I’m on a mission; to get more people to make things and to use their sewing machines… Sewing is not actually that scary as many think & so rewarding. Here’s a simple diy project, no fitting or fancy patterns; How to Make a Modern Rope Table/Place Mat.
Sewing with Rope & Cord:
I was quite excited when I discovered how to make designs and sew things out of rope! It has so many possibilities and the supplies can be found at a hardware store. It does not have to be old-fashioned but can also work with MCM (Mid Century Modern). I love that designs are quite linear and you can adapt as you like.
It’s fun to doodle some spirals or shapes to see what kind of designs you can come up with. Yes, most are based on a spiral but you can be come creative with it to bring modern elements. Feel free to adapt into placemats or even rugs.
What do you need to sew rope mats?
There are many kinds of ropes and cording available. My sewing machine is a vintage Kenmore; it will let me sew as much as 7/32″ diameter rope easily. You can however also find cording that is much flatter as this polyester braided one. It is often used to make macrame chairs.
The way the rope is sewn is with a zig-zag stitch (or other wide stitch) so that the individual cords become a larger single piece. I have made quiet a few projects with rope. I enjoyed each one!
Ropes are also available as cotton rope or twisted types. Some twisted types of cord will unravel quite quickly at the end of the rope so wrapping the ends with thread does help since tape seems unsightly in a project. Fabric can be added for affect as well.
The polyester rope is easier to keep from fraying since the rope end can be burned. Be careful of where you do this; just in case.
This style of rope/cord is braided rather than twisted. It is pretty soft and since it is polyester it could be gently washed.
How to start making the Spirals:
The basic principle for this design is the same as the making of rope bowls but instead of continuing to form a bowl, the first circle is stopped and then another made from the other end inward. For details see the video.
Continue circling around until you have the size you’d like. I wanted to keep it quite asymmetrical so I just made a few coils of varying sizes and combinations.
After securing the zig-zag stitch at the end of the first spiral, the second is started and worked toward the finished first spiral. I dreamt up this idea as I did not like the way the ends are usually unsightly and unfinished.
How to arrange the double spirals:
At first glance you probably do not notice that these are connected spirals. They can be arranged quite a number of ways; especially if they are of various sizes.
Creating the Spiral design of the DIY Rope Placemats:
When figuring out the placement, make sure that they touch each other at curves for more stability. I could well imagine a rug created with smaller spirals and more connections.
To attach them you may want to work in sections. Pin the sections together and replace in design to add next ones. Perhaps a quick trace will allow you not to lose the design after lifting.
How to make a Modern Rope table/Place Mat
- pair of scissors
- Sewing machine
- Butane lighter
- Matching or contrast thread
- Cording or rope that fits under presser foot
- Gather supplies and equipment & decide size desired
- To stop fraying of rope end wrap with thread or seal by melting slightly with butane lightly (carefully)
- Curve end tightly as possible (pin if necessary) and anchor with starting stitching set to wide stitch (zig-zag or decorative)
- Continue sewing around the spiral, keeping flat.
- Once desired size is reached, backstitch to anchor well.
- Cut end a distance from spiral and start another spiral from that end.
- Continue around until it meets with first spiral. Now there are no raw ends to cover.
- Make a few (or many) more and arrange to touch each other. Using the same zig-zag stitch attach to each other. (use pins to hold, working smaller sections)
- Steam iron if needed (with press-cloth) after finish. Enjoy!
Connect the spirals with some sturdy zig-zag stitches (use reversing as well). Twisted fabric would also make cording and interesting colour design. Tip: if using a stiffer rope it may become more difficult sewing in the centre sections and forcing a large mat under the sewing machine.
The Finished Piece:
In this Mid-Century Modern style dining room it adds some simple modern design to the table. It could also be adapted for a few place mats; the unique design differentiates them from typical store-bought ones. ‘Might as well make a few coasters while you are at it!
Stay tuned for the complete tour (soon) of this whole home makeover… ‘Love the chairs? Me too!
Warm wood tones blend nicely with the textural rope, contrasting shapes. This is a start, perhaps some variety of colours, will also elevate this to warrant as a wall hanging.
Working with rope and cording follows the trends of macrame in the popular boho style… I hope I’ve inspired you to give it a try. I’m excited to share the makeover soon!