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How to Make a Spirit Bag

Updated on December 23, 2012
Two different spirit bags.
Two different spirit bags. | Source

Spirit bags are also known as medicine, fetish, wish or amulet bags. Although the ones in stores are made out of suede, you can make your own out of any material. Go with what you know.

If you’re good with leatherworking, make it from leather or suede. Most of us have more experience working with textiles, such as fabric or yarn. I’d love to learn how to craft with leather one day, but since I have no idea how to work with it, the below pattern is geared towards fabric.

Picking Your Materials

Like any project, you need to follow steps. The first step is always picking what material you want.

The case of spirit bags, everything has a meaning behind it. Since you usually want to gear them toward something, like protection, healing or love, you’ll want to concentrate on the topic at hand.

You can use any color or pattern for your wish bag. It all depends on what you'd like to do with them.
You can use any color or pattern for your wish bag. It all depends on what you'd like to do with them. | Source

Fabric
The color of the fabric and ribbon are logical places to start incorporating symbolism.

Generally, you should go with what color you associate with the purpose behind the bag. However, each color has general alignments which the majority of people go off of.

There’s also a question to where the fabric came from. In many schools of thought, the best fabric to use is either as naturally woven as possible or something you weave yourself. This is because it’s thought that the fewer steps away from nature it is, the more natural power it holds, and if you make it yourself, you add more of your own power into it.

Weaving is another skill on my bucket list, but for now, pre-made is the way to go for me.

I prefer to use natural fabrics as much as possible, but since I’m not all that wealthy, and I like shopping second hand, I’m generally not that picky.

The little wish bag I’m making is composed from some really pretty celestial fabric given to me a while ago, scraps from a garage sale and left over ribbon from a wedding.

Color Meanings

Color
Meaning
Red
Passion, drive
Pink
Love
Orange/Yellow
Energy, Joy
Blue
Healing, Peace
Green
Prosperity, Healing
Purple
Spirituality
White
Purity, Cleansing
Black
Grounding, Mystery
Colors have different meanings to different people, but these are the most popular interpretations.

Crystals
Some of the most popular tools in the metaphysical worlds are crystals and semiprecious stones. Every time you go into a New Age bookstore, you’ll come across racks of tumbled stones, jewelry or both.

There are many stones out there, and although it’s alright to purchase them from a vendor, it’s a good idea to learn some basic stone identification and collect your own during outdoor excursions. To be honest, although I’ve done it both ways, I haven’t really noticed much of a difference in results.

Since I’ve collecting stones for years, my husband has started bringing me pretty rocks from his landscaping job in the summer.

Generally, you can determine a stone’s use from the color, but it’s still a good idea to learn how to identify each type, or at least get a feel of what they look like in local shops.

I used stone chips with holes drilled through them and put them on a little dream pillow. Since I’m concentrating on enhancing positivity and spiritual health into this person’s life, I used citrine, soladite and amethyst. They were purchased at a local craft store quite a while ago.

Stone Meanings

Stone
Meaning
Hematite
Grounding
Rose Quartz
Love
Citrine
Changing negative energy into positive
Jade
Luck, prosperity
Adventurine
Good times, luck while traveling
Angelite
Connection to angels, protection
Clear Quartz
Memory, stored energy
Soladite
Healing, enhanced creativity
Amethyst
Spirituality
These are only a few of the most popular stones. There are countless others out there.

Herbs and Essential Oils
The second most common tool used grows from the earth.

We’ve all heard that garlic keeps vampires away, and there are many other myths out there about the properties of some flowers that grow on graves. Those ideas come from ancient beliefs and many still continue until today.

I wouldn’t know how true the garlic myth is, but if you eat enough of it, you’re sure to get your own seat on the bus. Maybe there’s something to it.

Herbs and the essential oils derived from them, are used on a medicinal level for some and cooking for almost everyone. Because they’re living and grow from the earth, their power is a little different. I’ve heard it described as more of a “living energy” by some.

Of course, it comes down to a matter of belief, but even if you don’t believe in their more mystical properties, you’ll still carry a lovely, subtle scent with you whenever you wear your wish bag when you use them.

They’re also pretty easy to find and many are simple to grow. If you can’t find somewhere to buy them loose, you can always raid your grocery store’s tea and spice isles. Most natural foods stores sell at least some essential oils, too, but they’re usually pretty pricey.

I put some mint, lavender and sage in the pillow itself. Since I happen to have star anise handy, I just put that in separately because it’s already such a pretty herb to look at on its own.

Depending on your belief system, you can include assorted other small materials. Small crosses, star charms, feathers, sea shells and many other things can go in the pouch.

What counts the most is the intent behind its construction. The more positive it is, the better.

Herb Meanings

Herb
Meaning
Basil
Protection, happiness, wealth
Mint
Creativity, healing, prosperity
Lavender
Rest, protection, enhanced focus
Chamomile
Love, peace, abundance
Thyme
Protection, brings courage
Sage
Purification, protection
Cinnamon
Energy, creativity, health
Anise
Enhances psychic awareness, protection, luck
All plants have metaphysical meaning and are sacred to cultures around the world. These are easiest for most people to find.

How to Make the Bag

This pattern is simple enough to do without a sewing machine, if you don’t mind hand-sewing. Since I’m not the biggest fan of thimbles and I’m not exactly graceful, I used my trusty machine to put this one together.

You can also easily alter it to act as a small hand bag, or make it smaller for children.

What You’ll Need

  • Material – scraps from a previous project would work. If you want a contrasting lining, select one printed type of material and one of a solid, complimentary color.
  • Ribbon – yarn and cord work well, too. It just needs to be long enough to form handles or a necklace
  • Crochet hook
  • Crystals, herbs, essential oils, or whatever you want to carry in it.
  • Iron
  • Pencil and chalk
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Seam ripper


I prefer using graph paper when designing my patterns, but printer paper works, too, as long as you use a ruler.
I prefer using graph paper when designing my patterns, but printer paper works, too, as long as you use a ruler. | Source

Steps

1. Using your ruler as the guide, draw a 5” by 6” rectangle on the paper. From the bottom of the rectangle, measure an inch and mark both sides. Then measure two inches in from the sides, on the bottom end of the rectangle and mark. Draw a curving line from the marks on the sides to the marks on the bottom. This is your pattern for the body of the bag. Cut it out and set aside for now.

2. Iron out any wrinkles in the material. This is one of the basic lessons in sewing, but it’s always a good one to remind yourself of. It makes the fabric far easier to work with and looks better once done.

3. Trace the pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric, then cut along the outline. For the beginners, this is the side of the fabric which the print isn’t as vivid on. You’ll need two pieces for the outer fabric and two pieces for the lining.


Ninja Turtles help the process along. This is Donnatello's favorite part. Measure, measure, measure to avoid re-work later on.
Ninja Turtles help the process along. This is Donnatello's favorite part. Measure, measure, measure to avoid re-work later on. | Source

4. Using your ruler, fold 1” of the top of each fabric down and press the fold flat. Make sure to keep the wrong side of the fabric facing you as you do this, since you don’t want the folded fabric visible when you’re done. Be sure to measure the folded fabric three times, once on each end and again in the middle, just to ensure it’s even the whole way.

5. Pin the outer fabric pieces together, right sides facing. Do the same with the lining.

6. Sew the outer pieces together along the sides and bottom. Leave the top open. Do the same for the lining.

Press the seams open as best you can. This is a little tricky, but at least get the seams pressed open along the tops. This needs to be done to make one of the final steps a little more simple.

8. Turn the lining right side out, and put it in the outer fabric. When you do this, make sure the seams aren’t parallel with each other. Instead, make sure they’re about 90 degrees apart. This just makes the bag a little stronger.

9. Sew along the top of the bags, about 3/8from the top seam. Then again about 1”. This step may need to be done by hand if you’ve decided to make a smaller size.

10. Turn right side out. You’re almost done!

11. Using your trusty seam ripper, cut the stitches between the two rows of stitches you sewed the bags together with. Be careful not to cut the horizontal seams actually holding the lining to the outer fabric.

12. Use the crochet hook to pull the lace or cord through the opened channels. There are other methods out there, but the crochet hook method I’d described in the video to the side is the easiest I’ve discovered so far.

13. Tie the ends, and you’re ready to put the goodies in the bag!

Personally, I prefer to wash everything I sew, knit or crochet before giving it away, since I have cats and I know quite a few people with severe allergies. Plus, it’s just a good habit to get into, since store bought fabrics could have chemicals and although you can’t see the chalk, it’s still a good idea to get it washed off.

As for any lingering energy on any of the materials, a good smudging will purify them beautifully, so you can charge them in your preferred method.

Enjoy your new bags!

The finished gift! It looks good, if I say so myself, and smells very pretty. I also included a hand-written list of what's in the pillow and the symbolism to everything.
The finished gift! It looks good, if I say so myself, and smells very pretty. I also included a hand-written list of what's in the pillow and the symbolism to everything. | Source

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    • ESPeck1919 profile image
      Author

      ESPeck1919 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks so much! I'm glad you like it. :)

    • ESPeck1919 profile image
      Author

      ESPeck1919 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thank you very much! I'm so glad it was useful.

      I will probably be writing more hubs about stone, herb and color lore in the next month or two. :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      A very nice and informative hub. I especially like your information about color, stone and herbs. I appreciate your research regarding this, as I have some rough idea regarding these. The spirit bags are so innovative and useful.

      Thanks for sharing this useful and interesting hub.

    • ChrisMcDade8 profile image

      Christine McDade 4 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Very interesting. Love the details in the meanings associated with colors and stones. Great job!