How to Make Bali Bowls Out of Clothesline

Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Bali bowls began with a pattern designed to go with the Bali Pops sets of batik fabric strips. They are soft sculpture bowls made with colorful fabric, useful for holding spools of thread, balls of yarn, keys and many other non-food items. These bowls can be made by hand or with a sewing machine, and usually take about two hours for a sewer of moderate experience.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Cotton Clothesline
  • Binder Clip Or Clothespin
  • 2 1/2 Inch-Wide Strips Of Cotton Fabric

Feel your clothesline to make sure that it is soft enough for the sewing machine needle to sew through. You should be able to squeeze the rope until it is almost flat.

Cut the end of one of the fabric strips at a 45-degree angle. Fold this end down over the end of the clothesline.

Wrap the fabric strip around the clothesline, covering up the end of the strip that you folded over the end of the rope. Continue wrapping the fabric strip around the clothesline over and over.

Secure the strip to the clothesline with a binder clip when you have wrapped about 8 inches of line. Fold the end of the fabric-covered line back on itself, so that you have a double line in your hand. Only fold back the first inch or two of your line.

Place the fabric-covered clothesline on your sewing machine with the needle positioned between the two ropes. Set your machine to a zigzag stitch. Zigzag between the two ropes, catching both of them in the stitches. Begin at the fold and sew toward the end of the rope.

Stop sewing when you are about a half-inch from the end of the rope. End with your needle down in the fabric. Lift your presser foot and swing the sewn fabric rope around, curling the long end of the rope on itself to begin making a coil of rope. Put down the presser foot and continue sewing along between the two ropes.

Wrap more fabric around the rope when you begin to get near bare rope in your sewing. You will alternate between wrapping clothesline and sewing it together. When you are not wrapping the line, hold it secure with the binder clip.

Coil the rope around and around itself, sewing all of the rows securely, until you have a flat coil the size that you want your bowl bottom to be. Stop sewing with your needle down.

Lift up the presser foot. Pick up the coil that you have sewn and hold it at an angle so that the new line you sew onto the coil will begin to form the bowl sides. Continue sewing the coils together in the same manner as above. Angling the flat coil will make the sewn lines angle upwards, turning them into the sides of the bowl.

Continue sewing with the half of the bowl in your left hand angled upward. Sew at this angle until you have made the bowl as deep as you desire.

Cut the clothesline when you have reached your desired bowl size. Wrap the entire end of the line with fabric up until the end. Leave about an inch more fabric past the end and cut the strip of fabric. Settle the fabric-wrapped end of the clothesline against the edge of the bowl and sew it down, easing the end into the edge of the bowl. Back-stitch to secure the end and fasten off.


  • When you reach the end of one fabric strip and need to add another, just wrap the fabric around the strip end. This will hide the frayed edge, and the zigzag stitching will hold it in place.