What is Burlap fabric? 

When you hear natural fabrics or fiber, what comes to your mind? Cotton? Wool? Silk?

I am cocksure those three fibers will be the ones to pop up in your mind. But the thing is, in as much as those fibers are the most popular, some natural fibers are as great as these fibers in terms of breathability, durability, and other properties that make these popular fibers unique to us.

What is Burlap fabric

Have you ever heard about Burlap fabric?

Chances are that you will be hearing about the fabric for the first time, and several other people like you haven’t seen or heard about the fabric ever.

I will be writing extensively about what it is Burlap fabric, how it is made, and every other information you need to know about the fabric.

Choosing a Burlap Fabric

What are Burlap fabrics?

Burlap is a high-strength natural fiber made from Jute and sisal plant.

This fabric is loosely woven and has a distinctive rough texture and light brown color, which is associated with the material.

However, because this fabric is itchy and scratchy, it is not commonly used for making clothing items. Still, it is widely used to make durable bags, rugs, and other household items. 

How is Burlap fabric made?

Burlap fabric is made from Jute. When this fiber is in a soft state, the tissue of the Jute will be stripped, washed, and dried under direct sunlight.

After this stage, the strips will then be transported to a mill or factory, where they will be transformed into Burlap by blending the fiber and creating a yarn.

This yarn will then be put through a different process where it will be treated and thinned before it is later woven, twisted, and transformed into Burlap material. 

What material is similar to Burlap?

Hemp plain weave 

If you want the rustic texture of Burlap, your best option would be to go for this 100% hemp weave fabric.

This fabric is washable, tightly woven, and has a soft feel. This 100% hemp fabric has a medium weight of about 10oz and doesn’t shed, which makes it easy to work with them on a sewing machine. 

Hailegh basket weave 

This is another fabric that can be used as an alternative to Burlap fabric.

This fabric has a grainy look and color similar to that of Burlap. It is also tightly woven and majorly used as an upholstery fabric. 

Linen Canvas 

Another fabric to consider when looking for an alternative to Burlap fabric is Linen canvas.

This fabric has a very close semblance to the Burlap fabric that is commonly referred to as upscale Burlap. When you wash this Burlap, it becomes floppy, slubby, dimpled and weighty. 

Although compared to Burlap, this fabric has a tighter weave. It has the rustic character of Burlap and also gets softer as you wash the fabric. 

Cosmo Polyester Burlap 

This fabric type is a perfect synthetic substitute for Burlap fabric as it is made of 100% polyester but with the look of natural Burlap.

This fabric has the variegated jute color woven into it in a linen style weave and has smooth and fine yarn like Burlap but without slubs and nubs.  

What is Burlap fabric used for?

Ordinarily, Burlap fabrics were designed to make sacks for carrying different things like coffee beans and cement. But nowadays, they are used for home decor, art, wrapping paper, craft, backing for rug hooking, and many other uses. 

What is Burlap fabric made of?

Burlap, also known as the Hessian fabric, is made from jute plant skin or Sisal fibers. However, they are sometimes blended with vegetable fibers used to make nets, rope, and every other product. 

What kind of fabric is Burlap?

Burlap is a natural plain weave fabric made from Jute or Hemp. 

Are there different types of Burlap fabric?

There are two major types of Burlap fabric: Woven and nonwoven Burlap. 

The woven type is made by weaving jute fibers together and is usually significantly stronger and more durable than the nonwoven type. This Burlap type is popularly used in making bags, rugs, and upholstery. 

The nonwoven type results from jute fibers together by treating them with chemicals or heat.

Unlike the woven types, they are generally very soft and less durable and are widely used for light-duty projects like home decor and crafts. 

How long does Burlap fabric last outside?

Burlap can remain outside for about 4 to 6 months before they start to degrade, depending on the element the Burlap product is exposed to outdoors. But putting Burlap bags in compost soil or heap can take up to 10 years before decomposing. 

How do you clean Burlap fabric

  1. Pour enough cold water into the sink (note: do not use hot water because it can cause your fabric to shrink). 
  2. Pour a moderate amount of liquid dishwashing detergent into the water. 
  3. Soak the Burlap item in the cleaning solution for about 5 minutes. (keep your eyes on the item so it does not fall apart or fray). 
  4. Gently agitate the item with your hand. 
  5. Rinse the item under running water (do not twist or squeeze the product). 
  6. Since wringing or twisting can damage the item, the best option will be to haul excess water gently. 

How to dry Burlap fabric

The best way to dry Burlap items is by drying them on a flat surface (do not attempt to tumble dry them).

The warm fresh air from the outside will keep fiber in good condition, while the sun can help prevent mold and mildew buildup.

Take care not to overexpose the item to the excess sun, though, because doing so may cause the item to bleach. 

Is Burlap fabric toxic?

Burlap is a natural and earth-friendly fabric made 100% from the jute plant, which means it is not treated with chemicals or additives. And therefore, they are non-toxic to man and animals. 

Can you paint Burlap fabric?

Yes, you can paint Burlap fabric. Burlap fabrics can be painted to create attractive upholstery, lampshades, or make any other interior decorations. For the optimum result, make sure to prepare the painting surface just like you would when painting a stretched canvas. 

What kind of paint to use on Burlap fabric? 

You can use any fabric, chalk, spray paint, leftover latex paint, or acrylic craft paints for your Burlap fabric. Do not use oil-based paints as this kind of paint does not cure as quickly as water-based paint. 

How to paint on Burlap fabric 

  1. Straighten out all crinkled or folded parts of the fabric before adding paint to your Burlap fabric. 
  2. Choose the best paint color for your Burlap fabric, but you should know that this ultimately relies on your discretion and the Burlap fabric. 
  3. Burlap fabric is likely to soak up the paint, but the paint should hold up after applying two coats. 
  4. Paints will not penetrate the fabric. Hence you should paint the fabric on both sides. 
  5. Make sure the fabric has been cut before you apply paint. 

How to cut Burlap fabric

  1. Hold the Burlap thread at the spot where you want to start or make the cut. 
  2. Pull out the thread, and cut the fabric along the space created due to the absence of the pulled thread. 

How to get wrinkles out of Burlap fabric 

  1. Make sure your Burlap fabric is slightly wet before you start ironing your Burlap fabric. If it is not damp, make sure to sprinkle the fabric with water. 
  2. Spread out the fabric into its natural shape and size. 
  3. Set the iron to medium or high steam and iron the fabric on both sides. Or better still, just iron the wrong side only to help preserve the fabric’s natural weave. 
  4. If the wrinkles are not coming off easily, set the iron to a low heat setting, place cheesecloth on the wrinkled area, and press both sides of the fabric using the iron mister. 

How to care for Burlap fabric 

  1. In a sink filled with cool water, pour mild detergent and soak the fabric in the cleaning solution. 
  2. Remove the fabric after about 5 minutes and not more so that the fabric will not fray. 
  3. Rinse the fabric with cool water and air dry. 

How to sew Burlap fabric 

  1. To cut Burlap, pull the thread at the spot where you are about to make the cut and cut along the space created. 
  2. A heavy-duty needle is the most ideal for Burlap fabric, and make sure to set the sewing machine to a small stitch length. This will ensure that the stitches can catch the fibers and reinforce the seam further. You can also make use of a walking foot to make the edges more uniform. 
  3. Use zigzag stitches along the edges to prevent fraying. 
  4. After you are done sewing, wipe off all loose fibers on your sewing machine. 


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