Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to Make a Burlap and Lace Table Runner

This table runner was fast and easy to make. I've long admired the rustic look of burlap but it seems to me to be a fall-ish kind of material. Maybe because I associate burlap with potato sacks and harvest. I think the rough texture of the burlap tones down the sweetness of the doilies and makes for an interesting contrast. 

So, let's begin....

1. Gather your supplies. You'll need the following:

- one large coffee sack (I found this one at a feed store for $1.00)
- an assortment of doilies or pieces of lace, round, square, rectangular, the shape doesn't really matter, but there's more interest if you have a variety of sizes
- scissors, ruler, sewing machine, thread, needles

The runner pictured is 17 inches wide by 83 inches long, including a 2 inch fringe at either end.

2.  Prepare the sack.

Cut off the top few inches of the sack to clean up the edge. The sack I used had a drawstring through it about 3 inches down from the top. I cut just below the drawstring. 

Cut off the bottom seam and the one side seam. The sacks are constructed with just one side seam. 

Open up the sack. Pick out the leftover coffee beans (you can see them there on the far side of the table, beside my scissors. They are very hard, green and don't smell at all like coffee because they have not been roasted.

You will have a piece of burlap about 38 x 55 inches. Cut the burlap in half lengthwise, so you have two 55 inch lengths, each 19 inches or so wide. 

4.  Decide on the length you want your table runner. With the two pieces of burlap, you could have a length of 110 inches. I wanted mine 83 inches long, which allows for about an 8-10 inch drop over the ends of my table. 

Piece the lengths together. To avoid having an unsightly seam in the middle of the runner, cut the added length needed in two pieces and add them to either end of the 55 inch length. 

For example, I needed to add 28 inches to one 55 inch length of burlap to achieve 83 inches. So I cut two 14 inch pieces and stitched them, one to either end. Although you end up sewing two seams in place of one, the result will be an unbroken expanse in the center of your table.

I used a French seam technique to ensure a neat finish. To sew a French seam, place the fabrics wrong-side together and stitch a 1/4 inch seam. Press the seam to one side, then fold the fabrics right sides together. Stitch a 1/2 inch seam, completely enclosing the raw edges. 
To flatten the seam, press to one side and stitch through all the layers. This line of stitching will show on the right side of your runner.

5.  Finish the ends of the table runner.

Stitch a line of straight stitching 2 inches from the ends of the runners. This will secure the loose weave of the burlap. Then pull out individual crosswise threads, creating a fringe.

6.  Finish the side seams.

To avoid adding bulk, first finish the raw edges with a close zig-zag stitch. Then fold the burlap over to the wrong side of the runner 1/2 inch. Press. Stitch  1/4 inch away from the folded edge.

7.  Place the runner, right side up on a table, or the floor. Place the doilies, and or lace, balancing the shapes and sizes. Fold some doilies to the wrong side of the runner, creating a look of continuity. 

The oblong doily in the center that says "bread" has a rather full, ruffled edge. I flattened and folded it down. 

When you are satisfied with the placement of the doilies, stitch them in place. Tacking them by hand will result in a more delicate look because the stitches won't be visible. Another alternative would be to use spray adhesive. 

You'll notice a bit of writing in the top corner of the runner. The writing on coffee sacks is usually stamped on, and is barely visible on the wrong side. I thought a bit of ink showing through added to the authenticity of the coffee sack and decided to leave it in place. 

If you don't have access to a coffee sack, burlap fabric can be found at fabric stores as well.

I hope you enjoy making a burlap and lace table runner. I'd love to hear about it if you do.

I'm linking this post to Cheap Chic Home's Fabric Fun Thursday

And to The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday


  1. That looks great! Not sure that I'd be willing to devote that many doilies to the cause, but if I find a batch of them at a yard sale...

  2. This is so fun! I like that those doilies take on a new life on top of the burlap. Well done.

  3. I like your new table runner very much, if I ever get some free time (!!) I'd like to try and make one myself. Maybe after I get back from the States in November.

  4. This is wonderful! A feed sack for a dollar? Don't think I can find that here! But I may try! Great tutorial!

  5. What a neat idea!

    Here's my question...does the burlap smell like burlap? I've had burlap that is better left on 'my front porch'.

  6. I love burlap! I too think of autumn when ever I see it. And what a wonderful idea to make a lovely table runner out of it, together with lace doilies. Aren´t you just ever so clever!!? Thank you for sharing. And thank you for all your lovely comments in my blog. Love them!

  7. Good question Judy! I wondered if it would smell, but it doesn't. That said, I don't think I want it to get too wet.
    And I wonder if a feed sack would smell more than a coffee sack - since coffee beans are often used as odour absorbers!

  8. I like this idea Lorrie. Thanks for your comment...we're online at the same time - wish we could meet for coffee!

  9. What a neat idea, Lorrie! Such creativity you have! You're right...burlap does feel like a "fall fabric"!
    Have a beautiful weekend~
    ;-D Kathleen

  10. Fantastic! A really good answer to what to do with all the little bits of lace and doiley...

  11. That's an unusual table runner. A very effective way of using ones pretty 'bits and pieces'

  12. Wow. This is amazing. You have just inspired me to create something from a potato sack!

  13. This is an amazing idea. I have a lot of crocheted pieces. I think we have some of the exact pieces.

  14. What a cute idea - just right for this time of year.

  15. Oooohhhh.....very pretty. I love this idea.


  16. Wow, such a fab table runner, I have a bit of a thing for doilies, I may ahve to have a go a this myself.

  17. Hi Lorri, I just wanted to let you know I featured your runner. :)

  18. I love your burlap and doily runner! It's a great idea! So lovely!

  19. This is beautiful, the juxtaposition of the fine and the rough, perftect. And you did a nice job with the tutorial. Your attention to detail and obvious knowledge of sewing techniques is greatly appreciated!

  20. Well seeing as I now have unlimited access to empty coffee sacks I shall have to try this. I have brought home a few and have brainstorming some craft ideas to put them to good use. Great tutorial, Lorrie.

  21. Love this, I think Vee may have made a similar one. I'm pinning this tutorial. I have the burlap and lots of vintage doileys. Perfect season for one. Thanks for the tutorial and photos. ~ Abby


Thank you for your comment. I read and value each one, cherishing the connections we can make although far apart. Usually, I visit your blog in return, although if you ask a question I try to contact you directly.

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