Biscornu Sachets

It's Casey again, from Casey York Design and the Studiolo blog! I'm so happy to be sharing this easy project on the Moda Bake Shop just in time for the holidays!

I love the idea of making handmade gifts for the holidays, but somehow I never start planning them until the beginning of December (i.e. too late). This year I finally came up with something that I can make quickly and easily enough so that I can produce a bunch for all of the people on my list: Biscornu sachets.

Biscornu are a relatively recently developed needlework form, in which two squares are sewn together with one on point to create a three dimensional shape that looks more complicated than it really is. I love how the interlocking points create visual interest in these little cushions. Because they are constructed from squares of fabric, biscornu are an ideal use for precuts such as charm squares.

I'm not the first to translate the biscornu form for use with quilting fabrics, but most of the tutorials out there are for making pin cushions. This is easy to do by firmly stuffing the sewn biscornu. I discovered that another way to use this form was to make them into scented sachets by  filling them loosely with lavender or other scented materials. If you use a sewing machine, they are so quick to sew up that you can make a set of three in under an hour. Pop a few in a stocking or wrap up a stack to give as quick hand made gifts this year!

For one biscornu satchet you will need:
  • (2) 5" charm squares of coordinating fabrics (I like to go through an entire charm pack and match up my squares in advance so I get a good mix of colors and prints throughout the batch of biscornu; a Moda charm pack will yield 21 biscornu, or 7 sets of three)
  • matching sewing thread
  • 3/4 cup small polypropelene stuffing beads (available at major craft retailers)
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender (I got mine on Amazon) or other fragrant dried material
  • hand sewing needle
  • Perle cotton or embroidery floss to coordinate with fabrics
Stuffing beads are not shown

1. fold each square in half lengthwise and widthwise and finger press at the edges to mark the half-way point on each edge

2. With right sides together, place one square on top of the other so that the top square's side edge is positioned 1/4" to the left of the half-way mark on the top edge of the lower square. Make sure the parallel raw edges are aligned (they are not aligned in the photo to make it easier to see how to line up the halfway marks and corners).

3. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, begin stitching at the half-way point of the lower square, moving towards the corner. Stop 1/4" before you reach the corner of the lower square.

4. Here comes the tricky part. You need to pivot your lower square while keeping the upper square in position, so that the remaining unsewn edge of the top square lines up with the perpendicular edge of the lower square. It helps to think of yourself as holding the top square in position and only pivoting the lower square.

This is how the squares will look after the first pivot

5. When you have lined up your squares, lower your presser foot and continue stitching until you are 1/4" away from the edge of the top square.

6. Now do step 4 in reverse. Holding the lower square in place, pivot the top square so that the edges of the two squares line up. Lower the presser foot and continue stitching until you are 1/4" from the edge of the lower square.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 until you have traveled all the way around the squares--you will pivot six times. Leave one length (1/2 of the width of the squares) unsewn for turning and stuffing.

8. Turn the biscornu inside out, using your finger to gently poke out the corners.

9. Fill with 3/4 cup of stuffing beads and 1/4 cup of lavender. It is easiest to fill the sachets by rolling a sheet of paper into a cone and pouring the beads and lavender through this. (I have also seen instructions for filling sachets with rice or flax seed, but I prefer stuffing beads because they won't attract pests.)

9. Finger press the unsewn edges under 1/4." Slip stitch the opening closed by hand.

10. Using the embroidery floss or perle cotton, make a couple of tacking stitches in the center of the biscornu to pull the top and bottom layers together.

That's it--you've created a lovely and useful sachet. Although these instructions seem complex written out, you'll get the hang of stitching these on the machine very quickly and you'll be able to churn out a charm pack's worth in no time. (If you make some, consider adding photos to my flickr group! I'd love to see what you make!)

1 biscornu sachet. 1 charm pack will yield 21 sachets.

Casey York


Sherryl said...

These little scented "pillows" look so sweet and would make a wonderful, quick gift. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait to try.

Angela Lee said...

Love these!!! Thanks for sharing!

Marly Rylaars said...

What super little presents. Thanks for sharing the instructions.

Moose on the Porch Quilts said...

A couple weeks ago I was thinking that charm squares would be perfect for Biscornu pincusions. Now I see they would be. Great tutorial!

Lisas Mom said...

Thanks, I needed something unique but easy to sew. :)

crspy16 said...

I love these! Thank you for the tutorial!

Karen said...

Thank you Casey - these are darling!

Gitte said...

What is the use of the sachets???
Is it for play or??

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Glass Collector said...

Could you post a few more pics of the pivot part? I'm not quite capturing this step in the process. Many thanks.

soyee said...

Lovely! I made quite a few biscornu's over the years, including one you could sit on. However what a great idea to turn one into a lovely smelling sachet!

Casey York said...

Thank you all so much for your kind comments! They make my day!

In answer to the questions that have been posted:

Gitte: The sachets are placed among linens or clothing to give them a pleasant scent and keep away pests. If you fill the biscornu with just stuffing beads, they also make great beanbags for kids to play with.

The Glass Collector: I don't really have any more photos of the pivoting step, although I'm not sure they'd help if I did. If you haven't already, try actually manipulating a couple of fabric squares so that the points of one match up with the centers of each of the other one's sides, and all of the straight edges line up with one another. It sounds tricky and it's hard to photograph, but if you actually have the materials in your hands and can fold them, it becomes much clearer. Feel free to email me if you continue to have trouble!:)

Tina said...

I just whipped up my first one :) So fun and simple...I'm pretty sure this will be the gift I give to my mom, mother in law and a few friends as sachets and/or pin cushions :)

Leila said...

Beautiful and brilliant!