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Arts & crafts

Lavender bags

(9 Posts)
JackyB Sun 03-Nov-19 13:30:57

Among my mother's possessions were some dainty embroidered and lace-edged handkerchiefs.

As we have loads of lavender in the garden, my sister suggested making lavender bags out of them, as no one uses hankies these days.

It's the wrong time of year, but can anyone give me some ideas? I am not a very neat needlewoman. I have a sewing machine and an overlock machine, but the material is very fine and will probably have to be hand-sewn.

- when is the best time to pick the lavender?
- how long should I dry it? Do I dry it in the oven or just lay it out on newspaper in a dry place?
- how can I be certain there are no insects on it?
- what is the best technique for pulling the buds off the stalks?
- Can I put the lavender directly in the handkerchief bags or should I make inner packets? Or would this muffle the scent?
- how much lavender is necessary per bag? The ones I have been given on occasions are usually stuffed absolutely full with about 2-3 handfuls of lavender - that seems too much to me.

Very grateful to hear anyone's advice.

Ilovecheese Sun 03-Nov-19 13:47:29

The best time to pick the lavender is when the flowers are about to come out, but really any time before the flowers die and go brown.

Take a bunch, say 20 stalks and place the heads in a paper bag (must be paper not plastic, has to be able to breathe) tie the neck of the bag with string around the stalks. leave enough string to be able to hang up the bunch to dry in the air. (I tie mine to the banisters, but you may be accused of witchcraft)

Leave to dry for about 2 - 3 weeks depending on the weather.

Shake the bunch before it goes in the bag to remove any insects. ( I have never found any insects small enough to hide in the lavender)

When the lavender is dry take a bowl, hold the lavender over the bowl and pinch off the flowers with your fingers, just run your fingers down the stalks and the flowers should come off easily now that they are dry.

If you make an inner packet, make it of a loose weave like muslin, so that the scent can come through.

How much you put in depends of course on the size of the bag, but you are right to say that they should not be stuffed too tight. The lavender will release the scent better if the flowers have room to move around.

Pantglas2 Sun 03-Nov-19 13:53:28

I make these as above every year and place them with my bed linen - lovely to sleep in scented bedding!

Squiffy Sun 03-Nov-19 14:13:53

JackyB If you don't mind cheating, you can buy pretty net bags on eBay - various colours, designs etc. They're reasonably priced and just seal with the ribbon provided.

MissAdventure Sun 03-Nov-19 16:10:17

Or you can just put the lavender in a hanky and then tie it up with some ribbon, and a few stitches, if you wanted to.

M0nica Sun 03-Nov-19 16:19:48

DD and I usually wait until the lavender has flowered, the blossoms died and the seeds formed and then we cut the stalks off and shake them over a sheet to release the seeds and then put them straight in lavender bags. No drying needed because they are already dry.

Winniewit Fri 27-Dec-19 02:27:44

I have a lot of lave set in my garden and have done nothing with it. Thanks to you grans I know exactly what to do.

DoraMarr Fri 27-Dec-19 10:57:34

Gosh, this takes me back. I remember making lavender bags for Christmas presents when I was a small child- around eight years old. I used scraps of fabric from worn out dresses etc and just hand sewed a bag, filled it with lavender ( harvested and dried in the summer, but we just put it on newspaper in the airing cupboard.) when filled to about 2/3rds of the bag I just over sewed or blanket stitched the top, and added a ribbon loop so it could be hung on a coat hanger.
I don’t think you need to worry about the fragility of the fabric, as the bags are meant to be placed safely in a drawer, so they won’t have much handling. I think it’s a lovely idea!
I bought some lavender bags in a market in the south of France, but I really want to make my own now!

Chardy Fri 27-Dec-19 19:34:46

Your delicate hankies can be machine sewn with a specific needle. Ask at your local fabric shop