Burlap Coffee Sack Apron Tutorial

Last week I made this Burlap Coffee Sack Apron as part of my set of items for Reverse Garbage’s Festive Collective (there’s one in my Etsy shop as well). It’s quick and easy to make and I thought you might like a short tutorial on how to do it. So here goes…

You will need:
- 1 coffee sack (in Brisbane, go to Reverse Garbage – elsewhere, try your local coffee shop!)
- lining fabric, approx. 80 x 60 cm (31.5 x 23.5 inch) (I used plain calico – that’s muslin for American readers – but you might want to use a patterned or coloured fabric)
- 4 m (13.1 feet) ribbon, 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide (I used something called twill tape because its colour matches the burlap, but black ribbon would also look great)
- matching thread (I used burlap-coloured Gutermann cotton)
- optional: buckle or D-rings
- fabric scissors
- optional: pinking shears
- pins
- sewing machine with a straight and zig-zag stitch

A word about sewing with burlap (Hessian, jute) in general:
Burlap frays terribly, so don’t cut it until you are ready to start sewing. It also sheds a lot, although I have found that spraying it with starch and pressing it with a hot iron helps to reduce this. Nevertheless, clean your sewing machine when you have finished as a lot of lint will build up inside and don’t wear your best clothes whiel working with burlap!

Instead of a pattern I used an apron that fits me well – it is 55 cm wide and 73 cm high (22 x 29 inch). I pinned it to the lining fabric and cut around it. Then I used the cut piece of lining fabric to cut the apron from the coffee sack, taking care to place it so that the words on the sack were on the apron (click on the photos to enlarge them):

You will now have an apron-shaped piece of burlap and an apron-shaped piece of lining fabric. Pin these together with the right sides facing each other:

Now sew the two pieces of fabric together along the edges, leaving a gap of about 30 cm (12 inch) at the middle of the bottom edge. I use a standard zigzag stitch to keep the burlap from fraying too much.

Clip the corners and gently turn the apron right-side out. Push out the corners carefully with a round tool. (I use the top of a paint brush)

Press the apron with a hot iron. Fold in the open edges at the bottom and press them down:

Using a straight stitch, top-stitch close to the edges all around the apron, thereby closing the gap in the bottom edge.

Your apron now looks like this – all that is left to do is add the finishing touches!

Cut a piece of ribbon to cover the top edge of the apron. Fold it in half lengthwise, press, lay it over the top edge and sew through both sides using a straight stitch.

Make sure you carefully guide the ribbon folded over the fabric:

Next, attach the second piece of ribbon in the same way. This piece covers the bottom half of the apron – see the drawing below:

The third and fourth piece of ribbon cover the side edges of the top half of the apron and also form the neck strap and the waist ties. You could use one piece of ribbon for this if you don’t need the neck strap to be adjustable. I used two pieces and added buckle from an old backpack. You could also use D-rings.

For the length of the waist ties I looked at the old apron that I also used as a pattern. They are 60 cm (23.5 inch) long. I cut the ends with pinking shears to stop them from fraying. You could also fold them inwards and stitch back and forth a few times.

Ribbon pieces 3 and 4 cover the start and end points of ribbon pieces 1 and 2 and give the apron a beautifully finished look.

Here is the finished apron with my other burlap items for the Festive Collective. I hope you found this tutorial useful and would love to hear it if you made your own apron! If you have any questions or if something isn’t clear, please let me know so I can help and adjust where necessary.

Take care,
Linda

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