Sept/Oct 2008 issue of The Essential Herbal
There are a myriad of sachet ideas for women and girls, but not so many for the men on our gift lists. This is a recycled craft idea that I saw in a magazine about 30 years ago. The originals were crafted from recycled tuxedo shirts and used for wedding party favors. I’ve made them on a few occasions, but usually just out of interestingly patterned cotton men’s shirts from thrift stores and garage sales. Mainly because I have no fast growing sons and my husband’s shirts are not usable by the time he’s ready to recycle them.
Wash the shirts thoroughly with unscented laundry soap. You may need to pre-soak the shirts in some neutralizing Borax or leave them on the clothesline in the rain to remove the scents of previous laundry soaps and softeners. Cut all of the shirts apart carefully. Cut off sleeves at the shoulders. Cut up the sides of their bodies and along the yolk to the collar. I cut the collars off, leaving about 4” on either side of the front button placket. Cut off and save those ‘extra buttons” they may come in handy for some other project. Collar buttons can be removed using a seam ripper and picking out the threads from the fronts of the buttons. Iron all the pieces of shirt fabric.
Sew the button placket closed on both sides of the buttons. You will need to experiment for size and button layouts, but I usually cut 5” or 6”squares. Cut some similarly sized squares from backs, sleeves, or fronts, depending on how big the shirt is. If you’re not a really exacting seamstress, consider turning lined or checkered patterns side ways for the back so no one will notice if stripes and checks don’t exactly line up. Place right sides together and sew a 1/4” seam around three edges, leaving the "bottom” unsown. Turn right side out, thumbnail press the edges flat and crisp. Fold under a ½” edge for the bottom. Sew the three previously sewn sides with a 1/4 “ "French seam”. Stuff well with potpourri of your choice, and then sew the shirt closed. You can fabricate a “bow tie” out of grosgrain ribbon or bias tape and stitch it onto the top of the shirt.
Voila, a “stuffed shirt” sachet for men! But wait there’s more.
You can make wrap sacks out of the “shirt cloth” sleeves for bottled men’s cosmetics shaving or bath stuff - or soap sets. Shirts with pockets probably hold some magical potential as well. You can mix and match similar or different colored squares of shirt fabric and sew them together in the same manner (minus buttons and ties) and have interesting “manly sachets” for the less formal occasions. And don’t overlook rectangular shaped shoe sachets.
You can do the same thing with those western snap front shirts. You could probably fashion a bolo tie out of soutache or rat-tail trim and a snazzy button if you were feeling seriously silly. Flannel shirts can also be used. Bias tape or small scrap cloth suspenders could be stitched down the sides of the front of the flannel shirt between the edge and the button placket, before it’s sewn to the back.
There’s no end to it…until you make one.
Sue-Ryn Burns, Hill Woman Productions www.hillwoman.