Burlap – What a Beautiful Mess

I love burlap.  Everyone does now it seems.  It’s rustic in a sophisticated way.  It’s pretty without being too frilly and it’s CHEAP.  I discovered burlap a couple of years ago.  It was so inexpensive (I think I found it on Save-on-Crafts or something like that with free delivery) that I ended up ordering enough to fill a 4′ x 4′ box (actually didn’t realize I bought that much till the UPS guy dropped it heavily on the porch – one of my “Lucy” moments).  Since then I’ve been making pillows, sachets, ornaments, 3D textile art.  I’ve learned a LOT about what can be done with it and what one shouldn’t do with it:

1.  CUTTING  it evenly is easy so long as you pull one or two threads (thank you Pinterest) and use that now open space as the guide.

2.  WASHING  AND DRYING it is NOT so easy.  I recommend washing whatever you have at a commercial laundromat and even with that you may not be welcomed back when anyone sees the residue is left behind.  I’m thinking of going way out to far away towns to to wash all I have and then drying in separate places.
3.  PRESSING is a breeze but be prepared to vacuum all of the frayed pieces and the dust  Apparently burlap sheds even after washing and pressing.

4.  SEWING it by hand or machine is a breeze.   Whether it stays sewn will be a discovery I will soon see.  I am using the smallest zigzag stitch and that seems to work and is almost invisible to the eye if the color is close.

5.  It is much like a canvas and ever so crafty in that you can paint on it, stencil on it, draw on it, embroidery something on it.  And it is a fabric that can be stuffed well for pillows, and soft sculptures of all sorts…

Two things I wouldn’t do with burlap are sleep on it or where it – a bit too rough for my liking.  Here are some examples of what I am doing with burlap (please be kind – I am on a learning curve with my sewing):

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