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How to Sew Burlap

Burlap is a coarsely woven fabric made from jute, a vegetable fiber. It makes a versatile fabric that is used for various purposes, many of which are industrial in nature. When most people think of burlap, the first thing that probably comes to mind are gunny sacks which are used for shipping products such as coffee or grains (and of course, in sack races).

Burlap has also been used for many years in homes, but mostly invisibly, as a carpet backing. More recently, burlap has moved out from under our feet and has become very popular in home decorating because of its natural look and feel. It also appeals to those that are ecologically conscious because its production needs are environmentally friendly. Burlap fabric can be made into pillows, curtains, table décor and many other types of decorative items. Burlap textiles are also frequently used in wedding decorations.

The characteristics of burlap that make it visually appealing also present some unique challenges that can cause frustration and difficulty when sewing with it. When using an unfamiliar fabric, it is always a good idea to understand how to work with and burlap is no different. Below, are a few suggestions and tips for sewing effectively with burlap. I hope you will find them helpful when you work with burlap.
burlap coffee sacks

The most common issue in working with burlap is that it frays easily because it is loosely woven. This creates difficulty with both the cutting and sewing process - seams can pull out easily under pressure and the fabric edges can look ragged. There are a few different ways to stabilize the fabric in order to make it easier to work with and create a more durable finished project.

Here are some techniques and tips for working with burlap. Depending on your project, some methods may be more effective than others.

Ways to Stabilize Burlap for Sewing

Click to read Tips for Cutting and Sewing Burlap

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Content copyright © 2013 by Tamara Bostwick. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.

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