Instructions for a Coiled Fabric Moses Basket

Written by susan e. johnson
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Instructions for a Coiled Fabric Moses Basket
Moses baskets provide a snug, portable place for newborns to nap. (Baby Feet image by David Bunting from

Moses baskets have been used by generations of mothers needing a safe, portable place for their little ones to sleep away the afternoon. These coiled rope baskets can be simple or elaborate affairs, but all serve the same purpose. Creating a Moses basket for your child or as a unique gift takes only a few hours of time but leaves lasting memories. Utilise handpicked fabrics for an upscale look, or recycle scraps of material from past projects into a patchwork design you can easily turn into a family heirloom.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cotton clothesline rope (several hundred feet)
  • Fabric strips 1/2 inch wide, cut on the bias
  • Sewing machine
  • Quilting needle (new/sharp)
  • All-purpose thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins

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  1. 1

    Cover about 8 inches of one end of a cotton clothesline rope with fabric. Wrap the short end of a fabric strip about 1/2 inch over the end of the rope. Hold it in place with one hand while using the other to wrap the fabric strip carefully around the rope at an angle. Ensure that the rope does not show between the wraps.

  2. 2

    Create the first coil. Bend 3 inches of the covered end of rope to the left side and hold it snugly against the length of clothesline. Place the bend under the foot of the sewing machine (presser foot down), and sew the first 3 inches together using a large zigzag stitch. The size of the stitch is determined by the size of rope you use. The stitches should be about in the centre of the two sections of rope.

  3. 3

    Wrap fabric strip down 6 to 8 inches of the rope. Keeping the sewing machine needle in the down position, raise the presser foot and pivot your work, lower the presser foot and continue sewing. Maintain an oval shape as you sew. Sew in this manner until you are 2 inches from the end of the fabric strip.

  4. 4

    Start a new fabric strip. Cut the current fabric strip at a 45-degree angle. Cut the short end of the next fabric strip at a reverse 45-degree angle. Overlap the two pieces so that rope does not show, and continue sewing. Continue in this manner until you have an oval of about 30 inches by 18 inches. This is the base of the basket.

  5. 5

    Build the sides of the basket. Sew the next coil of rope directly on top of the outermost coil of the base. Continue layering coils of fabric-wrapped rope until the sides are about 15 to 16 inches high. Do not cut the rope at this point.

  6. 6

    Create handles for the basket. Determine handle placement, and mark it with pins. Contact points of the handle should be about 10 inches apart and evenly spaced on the long sides of the basket. Sew the wrapped coiled rope of the basket up to the first pin, then continue sewing the top edge of the basket to the second pin, but do not sew the wrapped coil onto the edge. Wrap about 25 inches of rope with fabric strips. Leaving 20 inches of the coil free (this is the handle), attach the rope to the basket at the second pin. Continue to sew fabric-wrapped rope around the top edge of the basket until you reach the first pin on the opposite side of the basket. Repeat the same procedure to make the second handle. Sew wrapped coil around the basket, adding a second layer onto the handles to make them thicker and more sturdy.

  7. 7

    Finish the edge of the basket. Wrap an additional 10 inches of rope with fabric. Cut the rope, and use the remaining fabric strip to wrap about 2 inches past the end of the rope. Cut off the end of the fabric strip. Sew the remaining rope to the basket, including the end of the fabric. Make the end of the fabric less noticeable by sewing it very tightly to the edge of the basket.

Tips and warnings

  • Start the project with a very sharp needle to make sewing through the rope easier.
  • Practice sewing a small basket project to determine the tension setting for the sewing machine to avoid tangled thread. Tension will vary with different machines.
  • If you use more than one section of rope, combine sections in the middle of a fabric strip to maintain a consistent appearance.
  • Use a Moses basket mattress to add comfort for baby.
  • This Moses basket is not intended to carry an infant. It is only intended as a sleeping area. Do not leave an infant unattended in a basket. Moses baskets are intended for newborns. An infant who can roll over should never be placed in a Moses basket.

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