Sunday, June 7, 2015

Clothesline Purse

 I have been working for weeks on a clothesline purse.  In May I finished a clothesline basket.  It was such a fun project and I liked it so much that I wanted to try more things.   I decided to try to make a purse out of scraps from some of the quilts I have made.  I like the idea of using up every bit of the scraps and not having closets full of unused fabric, like some quilters do.


When I made the basket I cut strips of fabric, wrapped it around some clothesline and made a coil. 


Once the base was established I started lifting the edge of the coil until it was at a 90 degree angle and then completed the basket.  I wanted this to be a scrappy project with no set colors or stripes, so I cut strips of many fabrics and placed them in a basket.  In fact, I used the basket I made first. I pulled random strips and started to wrap on a new length of clothesline.  This project called for an oval base, rather than a coil.


Once I established the size of the bottom of the purse, I angled the base as I stitched and wrapped and soon the sides of the purse slowly started to add up. 


I had strips from about 12 inches to about 24 inches and I wrapped, glued and stitched for HOURS. 




Including the handle, I used most of 4 packages of clothesline at 100 feet each!


I bought two large buttons to use as a closure for the purse.  I wrapped one small length of clothesline with some of the fabric and attached it with  a zigzag stitch down the middle.  I made a loop and sewed it to one side by hand.  I covered the base of the loop with a button and the sewed a button on the opposite side so that the loop could fit over the button

Many of the purses in the book I was using as an example had purchased handles sewn to the top of the purse.  But the purse is made by sewing the coils together and if it was to be USED and not just looked at on a shelf, it had to be more sturdily constructed.  I was afraid some stitches may pull loose, especially where the handles were attached, and then the whole thing would fall apart.


I chose to make the handle wrap all around the bottom of the purse and support it that way. 


I used a length of clotheslines and wrapped it around the purse until I had what I thought was a sufficient length to be one continuous handle.  Then I tripled that length and sewed all three layers into one flat handle.  I cut fabric to fit and sewed that around the handle.  That was the easy part.


The hard part has been sewing the handle to the purse.  I tried pinning the handle to the purse to hold it in place.  The pins poked into the bag and stabbed me when I was pulling the thread in from the outside.  Pulling the thread through all the coils of fabric and two layers of clothesline was not easy.  I finally went and bought  a small circle of rubber to grip the needle.  It is amazing the things you can find at a sewing store that you didn't know existed and are thrilled to find! 


It still took me many hours over four days to attach the handle.




  1. I LOVE's gorgeous and perfect. My sewing machine is back in the shop, so no sewing for me for a couple of week. That bag would be perfect for my knitting things......

    1. You are number two on the list. But come down for a visit and I'll show you how to make one.

  2. Rebecca, your skills never cease to amaze me! I think you could make absolutely anything you wanted to make just by reading about it. xox This bag is simply gorgeous! I envy both your talent and your tenacity.

  3. The result is not only functional but beautiful, Rebecca, and your skills are unlimited it would appear. Do you have plans for more clothesline purses, perhaps a business sideline?

  4. That is very beautiful. How wonderful!