Sunday, July 7, 2013

My tips and tricks- WORKING WITH BURLAP and a bonus project idea

Kyle and I have some really special friends named Andrew and Ashley.  Oddly, Kyle actually met Andrew online in one of those really manly "diesel truck forums".  They've turned out to be true blue friends- that time and time again always are there for each other when they need something.  Kyle and I have really valued their friendship.
Recently, Andrew and Ashley joined one of two of the best clubs on earth- MARRIAGE (the other is parenthood).  I was honored to get to help Ashley with some of the planning of her wedding decor.  And I had so much fun keeping my eyes peeled for "lavender and rustic" themed details.
When Ashley came across the concept of a burlap and wood ring bearer pillow, I jumped at the opportunity to make one for her ceremony.
It turned out so cute, I wanted to share it with  you and a few tips to working with burlap.

Tip #1

Burlap stinks, is messy and itchy.  I've learned a trick to helping with these three issues. The first is ALWAYS WASH AND DRY IT BEFORE DOING ANYTHING!!!  I stand by this piece of advise for almost all fabric, but in the case of burlap it is especially important.  By washing and drying it-most of the stink, stiffness and excess fibers and dust are removed.  It will leave less of a mess on your work surface and be much more pleasant to work with- after being washed.  You can even wash and dry it a couple of times if you'd like it to be even more pleasant!

Tip #2

SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE.  After I wash and dry my burlap, I always take it outside and shake it as hard as I can to remove any of the residual dust.  I have TERRIBLE allergies, and as strange as it sounds, burlap makes me sneeze, my nose drip and my eyes itch.  So the more I can do to make it pleasurable to work with, the better!

Tip #3

Cutting burlap can be a challenge- it can be super frustrating to measure out the piece you need, use a hard edge to cut and then end up with 18 frayed edges that seem to pull all apart when you start to work with it.  I'll illustrate my solution to this problem using photos I took while creating my gift for Andrew and Ashley.

I started with a strip of scrap burlap, about six inches wide.  So then, to make a square for the pillow, I needed two pieces that were 6 inch square.

To create the straight line at 6 inches, find 1 strand of jute that looks to be right about 6 inches and give it a little tug.

Because this was a thin piece of fabric I was working with, I was able to pull the whole string through at ease.  If you are working with a wider piece of fabric, you may need to use a tool to pull the string up in the middle of the fabric, cut it and then pull on the two strings you've created out through the middle.  

You can see at the left of the fabric, that the void that is being created by the 1 piece of jute being pulled out, is enough to follow with scissors to cut a straight line.  That is EXACTLY what we are going for!

Now, you can use this void to cut along and have a perfectly straight edge!

Now, in this case, I wanted to have slightly frayed edges.  But at least I had a straight edge to begin with to pull some jute strings out to create the fray!  

That concludes my tips to working with burlap- I hope you learned something, try it out and find it useful!  
Below are photos of my finished project- a gift to our dear friends on their wedding day.  

Love it, have to have it and don't want to make it?!  No problem- I'd LOVE to make one for you!  Find the listing in my Etsy Shop here.

Do you have any other tricks or tips to working with burlap?  I'd love to hear about them, please comment below!

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  1. I love those! Thanks so much for linking up with Make Bake Create!

  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  3. I'm worried that when I wash it the whole thing will unravel and end up leaving strings and fibers in my washing machine. How much did you lose on the ends by washing it?


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