A tutorial: lavender sachets with perfect corners & invisible closures
I should begin this tutorial by saying that it's one for the perfectionists. For those who like to fly by the seat of their pants and have a more carefree attitude to sewing, it's going to seem like a lot of irritating fiddling about for what is essentially sewing two rectangles of fabric together: you may wish to avert your eyes. However, for those who, like me, find their fun aspiring for perfection even when making the simplest of things, this tutorial is less about how to sew two rectangles together and more about how to do it such a way that corners will sit perfectly and the closing stitches be made invisibly. Being a perfectionist myself, I feel compelled to say that these lavender sachets are not actually perfect.
You'll need the following ingredients:
Some scraps of material
A ruler and scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting grid
Some dried lavender
A hand sewing needle for finishing
Carefully cut two pieces of fabric measuring 4½" x 4" (accuracy is important here as if they're not perfect rectangles then the steps that follow won't turn out quite so well. Although I suspect that if you're following a tutorial for perfectionists, that probably doesn't need saying).
Now starting at the end with the folded fabric, sew along the next side. Again, remove from the sewing machine and clip away any loose threads.
Once more, fold over the fabric inwards along the line of stitching. Press and then sew a ¼" seam from the end that's newly folded, right to the other end of the fabric. Repeat.
You now have one final side to sew. This side is a little different as you'll want to leave a hole at the centre of the seam to turn the rectangle the right way out. So fold the fabric over as you have done before, and sew as usual, but stopping to leave a 1½" wide turning hole, before recommencing stitching and sewing up to the original folded edge.
Now fold this last edge over along the line of stitching (and the imagined line of stitching where you've left the turning hole!).
Turn right side out and poke the corners out gently with your fingers. You may suffer a moment of horror here. But she PROMISED me perfect corners and here I am with a strangely misshapen rag of crinkled material!
Calm yourself with some deep breathing and then take a pin and poke it gently into a corner and tease the fabric outwards.
There now - a perfect corner! How has this happened? The folded sides inside provide a structure, or frame, for the corner to form around, allowing it to sit perfectly.
You'll notice that where the seam allowance is folded in at the turning hole, one side of the fabric will be perfectly turned in while the other has a not-so-crisp crease in it from being folded to the wrong side. Simply correct this with an iron and all will be well. Press everything well.
If you are a little freaky like me, you will take great pleasure in placing a set square or a perspex grid over your corners and seeing that they are all perfectly true. I know that you're probably feeling cornerish about filling the bag with lavender now: why would you when it's this perfect? Surely it should be framed and put in a gallery as an example of perfect cornerage. But please attempt to overcome your inner sewing loopiness and fill it with lavender, as this way you'll also have the enjoyment of perfecting an invisible seam closure as well as a perfect corner.
Now, either construct a little funnel by rolling up a sheet of paper or if you have a funnel for just such a thing, place it into the hole in the seam allowance and fill with lavender. I fill until the sachet is just over ¾ full - it's easier to sew closed a gently plump lavender bag than one that is straining at the seams. Also, once they're being used, they may well be squashed in a drawer under clothes and it's best if the sachet's seams don't bulge perilously under the pressure of lavender trying to make its way out!
Thread a needle and make a small knot in the end of the thread. In the seam opening, right at one side of the opening, work your needle through just the seam allowance of the fabric intended to be the back of the lavender sachet.
Now, come up the inside through the fold of this same seam allowance. Make one stitch in the fold, just as you can see in the photo below: into the fabric, run your needle parallel with the fold for a fraction of an inch and then come out of the fabric, still on the fold line.
Now, exactly opposite where you needle has reappeared, do the same in the fold line of the fabric that will be the front of the lavender sachet: enter the fabric through the crease line, run the needle parallel with the fold for a fraction of an inch and then come out of the fabric, still on the fold line. You will now have created one stitch bridging the two creased edges. Keep this stitch loose - do not pull it tight yet!
Once you have created about four or five of these little ladder stitches - always entering a new side exactly opposite to where the needle last reappeared - you are ready to see the magic happen!
Gently pull on the thread and watch the ladder disappear into the crease of the fabric. I never tire of watching this happen - it really does feel like something quite unbelievable has happened!
Continue creating a loose ladder of four stitches at a time, pulling the rungs of the ladder closed and then continuing in the same way until the turning hole is sealed. To finish I take a stitch and then feed the needle through the loop created (as above) and then snip the thread ends.
And there you are.
Pile up and give as a ribbon-tied gift...or keep them for yourself.
I hope you enjoy making any if you do give this a try. I'd love it if you wanted to put any photos of finished lavender sachets into my Flickr pool. You're really welcome to sell any lavender sachets you make using this tutorial, but please don't reproduce my tutorial elsewhere.