(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I was wondering if anyone has any information about burlap. The only kind I know about is scratchy and ruff. Someone asked me about making a long burlap table runner that will hang off the table at both ends. It will be a dinner party...Unless there is a softer type I don't think burlap is a good choice of material as someone will be seated at each end where this runner will overhang. Any suggestions or fabric substitution ideas?

Thanks so much!


(Karen) Traverse Cit, MI(Zone 5a)

You might find a similar loose weave that is softer, perhaps in drapery fabrics.

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

Burlap is not only scratchy but it "sheds" like crazy when working with it.
Perhaps they don't really "mean" burlap but asked fort he wrong thing.

(Karen) Traverse Cit, MI(Zone 5a)

I can't really imagine someone wanting burlap unless doing a fall-barn-y theme. Even when clean it seems like a dirty thing because of the shedding. I'd look for a rough cotton fabric about that color. Or how about a feed sack type of print?

Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)

NaturalMuslin with some straw thrown over it. It seems they want a barn/fall theme. That's what I would do. Or natural linen coarse weave but that is more $ for the use that I am thinking.

How are you Tish. How is it going. Are you doing good. thinking of you Helene

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks for your replies...I guess I was thinking along those lines too. She really did mean burlap. Showed me a picture of a table and I was thinking she was right, did look just like burlap, but the table was at a wedding, and I just couldn't imagine someone sitting there with burlap it had to be a table just for a picture. I'm taking her fabric shopping, I am NOT helping with burlap!

Mostly I'm doing okay, starting to get back to some sewing and quilting. I'll send an email one day soon. Thanks for asking Helene. I've been thinking about your loss too and several friends who have losses also.


Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

I am not a sewer but like to look at what everyone makes on this forum.
I hope you don't mind if I chime in and help answer the burlap question.
The burlap I bought from the garden supply store was rough as you stated. I used it outside and stapled it to the back of trellises for more privacy.
The type I used in my art studio to cover homosote boards was purchased in a fabric store and was a tighter weave and had a softer hand.
I remember it came in a number of colors other then the traditional one.

(Karen) Traverse Cit, MI(Zone 5a)

No glad to have your input. I hadn't actually looked at the fabric store so that's news to me.
That's what is so wonderful about this site. Everyone is so willing to help.

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Sure...I asked for ANY help or suggestions. When I was first told burlap, I did go to the fabric dept at Hobby Lobby to get a sample to show her what texture it was like...I haven't seen her to show her yet. And it is rough and scratchy and it does shed...it irritated my skin just carrying the bolt to the cutting table. Thanks for letting me know the garden supply kind is even worse...just in case she won't change her mind, I don't want her ordering a lot of the ruffer kind. The party is bird theme, a little formal and a little rustic too and I can see how she thinks burlap table runners will be really neat...if you google burlap table runner wedding....a lot of pictures of these tables will come up ... that is what she is showing me. I'm not helping her with burlap, but will help her find something else I would not mind working with!

Thanks so much. tish

(thunder)Wildwood, FL(Zone 9a)

how about some homespun ??? a plaid with light and darker browns....could kinda imitate burlap and it would be much softer, and still on the "primitive" side, some have a very loose weave.
I did the "google" and I think some of those "fabrics" look much more like home spun than burlap. I used to make "rendezvous / renaissance" shirts, and some Native American "ribbon shirts" and used the homespun, also used unbleached muslin.

Thumbnail by barefootT
Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

They may be calling that "burlap" but it isn't. I actually have placemats made from that stuff. It isn't as scratchy and stiffer.
I'm thinking you might find something similar in the upholstery section of JoAnn's.

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Oh, OK thanks so much! That makes me feel so much better. The "she" is my daughter and I really didn't want to let her down.

Marietta, OH(Zone 6a)

Wow, didn't realize how popular these are! (guess that shows how many weddings I've attended lately) Some of them actually monogrammed! Or had been ruffled at the ends... interesting!

Tish, check out:

They have a page of 'burlap' all colors, description calls it Jute, most are midweight, but can be used for decorating and curtains, etc. I read an article last night on someone using burlap for a sunroom cafe curtains, just a simple pattern that frayed the bottom ends. (I'm wondering if it was handwashed before using and air dried, that it would be softer to work with? I know Gpa's old burlap corn bags seemed to get softer with age and use... may be worth trying a small piece to see.) Since I've not bought burlap before, maybe there's a difference in what's used for crafting and what is used in upholstery... as some have already suggested. Some of the DIY links suggest a 10 oz. weight?

I agree with Thunder, looking at a Google page, my first impression of some of those pics even looked like the Aida cloth that is used for counted cross-stitch. If she's really stuck on using the jute burlap, maybe you could cut runners, stitch about an inch or so all the way around, then fringe it. Maybe add a strip of Homespun plaid or colors down the center to dress it up a bit?
Another suggestion was to attach a piece of eyelet lace along the short end, using the openwork to thread satin ribbon through. Guess it depends on the look she's going for..

Another thing I saw was using the webbing that is used on chairs, like the webbing used on lawn chairs, only it's jute not plastic. The pic showed cutting lengths of it, weaving it together to make a runner.


Sounds like an interesting project, looking forward to a few pics of the finished tables!

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Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)


This one you could glue and hand sew the gathering for the edges.
You could also use fabric called "osnaburg" or "Flax Hemp".

I know this is the IN thing and that's what she wants but a patchwork top done in 5" or larger squares in a appropriate colors would be very personalized.

Thumbnail by helenethequeen
(Karen) Traverse Cit, MI(Zone 5a)

Well, heck fire....this old dog is learning some new tricks. Very cool looking.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

this will be fun to watch and see what she chooses!

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Well thanks all. She has decided on osnaburg. I would have loved to do some patchwork for her, but she has her plan for the table and at least I got her away from the burlap! She does want to stencil birds on the overhanging edges. I have not used osnaburg before, but anything has to be better than the burlap. tish

Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)

I am sure it'll be beautiful. Let us see the end result. tish they rule you after a certain age. How are you?

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