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Learn to Sew Cotton Clothesline Rope Coasters

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Follow along on this sewing tutorial to learn how to use cotton clothesline rope to sew Cotton Clothesline Rope Coasters.

Ever since I made my very first basket using cotton clothesline rope, I’ve been sewing ALL the rope things! I’ve made baskets and bowls – some with handles some without. I’ve made placemats and hot pads. And I’ve made coasters and even little bowls to hold the set of coasters.

Did you know you can embroider on the rope? You definitely can! In fact, embroidering on rope baskets is one of my favorite things to make.

But, back to these coasters.

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to sew with cotton clothesline rope, these coasters are a great way to learn. A true beginner’s project. Plus, I’m gonna share some tips and walk you through every single step.

cotton clothesline rope coasters

But First, Some Tips

Before we get started on making a clothesline rope coaster, there are a few tips I’d like to share with you. Let’s call them “lessons learned”. Which means you can learn from my trial and error (aka mistakes – ha!).

Tip #1: Use Cotton Rope

Be sure to select a cotton rope. You can use a cotton blend. But I would definitely stay away from nylon, plastic, or anything that might cause a problem for your sewing machine. I’ve used cotton rope that I’ve bought from Amazon, DollarTree, and even some from my local Ace Hardware.

In this tutorial, I used 7/32″ Evandale Cotton Clothesline, which can be purchased online at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart. Be sure to choose a rope that isn’t too stiff or dense, which will make it harder to sew. For best results, use a cord that is flexible and loose enough to coil and stitch through.

Learn how to embroider on a cotton clothesline basket

Tip #2: Cut the Rope at An Angle

The rope will coil more tightly if you cut the end of the rope at an angle. So, be sure to cut the beginning of the rope at an angle. You’ll also want to cut the end of the rope at an angle.

cotton clothesline rope coasters

Tip #3: Add Color

Keep in mind that the bobbin thread is what will show on the bottom of your coaster and the top thread is what will show on the top of the coaster. Play around with the colors. You can put the same color in the top and in the bobbin or switch it up! And there are some beautiful variegated threads available, too!

cotton clothesline rope coasters

Tip #4: Secure the Ends

The ends will ravel when you cut them. To help keep them from raveling, secure the ends with a small piece of scotch tape (optional).

Tip #5: Coil in the Right Direction

Coil the rope so that the loose end is to the right of the center. In other words, you will turn the rope counter-clockwise (to the left), as you sew in a clockwise motion. And as your coaster gets bigger, it will do so to the left of your sewing machine needle.

sew cotton clothesline rope

Tip #6: Keep the Base Flat

I’m not even going to tell you how many rope projects I started making only to have the base “cup” up. I think it was probably my third or fourth attempt before I finally figured out what I was doing wrong.

You will have a tendency to want to grab ahold of the rope base with your fingers underneath and your thumb on top to kind of guide the rope. DON’T DO THAT!

When you start out sewing the coaster, keep your fingers, thumb, and hand on TOP of the rope base. Keeping your hands on top and the rope flat against the sewing machine plate will help produce a nice flat bottom for your coasters.

Tip #7: Go Slow!

Take your time. Take a deep breath. Go slow. Enjoy the process. Your coaster will unfold right before your eyes. But, it truly is important to take your time.

Tip #8: Use 50 Wt Thread

For the best results use a good quality thread like Aurifil. You’ll also want to use a 50 wt thread. I also like to use Gutermann. The important thing is to use good quality thread.

Tip #9: Use a Wide Zigzag Stitch

Make things easy on yourself and create the most consistent stitches by using a wide zigzag stitch. You will want to start with setting your stitch width as wide as your sewing machine will allow. Then you can make adjustments from there.

I stitched these coaster with a width of 7.0 and a length of 2.5 – as pictured below.

In addition to using a wide zigzag stitch, you’ll also want to use a stitch length of somewhere between 2.0 and 3.0. I like to use 2.4 or 2.5.

sewing machine zigzag stitch settings of 7.0 width and 2.5 length

Tip #10: Use a Heavy Duty Needle

Because you will be stitching through cotton rope, you’ll want to use a sewing machine needle that is designed for heavy fabrics like denim. I like and recommend using a 100/16 SCHMETZ Denim Needle.

How to Make Cotton Clothesline Rope Coasters

cotton clothesline rope coasters

Supplies Needed

Tools/Equipment Needed

Video Tutorial

If you learn best by watching, then be sure to watch my YouTube video tutorial. And while you’re there, watching the video, be sure to subscribe to my channel so you’ll know when new videos are released!

YouTube video easy to sew rope coasters
coffee cup with cotton rope coaster

How to Sew Cotton Clothesline Rope Coasters

Yield: 1 coaster
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • cotton clothesline
  • cotton thread


  • scissors
  • 100/16 sewing machine needle
  • pins


  1. Cut the beginning of the rope at an angle and begin to coil it counter-clockwise, so that the tail end of the rope hangs off the right side. Coil it 2-3 times and secure by pinning. Simply insert the pin from the outside towards the center of the coil. You may need to pin in 3 or 4 places.
  2. Set your sewing machine to stitch a zigzag stitch that is 5-5.5mm wide and 2-3mm long. The wider the stitch, the easier it will be to stitch.
  3. Starting at the center of the coil, take a couple of stitches forward and a couple of stitches backwards to secure the stitches. (Alternately: you can also stitch an "X" across the coil to secure the stitches, then proceed.)*** Remember, go slow. The first couple of inches are kind of pain staking anyway. Just realize this is the case and take it slow.
  4. Keep the center of your presser foot centered between the rows of rope so that when you stitch, the needle will catch two rows of rope. Take a couple of stitches, raise the presser foot, and rotate the coil.*** Remember to keep the coil flat against the sewing machine and your fingers on top of the rope, pressing down gently to rotate the coil.
  5. Continue stitching and coiling the rope until the base of your coaster is about 5" across.
  6. To secure the end and create a loop, cut the rope leaving about a 5" tail. Clip the end of the rope at a 45 degree angle. Fold the rope under and zigzag in place. Backstitch as needed to secure the ends of the rope.

More Clothesline Rope Projects

If you enjoyed learning how to sew cotton clothesline rope coasters, you might also enjoy these other clothesline rope projects from The Birch Cottage:

Be sure to pin this idea to your favorite Pinterest board to share it with family and friends!

cotton clothesline rope coasters

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Thursday 13th of October 2022

Thank you so much for such an easy-to-follow tutorial! I can't wait to make a few of these. I've been a little hesitant to sew a bowl, so this will be great practice.

Pamela Baker

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Hi, Betty! You are so right! This is a great way to learn how to work with rope and practice your skills. Just remember to take it slow… I tend to want to sew fast, but the results really are so much better - especially when learning - to slow your stitching speed down.

Let me know how it goes!!

Pam Baker The Birch Cottage


Thursday 13th of October 2022

Coasters are so cute and quick little project! Wanted to share another idea with the rope coasters. Cut 1/4” wide strips of cotton fabric and wrap around the rope as you are stitching. Makes a lovely variation….use as much or as little fabric as you like. Wanted to share a picture of some I’ve made but don’t see an option for an attachment.

Pamela Baker

Thursday 13th of October 2022

Jeannie, you are so right. I do plan on sharing another tutorial on using fabric with the coasters. Feel free to share your pics on the A Handmade Home Facebook group.

Pam Baker The Birch Cottage

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