5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow Tutorial

burlap pillow 500 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow TutorialBurlap, also known as Hessian cloth has always been a utilitarian type of fabric. In the past, burlap was more known for its uses in sandbagging, wrapping exposed tree roots  for transportation and for shipping coffee and tobacco. More recently, lowly burlap has completely reinvented itself into a shabby chic fabric used in weddings, home decor and accessories.

The latest burlap designs are bright and cheery and perfect for crafts, and easy sew projects. A burlap pillow is easy to make and even easier to embellish.  Wrap lace, ribbon or vintage fabric pieces around the pillow for a quick way to add color. If a more permanent finish is required, audition the embellishments on the front pillow piece and stitch in place prior to construction.

Use burlap to make the Petite Planters as seen in the Apr/May 2014 issue of Sew News. Download the pattern and herb label designs for FREE at sewnews.com/web_extras!

herb 500  298x300 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow TutorialA few tips for sewing with burlap

  • Use a liquid seam sealant to prevent edges from fraying.
  • Use a lightweight interfacing such as a fusible knit interfacing to prevent excessive stretching of the burlap.
  • A serger can be used when making items with burlap, and gives a clean finish. If there’s no serger available a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine will finish the edges sufficiently.
  • When ironing burlap use a cotton or wool setting with light steam for removal of wrinkles.
  • Lightly spot clean any soiled items, don’t wash burlap projects.

Here is an easy project to update an outdoor living area, a sunny living room or a guest bedroom.


  • 1 yard of burlap (See “Sources”)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Needle: 80/12
  • Fusible knit interfacing (see “Sources”)
  • Serger (optional)

Cut It

  • From the burlap cut one 16 1/2”x17 1/2” piece for the pillow front. burlap front panel  5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow Tutorial
  • Two 11″x17 1/2″ pieces for the pillow back.
  • burlap back panels 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow TutorialFrom the interfacing cut a corresponding piece for the front and the two back pieces.


  • With the right side down on a flat surface, layer each corresponding piece of interfacing over each pillow section. Following the manufacturer’s instructions apply the interfacing to the back of each burlap pillow sections.
  • Fold one pillow back long edge 1/2” toward the wrong side; press. Fold the edge another 1/2” toward the wrong side; press. Stitch close to the fold. Repeat to construct the remaining pillow-back piece. burlap folded egdge 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow Tutorial
  • With the right side facing up, place the pillow front on a flat surface. Place the small pillow back right side down, aligning the lower edges; pin.
  • Align the remaining pillow back with the pillow-front upper edge; pin.
  • Trim all edges even. Stitch the pillow perimeter twice, and then clip the corners. Turn the pillow cover right side out and insert the pillow form.

The pillows below were created by Sarah Grey. Sarah is the proprietress of Grey’s Fabric and Notions in Boston’s South End, where every Wednesday night she hosts Crafty Foxes Sewing Club, complete with wine and snacks. Her favorite things to sew are dresses with invisible zippers and she will not be parted from her beloved Pfaff machines. You can find her on the web at greysfabric.com.

red pillow 500 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow Tutorial

black pillow 500 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow Tutorial


Burlap, www.fabric.com

Pellon, Fusible Knit Interfacing, www.pellon.com

Soft Touch pillow form, www.poly-fill.com

Crochet flower, www.simplicity.com


About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
This entry was posted in Tips & Techniques, Tutorials and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 5 Tips For Sewing With Burlap & An Easy Pillow Tutorial

  1. I quite enjoyed reading this. I think it’s going to work really good with the handmade accessories I found on etsy.com/shop/FlosCaeli I purchase the majority of my headbands, necklaces, etc there.

  2. b.jonh says:

    This is amazing, now I know how to DIY the pillow covers and use them to decorate my home. Thank you for sharing experience!

  3. Sam says:

    Wow! I hate sewing because I always seem to mess it up. But, this looks so simple!! I love it and I will try it. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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