It seems like it took forever, but this long, weird winter is finally over, and as much as I love my wool sweaters, it’s nice to be able to put them away. I always store them with lavender sachets because they smell great and lavender has been used as a natural moth deterrent since Roman times. Do you know what else you can do with lavender sachets? You can clear out your closet.
What?!? Yes. With this project I’ll show you how to upcycle your old shirts, disused decorative pillows, socks, and miscellaneous other textiles into lavender sachets. Virtually any fabric will work, so you don’t have to feel guilty about keeping your favorite old t-shirts anymore. You can see them every time you open a closet or drawer, but now they’ll be useful. How great is that? Sort through your closets and gather all the clothes you’ve been hanging on to for so long Goodwill doesn’t even want them, then keep reading to find out how to give them new life.
In sorting through my own closet, I found quite a few things to upcycle, but I’ll demonstrate this project with a favorite t-shirt from that era of shorter and tighter shirts that, if I’m honest, I will never wear again (sigh), and some pillow covers I got in Thailand. I saved the pillow covers when the seams wore out, vowing I would one day turn them back into pillows (sound familiar?), but I have yet to do this; besides, we have enough throw pillows at the moment (see how to make throw pillows here):
Ready to get started? There are two basic methods for making a lavender sachet: sewing it all the way around so it maintains a rectangular shape, and sewing it on three sides with a gather at the top. While both methods will work with any fabric, the first method is better for showcasing an image, like the design from your favorite t-shirt, because the gathers in the second method will distort that image.
Here’s how to make a rectangular lavender sachet without a graphic design:
First, decide how big you want your lavender sachets to be and cut two pieces for each sachet, one for the front, and one for the back. If it works with the fabric’s pattern, and you want to avoid seaming the bottom, cut your pieces twice as long, then fold each piece in half.
Next, take two pieces, or one folded piece, and turn the fabric inside out so that the outsides are facing each other. Pin the fabric together with a 1/4″ seam allowance:
Sew the sides, the bottom if you did not fold the fabric, and all of the top except for the last 1 1/2″ – 2″ which you will leave open to turn and stuff the lavender sachet. Then, turn it right-side out: and fill it with dried lavender blossoms (sometimes a funnel helps with this):
Last, carefully sew the opening closed with a small whip stitch:
Tip: cloth is recyclable in most places, so before you throw out the scraps, check if you can recycle them.
Here’s how to make a lavender sachet with a graphic design:
First, lay the garment flat and mark where you will cut it to make the sachet. Then pin both sides of the fabric together along the markings:
Next, cut a seam allowance of 1/4″ – 1/2″ around the pins:
Now remove the pins and flip both pieces of fabric over so they’re now facing each other inside-out, and re-pin. While you’re pinning, check that the design is still visible and that you haven’t pinned too closely to it:
Now sew, fill, and finish it just like you did for the first sachet:
What you will need:
- Fabric and/or old t-shirt
- Ruler or tape measure
- Something to mark the fabric
- Straight pins
- Dried lavender blossoms, about 1 cup for every 3″ x 4″ sachet (see ‘tips and tricks’ for sourcing)
Tips and tricks:
- If I don’t have enough lavender from my own garden, I get it from Eatwell Farm. Their organic dried lavender blossoms smell amazing and you can order them online.
- To remove lavender blossoms from the stems, hold a bunch vertically over a large bowl, blossoms down, and roll the blossoms between your palms: This won’t remove all of the blossoms, but it will get most of them. Of course you can save some time by purchasing blossoms that have already been removed from the stems.
- Give yourself a pat on the back for upcycling (and clearing-out!), and don’t stress too much if your sewing skills are a little lacking: you’ll get better with practice.
- Squeezing the lavender sachets will release more of the oils and increase the fragrance.
- When the fragrance starts to decrease (this will happen after several years), or the lavender sachets become really flat from being squeezed repeatedly, simply cut-open the whip stitch, discard the old blossoms, re-fill with new ones, and whip stitch closed again.
- Do lavender sachets really work, or is it just a myth? Well, I did a bit of research on the efficacy of lavender in deterring moths, and it turns out it actually does help. It won’t kill moths or stop an existing infestation, but it does deter them. If you want to learn more about the scientific evidence supporting lavender sachets, this article is quite useful.
Here’s a picture of all of the different fabrics I found to upcycle into lavender sachets (I’m sure there will be more next year):
Stay tuned next week for part two of this post where I will show you how to make lavender sachets with a gathered top. Until then, enjoy seeing your favorite old t-shirts in their new role every time you open your less-cluttered and lovely-smelling closets and drawers! Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question and don’t forget to follow Creatorvox (subscribe to the right), on Facebook, and on Twitter for more tips and tricks between posts. Thanks for reading, and happy making!