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A Rustic Wedding with Fabric.com: Two-Tone Burlap Table Runner

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The most popular fabric for the Rustic Wedding is burlap. Believe it or not, this coarse fabric, more traditionally known for bagging coffee beans than bedecking wedding finery, is the hottest ticket out there when it comes to adding trendy texture. Part of the reason behind this is how many options there are in burlaps today. Both in density (the coarseness of the weave) as well as color. Yep. Burlap is not just brown anymore. We've come up with a beautiful design for a simple wedding table runner made of two layers of burlap highlighted with a splash of luxurious silk. Burlap, like many of the specialty fabrics we're featuring in this series, comes in wide widths. The burlaps we chose to work with from Fabric.com ranged from 47" to 60" wide with the most common width being 58". This means you can get a number of strips from each yardage cut.

We combined two colors: a rich latte brown for the base and a soft rose pink for the top. The two layers feature a triple line of decorative stitching down the center, which acts as the perfect simple embellishment and holds the two layers together. All the edges of both layers are fringed, a super easy process with burlap. And the runner ends are adorned with gorgeous silk bows. 

Underneath the table runner is another example of how we've used large cuts of fabric as major elements in our decorations. The table itself is covered with a standard white tablecloth - the type that traditionally comes as part of your rental package at an event venue. Over the top of this plain white tablecloth, we've placed a beautiful embroidered sheer: Embroidered Legacy Scroll Drapery Sheer in Natural (item #UO864). It's a lightweight, 60" wide, 100% polyester sheer pre-embroidered with a lovely scroll pattern. We got three yards and were able to fully drape our head table, turning plain white into positively stunning. 

Your budget will dictate whether you can do this for every table at your reception or will choose to just highlight special areas: head table, gifts, guest book, etc. Also, you could certainly reduce the size of any of these items. Rather than having the overlay go all the way to floor and puddle; purchase a smaller piece, make a simple rolled hem, and use the sheer as a table topper. The same goes for the table runner itself. It needn't drop as far down as we show in our photos, which is certainly beautiful but does require more yardage. Perhaps this look is created only for the head table; the guest tables could have small tabletop runners with the pretty decorative stitching but without the bow accents. As with everything in the DIY Rustic Wedding: Let the bride decide!

Our thanks again to Fabric.com for sponsoring our Rustic Wedding series. If you haven't already, browse their traditional bridal fabrics as well as all the other other options we're featuring over these two weeks. Remember, US shipping is always free for orders of $35 or more, and Fabric.com always adds an extra inch to their cuts to insure they are accurate and you are never short. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

For our sample we used a standard 72" x 30" banquet table. The yardage and cuts given below are designed for a finished width that is just over half the width of the table itself; the length accommodates an approximate one-foot drop on each end. The fringe is 1" on all sides, so this amount is accounted for in the cuts shown. Using this information, you can adjust larger or smaller to fit your table requirements.

  • 3 yards of 47"+ wide burlap for the runner overlay: we used 47" Shalimar Burlap in Snap Pink (item #FG469) from Fabric. com
    NOTE: You can cut three full strips at our chosen width, four full strips if you go just a couple inches narrower.
  • 3 yards of 47"+ wide burlap for the runner base: we used 60" Sultana Burlap in Natural (item #UL780) from Fabric.com
    NOTE: You can cut three full strips at our chosen width.
  • 1 yard of 50"+ wide silk or similar fabric for the accent bows; we used 54" Dupioni Silk in Gold (item #DL970) from Fabric.com
  • All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match bow fabric; we used a light gold
  • Embroidery thread to coordinate with bow fabric for the decorative stitching; we used a light gold
    NOTE: Embroidery thread is not usually necessary for decorative stitching, but the added thickness is a better choice for smoother coverage on the coarse weave of the burlap. A 30wt strand is recommended. 
  • Cut-away stabilizer for decorative stitching
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. From the base burlap (Natural Sultana in our sample), cut ONE 17" wide x 102" long rectangle. Be extra careful to make sure the burlap's weave is perfectly straight (both the warp and the weft) prior to cutting; the weave is quite coarse and it won't look good at all if the weave is wonky.
  2. From the top burlap (Snap Pink Shalimar in our sample), cut ONE 12" wide x 102" long rectangle. As above, be very careful to get the weave straight prior to cutting.
  3. From the fabric for the bows (Gold Silk Dupioni in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 25" x 14" rectangles for the bows
    TWO 20" x 14" rectangles for the tails
    TWO 4" x 4" squares for the center knots
  4. From the stabilizer, cut enough 1¼" wide strips to create a 100" long finished piece.
    NOTE: Shorter strips can be butted together and zig zagged to secure them into a longer length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Prepare the burlap panels

  1. Lay the base burlap panel (Natural Sultana in our sample) flat on your work surface. 
  2. At one end, fold the panel in half to find the center point of the width. Or measure from each side (8½" from each side for our sample). Place a pin at this center point.
  3. From the center point, measure ⅝" to the right and ⅝" to the left and place a pin at each of these points as well. 
  4. At the both the left and the right points, pull up one strand of the burlap, then gently pull it all the way out, creating a thin channel to each side of the center point.
  5. Find the 1¼" x 100" length of stabilizer. Starting 1" from the end, pin it in place down the length of the base panel (it should end 1" from the opposite edge). The strip should fit perfectly between these two channels, insuring your stabilizer is straight from one end to the other. Pin in place.
  6. Place the overlap burlap panel (Snap Pink Shalimar in our sample) over the top of the base panel.
  7. As above, find the center point of the width at one end of the overlap panel. 
  8. Line up this center point, with the center point of the base panel. 
  9. Carefully smooth and pin the overlay on top of the base from end to end. There should be 2½" from the edge of the overlay to the edge of the base panel on both sides. 
  10. It is very important that the two layers are carefully matched and centered. It's best to work in small sections of about a foot at a time. Confirm the side measurements match (2½" on each side in our sample) and lightly pin along the outside edges. Then, pin down the center section of that same one foot section. When all three layers (the two burlaps plus the stabilizer) are securely pinned in the center, un-pin the sides, and reach between the layers to remove the original pins that were just holding the stabilizer in place on the base. Repeat this process in one-foot segments from one end to the other. When you are done, your layers are pinned together through just the center. 
  11. Thread your machine with embroidery thread in the top and bobbin thread in the bobbin. Choose a decorative stitch. 
  12. We used three rows of stitching, which was appropriate for our chosen stitch. If your chosen stitch is quite a bit wider or narrower, you may want additional or fewer rows. Practice first on scraps to determine your stitching pattern. 
  13. Following the instructions for your machine, create the rows of decorative stitching. If doing three rows, it is best to stitch the center row first, then the two outer rows. 

Fray the edges

  1. Fraying burlap is quite easy. Simply pull out a few strands at a time until you reach your desired width on each side. We used 1" on all sides of both the base panel and the overlay panel. 

Pleat the ends of the overlay

  1. On each end, measure 10" up from the frayed edge and pleat each side, bringing in the frayed sides within about 1" of either side of the decorative stitching.
  2. To do this, pinch a small bit of the burlap about 1" away from the decorative stitching.
  3. Pin this pinch pleat in place and then pinch up additional pleats - like an accordion or fan fold. 
  4. Continue until you reach the frayed side edge.
  5. Pin in place through all the layers, then hand stitch to secure.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side, and then on the opposite end of the runner.

Make the accent bows

  1. Collect the pieces for the bows, tails and center knots.
  2. Find one 25" x 14" bow rectangle.
  3. Fold it in half widthwise, right sides together, so it is now 12½" x 14". Pin together along the 14" side, leaving a 2" opening in the middle for turning.  
  4. Stitch together, using ½" seam allowance. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the 2" middle opening. You have created a tube.
  5. Press the seam allowance open and flat. Roll the seam to the center back.
  6. Pin along both sides. 
  7. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides.
  8. Press all the seam allowances open and flat. Clip the corners.
  9. Turn the bow right side out through the opening in the center back seam. 
  10. Using a long, blunt-end tool, gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press the bow flat ( the horizontal seam should still be at the center back and the raw edges of the opening should be flush with the sewn seam).
  11. Whip stitch the opening closed. 
  12. Repeat to create the second bow.
  13. Find one 4" x 4" square.
  14. Fold in half and pin in place.
  15. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along all three raw edges, pivoting at the corners and leaving a 1-2" opening along the 4" side for turning. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the opening. Clip the corners.
  16. Turn right side out through the opening. Push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press flat, turning in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Slip stitch the opening closed.
  17. Repeat to create the second center knot.
  18. Find one 20" x 14" rectangle for the tails.
  19. Fold the tail rectangle in half lengthwise, right sides together, so it is now 20" x 7". 
  20. Using a rotary cutter and clear ruler, cut a small angle from each 14" side.
  21. Pin right sides together along the two diagonally cut sides and the 20" side, leaving a 2-3" opening in the center of the 20" side for turning.
  22. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and along the length, remembering to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 2-3" opening. 
  23. As above, press the seams open and clip the corners.
  24. Turn right side out through the opening. 
  25. Gently push out the corners so they are all nice and ship and press the tail piece flat so the seams run along the edge. Also press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  26. Slip stitch the opening closed. 
  27. Repeat to create the second tail piece.
  28. Find one completed bow, one loop and one tail. Place the bow wrong side up (seam side up) on your work surface. 
  29. At the exact mid-point of the bow, accordion pleat from top to bottom. 
  30. Slip the loop under the mid-point of the bow and pin one end to the top of the accordion folds.
  31. Find the mid-point of the tail and accordion fold in the same manner. Place the tail over the accordion folded bow.
  32. Bring the free end of the loop around to meet the pinned end, securing both layers: the bow and the tails. Whip stitch the ends of the loops.
  33. Flip over and smooth out the tails so they hang down on either side and fluff out the bow.
  34. Repeat to finish the remaining bow.
  35. Place one finished bow at the pleat point of each panel and hand stitch securely in place through all the layers.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild



Comments (2)

GloriaLaVonne said:
GloriaLaVonne's picture

Burlap!  Oh this is so great of an idea.  I really like the sheer fabric with the burlap.  Here we have bean sacks in burlap from the farmer that grows beans...Oh this is going to be so lovely......

nelloyello11 said:
nelloyello11's picture

These are realily beautiful! 

When I first decided I would like to use burlap for our table runners, I checked it out at a fabric store. I was really disappointed to find that it is very linty. After I picked up the bolt, my shirt was covered with little jute "hairs." I'm worried that these will end up in our guests food.... I see on the fabric.com site there are different types of burlap. Is there one type that is less linty? Or a way to treat it so it doesn't shed so badly?