*Before I jump in, let me apologize up front for the follow along images not being softly light & lovely. I didn’t have the good fortune of doing this project in a great NYC loft, so our terrace, complete with blazing summer sun had to suffice!
We did a lot of various projects for our wedding but I really wanted to focus in on my Upcycled Coffee Bean Bag Burlap Table Covering . The overall theme for our wedding was Shabby Chic with a nod to the vintage life. We had our wedding at the wonderful Skinner Barn in Waitsfield, VT which already had a gorgeously rustic chic setting. For part of our cocktail hour, we had a few farmer’s market style food stands, which we covered in burlap slipcovers. This was definitely more one the shabby side of things, but I figured why not take it one step further.
I had a vision of a gorgeous beverage table with 3 beverage dispensers, 2 non-alcoholic beverages & one adult frosty beverage, old wooden crates, mason jars, paper straws, which would be jam packed with tons of vibrant summer fruits & flowers. This was to be laid out before the guest arrival to greet them & kick things off. When I was ordering the burlap for our farmer’s stands, I came across these great used coffee bean bags at the Online Fabric Store and the idea for a hand made burlap table cloth was born! It is not the most difficult project in the world, but it is indeed time consuming, so make sure you have at least 2 days set aside to devote to this. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of how this baby came to life!
In addition to the burlap bags themselves, I got some thin tight wound hemp twine for the thread portion of the sewing. I was faced with an interesting issue of what to use for the ‘needle’ part, and found that Eye Head Jewelry Findings, worked really well. Lastly, I suggest a good pair of kitchen scissors. Normal scissors will work O.K. but kitchen scissors will cut through all the tough burlap like a breeze!
1. Disassemble the burlap bags by cutting all loose & unnecessary strings. Once all are cut, begin cutting the 2 seams that make the bag which I found easiest by cutting on the inside. This will allow you to see the big loops, cut those directly, which make for much easier removal of the main seam.
2. Once you have cut the main seam down the side, you need to remove the now waste twine that was holding it all together.
3. Now you have a blank canvas & are ready to go just after you repeat these steps for each bag that you will be using.
4. Depending on whether or not you wish to use the front of the bag, complete with company stamp etc, or the backside, line them up as you wish to sew them together. *Note, not every bag will be exactly the same size, especially the exact same length as they do stretch over time and some might have carried heavier loads at one point. Be careful to pay close attention to this when laying our your desired sacks in a row, as this may effect which ones you put together and in which order.
5. Once you have established your sewing order, its time to get to sewing! As luck would have it, the twine seam that was originally holding the bags together made for perfect guide holes, naturally making resewing these a lot easier! Depending on how visible you want your stitches to be or possibly even become a star of the table covering, choose the stitch that works the best for what your looking to achieve. I went with a simple diagonal hemming stitch.
6. Using the holes already along the edges of the bags, join two of your burlap bags together with your desired stitch type. Repeat this step for each bag that you join together.
7. Once all your bags are sewn together, you may very well be done, Congrats! When I laid my table covering out, I felt that the burlap material made the 4 corners hang in a way that I personally wasn’t a fan of. I used some of the jewelry finding eye heads, pulled the bottom edge of one of the corners up into the under side of the covering, creating a soft bend to the corner. I personally liked this better. You may prefer the more rugged harder edge look.
As I mentioned before, this isnt the most difficult project, it is simply time consuming. Each bag that I worked with was roughly 78″ long. You may not realize it until you get started, but it is actually a long distance to hand sew, which is only amplified by the number of bags that you have to sew together! Another important note, the coffee bean bags are used, so do expect imperfections, stains, etc. This is part of their charm & gives them character!
Hope you enjoyed this rustic DIY. If you have any questions, send me an email, I’ll be happy to trouble shoot! When your done, do send us pics of yours, as we would love to see!
Update July 2013: Thanks to Allison who commented below, I have come to realize that OnlineFabricStore has updated and added to their burlap sack collection and there are some really amazing bags available now! I am dying over the french grain bags and already thinking how I can use them, but I digress! Click here to scope out the entire burlap bag collection.