Intro: 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
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.
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
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
- 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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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!