Saturday, 19 November 2011

Not Pinterested Part 2...Bored with burlap

So, basically this is where I trawl through Pinterest to see what people are pinning, and discover that I'm apparently living in a parallel universe to everyone else. I'm not quite sure where the obsession with making things out of hessian came from (or burlap, as our friends across the pond call it), but it seems to show no sign of abating, and this loose weave fabric beloved of potato growers everywhere has been elevated from functional to fashionable over the last few years.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that if you have a grain-sack cushion you're a bad person - although you do have a distinctly uncomfortable sofa - but it's a slippery slope, and I'm just trying to save you from the inevitable and all-encompassing addiction which follows. 

It all starts so innocently. Exhibit A: The stylish cushion.  

Vintage grain sack, stylish font [French for extra ponce points] To be found on a neutral white or beige sofa, with rustic accents. Perfect for that Homes & Antiques or Country Living Spread. Slightly malodorous but the smell is easily masked with a Jo Malone candle. 

Acceptable alternative is the brighter version, with pleasing vintage graphics. Rustic but still colourful, perfect for the charmingly retro and eclectic interior. 

Exhibit B: The Unintentionally Ironic Cushion 

This version is available from It's ticking a lot of trendy boxes. Typewriter inspired font, dictionary definition, looks like it should contain swedes in a 50s green-grocers. But - is no one else seeing a dichotomy here? A hessian cushion  is not going to be 'snug'. Root vegetables do not need to be 'warmly cosy', hence burlap is not your go-to fabric for comfort. Surely the 'optional 38 x 38cm duck feather filled pad' is pretty much irrelevant once it's put inside the world's least comfortable material?

Exhibit 3: Taking it to the bedroom
Ok, so what we call cushions, Americans call pillows, right? Pillows are what we sleep on here in the UK, so 'burlap pillow' just means cushion, doesn't it? Or not. 

What the hell happened? How have we gone from being advised to keep our faces wrinkle free and our hair shiny by sleeping on silk pillow-cases, to actually thinking "Yes, I'll get some quality shut-eye on that old flour sack. If it's good enough for the dog, it's good enough for me!". Even the teddies look pained.

Obviously once you've accepted burlap beauty sleep it's easy to allow house-room to the following:

 Miss Haversham's house. If she lived in a barn. 

Roman blinds, hillbilly style

Burlap lightshade. With bows.

And of course burlap is for all seasons:

Easter Bunny 

Halloween pumpkins

Christmas nose-bags Stockings. Mmm, festive
Just the ticket once Santa has filled them with oats and barley.

When good crafting intentions go very very bad. These are apparently 'burlap eggs' - no, I don't know why either - although they look more like they were left in the corner of his hutch by the burlap Easter Bunny


So, your home looks like Wurzel Gummidge has taken up residence, but you're just not finished with burlap. Having toughed up your skin nicely on your hessian cushions, it's but a short skip and a jump to allowing jute into your wardrobe. I understand, I do. I mean, there's a new film out about Marilyn Monroe, the original poster girl for the potato sack dress:

and maybe you saw Project Runway when they had their budding designers send burlap dresses down the catwalk. Even Demi Moore wore a hessian style bustier on the cover of Elle last year:

Ashton, you're an idiot

Yup, you're going to rock the flour sack look like a farm-girl during the Great Depression. Let's just see what's available shall we?

$120 by Gretchen Elsner. It's got pom-poms!

Gosh, it's like Katharine Hepburn never left us.
These trousers will 'never die'. Not even if stabbed repeatedly with a pitchfork.

The 'Fatale' by Gee Wa Wa. A mere $264.95
Gok Wan appears to have gone mad with a glue-gun again.
I am undecided as to whether these were more hideous before or after the 'be-burlapping'

Vintage WW2 novelty 'sugar and spice' knickers
[apologies to the person who saw 'burlap panties' come up in their stats as a result of this post]


Whoop! You went out in your finery and snagged a hot guy [literally, those trousers catch on everything] with similar interests. 

Hubba hubba

You've dated a while, you're buying a yurt home together, and finally he pops the all important question. Will you be my burlap bride? Yes, there's no reason why the most important day of your life and the most scratchy fabric of your life shouldn't also be joined together in holy matrimony. In fact there are entire Pinterest boards devoted to this very scenario. [Disclaimer: many of these rustic chic ideas are indeed very lovely, I agree. I'm just trying to point out that not EVERYTHING needs to be made from a sack]


Buttonholes. Burlap and thistle. "What an interesting combination of textures" says the wedding writer. Yes, prickly and scratchy just screams 'wedding' to me [nettles optional]

Who is getting married here? Daisy the Cow and Fergus the Bull?

Wedding cake, with extra fibre.

Available from Etsy
"Perfect for that romantic bohemian bride who's going for a
 breath-taking and romantic look on her special day"
[Doubles up as an eco-friendly nest for your chickens afterwards]

Get me to the Church on time...Arrive in style in a burlap pick-up

No need to press or preserve your bouquet afterwards

The blushing burlap bride and her hessian husband

So, what's the verdict - am I swimming against the tide here? Should I be planning my sister's burlap baby shower? Or are you also over the stinky sacking? Let me know...

Lakota x

PS. Thanks so much to everyone who has voted for me so far, I really appreciate it. And hello to all my new followers, do say hi and I'll try to check out your blogs.


  1. Only for potatoes - can't stand the stuff.

    I think the worse one is those stockings - rough & scratchy and sewn together by a cack-handed teenage male (probably my eldest!!).

  2. I don't mind a little burlap, but it's getting out of control. A piece of burlap wrapped around a vase for fall decor looks nice, but I don't know about using it on anything I touch regularly. Call me crazy, but I don't like resting my face on scratchy pillows.

  3. A burlap babygro is missing, and organic burlap diapers. Everything else is covered. Literally.

    Can you imagine explaining the 'carpet burns' when you go for your smear test after a night on the burlap bedding?

    This series, along with the ebay one, should be available as a book, every stocking for women over 25 should have it. With limited edition burlap slipcover for all your followers.

    Great work Lakota, you are spoiling us with these posts, I'm so glad I found your blog simply by clicking 'charity shopping' on my profile. That was back in February, look how far you've come...

    Lucy x

  4. I am irritated by the way people use 'rustic' as an excuse for carelessness when it comes to making these overpriced fripperies. I actually saw a sign last week saying "The imperfections are part of the charm" on some poorly made coat hooks.
    There's a time and a place for this fabric - Harvest, and the farmyard!

    great post, Lakota!

    weekend blessings x

  5. It would appear we are one burlap sack away from the hair shirt!!!!!
    Thanks for this blog, I can't understand the obsession with it either. It's given me a good giggle. Apart from those Christmas stockings, sorry but they are just too awful for words.

  6. wow - "thorough" is your middle name. *apart from the babygro's*;)

    imagined the eczema as soon as I saw those trousers...

    have been baffled for ages by this "trend" for paying-the-earth-for-things-that-people-had-because-of-poverty... distemper, distressed furniture. will rickets and child mortality be the "next big thing"??

  7. I know exactly what you mean! I do wonder about Pinterest pins myself. Hessian is only good for using as rag rug backing as far as I'm concerned an even then it winds me's hairy and smells funny!
    Hessian Roman blinds....why?
    It's not's bloody horrid.xxxx

  8. Been waiting for this post and was it worth the wait or what! I have laughed out loud a lot. Thanks. :)

    My ex had hessian curtains when I met him (20 years ago) - they were provided by his landlord and as he was penniless at the time he couldn't afford to change them. I have never hated curtains as much as those vile things. Ugly would be a euphemism - and the smell never ever abated - as old as they were. It was like having a wet dirty dog in the cottage. Oh they were disgusting.

  9. Er, has that $120 skirt really got a smile across the arse?

  10. what a buncha crap! The burlap resurgence was happening without my knowledge, thanks for the fair warning!!

  11. I think it's another case of the Emperor's New Clothes.
    Love from Mum

  12. You know, Lakota, I scrolled down the post looking at the cushions thinking "what is she on about?" cos I actually like a bit of hessian. But then, it all went bonkers. My poor brain can't take all those bizarre images of.... of.... odd things. Enough already.

  13. I am so obviously way back and far behind the times...this is fashion? FASHION??????????????????
    It's hideous and not at all comfy. I imagine I would get a sore rash from sitting down in those trousers.
    Then then I don't really get Pinterest full stop. Doesn't it just what people's appetites for wanting more?????
    NOT for me!
    Have a fab weekend

  14. Jeeze scratching like a good 'un just thinking about it ... Brilliant post again ! X

  15. Ahhhh... i have a soft spot for the stuff - although I don't actually own any. And I am kinda liking the "wedding" brooches..

    *shuffles off to the shunned corner*

  16. Okay so I knew burlap was sort of a thing right now... BUT NOT THIS MUCH OF A THING!!
    Those undies would probably end up giving you a rash on your bottom!

    And now because of all this hype... WHAT THE HECK are the scarecrows wearing nowadays?? Silk? Diamonds?

  17. I can't help it, I love a bit of hessian but in small doses for example a christmas sack filled with presents!! :)

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  18. Oh Lakota, I love your sarcastic musings on crazy internet sensations! They make me laugh so much! All I can say is NO NO NO!!! Sofas and beds should be about comfort! I have a blooming awful sofa at home- it's sooooo uncomfortable in many respects and it feels like hessian! I hate it!
    Thing I don't understand about about the 'fashion elements' in the photos here is how ugly it is- it's brown, itchy-looking and as you say, is the colour of potatoes, which has never been the colour-du-jour!
    Yep, I'm with you on this- don't give in to peer pressure- come on Lakota, stick to your guns!!!

  19. Thankyou, i now know exactly what burlap and the amazing uses it can be put to.

    Hilarious (I think the cake was my favourite).

  20. Still chortling...I can't believe some of the things you found - the knickers are to die for - literally. I think you'd scratch you nether regions to death wearing those. I'm not averse to a little bit of hessian but it's one thing to wrap a little bit round a candle - let's face it, it's not going to feel the itch - and rather another to dress yourself in it, or sleep on it!

  21. thanks for the giggles,
    pity that stocking maker didn't include an 'A', ho ho ho.
    I have cast my vote for you too, good luck, hope you win !!

  22. Oh Lakota you know i do like a a bargain burlap cushion (although they are currently on a chair in the corner of the dining room that no one sits in!) But the rest is just crazy bananas, i think the best has to be the curtains and the pants - i dont even want to think about what would happen after a day wearing those bad boys ;o)

    Cheers for the laugh chick :o) Scarlett x

  23. mwuahahahaha i'm sure the burlap knicker is itch free? can't say i want to wear burlap dress or trousers but i would love to have one or two burlap cushions though maybe faux burlap cushion cover that looks like burlap but soft to the touch if i make sense at all! some of those i love, some are just insane!! burlap eggs? wuahahaha

    xx susan

  24. Dearest Lakota

    Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog x this post has made me smile immensely, it's perfectly written ... definitely a case of the Emperor's new clothes xox

  25. ps. I popped over and voted a well deserved vote for you xox

  26. I'm going to stick up for burlap - I like a little of it for textile wall hangings and I think a burlap cushion in a selection of textured cushions (can you tell I'm big on cushions?!) of similar shades looks really nice. Feel free to stone me ;-)

    Jem xXx

  27. Another hilarious and brilliantly written post Lakota. I agree whole-heartedly with Lucy when she mentions how cleverly you've moved on from simply showing us your charity shop finds (although I loved those posts too)

    We have nothing made from hessian in our house and, after this post, nor are we likely to x

    p.s. Jem's comment made me laugh

  28. I don't mind the occasional item made from it, but clothing? And I saw someone had pinned the burlap bouquets as "eco-friendly", are fresh flowers not eco-friendly anymore??? Ha. Thanks for the laughs!

  29. Burlap? I think we over here (or maybe it's just me?) call it sack cloth. I have a few sack cloth bits and bobs, a bag, some doillies that have been embroidered by kids,they have a rustic charm I like. god there some burlap horrors out there as you have shown-those blinds and that lampshade are just utter interior design wanky crap; and sack cloth clothing and pillows-WTF???!!!!

  30. Ummmmm im a NO NO NO NO NO girl i can't stand the thought of putting my head on that sag cloth at night time and wearing them as pants OMG how itchy would that be. Noooooooooooooo one little cushion maybe but thats all for me...dee xx

  31. you just gave me an asthma attacck...never laughed so much in ages...brilliant!
    BH x

  32. You're hilarious, do you know that? I loved this look at hessian, had me chortling away. What is with people sometimes? Those Austrian blinds are a state, too funny!

  33. Oh God. I actually felt a bit sick by the end of that post. The point at which it became a curtain was the point where I felt bile rising. I'm off to have a lay down.

  34. I'm with Emma bear forever, where are the "burlap nipple pasties"? LOL!! Such a funny post Lakota.

    Maybe the burlap pillows help exfoliate? But that would just be for your face, don't want to place the back of you head on those unless you want you hair so slow be sanded off from the rough burlap.

    Looks like Marilyn and those scare crows are enjoying it though. They have smiles, opposed to the other models.

  35. Well said. Brilliantly funny Lakota, I didn't quite realise how much of this stuff was knocking about! xxx

  36. Hate to say it but I love that chaise and the cushions. Gimme a bit of burlap over some vomit-inducing floral Cath Kidston print any day of the week.
    I'll get my

  37. First 2 pics of the cushions - yep, fine, nice enough. Thereafter - not so keen. The Easter Bunny is cute actually, but the clothes? No, surely they're not serious? Pants? Really?
    You do such a great job with these posts, Lakota, you've made me chuckle! xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  38. Ghastly stuff, and how would you sew with it anyway without getting callouses on your fingers and fibres up your nose. Cough! Cough! Scratch! Scratch!

  39. ahahaha burlap knickers and corset would give me rash ,but I am eyeing them. The pillows look cute ,but not a fan of burlap at all.

  40. Absolutely hysterical!! It is old sack no matter what you do with it!

  41. Ok these are some pretty genius’s ways to use burlap, I wouldn’t have thought that burlap can be used in so many ways; I have to tray some of these ideas. Your blog is lovely by the way and I am a new follower! Hope you will like my blog and follow back!

    Pop Culture&Fashion Magic

  42. Christ on a bicycle lady, you have a problem! Although your post did remind me that I have a vintage sack that I need to make into a cushion in my 'to sew' bag...

  43. always crack me up, I like your funny comments, especially the one about the Katherine Hepburn never die pants and sack flour pillows. Thank you for brightening up my monday night.


  44. Not a big fan although I think I used a red version to make mini chritsmas stockings with the children last Christmas,My excuse - only because it was extra cheap in the scrap store. I would definitely not have the cushions and the pants are a complete no no, obviously!

  45. You make quite the case, and I cant argue with you. Burlap, more like burcrap. I wouldnt even wipe my butt with that stuff, why would people sleep on it? Im probably allergic to it anyways. My nieces think im weird and its all your fault, as I sit here laughing at this post.

  46. you are killing me! i'm kinda with you on this one- although i do appreciate an appreciation of humble practical fabrics, like burlap. but this seems to go overboard AND not very practical. burlap might make great market totes, but I'm not sure i like the idea of them as my curtains, trousers and uh, egg wrappers.

    Great post- put a big silky smile on my face!
    the Citizen Rosebud

  47. In NY there is a serial killer at large who is wrapping his victims' bodies in burlap sacks. True story. I'm hoping the negative burlap publicity will put an end to this awful trend.

  48. Wow, you managed to find some truly weird and wonderful hessian items - I think the prize has to go to the hessian / burlap Xmas stockings. I wonder if they were sewn together in the dark? Crafting with hessian of any sort just brings back memories of junior school sewing classes which I hated with a passion.

  49. Oh my gosh. You are hilarious. I totally agree with all your points. Haha. You can visit me at!

  50. oh how I wish I was your parcel swap patrner...I'm sure I could fashion up some crazy ass burlap creation! ;)

  51. Hi!! :)
    I really like your blog, I follow you :D
    ... maybe if you have time, you could visit my blog too, and if you like it, follow me back ;)

  52. I think I'm developing a rather nasty case of thrush and I blame it entirely on your pics of burlap knickers and Katherine Hepburn trews;)). xo

  53. Those burlap pillows would be fantastic for a bit of night time/sleep time exfoliation. If I had hessian sheets my arse could be lymphatically drained every time I turned over. Ooh, ooh, you could make millions from that!

  54. Those burlap pillows would be fantastic for a bit of night time/sleep time exfoliation. If I had hessian sheets my arse could be lymphatically drained every time I turned over. Ooh, ooh, you could make millions from that!

  55. I've just read my comment back and it sounds really rude! I meant the hessian could be a milder version of the dry-brushing fad. Am I making it worse? I'll hush now.

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  58. Apologies for all the comments, the server went a bit bonkers and printed it a million times. I'm going now...

  59. Oh my gosh I don't know what would be the biggest passion killer with those horrific sack-and-ashes panties, the look of confusion on my boyfriends face when he saw me trussed up like a slutty miller's daughter or the extreme under carriage chafing *ouch*

    The (used to be with) It Girl

  60. I think I'm a little bit in love with your blog!


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