My local fabric store had natural, chocolate brown and sage green burlap. Of course, I bought some of each. For the record, they also had orange (not sure why) and white. Then I grabbed a few drop cloths for the backing and the ruffles. Burlap and drop cloths, what could be better?
Now first up, here's a fabulous tip for working with burlap! This is what the first few cuts at the fabric store looked like. Not exactly the straightest cuts I've ever seen. I was trying not to cringe. Luckily a second sales person saw what was happening and gave my sales person (and me) a lesson in how to cut burlap.
Start by measuring of course, then just make a small cut along the fold.
Now reach in the cut and pull the string that lines up with the cut.
You will actually be able to pull the string right out. And then you will have a perfectly straight line to follow to make your cut.
Here it is in the natural fabric. Pretty cool, huh? I love when I learn a new little trick!
Ok, now on to making the runner. I really didn't have a specific size in mind. My kitchen has a long farmhouse table. I took the easy, least amount of measuring required approach. Since my fabric and my drop cloth were 48"wide, I decided that was a good length, especially with the added ruffles. So I cut my fabric in 18" strips. I also hate wasting fabric, so you can get two strips (runners) out of each single yard of fabric with absolutely no waste and a minimum of measuring. I did wash the drop cloth first and I ironed both fabrics before cutting. Then just pin the right sides together (just pick the side with the least flaws) and stitch the lengths. The ends don't even have to line up perfectly.
Then open the fabric so the wrong sides are together and press the seams flat. While still at the ironing board, fold the ends inward about an inch or so, again, no need to measure, just make straight lines. Now set this part aside to make the ruffles.
Normally if I am making something with ruffles (like a curtain), I use double the width to allow for generous gathering. But burlap and drop cloths are pretty thick and my sewing machine is a relic, so I didn't want to tax it too much. Again I took the easy way and just cut 48" long strips about 5" wide. That's not quite one and a half times the width, still enough for a gentle gather. I had already decided on 3 1/2" ruffles.
Cut your strip in half and stitch around three sides.
Clip the corners, turn your fabric back to the right side and press open.
To gather your fabric, use a long running stitch and gather to the size of the opening in the runner panel.
Pin your ruffle fabric inside the runner and stitch it all together. This was probably the hardest part of the whole project.
It is a generous 16 1/2" wide by 52" long. But of course, you could make it any size you want. And you know this same technique would work with a variety of fabric choices.
I love the combination of the soft gentle gathers and the natural rustic feel of the burlap.
I'd show it to you on my kitchen table, but it's covered in projects at the moment!
And isn't this chocolate brown burlap yummy? And by the way, I broke my last sewing machine needle, so I need another trip to the fabric store to finish the natural burlap runner. Note to self, buy some heavy-duty needles. And I'll definitely be on the lookout for some red burlap before the holidays roll around again. I'm so glad I didn't buy the runner I saw at the barn sale. Now I have the satisfaction of having made my own runner with burlap and ruffles!
And a huge thank you to all of you who take the time to check out what's happening at Elizabeth & Co. and leave such wonderful comments! Your positive thoughts, encouragement and friendship is so greatly appreciated! Yesterday we reached 500 followers! Seriously, that touches my heart!
So, how about a giveaway to say thank you? Something with burlap and ruffles perhaps? You can even choose the color - natural, chocolate brown or sage green. Just leave a comment if you're interested. It would be nice if you were following along, since this is a follower thank you. I'll announce a winner on Monday morning, April 11th. Thanks so much for being here!
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