paint. It can take a little bit of work to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies of the cotton rope, but the end result is worth it. Another way to add color to your basket is to simply sew it with colored thread. I used a single color of thread on this basket, but you can switch thread mid basket to create stripes of color. Cotton baskets also make beautiful handmade gifts. It's fun to fill them with smaller items like for a baby shower or a housewarming party, and then the recipient can use the basket for whatever purpose they would like. I always keep one on my desk as a catch all so that I can quickly make it look neat and tidy if I need to, like when I'm filming a class like this. And when I teach in person classes, I use them for the supplies that my students will need for their projects. I feel like these baskets lend a much cozier feel to the space than plastic or metal containers. You can use your cotton rope basket in the kitchen, too. They make really great fruit or bread baskets, and if they happen to get dirty, they are washable. Spot cleaning is easiest, but if your whole basket needs a wash, you can gently clean it in warm soapy water. I like to then squeeze out as much water as I can by rolling it in a towel. This does squish it up a lot, but it can easily be reshaped when it's wet, and then I let it air dry and it is good as new. Lastly, don't throw out the small scraps of rope that you may be left with after sewing a basket. You can use small lengths to create tiny baskets that are so so cute. You can also sew a flat circle, no sides necessary, and this makes a great coaster, or if it were a little larger, it could even be used as a trivet. I would love to see the baskets that you make. You can share a photo here on Skillshare in the project section. You can also tag me in a social media post. My Instagram is Cedar De Forest Farm. I love resharing students photos, and I'm also happy to answer any questions that come up while you're making a basket. If you enjoy this class, please take a minute to leave a review. It really helps guide others who are considering taking this class as well. Lastly, before you go, follow me here on Skillshare so that you will be notified when I publish new classes. Thank you so much for joining me in this class and happy basket making.