A couple of posts ago I said I would share some gift and decoration ideas for Christmas and this is one such idea. I'm going to try to keep those ideas low-budget, as often I find it's the inexpensive gifts that I end up making. You know the ones, the kind of gift that goes to neighbours, the postman, the receptionist at work and so on.
Recently I had to come up with half a dozen gifts for the teachers at my son's preschool as he was saying goodbye in the runup to school. They are, at risk of sounding like a bad-tempered, ungenerous soul, the most annoying type of gift to have to get. It's not that I mind giving them a gift, but I hate that hoo-ha of trying to shop for something inexpensive enough to buy more than one and personal enough to show a little thought of behalf of the giver. So as I have become speedier at the sewing machine I decided to make them gifts - lavender hearts. I am not of the view that lavender is reserved for grannies; I love what it does to my knicker drawer and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
I made eight of these in an afternoon. I didn't buy any fabric, ribbon or stuffing but did buy some real lavender and lavender oil to give the scent extra punch.
Fabric scraps about 15cm square
Dried lavender, lavender oil or both
Ribbon, ric-rac or another trim of your choice
Needle and thread
Draw and cut out a template for your hearts. I drew my own freehand as it's not particularly difficult but if you're unenthusiastic, check out Clip Art to find an image that suits you. I wanted my hearts to look even, so I drew one half, cut around it and then folded it over to trace the second side of heart. Voila! Symmetrical heart.
Cut out a back and a front for each lavender heart you'd like to make. I used contrasting fabric on the back but you could just as well use the same or a plain fabric.
Cut your desired length of ribbon - I used about 20cm for mine. Place the back piece on your work surface with the right side up. Place the ends of your ribbon at the "V" of your heart and pin in place. This will mean you have created the ribbon loop which will be lying on top of your fabric, not above it. Don't line up the ribbon with your fabric edge, pin it in place with about a centimetre over the edge of your fabric. Place the other fabric heart on top, line the back and front up and pin in place. You should now be able to see just the one centimetre of ribbon poking out from your fabric sandwich.
With right sides facing and leaving a 5mm seam allowance, sew around the edges of your heart, leaving a gap of about 4cm that will allow you to turn it out the right way. Remember to back-stitch a little at the start and the end to reinforce the stitches. This can of course be done by hand but the machine makes a much faster job of it. Iron the seams flat, and turn out the right way.
Now for the filling. I put some of the stuffing in, then some lavender poked in toward the middle, then more stuffing with some lavender oil daubed on. I put this stuffing in the middle to avoid any oil marking the fabric. Once it's fully stuffed, sew closed the opening (I used whip stitch for this).
Now your heart is finished. This is the most simple version of the heart and there are loads of ways you can embellish or pimp them using buttons, or smaller hearts sewn on the front, lace trims, little roses and so on.
Anyone else had a go at making these? They're a school fair favourite, I know, and I can see why - cheap, cheerful and lovely smelling. Though has anyone made any hearts that aren't lavender scented? I may have burnt the end of my nose inhaling the lavender oil too deeply. I should know my lavender limits.
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