What fabric is burlap? Learn about the characteristics, classification and applications of burlap

What fabric is burlap

Burlap is one of the materials widely used today in many fields. If you don’t know what burlap is, its advantages and disadvantages, and its applications, please refer to Roostershirt article below!

What fabric is burlap?

Burlap fabric, also known as canvas or cotton fabric, is a fabric woven from hemp or cotton. It is thick, durable and quite rough, but is widely used in garments as well as other areas of life. .

This material has been around since about 3000 BC, when the Chinese discovered hemp and they began to produce it into fiber. The first applications were from sturdy ropes, to large sheets of cloth to cover the body. But it was not until the 17th century that this type of fabric had improvements so that it could be used more in fashion. In the twentieth century, it began to be popular and trusted by many people.

To create burlap, people will first harvest hemp or cotton fibers, remove impurities, dye them, and add some chemicals to increase durability, waterproofness, and fire resistance. .

There are many ways to weave burlap: woven, plain weave, knitted… After weaving, it will go through a processing step to remove impurities, and can be dyed or made with patterns as required.

Characteristics of burlap


  • The first thing to mention is high durability. Thanks to weaving techniques as well as prioritizing the use of large fibers, burlap is extremely resistant to friction and force, has a long lifespan, and can be used for a long time.
  • The fabric has an open weave structure so it is quite airy, creating a comfortable and cool feeling when used. Because it is made from natural materials, the fabric is very user-friendly and environmentally friendly because it is biodegradable.
  • Burlap brings a rustic and simple look so it is widely used in the fields of fashion, furniture, and handicrafts. Especially for those who follow vintage style, this is a suitable choice.
  • Fabric can be reused many times, you can use old clothes to make handmade items, which is also great.


  • The biggest disadvantage of burlap is that it wrinkles easily and gets dusty, so when using it you have to iron it regularly, shake it out, and wash it thoroughly. The rough surface of the fabric also gets dirty easily, with stains from food and color making it very difficult to clean.
  • The fabric is thick so it takes longer to dry than regular fabrics.
  • The price of the fabric is also quite high because of its durability, quality and natural materials.
Characteristics of burlap
Characteristics of burlap

Types of burlap today

There are many different types of burlap on the market, some of the types below are the most commonly used.

Canvas fabric

This fabric is woven from 100% cotton, has high thickness, durability, and is waterproof. This fabric often has good heat resistance, so it is used to make bags, backpacks, shoes, camping tents, etc.

Cotton canvas

It is also a 100% cotton fabric, but it is softer, more breathable, and more sweat-absorbent than Canvas. However, it still has a certain rough fabric appearance so it is often used to sew classic and vintage style clothes, dresses, tablecloths…

Polyester canvas

This fabric can be 100% polyester or mixed with other natural and synthetic fibers. Polyester fabric is characterized by high durability, wrinkle resistance, mold resistance and is very easy to use and maintain. However, its breathability is not good, so it is often used to make furniture and decor items such as pillowcases, tablecloths, curtains, etc.

Linen burlap

Linen is probably no longer unfamiliar to us, right? The fabric is always soft, cool, breathable, absorbs sweat well, and has fresh colors, so it is often used to make clothes such as dresses.

Rough woven burlap

It is a fabric woven by rough weaving technique, the fabric surface is still rough, looks rustic, very hard and durable, often used to make bags, backpacks, decor items, furniture…

There are also some types of canvas such as combined with elastic fabric, khaki, waxed canvas, PVC coated, fireproof fabric…

Note when buying burlap

  • If you want to buy burlap fabric to make backpacks, bags, or decorative items, prioritize rough burlap, canvas, or polyester burlap. When sewing clothes and dresses, choosing cotton or linen will be very suitable.
  • You should check the quality of the fabric before buying, you should pay attention to canvas: durability, shoe wear, no fluff and no wrinkles.
  • Usually burlap will have rough colors or classic colors and deep tones. As for bright colors, the color retention is not good, so please be careful.

Applications of burlap

Thanks to its outstanding properties, burlap is applied in many different fields, including:

Applications of burlap
Applications of burlap

Fashion apparel

Burlap is often used to make dresses, jackets, and pants, especially in vintage style, which is very beautiful. Clothes made from this material are characterized by being form-fitting, not easily wrinkled, easy to style, and the colors are also very eye-catching. Some thick fabrics like hemp can be used to make winter clothes, like cotton or linen can be used to make summer clothes.

Fashion accessories

Thanks to its certain thickness, burlap is also used as fashion accessories such as backpacks, handbags, hats, belts, bracelets, earrings, headbands, hairpins…

Decorative and handmade items

Fabric can be used to make many items to decorate the home such as tablecloths, curtains, and bedding. Make art to hang on the wall, small handmade decorations. You can easily buy these items in stores or on commercial platforms. The colors, styles, and designs are all very rich and creative.

In addition, many people also use fabric to make highly artistic handicrafts, selling them at good prices.

Industrial production

The furniture manufacturing industry and daily life applications also need burlap. For example, in agricultural production, it is used to make packaging, tarpaulins, blankets…

How to use and preserve burlap

  • Burlap can be washed by hand or machine but should be on a gentle setting, using cold water, and liquid soap should be used instead of powder. Do not use harsh detergents or physical scrubbing. Instead of bleach you can use baking soda to clean.
  • Fabrics should be dried in a dry, windy place, away from direct sunlight. Exposure to high heat will cause the fabric to shrink and dry out easily.
  • You can hang the fabric up or fold it and store it in the closet, because the fabric does not wrinkle easily so storage is quite easy.
  • If used for decoration or decoration, you can use a layer of waterproof glue on the surface of the fabric to preserve it longer. If there is a bad smell, spraying it with a little vinegar water can improve it a lot.

Questions related to burlap

Is canvas waterproof?

In fact, whether canvas is waterproof or not depends on whether the manufacturer has waterproofing treatment or not. So when buying, you can ask about this ability of the fabric to know more clearly.

Which burlap is the best quality?

Each type of fabric will have unique advantages that can be used for appropriate applications. Comparing which fabric is better than another is only relative. If we were to make clothes, cotton and linen would definitely be better than the other types. But to make beautiful and durable decor and furniture, polyester or rough fabric will be more suitable.

See more: What is blended fabric?

Above is information about what burlap fabric is, its characteristics and applications that Roostershirt wants to share with you. And don’t forget to follow Roostershirt Store to enjoy shopping as well as learn many other interesting fashion knowledge!

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