Introduction: Embossed Velvet Balsam Pine Sachets

Picture of Embossed Velvet Balsam Pine Sachets

This is a fun little project that is relatively easy to do for someone just trying out velvet embossing with rubber stamps. You can see my instructable for velvet embossing here.

I do provide embossing steps within this tutorial, but have some more specific information on the embossing process and materials in the other instructable.

I have made many of these balsam pine-filled sachets over the years to sell and to show off what our rubber stamps can do. The pine scent can last for years. (I had a housemate who used to stick her head into the boxes of balsam to inhale the smell - don't inhale too deeply!). Once your sachet is done, it can go into a drawer, closet or basket, but you may not want to hide it. You can set it out on display or attach a ribbon and hang it on a wall, knob, mantel, holiday tree, etc... Make a bunch as holiday stocking stuffers.

Of course, you can fill the sachets with whatever kind of filling you would like: lavender or dried potpourri. (I would avoid potpourris that have a lot of fragrance oil on them, as the oil may seep through the velvet and cause spotting/stains.)

Step 1: Notes on Velvet & Stamps

Picture of Notes on Velvet & Stamps

Stamps
You will want stamps that are not too intricately detailed - the bolder and thicker the image the better. Deeper etch stamps are best (deep etch means that the image is raised higher from the floor of the stamp). We design stamps for velvet embossing - click here for info - but there are other resources, and you can emboss using any heat-safe item.

If you are using stamps, you will want your stamps to be backed with mounting cushion at least 1/8 thick. Having the stamp and cushion on a mounting block is fine, but not always necessary (assuming you are ironing on an iron-safe surface).

Polymer stamps are not very heat safe, although I have seen them used. Best to test with lower settings, and don't be surprised if the stamp cracks or discolors over time.

Also note that embossing with the same stamp over and over in one session can cause some mounting adhesives to melt and slip. Start out slow and get a feel for the materials you are using. You may simply need to allow a stamp to cool between embossing uses.

Velvet
For aesthetic and/or safety reasons, I recommend only acetate/rayon blends, silk/rayon blends or 100% silk or rayon. No nylon, acrylic or polyester.

You can find velvets for sale online.

Different blends and weights will produce different results. I used JB Martin velvets for the sachet shown in this tutorial. I prefer the Fidelio and Figaro acetate/rayon velvets by JB Martin. They emboss beautifully, and come in some wonderful colors. They are pricier than other velvets, but well worth it, and you can make quite a few sachets or several scarves from each yard.

Step 2: Materials

Picture of Materials

These steps will create a finished sachet roughly 4.25 inches wide x 5 inches tall. Adjust the measurements as you would like. A 1 inch seam allowance is given along the sides and top (the bottom edge of the sachet is folded, not stitched). I like to leave a generous seam allowance, since velvet can shift while sewing, and also in case the embossed image doesn't end up centered. I can adjust the stitching so that it is centered in the final sachet.

YOU WILL NEED:

- Iron, emptied of water and with few or no steam holes. (Using a Teflon shoe/cover is best. We sell them on our website.)
- Piece of velvet, approximately 6.25 x 12 inches. (See notes about velvet on previous page.)
- Water spritzing bottle (You can find these in the health and beauty section of many pharmacies, sometimes with travel size containers - or you can use a plant spritzing bottle from a gardening center.)
- Rubber stamp. (See notes about stamps on previous page.) The ones used here are medium crescent man-in-the-moon and star from our Crescent Moon and Starry Trees stamp set. They are both backed with 1/8 inch thick cling mounting cushion and mounted to a clear mounting acrylic block. ... Yes, we carry the cushion and mounting blocks, too.
- Iron-safe surface
- Scissors
- Ruler
- Ballpoint pen, pencil or chalk for marking
- Straight pins - the longer the better
- Sewing machine or sewing needle and thread
- About 1 - 1.5 cups of dried balsam fir tips or another filling of your choice, such as lavender. (If you can't find anything locally, balsam fir tips can be found online.)

Step 3: Mark the Back of the Velvet

Picture of Mark the Back of the Velvet

Use the ruler and the pen, pencil or chalk to mark out the 1 inch seam allowances on the back side of the cut piece of velvet. You can draw a line across the velvet at the halfway mark, where the bottom-fold of the sachet will be, or you can draw more lines to mark borders, etc. - anything that will help you position the stamp once the velvet is on top of it.

Draw lightly, and if you are using a pen, make sure that it doesn't bleed through the velvet.

Step 4: Position the Stamp and Velvet

Picture of Position the Stamp and Velvet

(Emboss some test swatches first so you can vary the amount of water, iron temperature, etc.)

Heat the iron to the cotton or wool setting. NO STEAM.

Place the stamp, image-side up, on the ironing surface. Place the velvet, pile-side down, over the stamp. Use the lines you drew on the back of the velvet as guides to help you position the velvet over the stamp.

Be sure to orient the stamp correctly, so that the image faces up when the sachet is completed.

Step 5: Spritz/mist the Velvet

Picture of Spritz/mist the Velvet

Lightly and evenly mist the back of the velvet where it covers the stamp. Avoid getting a concentration in any one spot. You may find that you need less water than you would think.

Step 6: Press the Velvet

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Press the iron on the velvet over the area that covers the stamp. Press for 10-20 seconds.

Avoid positioning iron steam holes against the stamp.

If you have a clean and smooth iron surface (a Teflon iron cover helps), a little sliding back and forth or side to side across the stamp can help you get crisper images and reduce the visibility of marks from holes in the iron plate or iron cover.

Keep the iron parallel to the ironing surface the entire time.

Make sure that no movement causes the velvet to shift in relation to the stamp, and that the iron covers all parts of the stamp.

Step 7: Remove Iron and Let Velvet Dry

Picture of Remove Iron and Let Velvet Dry

Pull the iron up.

If your velvet sticks to the iron or if you see any wet spots through the velvet, see info here.

Set the velvet aside, flat, and allow it to fully dry. Shouldn't take long.

Step 8: Stitch the Sides of the Sachet

Picture of Stitch the Sides of the Sachet

Fold the velvet in half, pile-sides together. Here is where you may want to adjust where you plan to stitch, in case the embossed image is not centered correctly.

The nice thing about sewing velvet to velvet is that the pile creates a slight "velcro effect" that keeps most types of velvet from sliding around. It is still a good idea to pin things into place, however.

Stitch along both sides of the folded velvet, leaving the top seam alone for now (as though you are sewing a pocket). Stitch twice along each side so that small pieces of the filling are less likely to come out.

Trim the velvet closer to the seams, but not too close. Cut at a diagonal by the bottom fold on each side, so that the corners will fill out when turned right-side out.

Step 9: Fill and Finish the Sachet

Picture of Fill and Finish the Sachet

Turn the velvet right side out. You can use the tip of a pin to tease out the fabric at the bottom corners.

Fill the sachet with balsam or the filling of your choice. Shake the sachet a little to help the filling settle as you go.

For ease of sewing, I try not to fill the sachet more than 1.5 - 2 inches below the top edge of the velvet. If you are a beginning sewer or haven't sewn velvet before, I recommend filling your first few sachets lightly.

Fold the top edges in along the seam allowance. Be sure to work over a space where you wouldn't mind spilling a little of the filling.

If you want to put a hanging ribbon at the top of the sachet, this would be the time to add it. Fold a piece of ribbon in half and sandwich the two ends between the top hems. You choose if you want it centered or sticking out of one side. Be sure that the ends extend at least 1/2 an inch below where the top seam will be stitched.

Once you have the top folded in correctly, pin in place. I've found that the top seam has a tendency to slide about when stitching.

Stitch along the top. If I've filled the sachet pretty full, I find it best to start stitching about one quarter of the way along the top, get to the end, turn around and then stitch the rest of the way across. If you have inserted a hanging ribbon, you may want to run back and forth over where it sticks into the seam a couple of times.

Clip the extra thread off and you are done - sniff away and enjoy!

Cheers


Comments

porcupinemamma (author)2013-12-15

Wow! It is so pretty, and I love the combined textures!

sabu.dawdy (author)2012-12-15

this is an awsome ideaa ;D

sokamiwohali (author)2011-12-19

this is cool...how about an embossed jewelry pouch?...ooohh!!...maby an embossed coin purse or even a small purse-like handbag!!!

sunshiine (author)2010-03-07

I want to try this!  Nice tute!

sia_kw (author)2009-12-20

porcupinemamma (author)2009-08-19

Very beautiful! i subscribed to your wonderful Instructables. Can't wait to see what your next project is!

Carole M. (author)2008-12-06

Hi! I signed up for your n/letter after seeing this interesting post on S.C.S (Carole M.). Many thanks for a fun tutorial; all I need is some nice velvet. They look fab!

Hi there -

Thanks so much!

Where did you sign up for a newsletter? Was it somewhere on Instructables? I didn't get any message...

On the velvet: It is not always easy to find the velvet in B&M stores. The place where I used to be able to find remnants of it in Massachusetts is now closing.

I need to update this page on my site, but here is some info about the types of velvet that can work and where you can find them: http://inklingsandimprints.net/pages/velvets.php

Notes:

  • JoAnn Fabrics may not be able to special order JB Martin velvets anymore. Last I checked, they could, but a woman wrote to tell me that she went to her local store in Maine and was told "no".
  • I will get in touch with JB Martin directly to ask for a list of retailers who carry their velvets.
  • The Fabric Place in Massachusetts is closing. I am very sad. I think they are still liquidating stock from the Framingham location. It is possible that they would have Fidelio remnants there, but they used to get snatched up at their normal prices - I think they may have been the first items to go once they started pricing things for the closing.
  • Within the past couple of years I bought some velvet at a well-known chain store that was marked as Fidelio velvet. Right on the trim - it wasn't just a store error. It didn't look or feel right, but I bought some anyway. It was not Fidelio velvet by JB Martin and after testing it out I determined that it probably had a high nylon content.

Just as an FYI, as it can be hard to be sure what you are getting if things are not clearly labeled or even mislabeled. It is probably worth pressing for more info if you do find something called Fidelio or Figaro. Check the fiber content (acetate and rayon), ask if it isn't labeled. Ask if they purchased it directly from JB Martin. Definitely be a bit wary if the pricing is less than $20 a yard (unless they are having a big sale). The "good stuff" is typically more than that - and worth it.

Cheers

- Maggie

Hi Maggie, I thought I'd signed up for a n/letter here but maybe it was just me signing up to be a 'member' so I can log on and write comments I guess. Thankyou for all the info on the velvet but I'm in Australia. I picked up the link to instructables from your SCS post on this project. Carole M. that's me in Lake Macquarie, N.S.W. Australia.

Hi again - I'm wondering if you hit the "subscribe" button under my profile name or something like that. It probably means that you get alerts when I post new tutorials here on this site. I have no control over those alerts or the content... wonder what is in them! I did get in touch with JB Martin and they gave me some info on people who can ship internationally. I will be putting the info together and posting on my site soon - will post here, too, to let you know. Cheers!

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