I have a special place in my heart for the in-the-hoop sachets in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue. While the concept of the project was a group effort, I was the one who laid out the construction process for the digitizers. In fact, I actually digitized a test version myself as proof of concept, though I left the final digitization to the professionals. I love the way they turned out and really enjoyed making the set of samples.
When we picked the essential oils to focus on for the designs (another group effort), we put a lot of thought into affordability and versatility. We thought about fragrances we thought people would like to have linger on clothing and/or enjoy tucked under a pillow. Cedarwood especially seemed appropriate to tuck in a drawer, and the relaxing scent of lavender is a lovely scent as you drift off to sleep.
We also purposely chose to use “citrus” and “spice” instead of more specific fragrances to make the sachets more versatile. There are a whole range of citrus oils available on the less expensive end of the spectrum — notably orange, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, lime and bergamot. Lemongrass, which has a citrusy note, could work as well. Cinnamon is the obvious go-to for spice, but clove is also readily available. Just like cooking, though, a little clove goes a long way, so add a little bit at a time until you like the strength. Or use some of both oils for a unique blend; just be sure to use more cinnamon than clove so the latter doesn’t overwhelm the former. Cinnamon and clove are the main spice essential oils you’ll find at most stores, but some places with wider ranges or online retailers like mountainroseherbs.com or brambleberry.com may have more obscure spice oils, like ginger, cardamom or black pepper. Expect to pay more for rarer oils.
To get the most out of your essential oils, add them to sachet stuffing made from natural materials, which will absorb the oil the best. There are lots of options here, and they don’t have to be expensive. Cotton balls work, as do scraps of cotton, muslin or linen. In the magazine, I also mentioned a product called “Nature Fix.” It’s an ingredient used in potpourri; basically, it’s a filler that holds on to essential or fragrance oil, while the dried flower petals, fruit peels, cinnamon sticks, etc. provide the visual appeal. Nature Fix is a natural product, made from absorbent dried corn cobs, and doesn’t cost much. It’s most likely to be found on the internet, though, so there may be additional shipping costs.
Remember that essential oils are very concentrated, so they’re very strong. Use them sparingly at first, then add more if desired. Never use essential oils undiluted on skin (mix them into unscented lotion if you want to use them on your skin), and never take them internally. Double-check warnings on mountainroseherbs.com to make sure the oil isn’t contraindicated for any condition you have. Pregnant people are recommended to avoid using essential oils.
An alternative to essential oil is fragrance oil, which I mentioned in passing above. The difference between a fragrance oil and an essential oil is that while an essential oil is extracted by one of several processes from a plant that contains natural oil, a fragrance oil is created in a lab by combining chemicals that product a fragrance. That can sound a little scary, but they’re carefully tested to ensure safety. The main benefit to fragrance oils is they allow for fragrances that can’t be extracted from plants. For example, a strawberry doesn’t have enough oil in it to extract, so strawberry fragrance has to be created in the lab. Scents like cherry, chocolate, honey and coconut are all available to us because of fragrance oils (coconuts product oil, but it’s scentless).
Fragrance oils, while not necessary for these sachets (as they were designed for essential oils), can be used to expand your sachet options. For example, rose was not included in our collection because rose essential oil (actually called rose absolute due to the way it’s processed) is incredibly expensive — hundreds of dollars per ounce. However, a rose fragrance oil is much more affordable and may not be distinguishable from the real thing. If you have a favorite fragrance you’d like to put in a sachet, consider purchasing a fragrance oil and finding a coordinating design in the 2 1/2”x3 1/2” or smaller size range to embroider on the front, such as CME’s Small Boho Rose.
You can find fragrance oils at some craft stores in their candle- or soap-making sections. Be aware, though, that those oils may not be very high quality and as a result may smell fake or have strange undertones (I know this from experience). For good-quality oils, visit a soap- or candle-making supply store or website, like brambleberry.com. I get all my soap-making fragrance oils there, and I can vouch for their quality. That’s also where I get my Nature Fix.
I hope you give the sachets a try! They’re a fun intersection of several of my interests, and I’m happy I got a chance to share them with you in the current issue of CME. Make sure to pick up the free Lavender design and the in-the-hoop sachet design from cmemag.com/freebies before February 28, 2018, and find the instructions in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of Creative Machine Embroidery, available on newsstands until Feb. 12, 2018, and at shopsewitall.com.
Don’t miss out! Find more great projects and ideas in our newest issue, available on newsstands and at shopsewitall.com!