How To

Roped In by Gemma Patford · Rope Vessel

Gemma Patford
Saturday 29th April 2017

This month, Melbourne maker Gemma Patford releases her first book, Roped In, which is full of fun, crafty projects utilising her material of choice – rope!

Today we share Gemma’s method for creating the design that kick-started it all – the rope vessel.

Roped In by Gemma Patford · Rope Vessel

My friend Amelia once called me the ‘most creative non-creative person she knew’. I don’t know what we were making, but whatever it was, it was good and it impressed Amelia!

She was right though, I was not a creative. I completed year 12 with a swag of average grades in Science and English subjects and headed to Monash University and completed a Bachelor of Science. I’ve largely forgotten everything. After that, I decided to enroll in fashion school and have never looked back.

It all started when I was given a beautiful handmade crochet basket from a friend. You should’ve seen this thing, it was beautiful, and I was totally inspired to make my own! I started searching for basket-making techniques that spoke to me (methods that were easier). I stumbled across a YouTube tutorial showing women in the United States wrapping vintage fabric around rope and coiling it together using a domestic sewing machine – I had a sewing machine, and I had rope!! I pulled out my trusty watercolour paints, decorated some cotton rope and crafted together my first-ever rope basket. I posted my new treasure on Instagram and the likes flooded in.

I hope people find Roped In funny; there is a lot of me in this book and I like to imagine that I am funny. I tried to keep the techniques really simple so that readers will be inspired to master them and build on the concepts.

Roped In wouldn’t exist without the success of the Rope Vessel, so I think it was important to make it the hero project. It’s taken me years and years to develop muscle memory, thousands of kilometres of rope, and gallons of paint to get these vessels looking the way they do!

Plus, every living space needs a clutter catcher. Whether it’s jewellery or guest soaps or potatoes, this beauty will keep all your bits and bobs neat and tidy.


10m of cotton rope

1m x 1m piece of paper, to paint on

Small paint brush

Water-based acrylic paint in your fave colours

Sewing machine with zigzag stitch

Sharp scissors



Find a detailed break down of instructions for this project, as well as Gemma’s fave Rope Planet Mobile and lots of other creative DIYs inside Roped In.

To read more about the Melbourne maker, visit her ‘creative outlet for itchy fingers’ aka website.

This is an edited extract from Roped In by Gemma Patford published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally.

Gemma Patford’s new book, Roped In. Styling – Gemma Patford. Photo – Jessica Reftel Evans and Martin Reftel, Amorfo.

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