How to Make & Embroider a Rope Bowl

Instructions to Sew a Rope Bowl

Step 1. Start fresh

I like to clip a clean end to the start of my cord. I find it helps coil more neatly when we’re starting out!

Rope Bowl Tutorial: start clean

Step 2. Coil & pin

Begin coiling your cord and pin the first couple rotations in place. Wrap until the coil is about 1” in diameter and pin in place.

Rope Bowl Tutorial: pin

Step 3. Set up your stitch

Set your machine to stitch a standard zigzag at about 6mm width. This is wide enough to make sure you’re catching both sides of the cord as you sew—no one wants holes in their rope bowl! Be sure to set your machine to stop with the needle down.

Rope Bowl Tutorial: set up stitch

I keep my stitch length at about 2.5mm. You can play with the length of the stitch to create different effects and textures!

Step 4. Lock the center

Place your coil under the #20D foot. Take the first few stitches very slowly to make sure you sew through the cord with every stitch. Stop and rotate the coil after every stitch or two to work your way around. Make sure not to sew over your pins!

Rope Bowl Tutorial: start sewing

When pivoting, stop with your needle down on the left side, or anchored toward the center of the coil rather than in the length of cord. This helps keep your stitches even and the tension on the cord consistent.

Rope Bowl Tutorial: lock center

Step 5. Build your base

Once your center is locked in, rotating the bowl will get easier and more consistent. Line up the center where the coil and new cord meet with the center marking on your #20D foot. Move the bowl by gently pulling the base coil toward you from the left side. With dual feed engaged, it will spin with some light pressure.

Rope Bowl Tutorial: keep stitching

Slow and steady is the mantra here. If you start sewing too fast, it’s easy to lose track of your placement and end up with holes. It’s hypnotizing after a minute or so!

Rope Bowl Tutorial: keep stitching

Step 6. Slope the sides

When you’ve stitched around and around enough to create a base for your bowl, you can start creating an angle to slope the sides of the bowl. Stop stitching, with your needle down as always, and lift the edge of the base up toward your machine head. Continue stitching.

Rope Bowl Tutorial: angle sides

It won’t feel like anything’s happening immediately but after a few turns, you’ll see it start to take shape!

Rope Bowl Tutorial: slope sides

Rope Bowl Tutorial: slope sides

Step 7. Lock the end

After lots of rotations around, you’ll eventually decide your bowl is large enough. To secure the end of your cord, head back to your stitch settings and shorten your zigzag to a tight satin stitch.

Rope Bowl Tutorial: change your stitch

Stitch about an inch in the satin stitch and backstitch a couple steps at the very end to keep things extra secure.

Step 8. Tie it off

Pull your bowl away from the sewing machine. Make a small knot in the cord as close to your satin stitching as possible. Cut off the excess cord, fray the raw edge, and you’re done!

Supply List to Machine Embroider a Rope Bowl

How to Embroider a Rope Bowl

We are going to start off on the sewing side of the machine. Install a 90/14 Topstitch needle and a #20D Open Toe Embroidery Foot.

Start sewing your bowl base following the Rock a Rope Bowl tutorial. Stop sewing when the diameter of the base fits just inside your embroidery hoop by back stitching (as described in step 7) and cutting your thread. Do not cut the rope! You are going to leave it hanging off the main piece.

For today’s project, I am using a maxi hoop so I stopped at roughly nine inches for the base.

Now that the rope bowl is started let’s prep our machine for embroidery. Put the #26 drop shaped embroidery foot on the machine and switch to white bobbin thread, we will keep using the 94/14 Topstitch needle.

Cut your Ultra Clean and Tear Plus to the size of your hoop (so there is at least 1.5″ bigger then your hoop on all sides). Peel away the backing and set in on your table sticky side up. Place your inner hoop, face-up, in the center of the stabilizer and press it hard.

Hoop your stabilizer by itself.


Mark the center of your rope bowl base with your water soluble marker. Place the bowl base in the center of your hoop. Don’t worry about being too perfect, we will use the machine to position it perfectly.

Bring up your design on your screen and use pinpoint placement or absolute check to center your design on your bowl base. Stitch out your design.

When the design is finished, remove the stabilizer from hoop. Support the stitches with your fingers and gently tear away the stabilizers from your bowl.

From here you can finish up your bowl by working through steps 5-8 on Hayley’s rope bowl tutorial.

I decided that for this one I would keep it flat to make a trivet, and decided to wrap the cord in cotton yarn I had to add some fun texture and color to the design.

I can’t wait to see your embroidered rope bowls and how you personalize them. Now that I have started making them I can’t stop; I could just sit and make a dozen of them, easily! They are so fun and so cute.