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Burlap brides

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Burlap seems to be THE fabric of the season for wedding linens. Within the past 48 hours, three brides have chosen The Linen House burlap for their weddings. Friday’s bride, holding her nuptials in Memphis, will use burlap sashes to decorate her chairs. Tied vertically on folding garden chairs a burlap sash (see photo left) is an easy way to introduce this hot new look. Next in the door, came the mother of the groom hosting an October wedding reception in Columbus, TX at the new Industrial Country Market. Tables will be scattered around the grounds of this alternate energy educational facility, where they will be dressed in burlap and set with fine china and crystal. Finally, a third wedding will feature burlap and cinnamon bichon tablecloths accented with aqua organza overlays to bring their rustic elegance theme to life. It seems every person who walks in the door at least considers using burlap in some capacity.

Burlap is a loose weave fabric made from the jute plant grown in India and Pakistan. The jute fiber is made from the outer layer of the stem, stripped by hand, washed and dried in the sun. Once at the fabric mill, machines transform the raw material into jute yarn where mechanical looms weave the fabric. Burlap has many uses, and therefore many different qualities. Because burlap is a 100% natural fabric it is completely biodegradable. Burlap, or Hessian Cloth as it is sometimes called, makes excellent material for many applications outside fashion.

We are familiar with the burlap bag that holds grains and produce for shipping and then finally makes its way to sunny picnic scenes where children have long enjoyed 3-legged or sack races. In industry, burlap may be spread over fresh cement to keep it from drying too quickly. In horticulture, burlap can serve as a wind-break or a cover in the garden to protect delicate seedlings. Look under your sofa and you may see burlap webbing supporting the springs that make your furniture sturdy and comfortable.

I often look at imported products and wonder if the producers in far off lands know how the fruit of their labor impact lives half-way around the globe. From the jute farmer outside Calcutta to the fashion-forward bride in Texas, it seems we are all connected in our ever shrinking world.

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