19 March 2010

A Spring Seed Satchel

This project is a continuation of my Circle of Stones interview with Heather of Shivaya Naturals.  When Heather asked me to do an interview, I was honored to have the opportunity right before the Equinox, and I wanted to do a project that would celebrate the coming season.

My children love to be in the garden possibly more than anything else.  As the days begin to get warmer, I feel my spirits lifting with the knowledge that we will be able to spend more time playing in the dirt.

I doubt my children are unique in their desire to have a special wardrobe for each activity we do.  Baking requires an apron, painting a different apron.  We have capes and hats and wings and crowns.  Until now, however, they didn't have any gardening attire.  So I've attempted to rectify that dire situation with this little Seed Satchel.  It's about the simplest thing I have ever made with felt.  It also solves another problem that is perhaps more legitimate.  It is windy here in the spring.  We find ourselves outside with paper seed packets blowing about the yard pretty frequently.  Which leads to the necessity of picking radishes out of the gravel pathway, and other nuisances.  Since many things in our garden get planted again every few weeks, we plan to use our satchels to safely stow our current seeds when not in use.  We can pull the satchel out when it's time to plant another row of greens or carrots, and tuck it away again until later.

Seed packet for measuring
Wool felt piece measuring at least 11x11
Embroidery floss
Webbing or ribbon for a strap
Optional Materials:
Wool felt scraps
Buttons, pins, or other notions

Begin by measuring your seed packet to determine the size of your satchel.  The packets I usually use are fairly small, only 3.25x4.5 inches.  They fit nicely in my 5.25x5.25 inch satchel with some room to spare.  The measurements given will be for this satchel size, but it would be simple to make it larger to fit your needs.

Cut two rectangles of felt measuring approximately 5.25 inches wide and 10.5 inches long.

Fold each rectangle in half lengthwise.  If you wish to decorate your satchel with appliqué or other embellishments, mark the fold with two pins and apply your decoration to the top half of one rectangle only.

My son probably would have appreciated me choosing a train or an airplane for his satchel, but for the sake of this project I selected a little seedling.  I simply cut the shapes out freehand and blanket-stitched around them.  Note: appliqué is not my specialty.

Now Zoe had a very definite opinion about the embellishments for this project.  She insisted upon decorating her satchel with buttons from my vintage button jar, and lots of them.  After some deliberation, she narrowed her choice down to a few favorites, with the addition of the plastic sunglasses pin I've had since the 80s, and the orange felted flower.  She very carefully instructed me regarding placement of these objects, so I'm certain you'll want to admire that.

Once you have finished the front piece of your satchel, it's time to stitch it together.  Simply place the two folded pieces on top of each other, and pin together on both sides and the folded ends of the bottom.  The top will be left open, and as you will see, will form several pockets into which the seed packets can be slipped.

Once you have pinned your satchel together, blanket stitch around the three sides.

Measure the webbing or ribbon to your child's body.  The satchel will be worn over one shoulder like a messenger bag.  For my small children, about 30 inches of webbing was needed for each bag.  Pin the ends of the strap in place.  You can attach the straps to the exterior pieces of felt or to one of the two interior pocket walls.  I chose the interior so the stitching would not show.  Hand stitch in place, and your satchel is complete!

Note: The felt used for this project is from One of the Flock.  Another lovely source I've found online for more uncommon felt materials is A Child's Dream Come True.