Jumping on the burlap bandwagon

Burlap is hot hot hot right now! Etsy has exploded with burlap and flour sack pillow cases, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn feature high-end versions of the worn-out vintage look, and I even walked past a sugar sack pillow at Target yesterday. I have fallen in head over heels in love with the rich texture & history evident in reclaimed burlap & flour sack pillows!

Check out some of these beauties:

(Vintage French Burlap pillows at Restoration Hardware. Pillow cases- forms not included- on sale for $20-$24 each)

(Sugar Sack Pillow by Privet House at Target. $24.99)

(Reclaimed Coffee Bag Burlap Pillow Cover by ForeverLovelyDesign on Etsy. $49.50)

(Custom Large Monogram Burlap Pillow by PolkaDotPears on Etsy. $28)

(Natural Burlap Pillow with Handpainted Dog Silhouette by CourtneesCreations on Etsy. $25.99)

With all of this beautiful burlap bombarding my senses, of course I caved. On the lookout for a good deal on burlap to DIY my own pillowcases, I got lucky. On a Sunday jaunt through our local Rural King (picking up some more cracked corn for those spoiled chickens, natch!) I saw a bin FULL of old burlap sacks. It was in the farm section of the store- and these were gen-you-wine used-to-be-full-of-grain-or-coffee burlap sacks! At $1.99 apiece, I snapped up two, with visions of recovered pillows dancing in my head…

I found a DIY burlap pillow case tutorial on the My Balancing Act blog, look at all her pretty pillows!

However the tutorial required a sewing machine, and mine has yet to arrive in the mail. Patience is not my strongest suit, so I used safety pins! And I fully intend to stitch them up properly as soon as I have my precious…I mean my sewing machine. This is a temporary solution so that I can ooh and ahh over my pretty pillows RIGHT NOW.

I googled how to clean burlap and found sites saying that you can throw it in the wash on cold, and then tumble dry on low. This is supposed to soften the burlap and get rid of the little “hairy bits” that raw burlap tends to shed. I may do that…eventually. For right now I just took the burlap outside and beat it against my porch railing for a while. Crunching it up and then shaking it back out also helped to soften the material.

I ripped out the seam at the bottom of the sack and then cut it into two pieces, one from the front of the sack and one from the back. I centered my pillow form (I recovered a couple of 16 x 16 pillows I bought at Pier 1 ages ago) and then folded the sack around it like I was wrapping a present, being sure to tuck the raw burlap edges under. It was shedding fibers like crazy! I definitely need to use a zigzag stitch on the edges as soon as my sewing machine arrives. I used regular safety pins to hold the burlap cover in place, pinning all the way through to the pillow to prevent the burlap from sliding around on the form.


I repeated the process with my second pillow, and then put them out to admire=)

I really enjoyed this project! I’ll keep you updated after my sewing machine gets here and I finish them. I’m terrible at sewing, but surely I can figure it out! The machine I ordered has very good reviews. At the very least I can finish the raw edges and then repin the covers on. I also have plans for sewing an ottoman slipcover out of thicker, darker material than what is on it right now. Basically, I’m excited!



7 thoughts on “Jumping on the burlap bandwagon

  1. Oh Em GEE! I think I am going to die! I love those. I have been looking and looking around here for some old coffee bean bags. Is there any way I could send you some money via paypal and get you to pic kme up a few & mail them. I know it is asking a lot but I would kill for some of those coffee bags (Or at least get some money offa my man to send to you. What? I am not spending my money here – his is much better.)

  2. Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to actually sew up the edges and finish them properly. I could definitely send you some- since browsing burlap online I’ve realized what a good deal I found! Rural King is the midwest’s best kept secret=)

    Anyway, I plan to go back sometime this weekend and stock up (at $1.99 per I can sure afford to!), and I’ll pick up a few extra for you if you’re still interested. I have a paypal account and once I know how much shipping costs I can give you a total. Provided they are still there when I go back- any idea how many you’d want? And all the same, or different types? I’m a fan of the frog-front coffee bean bag myself. Just let me know!

    (Maybe I should sell my own pillow cases on Etsy… the sacks I found match the pillows going for $49.50 on Etsy! I could totally make them cheaper)

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