Mini-DIY: Making with fabric scraps

I am always saving my fabric scraps, and one of the ways I've been using them for a few years now is this: making little pocket friends!
What is it? The best mix of comforter and soothing scented cushion. If you're new to sewing, here's a rough guide to making your own. But there are actually no rules, make it however you like!

You'll need:

  • fabric scraps, ideally from wovens
  • dried scented plants (lavender, rose petals, sage...)
  • sewing thread
  • optional: embroidery thread

equipment needed:

  • fabric scissors
  • sewing needle, if you want to embellish your cushion also an embroidery needle
  • a sewing machine - but you can just as well hand sew instead
  • some pins are useful, and a narrow funnel, if you have one on hand

I sew my pocket friends on the sewing machine, but it definitely works without, just with a needle and thread and a simple backstitch.
My fabric scraps are often leftovers from other sewing projects, but I also like to use small dye samples.

Dye samples

In workshops I am often asked what I do with the remaining dye samples. Well, pocket friends for example!
In workshops I am often asked what I do with the remaining dye samples. Well, pocket friends for example! Whether you're just starting out or have been dyeing for over a decade like me, there's a good chance that small samples will end up in your dye pot from time to time. But if you're wondering why, I do highly recommend it! Even if you're actually dyeing a T-shirt or knitting yarn. I find it very exciting and instructive to dye small pieces of other fibers/processing/pre-treatment along the way.

Improvised sewing: mini patchwork

My fabric scarps inform shape and color combination of the end product. Sometimes the pocket friend is very small and simple, and I think I like the semi-circular ones best.

I didn't take photos of most pocket friends, but I did find one photo from 2021: Already making my preferred half circles.

In any case, I first piece together a panel from small scraps. This should be a little more than twice the size of the finished pocket friend. Then fold the whole thing in half along the central axis - with the left, i.e. 'wrong' side facing outwards.
Now I like to draw the approximate shape I want the outer seam to have, especially if it has curves. Then sew the pocket friend closed, except for a small opening. Leave at least 3 cm of space, otherwise it will be very fiddly.

Then cut the seam allowance back to about 0.7 cm all around. Curves can also be clipped in beforehand to make them easier to shape later.
The pocket friend is now turned inside out through this opening. To ensure that the corners are nicely shaped, you can carefully go into the corners with a pencil/ruler/folding leg, gently pushing so they unfold well.

Filling your scented pillow

Now it's time for the filling. I like to use lavender and flowers from a particularly fragrant rose from the garden. Aromatic herbs such as rosemary or sage are also suitable. I like to use my bottle funnel for particularly small items, but with a little patience you can do without!

I don't stuff the entire cushion with dried plants, maybe two thirds, depending on the size. So that it doesn't get too pokey, I fill the rest with fabric scraps - so you can use all the seam allowances you have cut back here! And while the pocket friend is best sewn from woven fabric, you can also use knitted scraps for the filling if you have any left over. No matter what, cut them into small pieces so that it doesn't get too knobbly when stuffing.

Finish your pocket friend

Once the sachet is sufficiently filled, the small opening is closed. This is best done with a needle and thread. If you use the so-called ladder or mattress stitch, this seam is even completely hidden afterwards. And if not, no problem! I think it's fine to see traces of the hand that made it, no?

Bonus: Embroidery!

For extra joy, you can embroider your pocket friend and add a face. Or a cloud, a bird, a flower or something that connects you to the person you want to give the gift to... And if you think ahead, it's best to do this before sewing, unlike me here!

Then put the finished bag friend between woolen items, for example, or keep one in your pockets.
Whenever I find one in my pocket and sniff it, my mood improves immediately! I found these are pretty popular, so best make a few of them and give them to your loved ones when they need cheering up. 

If you then discover a forgotten pocket friend (and I constantly forget what I have in my pockets...) and knead it a little, the herbs or flowers will smell fresh again for a long time! If you like, you can freshen it up later with a few drops of essential oil.

My first one was inspired by an 'anger bag', which was filled with rose petals and sage - and which was supposed to help children as a little companion after an argument or outburst of anger. I think that's a very nice idea.
Which might work even better with a little embroidered smiley face on.

If you use this idea, I'd be happy if you let me know how it went!


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