Activity of the Day: Making lavender (or other herb) bags
What to do with all those dried herbs? Traditional herb bags are a lovely way to enjoy scents all around the house, or to keep places like a car smelling fresh and pleasant. They make great gifts and can be made as ornate or simple as you like- this is a good project for people just learning to sew.
You can even hang a herb bag filled with herbs and salt in it under a bath tap for a gently scented soft-water bath.
Here are two easy herb bag options- with or without a drawstring
Herb bag without drawstring
Use this option if you’re going to put the bags where they’ll be moved around a lot, such as in a travel bag, inside a pillow or in a clothes drawer that you use daily.
Find a piece of scrap fabric at least double the size you want your herb bag to end up. Most herb bags are no bigger than the palm of your hand- but if you want you can make them really huge, like a pillow. Good fabric to use includes old shirts, bedlinen, T-shirts or even socks.
Fold the fabric in half so the right sides are together, then cut a rectangle a little bigger than you want the bag to be. Don’t unfold the rectangle.
One of the sides should be a fold, so already won’t open. Sew up two sides using a small machine stitch or backstitch, so one side remains open.
Turn the bag out the right way.
Put a few herbs into the bag- it does not need to be full.
Fold the cut edges of the bag in, so the edge looks neat.
Sew along the top edge of the bag.
Your herb bag is now complete and ready to use or give away!
Herb bag with drawstring
These look pretty and make a good option to hang in cupboards or place in drawers where they’re not going to be shaken about too much. They also can be made in advance with no sewing needed after you fill them, meaning you can complete lots very quickly once the herbs are ready.
Drawstrings do leave a little hole and can come undone, so if the bag is going to be moved around a lot, you may want to choose the no drawstring option, which is stitched shut once it’s filled.
Follow the instructions for the no-drawstring bag up until the bag is out the right way, then don’t fill the bag and follow the steps below.
Choose a thick thread, cord or ribbon (I like to save the annoying little ribbons that are often on clothes to hook them onto hangars for this kind of project)
Thread it onto a needle- you will need a needle with a big eye for this
Stitch around the bag about ¼ the way down the bag, making sure you don’t pull the cord all the way through.
Cut the cord to the length you like
You now have a drawstring bag!
Put whatever herbs you like into it, and enjoy
What to put in them?
Anything you like the smell of is a good option! Lavender is traditional, but all sorts of herbs and spices can be used- whether from the garden or the kitchen. Just choose something you like- and if choosing a plant you are unfamiliar with, make sure you identify it and check it’s not toxic (for example, DO NOT use foxglove in a herb bag- it is extremely poisonous!).
You can get more imaginative with the bags- using translucent materials looks lovely, and of course you can make them any shape you like. Just make sure all your stitching is tight enough that the herbs can't fall out and make a mess!