Can Self-Love Be Hand-Stitched Into Your Heart?

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During a period you may be feeling down, this sweet little project shows your heart some love, while the act of hand-stitching quiets your mind and reminds you you're truly always doing the best you can. When complete, you will write a short note of love to yourself, slip it into your heart and place the soft envelope under your pillow for sweet and supporting dreams.

A couple days ago, I introduced you to the powerful properties of pink and showed you how to achieve a beautiful shade of vintage rose by dyeing fabric with a dye bath made from boiling avocado pits! Now I want to share with you a feel-good project that uses the fabric (or any pink fabric if you don't wish to dye your own) you dyed. 

You could use a sewing machine to create the main structure of this project—the envelope—but I highly recommend you stay connected to the slowness of hand-stitching for this one, for its quiet dance of repetitive stitches and loving thoughtfulness for what you're creating. It will send soothing medicine to your heart, reaffirming the love you really do have for yourself deep down inside. 

Let's get stitching!

What You Need

Envelope

  • button, smallish, flat 2-hole
  • craft knife (sharp blade)
  • cutting mat
  • dyed fabrics: wide eyelet lace (at least 3” [8cm]), solid backing for lace and a simple cotton 
  • embroidery floss, color to coordinate with fabric
  • fabric scissors
  • needle(s), embroidery and sewing (optional)
  • paper scissors (or craft knife)
  • pencil
  • quilting ruler
  • rotary cutter
  • scrap paper and cardstock
  • sewing thread, color to match cotton fabric
  • straight pins

Sachet

  • drawstring jewelry pouch, small
  • lavender, dried
  • needle
  • rose buds, dried
  • sewing thread
1. Cut a heart shape from paper that's approximately 2-1/4" x 4-1/4" (6cm x 11cm). Using a pencil, trace the shape over the portion you wish to use of the dyed lace. Stack this over a solid piece of fabric and secure together with two or three pins. 2. Thread an embroidery needle with a single strand of pink floss. Working about 1/8" (3mm) in from the pencil line, use a back stitch to create a line around the perimeter of the heart and secure the two layers together. Take your time with this and begin to feel your own heart unclench just a bit as you work. 3. Continue around until you're back where you started and tie a small knot on the back to finish.  4. Use sharp scissors to cut out your heart shape around along the pencil line.

1. Cut a heart shape from paper that's approximately 2-1/4" x 4-1/4" (6cm x 11cm). Using a pencil, trace the shape over the portion you wish to use of the dyed lace. Stack this over a solid piece of fabric and secure together with two or three pins.

2. Thread an embroidery needle with a single strand of pink floss. Working about 1/8" (3mm) in from the pencil line, use a back stitch to create a line around the perimeter of the heart and secure the two layers together. Take your time with this and begin to feel your own heart unclench just a bit as you work.

3. Continue around until you're back where you started and tie a small knot on the back to finish. 

4. Use sharp scissors to cut out your heart shape around along the pencil line.

5. Cut a piece of cardstock to a 4" x 5" (10cm x 13cm) rectangle and verify your heart fits comfortably within the space. 6. Cut a piece of scrap paper to 7-1/8" x 7-1/8" (18cm x 18cm). Set the paper at a 45˚ angle and set your cardstock just a little above center top-to-bottom and centered side-to-side. Use the 45˚ marking on your quilting ruler to verify you're lining things up squarely. Fold the corners in for the side flaps; they should just barely touch noses like an Eskimo kiss. Use your fingernail to score the side flaps where the top and bottom edges of the cardstock sit. You should have tiny triangles on the flaps at the bottom and larger triangles on the flaps at the top.  7. Crease the folds. You're now going to replicate the envelope shape in fabric. Keeping the paper version as a reference will be helpful when you go to fold and press your fabric. 8. Using a quilting ruler and rotary cutter, cut two pieces of cotton fabric to the same size as your pattern—7-1/8" x 7-1/8" (18cm x 18cm).

5. Cut a piece of cardstock to a 4" x 5" (10cm x 13cm) rectangle and verify your heart fits comfortably within the space.

6. Cut a piece of scrap paper to 7-1/8" x 7-1/8" (18cm x 18cm). Set the paper at a 45˚ angle and set your cardstock just a little above center top-to-bottom and centered side-to-side. Use the 45˚ marking on your quilting ruler to verify you're lining things up squarely. Fold the corners in for the side flaps; they should just barely touch noses like an Eskimo kiss. Use your fingernail to score the side flaps where the top and bottom edges of the cardstock sit. You should have tiny triangles on the flaps at the bottom and larger triangles on the flaps at the top. 

7. Crease the folds. You're now going to replicate the envelope shape in fabric. Keeping the paper version as a reference will be helpful when you go to fold and press your fabric.

8. Using a quilting ruler and rotary cutter, cut two pieces of cotton fabric to the same size as your pattern—7-1/8" x 7-1/8" (18cm x 18cm).

9. Use a pencil and the quilting ruler to rule lines 1/2" (13mm) from each edge of one piece of fabric (on the wrong side if there is one). 10. Pin the two piece together and thread a sewing needle with sewing thread. Carefully hand-stitch the pieces together using small back stitches or even a running stitch, sewing along the pencil lines. Use what feels enjoyable to you and take your time. (When you reach corners, simply create a tiny stitch to end up in the corner and then turn the work to keep going. Until when you're using a sewing machine, you will not continue on to the outside edge.) 11. Along one edge—it doesn't really matter which one—leave a gap of about 3" (7cm). 12. Clip the corners coming close to the stitching, but being mindful to not cut the stitches.

9. Use a pencil and the quilting ruler to rule lines 1/2" (13mm) from each edge of one piece of fabric (on the wrong side if there is one).

10. Pin the two piece together and thread a sewing needle with sewing thread. Carefully hand-stitch the pieces together using small back stitches or even a running stitch, sewing along the pencil lines. Use what feels enjoyable to you and take your time. (When you reach corners, simply create a tiny stitch to end up in the corner and then turn the work to keep going. Until when you're using a sewing machine, you will not continue on to the outside edge.)

11. Along one edge—it doesn't really matter which one—leave a gap of about 3" (7cm).

12. Clip the corners coming close to the stitching, but being mindful to not cut the stitches.

13. Press the seams back using an iron.  14. Do this for both sides. 15. Carefully turn the work right side out, using a blunt pencil or dull-tipped dowel to make the corners nice and sharp. Fold in the side flaps until the "noses" touch, using your paper pattern for reference (the cardstock as well if it makes things easier). 16. Create well using the iron.

13. Press the seams back using an iron. 

14. Do this for both sides.

15. Carefully turn the work right side out, using a blunt pencil or dull-tipped dowel to make the corners nice and sharp. Fold in the side flaps until the "noses" touch, using your paper pattern for reference (the cardstock as well if it makes things easier).

16. Create well using the iron.

17. Fold up the bottom at the same spot you created on the paper pattern, so that the bottom flap overlaps the edges of the side flaps, between 1/8" and 3/16" (3mm and 5mm). 18. Fold over the top—again, recreating the same shape you created in paper, with the top flap overlapping even more of the sides, so that the point is about 5/8" (16mm) from the bottom edge. Iron both creases to press. 19. To close the gap in the seam where you turned the work right side out, tie a knot at the end of some sewing thread, thread your needle and insert the needle from inside the work, going out at one end of the gap. Bring the needle directly across to the other folded seam and make a stitch about 1/6" (2mm).  20. Drop back directly down to the side you started on and create a second stitch. Keep the thread pulled tautly to close the seam as you continue to the other end of the gap. 

17. Fold up the bottom at the same spot you created on the paper pattern, so that the bottom flap overlaps the edges of the side flaps, between 1/8" and 3/16" (3mm and 5mm).

18. Fold over the top—again, recreating the same shape you created in paper, with the top flap overlapping even more of the sides, so that the point is about 5/8" (16mm) from the bottom edge. Iron both creases to press.

19. To close the gap in the seam where you turned the work right side out, tie a knot at the end of some sewing thread, thread your needle and insert the needle from inside the work, going out at one end of the gap. Bring the needle directly across to the other folded seam and make a stitch about 1/6" (2mm). 

20. Drop back directly down to the side you started on and create a second stitch. Keep the thread pulled tautly to close the seam as you continue to the other end of the gap. 

21. Set the envelope aside and return to your sweet lace heart. You're now going to use blanket stitch (a.k.a., button-hole stitch) to both finish the edge as well as secure it to the back of the envelope. First you want to finish the portion that will not be secured to the envelope and will allow the heart to become a pocket. To begin, thread an embroidery needle with two strands of floss. Tie a knot at one end and insert the needle from back to front through only the top lace piece. Position this very close to the stitching that's already there and at the highest point of the right "lobe." 22. (Close-up of positioning.) 23. Bring the needle around the work to the back and this time go through both pieces of fabric, coming out through the original top hole. This creates a loop. 24. Insert the needle through this stitch.

21. Set the envelope aside and return to your sweet lace heart. You're now going to use blanket stitch (a.k.a., button-hole stitch) to both finish the edge as well as secure it to the back of the envelope. First you want to finish the portion that will not be secured to the envelope and will allow the heart to become a pocket. To begin, thread an embroidery needle with two strands of floss. Tie a knot at one end and insert the needle from back to front through only the top lace piece. Position this very close to the stitching that's already there and at the highest point of the right "lobe."

22. (Close-up of positioning.)

23. Bring the needle around the work to the back and this time go through both pieces of fabric, coming out through the original top hole. This creates a loop.

24. Insert the needle through this stitch.

25. At 1/8" (3mm) to the left of the first stitch, insert your needle through both pieces, front to back and see that the needle goes over the thread created by this second loop. 26. Pull snuggly, but don't overdo it.  27. Repeat. 28. Just as you are perfectly imperfect, your heart doesn't expect all of your stitches to be perfect either. Continue stitching, keeping your stitches 1/8" (3mm) apart as consistently as you can, until you are at an equal point on the opposite "lobe."

25. At 1/8" (3mm) to the left of the first stitch, insert your needle through both pieces, front to back and see that the needle goes over the thread created by this second loop.

26. Pull snuggly, but don't overdo it. 

27. Repeat.

28. Just as you are perfectly imperfect, your heart doesn't expect all of your stitches to be perfect either. Continue stitching, keeping your stitches 1/8" (3mm) apart as consistently as you can, until you are at an equal point on the opposite "lobe."

29. One easy way to tell if you're at an equal point is simply to fold your heart in half. 30. It's now time to secure the heart pocket to the back of the envelope. Use your iron creases as a guide to center your heart side to side, but leave a little extra space at the top. Pin in place. 31. Continue with the blanket stitch, but now when you insert your needle, go through the envelope, too and come out through the envelope at the edge of the heart.  32. Work your way around to where you began stitching.

29. One easy way to tell if you're at an equal point is simply to fold your heart in half.

30. It's now time to secure the heart pocket to the back of the envelope. Use your iron creases as a guide to center your heart side to side, but leave a little extra space at the top. Pin in place.

31. Continue with the blanket stitch, but now when you insert your needle, go through the envelope, too and come out through the envelope at the edge of the heart. 

32. Work your way around to where you began stitching.

33. Thread your embroidery needle with one new strand of floss. Make a nice little top stitched detail around the envelope's edge beginning at one side flap's point and ending at the opposite flap's point. This can be a simple running stitch. 34. When you reach the second point, insert the needle through the seam, about 1/8" (3mm) from the point. 35. Now insert the needle through the corner of the other flap, again about 1/8" 93mm) either side of the point. 36. Return to the first flap/point and complete a loop that will keep these flaps tacked together and make it easier to complete the envelope.

33. Thread your embroidery needle with one new strand of floss. Make a nice little top stitched detail around the envelope's edge beginning at one side flap's point and ending at the opposite flap's point. This can be a simple running stitch.

34. When you reach the second point, insert the needle through the seam, about 1/8" (3mm) from the point.

35. Now insert the needle through the corner of the other flap, again about 1/8" 93mm) either side of the point.

36. Return to the first flap/point and complete a loop that will keep these flaps tacked together and make it easier to complete the envelope.

37. Add the decorative top stitching to the bottom flap, but begin and end stitching just slightly on the side flaps. 38. Knot/tie off and trim.  39. Set a small button on the top flap, centered and 1/2" to 3/4" (13mm to 19mm) from the point. Make marks with a pencil just outside of the button. This will mark the length of your button hole. 40. Use a craft knife loaded with a sharp blade to slice through both layers of fabric along the length of the marked line.

37. Add the decorative top stitching to the bottom flap, but begin and end stitching just slightly on the side flaps.

38. Knot/tie off and trim. 

39. Set a small button on the top flap, centered and 1/2" to 3/4" (13mm to 19mm) from the point. Make marks with a pencil just outside of the button. This will mark the length of your button hole.

40. Use a craft knife loaded with a sharp blade to slice through both layers of fabric along the length of the marked line.

41. To hand-sew the button hole, you're going to once again use  . . . you guessed it, blanket stitch/button-hole stitch. Return to using two strands of floss and a knot at one end. Insert your needle between the layers of fabric, back to front, about 1/8" (3mm) from one end of the cut on either side of the cut you choose and about 1/16" from the cut. 42. Repeat the blanket-hole-stitching process, just like you did on the heart, only this time, keep your stitches close together and a bit shorter. 43. When you reach the end of the first side of the button hole, round the edge by keeping the top of the stitch (the raw fabric edge) small and the bottom slightly farther apart. Then proceed along the second side. 44. Continue until you reach the spot you began and knot/tie off. Press the button-hold work with an iron.

41. To hand-sew the button hole, you're going to once again use  . . . you guessed it, blanket stitch/button-hole stitch. Return to using two strands of floss and a knot at one end. Insert your needle between the layers of fabric, back to front, about 1/8" (3mm) from one end of the cut on either side of the cut you choose and about 1/16" from the cut.

42. Repeat the blanket-hole-stitching process, just like you did on the heart, only this time, keep your stitches close together and a bit shorter.

43. When you reach the end of the first side of the button hole, round the edge by keeping the top of the stitch (the raw fabric edge) small and the bottom slightly farther apart. Then proceed along the second side.

44. Continue until you reach the spot you began and knot/tie off. Press the button-hold work with an iron.

45. Sew the button on the bottom flap, lined up under the center of the button hole. Press all of the sides again with the iron to sharpen things up.

45. Sew the button on the bottom flap, lined up under the center of the button hole. Press all of the sides again with the iron to sharpen things up.

46. Tack side flaps down with a just a few stitches between the top fold and the end of the flaps.

46. Tack side flaps down with a just a few stitches between the top fold and the end of the flaps.

47. To secure the bottom flap, begin by securing the thread along one side fold, coming out across from the edge of the bottom flap. 48. Insert the needle from front to back of the edge of the bottom flap and pull snuggly. Come out along the seam of the flap, close to where the first stitch was created. 49. Secure the bottom flap to the envelope in a similar way that you closed the opening of the full envelope in steps 19–20. Be mindful to only sew through the top layer of the envelope body and the bottom layer of the flap. 50. To make seeing where to sew on the envelope body easier, fold the envelope back from where it and the flap meet. Note: When you get to edge of the first side flap, insert your needle between the two layers of the bottom flap's point, coming out at the point where the other flap's edge and bottom flap edge meet. Continue down the other side to complete.

47. To secure the bottom flap, begin by securing the thread along one side fold, coming out across from the edge of the bottom flap.

48. Insert the needle from front to back of the edge of the bottom flap and pull snuggly. Come out along the seam of the flap, close to where the first stitch was created.

49. Secure the bottom flap to the envelope in a similar way that you closed the opening of the full envelope in steps 19–20. Be mindful to only sew through the top layer of the envelope body and the bottom layer of the flap.

50. To make seeing where to sew on the envelope body easier, fold the envelope back from where it and the flap meet. Note: When you get to edge of the first side flap, insert your needle between the two layers of the bottom flap's point, coming out at the point where the other flap's edge and bottom flap edge meet. Continue down the other side to complete.

51. Give your finished envelope a little loving kiss and set her aside for a moment. If your little jewelry pouch has a drawstring, remove it. 52. Fill the pouch with a blend of dried lavender and rose buds. Don't fill too full; you want the finished dream pillow to be soft and easy. 53. To temporarily seal the pouch, make a very loose running stitch along the opening. No need to knot, really. When the dried flower mix looses it's pungency, you can easily remove the stitched thread, refill with fresh flowers and sew a new loose seam. 54. Insert the pouch into your finished envelope.

51. Give your finished envelope a little loving kiss and set her aside for a moment. If your little jewelry pouch has a drawstring, remove it.

52. Fill the pouch with a blend of dried lavender and rose buds. Don't fill too full; you want the finished dream pillow to be soft and easy.

53. To temporarily seal the pouch, make a very loose running stitch along the opening. No need to knot, really. When the dried flower mix looses it's pungency, you can easily remove the stitched thread, refill with fresh flowers and sew a new loose seam.

54. Insert the pouch into your finished envelope.

55. Button the envelope closed. Ta-dah! :-)

55. Button the envelope closed. Ta-dah! :-)

Write a little message to your heart. Something you'd like to sink in deeply and flow throughout you as you sleep.

Write a little message to your heart. Something you'd like to sink in deeply and flow throughout you as you sleep.

Fold up your love note and tuck it into the pocket. Place the envelope under your bed pillow. Sweet dreams. <3

Fold up your love note and tuck it into the pocket. Place the envelope under your bed pillow. Sweet dreams. <3

I hope this little project soothed you and that working on it really felt like an act of self-care because it was. In addition to acting as a messenger of self-love to your heart, anytime you have a question for your Higher Self, you can write it on a slip of paper and tuck it into this pillow before sleep. Answers will come the next day—most likely when you least expect it.

For additional support in finding the answers to the questions you already have within yourself, please let me know and we will find solutions together. xo

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