I finally used the autumn-themed printed burlap I purchased 3 years ago. Yep! This has been sitting in my fabric stash for 3 years.
When I purchased this fabric, I planned to use it immediately. I don’t remember why, but it didn’t happen that fall.
When fall arrived the following year, we were living in my brother’s home, house-sitting while he was working out of state for several months. We’d sold our house two months earlier and were in this temporary living arrangement pending my retirement and our move to North Carolina. In that state of transition, I wasn’t feeling inspired to decorate for fall, and even if I had been inspired, the fabric was packed away in a box, sitting in our storage unit along with most of our other possessions.
Last year, I got as far as washing a test piece of the fabric in anticipation of using it. I wasn’t pleased with how it turned out at all. Some of the gold color in the print disappeared, my washer was filled with “hairballs” of the loose burlap fibers, and the washed burlap was a wrinkled mess. I was also busy with other projects and so I just let slide again.
This year, as I began to think about transitioning from summer to fall, I was determined to find a way to use this burlap fabric in my fall décor. I’m not a big fan of burlap pillows. I prefer my pillows to have a soft, comfortable feel. So pillow covers weren’t considered an option. I thought the fabric would make pretty table linens- place mats or a runner. Ultimately, I decided on the runner. Since we use our dining room table for all our meals, I generally keep a tablecloth on it. So a table runner seemed the best way to go.
Washing the Fabric
The fabric had that strong odor that burlap often does and it was also pretty stiff. But after last year’s test piece wash debacle, I didn’t want to wash it in the washing machine. Instead, I decided to hand wash it in the bathtub. First I cut an 8 foot length and then cut that piece along the fold of the fabric, ending up with a piece that was 8 feet by 23 inches.
I filled the bathtub with cold water and added lingerie detergent. I folded the length of fabric in half and made sure the entire piece was submerged. I let it soak for a couple of hours, then drained the soapy water and refilled the tub with fresh rinse water. After swishing the fabric around a bit to rinse it thoroughly, I drained the rinse water, I left the fabric sitting in the tub to drain well and then stretched it between two lawn chairs outside until it was dry. This method resulted in a softer piece of fabric and the unpleasant odor was gone.
Making the Runner
First I cut the fabric to size. I wanted to be sure to have sufficient width so I could “fringe” the edges. I measured 17 inches from the cut edge and pulled out a thread to produce a guideline for cutting. After pulling the first thread, I pulled two the next two to make sure I had a clear cutting guide. I cut along this guideline the entire length of the piece.
To create a fringed border, I pulled out threads along the edge of each side of the fabric piece until there was a ¾ inch fringe border on each side.
Next I ironed the runner using a steam iron. To prevent the fabric from continuing to fray, I ironed on 3/8″ Heat’n Bond tape (sold at JoAnn fabric) on the wrong side of the fabric. Heat’n Bond tape is an iron-on adhesive. If you iron it on and remove the backing other without adhering it to anything, it works well to stabilize the edge of the fabric.
Note: This fabric is still available at JoAnn, Autumn Inspirations Fabric