Sewn Pottery Vase
Make this "Soft Pottery" pot using ordinary clothesline wrapped with fabric strips. Coil and then zigzag it together with your sewing machine. The gradient shades of color are created by dip-dyeing the pot in Rit Liquid Dye.
- Cotton-covered clothesline, 3/16” diameter, 30 feet
- White 100% cotton fabric, 3/8 yd.
- White 100% cotton all-purpose thread
- Coordinating beads and embellishments
plastic tablecloth, plastic gloves, paper towels, plastic spoon, large plastic container, stove pot, measuring cups and spoons, scissors, ruler, straight pins, sewing needle
- Rit Liquid Dye: Apple Green and Evening Blue
- Fabric pens: dark blue and gold metallic
- Sewing machine and cotton thread
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric glue
- 1. Size is 6-1/2”x6”.
- 1. The starter coil is used to make the hole in the top element and the hole in the neck element of the pot. The starter coil ensures that the holes in these elements have the same diameter.
- Getting Started: making starter coil
- 1. Using rotary cutter and mat, cut white fabric into 3/4”-wide strips across width of fabric.
- 2. Set sewing machine zigzag stitch width as wide as possible. Set stitch length to 2.5.
- 3. Begin by wrapping first strip of fabric once around end of clothesline. See Fig. 1. Continue wrapping clothesline, leaving 3/4” between each wrap. Continue wrapping until 10” has been wrapped. See Fig. 2. Secure fabric strip with straight pin. (see photos)
- 4. Fold first 1” of wrapped clothesline in half, forming loop. Position loop under presser foot of sewing machine with loop to left and remaining wrapped clothesline to right. See Photo 1. (see photos)
- 5. Stitch down center of loop being sure to catch both sides of loop with zigzag stitch. Stop with needle down on right. Raise presser foot and turn work counterclockwise. Lower presser foot and make three more stitches; repeat. (Note: This is the start of your coil.)
- 6. Continue Step 5 until you can freely sew coil without starting and stopping. Wrap remainder of fabric strip around clothesline. Wrap clothesline with fabric strips as you stitch.
- 7. Sew until coil measures 2-1/2” across. Stop sewing; remove the coil from under presser foot. Cut fabric-wrapped clothesline from coil. Set starter coil aside. See Photo 2. (see photos)
- Bottom Element
- 1. Follow Steps 3-6 as listed under Making Starter Coil. Zigzag stitch until coil measures 3-1/2” across.
- 2. With coil under presser foot, hold coil up to side of sewing machine. Continue to zigzag stitch. (Note: The side of the bottom element will begin to form.) Zigzag stitch until side of bottom element measures 3”. See Photo 3. (see photos)
- 3. Remove bottom element from under presser foot. Cut clothesline off, leaving 1”-long tail. Continue wrapping fabric strip to end of clothesline. Wrap over end of clothesline. Cut fabric strip off, leaving 1”-long tail.
- 4. Return bottom element to sewing machine. Zigzag stitch remaining 1” of wrapped clothesline, leaving fabric strip tail to inside of bottom element. See Photo 4. (see photos)
- 5. Remove bottom element from under presser foot. Measure diameter of opening of finished bottom element and record measurement for later use. (Note: Diameter of bottom element should measure about 6”.)
- Top Element
- 1. Wrap 10” of clothesline with fabric strip. Pin wrapped clothesline to starter coil as shown. See Photo 5. (see photos)
- 2. Zigzag stitch one row of wrapped clothesline around starter coil.
- 3. Raise outer edge of starter coil up at angle so it aligns with side of sewing machine. (Note: Wrap isn’t large enough yet to reach side of sewing machine.) See Photo 6. (see photos)
- 4. Continue zigzag stitching until diameter of opening of top element measures same diameter of opening of bottom element (that you recorded above). Remove top element from under presser foot. Match up pieces to ensure diameters are same. If diameters are same, finish edge of top element as in Steps 4-5 under bottom element.
- 5. Using scissors, snip stitches holding starter coil in place. Remove any threads.
- Neck Element
- 1. Follow Steps 1-4 as listed under Making Starter Coil.
- 2. Continue zigzag stitch until you’ve gone around starter coil 3-1/2 times. Remove neck element from under presser foot.
- 3. Bring clothesline only over to point just above starting point. Cut clothesline off.
- 4. Push back outer covering of clothesline to reveal inner core/fibers. Trim inner core/fibers at angle. See Photo 7. (see photos)
- 5. Pull covering back over inner core/fibers. Finger-press clothesline, making tapered point.
- 6. Position neck element back under presser foot and continue wrapping tapered clothesline with fabric strip to clothesline’s end. Trim fabric strip, leaving 1”-long tail.
- 7. Pin wrapped cording to neck with 1”-long tail to inside of neck. Continue stitching until you come to tail.
- 8. Continue zigzag stitch around entire top of neck edge, making sure needle swings on, then off, fabric. Finger press finished edge. Snip off tail of fabric strip. Spot glue strip end to prevent fraying. See Photo 8. (see photos)
- Joining Neck Element to Top Element
- 1. Align starting point of top element with starting point of neck element. Pin neck and top elements together.
- 2. Using single strand of thread, whipstitch neck and top elements together from inside.
- Joining Top and Bottom Elements
- 1. Align finishing point on top element with finishing point on bottom element. Pin two elements together.
- 2. Using single strand of thread, begin 1/2” from where two elements are butted together. Bury end of thread to inside of pot. From outer layers of fabric, come up at 1, go in at 2 and come back out at 1, go in at 3 and come out at 4, go back in at 3 and come out at 4, go in at 5 and come out at 6, go back in at 5 and come out at 6. See Fig. 3. Continue this stitching pattern until you’ve gone around pot, ending at starting point. Add reinforcement stitches at starting point. (see photos)
- Dip-Dye Sewn Vase
- 1. Cover work surface with plastic tablecloth. Wearing gloves, in large pot on stove, heat four quarts of water to very hot temperature (around 140ºF).
- 2. In large plastic container, mix eight cups very hot water with eight tablespoons Evening Blue Liquid Dye. Stir with plastic spoon until dye is completely dissolved.
- 3. Dip lower half of sewn vase into Evening Blue dye. Allow to sit in dye bath for three minutes. See Photo 9. Remove sewn vase from dye bath. Let set on paper towels. (see photos)
- 4. Dip large scrap of white fabric into dye bath. Allow to sit in dye bath for two minutes. Remove fabric scrap; rinse in cool water until water runs clear. Set aside.
- 5. Prepare Apple Green Liquid Dye in same way as in Step 2 for Evening Blue.
- 6. Dip top half of sewn vase in Apple Green dye. Allow to sit in dye bath for three minutes. (Note: Make sure all surfaces of sewn vase have been dyed. If there are white areas, use plastic spoon to cover areas with dye.) Remove sewn vase from dye bath. Let set on paper towels. See Photo 10. (see photos)
- 7. Scrunch blue-dyed fabric scrap in Apple Green dye. Allow to sit in dye for two minutes. Remove fabric scrap; rinse in cool water until water runs clear.
- 8. Rinse sewn vase in cool water until water runs clear. Let air dry for 12 hours.
- Embellishing Sewn Vase
- 1. Print out full-size patterns. Fold dyed fabric scrap in half. Cut two leaf shapes from folded fabric.
- 2. Sew around outer edge of each leaf.
- 3. Use dark blue fabric pen to draw leaf veins. Add details and highlights with gold metallic fabric pen.
- 4. Attach leaves onto front of sewn vase using needle and coordinating-color thread. Attach beads on leaves if desired.
by Barbara Warholic