Saturday, January 9, 2016

How to make a Lavender Sachet

Last year I purchased a lavender plant and nurtured it through the summer. By the end of the season, I had a small harvest of lavender buds. 

I love the fresh scent lavender can add to fine linens and lingerie, so I decided to make a small number of sachets with my modest haul of lavender. When I looked online, I couldn't find a potpourri recipe suitable for a small quantity of lavender. So I made one up. 

This post is the result of my experiment.

Materials you will need to make a sachet:

• Sachet bags (I found sheer white satin bags at Michaels. Look for them in the aisle with the wedding stuff.)

• Ribbon flowers (Again, I found these at the craft store.)

• Needle and white sewing thread

• Scissors

• Paper bag (This will be used to cure the lavender.)

• Blue ribbon (If you plan to hang the sachet.)

• Orris Root Powder (Orris Root Powder is a natural fixative that helps the lavender flowers retain their fragrance. Look for Orris Root Powder at your local health food store.)

• Lavender buds

• Lavender Essential Oil and an eyedropper (Essential oils can be found at health food stores, craft store and online. I purchased the eye dropper at the same place I got the essential oil.) 

No Lavender flowers of your own to work with? No problem, there is still a way for you to make some lavender sachets! 

You may be able to find Lavender flower buds at a local store that are already scented and ready for use. Whole Foods, for instance, sells bags of lavender flowers in their cosmetics department. All you need do in this case, is to fill your sachets.

Lavender flowers are also available for purchase online. With minimal effort, I was able to find an Ontario source for Lavender buds in a matter of minutes: Weir's Lane Lavender Farm. I am sure if you poke around on the internet a bit more, you'll find plenty of other alternates.

A Brief Note on Essential Oils: Not all Essential Oils are created equally. Look for a good quality oil that is 100% pure and has no added ingredients. You can find essential oils at health food stores and there are a multitude of online sources. 

On the main gardening blog, there is a post with tips on growing your own lavender. If you plan to dry your own lavender in the future, it is best to harvest it when the buds are out, but the flowers are not completely open. Cut the lavender flowers at the base of each stem just above the foliage.

Fasten bunches of lavender together with an elastic band. An elastic band is preferable to string because, the elastic band will adjust and tighten as the stems shrink during the drying process. (Tip: The elastic band should be taunt, but not so tight that it crushes the stems.) 

Hang the lavender upside to dry in a cool, dark place. (Sunlight will cause the flowers to fade and lose their color.) 

Lavender will dry in 2 to 4 weeks.

Once the lavender is dry, you can remove the buds and begin to make your sachets.

Before you begin, it is a good idea to lay down a sheet of parchment or wax paper to catch the falling flower buds. 

The lavender buds on a stem of lavender grow in an upward direction. To strip the buds from the stem, I found it best to run my hand in the opposite direction. Simply run your fingers down the stiff stem and the flowers should come away pretty easily. 

The dried flowers will retain a faint scent. The next step will enhance the fragrance.

Gather the flowers into a small bowl. I had exactly 1/4 cup of flowers. Adjust this recipe depending on the quantity of flower buds you have available.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of Orris Root and stir it into the lavender flowers. Natural Orris Root is a fixative used by the perfume industry. It will help the lavender flowers to hold the scent you are going to add next.

With an eyedropper add 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Mix in the essential oil with a spoon.

Pour you lavender flowers into a paper bag. I ended up using a parchment paper bag that generally has culinary uses. (Note: the bag must be paper, which will allow the lavender to breathe. Don't use a plastic bag!)

Tuck the bag alway in a dry place to allow the lavender to cure for 2 weeks.

Once the lavender has cured, you are ready to assemble your sachets. 

Sew a little flower onto the front of your sachet just below the drawstring. I found these ribbon flowers at the craft store.

Fill your sachet with lavender and pull the drawstrings to close it. Tie the bag's drawstrings into a bow.

Your sachet is ready to place in your linen or lingerie drawer. It should keep your fine linens smelling fresh for a couple of months.

Lavender sachets can also be used to freshen a room. 

I like to hang a sachet on the back of a bedroom or bathroom door. 

To make this sachet modification is easy.

Guesstimate the amount of ribbon you will need to hang the sachet. This may vary according to the size of your doorknob. (Tip: It is better to error on the long side. You can always trim the ribbon down, but you can't add to it. I cut my ribbon to be about 10" long.)

Once you have determined the length you need, cut the ribbon with scissors.

Turn your sachet over so the flower on the front is face down.

Determine the midpoint on your ribbon. Place the ribbon at its midpoint on the centre top of your sachet. With a needle and white thread do a few quick stitches to attach the ribbon to the back of the sachet just above the drawstring. 

(Tip: Be careful to only catch the back of the sachet bag with the sewing needle. You don't want to sew the bag closed!)

Turn the sachet over and fill the sachet bag with lavender. Tie the sachet's drawstrings into a bow to secure the lavender in the bag. Finally, tie a bow at the top of the ribbon. 

Use the bow to hang your sachet.

Take a tour a garden filled with lavender and heather on the 
gardening webpage of Three Dogs in a Garden.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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