Tag Archives: Jute

10 Fun Facts about Burlap

Today, I thought I would share with you some little know but interesting facts about Burlap.
  1.   It originated from India which it was used for rope and paper production
  2.  The English brought it to Britain where the Scottish first spun it into yarn
  3. Bangladesh and India are the worlds largest producers of Burlap, closely followed by China, Myanmar, Brazil and Thailand
  4. Burlap was traditionally used as backing for carpet and linoleum
  5. Burlap is resistant to condensation and that is why it is used as shipping sacks for produce
  6. Burlap’s durable qualities make it suitable for varied uses such as erosion protection, sandbags, seedling protection and weed matting
  7. Burlap is often used in the furniture industry to give support inside couches and chairs
  8. Burlap was commonly used to camouflage helmets in World War II
  9.  Burlap is often used as a mask in Horror movies
  10.  Burlap is now very popular in interior design.

I would love to hear any quirky facts about Burlap that you may know. Please leave me a comment if you know if any other Burlap trivia.

Aqua and Cream Burlap Tote for handmade swap

It’s swap time again and this time my recipient had Aqua and White as her favourite colours. Luckily I had just the perfect printed burlap to make her a gorgeous tote for summer.I was in such a hurry to get it made and sent out, that I completely forgot to take photos along the way. So I will make another one soon and post the tutorial then.Printed burlap is such a great way to add wow to a simple burlap tote. There are so many designs available in printed burlap in the major fabric stores at the moment I would highly recommend experimenting with it to create a perfect summer beach tote!

I hope Jo enjoys her new tote as much as I enjoyed making it!

The History and Origin of Burlap

Burlap is a fabric with a rich history. Whilst it is unknown where the name Burlap came from, Hessian, as it is otherwise known, is said to have originated from Germany. The soldiers from a state in Germany called Hesse wore uniforms made from Burlap. And as such were known as Hessians – hence where the name Hessian came from.
Burlap is made from the fibers of the jute plant. Originating from India, where it was used for rope, it was the English that brought the plants back to Britain in the late 1700’s. It was in Scotland where it was first spun into yarn.
Soon India were running their own looms and produced Burlap cloth themselves and exported it to the rest of the world. More recently Pakistan and Bangladesh have also become major producers and exporters of Burlap.
In World War II Burlap was a popular material for camouflage on helmets. Burlap has also worked its way into popular culture with many artists using Hessian as a substitute for canvas, and it’s presence in many horror films as a mask.
You can see the humble Burlap sack is not so humble; it has a very rich history and evolved to become a significant part of our everyday life. These days Burlap is more readily known for it’s role as a protective sack for transportation of raw produce and it’s every growing presence in the interior design world.
So next time you see a piece of Burlap, spare a thought for it’s ancestors who have played such a critical role in our history.

My Swap Goodies! Ready to go for The Handmade Swap!

It’s been a busy few weeks with the Ekka and getting ready for my first swap in The Handmade Swap. The Handmade Swap is an organised craft swap in Australia where members send each other Handmade Gifts 5 times a year. It’s really cool and lots of fun.So this swap I had to send something to Mary who lives on farm and loves bright colours. So made her all these goodies and sent them off.

I made a document wallet out of Burlap, lined with a printed cotton with little chickens on it – perfect for farm business files! I love this document wallet so I am going to make the pattern available in my online store soon.

I also sent her two heart shaped felt pocket warmers. You just pop them in the microwave 30 seconds and then put them in your pockets to keep you hands warm, perfect for this time of year.

And then finally I made her a modern take on the old crochet tea towels. The hanging crochet tea towels are so practical (especially with a 1 year old in my house who pulls down the tea towel at least 6 times a day!), but I don’t know how to crochet. So this was my fabric interpretation of the crocheted tea towel. I think it turned out quite well, so I will also add the pattern for this soon.

I sent the items off about 2 weeks ago and yesterday received a lovely letter in the mail from Mary telling me how much she loved them all! Now I can’t wait for the next swap!

So with lots of patterns to get ready, it’s back to the studio for me!

Final Ekka Entry! Baby Burlap Doll Travel Cradle

Here is the last of my entries for the Ekka craft competition this year. For the Childrens Toy section I have made a Baby Burlap Doll Travel Cot.

This small bag, opens out and inverts into a stand up doll cradle!

I would like to claim credit for the ingenious design behind this cradle, but I can’t. A friend of mine recently showed me a knitted version that she had been given as a child. It was one of her favourite toys as a child and she had not seen anything like it since.

So I took it upon myself to create a Burlap Version. The great thing about sewing and crafting with Burlap is that you can use it to give your projects real structure and form. If you were to make this out of cotton, it would collapse when turned into the cradle position. But using Burlap, it stands really well.

I hope the judges at the show appreciate the dual functionality of this cradle. The Ekka starts next week, so I’ll let you know how I go.

It is a bit complicated to explain how to make, so I will work on a proper sewing pattern and put it in my pattern store soon.

This cradle got me to thinking about my favourite toys as a child. Most of the really memorable favourites were handmade. The timber crib for my dolls and washing line that my Uncle Dave made me, Maxi and Mini dolls that Uncle Dave’s Mum made me. What were your favourite handmade toys as a child? Have you made them for your kids? Let me know. I think we should restart the handmade toy movement! I’d love to hear about your handmade toys as I think my boys could do with some Handmade love!

Ekka Entry Number 2, Funky Fashion and Wearable Art Chevron Burlap Skirt

Last week I shared with you my first entry in the upcoming Agricultural Show Burlap Christmas Trees. This week I would like to share with you my entry in the Funky Fashion Wearable Art Category. My Chevron Burlap Cocktail Skirt.

I just love this Chevron design Printed Burlap, and thought it had great impact and would make a perfect statement piece. So it seemed the natural choice for the Funky Fashion Wearable Art category.

Last year I made a Burlap Cape with Free Motion embroidery for this category and managed to take out 2nd place. So this year I have my sights set on 1st place, but we’ll see!

I didn’t follow a pattern for the skirt, I just winged it as I went. If you are interested in making something similar I will give you the brief run down on what I did as a starting point.

Basically I measured waist to knee and cut a long strip of Burlap that width. I hemmed the bottom, sewed on two strips of ribbon. I then gathered the top and added two layer of tulle underneath (attached at the waistline) to give the skirt some structure. Then sewed the side seam together.

I then measured around my waist and cut another strip of Burlap that length by about 6 inches wide. I folded this in half long ways, wrong sides together. Stitch the ends together, then folded right side out. I then attached this to the top of the skirt, starting and ending at the side seam. I then inserted a zipper into the side seam from the waistband down about 5cm into the side seam.

I know that is a very rough guide, but that is pretty much all there is to it. If you don’t feel comfortable winging it, then probably best to purchase a pattern. Just make sure you allow for the skirt plus the tulle to give the skirt structure.

It’s not an everyday skirt as I think constant washing would ruin the stiffness of the skirt, but it is a fun special occasion skirt, perhaps for my next cocktail party….

Next week I’ll show you my last entry for the Agricultural Show.

In the meantime, I love to hear about anything you’ve made that would constitute Funky Fashion or Wearable Art! Let me know, I need inspiration for next year!

Entries for the Royal Show

Tis that time of year again in Brisbane when the Ekka comes to town. The Ekka is the Agricultural Show when ‘country comes to the city’. It’s also the most competitive show in the State for Crafters. This year I’ve opted to enter three categories:

  • Funky Fabrics and Wearable Art
  • Christmas Decorations
  • Childrens Toy
And for once, I’m actually somewhat organised.
So I thought I would share with you what I am making. The first is the Christmas decorations. Given many people celebrate ‘Christmas in July’ now is a good time to share with you my Burlap Christmas Trees.
Here’s the final product:
If I were displaying them around the home, I would probably sit them on top of wine or champagne glasses at varying heights, but for now, they are just sitting on the table.
To make, they are really simple. Take a large sheet of cardboard (I used old manilla folders) and roll them around using one corner as the point to form a cone shape.
Sticky tape the cone shape to hold in place, and trim the bottom with scissors so it is level.
Paint the cone with PVA glue. Lay on a corner of Burlap and roll to cover. Overlap the end about 1 cm then trim the burlap. You will need to apply more PVA to the Burlap where it overlaps so it sticks together.
Trim the Burlap at the top and then the bottom leaving a 2cm edge at the bottom. Then apply more PVA glue around the inside bottom edge and fold in the Burlap and glue down.
Once dry, you can then embellish with ribbons, sequins and beads using a hot glue gun to apply them.
As Burlap comes in so many great colours, you can make trees to suit any colour scheme. And the best part is how affordable they are. So if your celebrating Christmas in July, get busy with these Burlap Trees for your centrepiece, or you may like to get an early start on some fresh decorations for this Christmas.
Next week I’ll show you my funky fashion, wearable art entry.