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How To Cut Burlap Fabric – Easy Tutorial

A recent trip to the fabric store for some burlap fabric had an unexpected lesson in how to cut burlap. Burlap is trending, and being used more and more for the beauty of its natural fiber. Many home decor enthusiasts will find this a helpful tip when working with this fabric for indoor and outdoor decor projects.


Little did we know that when we took the bolt of fabric to the cutting counter we would learn a new tidbit about working with this fabric.


The lady at the cutting counter asked us if we knew how to cut burlap in a straight line. It never dawned on us that there was a special way to cut it. The lady said that it is difficult to keep the cut straight when you’re cutting burlap because the weave is so irregular and the threads don’t necessarily run in a straight line.


The fabric lady demonstrated how to cut burlap fabric, and this is what we learned.


The first thing you do is determine where you want to cut the fabric.  Measure the width, or length, needed where the fabric will be cut. We happened to be  cutting it in two equal pieces, so we folded the fabric in half to find the middle.




At this fold we wanted to make our cut. At the point where you’ll be making your cut, along the burlap’s edge, you grab hold of one strand of thread of the fabric tightly. Through this process, you don’t let go of that thread.




Begin to pull the tread. The rest of the fabric along that tread will start to gather. Gently smooth out the gathers while continuing to pull the thread. Be careful not to break the tread.






When the thread is completely removed from the fabric, a ‘line’, in the form of an open space in the weave will be visible where the thread used to be. That ‘line’ is your guideline for making a straight cut with the scissor. Our Mom said that she has used this technique for other types of fabric, too.






If your thread breaks, find the broken end still in the fabric, grab hold of it, and continue pulling the thread from that point.


We used this technique for cutting the burlap fabric used for this festive Christmas decoration, and it worked like a charm. There are large clay pots on my porch, usually filled with annuals in the summer, that I wanted to use for a holiday decoration in some way. They were covered with the cut burlap and accented with wired edge ribbon, then filled with evergreen clippings for the Christmas season (2012).



This project was part of our 8 Quick & Easy Outdoor Christmas Decorating Inspirations post!









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  1. That’s a good tip for cutting burlap, and your outdoor pot with the winter greens and red ribbon is very festive.

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