Sunday, November 15, 2009

Felted Soaps, a la Anthropologie

My inspiration for this gift came from these at Anthropologie.  This week's birthday girl was with me when I found them and I thought she might faint from excitement!  They are so soft and pretty, not to mention their beautiful scents!  So, of course, I had to make some for her.

I picked up a 75% wool scarf and a couple of bars of scented soap from the dollar store.  I washed the scarf in hot water a couple of times, then dried it on high heat to get it nice and felted.  Then I wrapped it around the soap just the way I wanted it and marked the shape with chalk.  I cut a piece that would cover the whole bar, without leaving much wiggle room.  I wanted the wool to fit snugly against the soap.  I folded the piece long-ways, wrong side out, and did a blanket stitch in upholstery thread along the long side, creating a tube of felted wool.  Next, I adjusted the fold so that the long seam was in the center of my flattened tube.  For the oval-shaped soap bar, I rounded the corners of the tube with my scissors before closing the ends.

I blanket stitched one end closed, then stuck the soap inside to check the fit. For both soaps pictured below, I had excess fabric at the open end when I did this.  Leaving the soap inside, I cut the tube to just about a quarter of an inch beyond the end of the soap.  Again, I rounded the corners for the oval-shaped soap bar.

I took the bar of soap out and flipped the pouch right side out, checking my seams for holes as I went.  I stuck the soap back in the pouch and did a tight blanket stitch to close the open end.  Once it was done, I checked it over again for any holes (hand stitching a bulky knit is tricky!) and took it to the sink.

The soaps at Anthropologie were totally infused in the fabric of the felt pouches, which I loved.  I soaked my felted soaps in the hottest water I could stand and worked them into a good lather.  When the wool was good and soapy, I rinsed the soap bubbles off and re-adjusted the felted pouches.  They slid a little bit with the lathering, so I just moved them back to where they started. 

After that, I just set them on the edge of the bathtub and waited for them to dry.  I tied ribbons around the soaps and wrapped them up in a box, tied with the same ribbon, plus a cute tag from Angry Chicken.  Happy birthday, Ree!

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