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DIY: How to make a fragrant linen bag for your bedroom

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

The Mattress Warehouse is pleased to say that the cold winter days behind us, it is time to start packing all the heavy winter clothes and bedding away. Break out the storing gear, because we’re packing away winter! Refresh your bedroom and bedroom furniture this spring by packing away all of your winter essentials, and breaking out the light and airy bedding for the new season.

In South Africa, our summer months are quite long. Therefore, your winter essentials might spend a long time tucked away on the top shelf of your closet. There, moths and other insects degrade your precious covers and knits by leaving small holes wherever their mouths feed. To combat this, we protect our clothes and blankets with regular old mothballs.

The Linen Bag

Fabric sewing drawing

However, these chemical spheres generally emit a pungent smell that’s not the freshest in the world. Furthermore, this smell sticks to your clothes and blankets for quite some time. Therefore, as an alternative to the strong, chemical smell of mothballs, you might want to opt for a fragrant linen bag.

These small bags are perfect for staving off unwanted guests in your stored fabric items. Simply use this bag with any natural moth and insect-repellant, and you have a natural cure for this holey-problem! Additionally, your clothes and blankets won’t host the awful smell of mothballs anymore. 

How do I make a linen bag?

You’ll need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Linen fabric
  • Pins
  • String, twine or ribbon
  • Sewing scissors and paper scissors
  • Thread for sewing
  • Needle or sewing machine

Step 1: Dimensions

Choose good quality linen fabric, by checking the integrity of the material before you buy. Remember, this sachet will be in your closet for a couple of months on end; you don’t want a fabric that becomes porous after a while!

Fabric sewing drawing
  • Start by drawing a rectangle measured at 16cm x 10cm and cut it out. This shape will be used as your pattern piece.
  • Mark 1cm fold lines, and 0.5cm seam allowance on the wide sides (total of 1.5cm on each wide side), and 1cm seam allowance on the long sides of your pattern piece.
  • In the middle of your pattern piece, draw a fold line. See the picture below for reference.

Step 2: Cutting and pressing the fabric

  • Pin the pattern piece to your linen fabric. Cut the linen rectangle according to the pinned pattern piece.
Fabric sewing drawing
  • Next, press the fabric on the fold lines with your iron. You’ll be pressing the two fold lines on the wide sides, as well as the fold line down the middle.
pattern piece drawing

Step 3: The sewing

  • Sew the folded edges of the wide sides shut, leaving 0.5cm seam allowance. The raw edges will be facing on the “wrong side” of your fabric. Therefore, every time the wrong side is mentioned, make sure it is the side with the folded raw edges.
Fabric sewing drawing
  • Fold the length of the fabric right sides together, wrong sides outside, on the fold line down the middle.
  • Sew the sides shut, leaving the top folded edges open. This will allow space for the drawstring.
  • Turn the sachet right side out, tucking all the raw edges inside.
  • Lastly, thread the twine, ribbon or string through the folded edges, and pull the two ends together in a knot. This will sinch in the fabric, making rough pleats in the sachet.

Step 4: Fill the bag

  • Lastly, fill your linen bag with your choice of natural insect repellent. Read on for all the different natural insect repellents you can choose!

So, what do I put in my linen bag?

There are many natural alternatives to mothballs out there. Furthermore, these insect repellants are non-toxic, which makes them pet and child-friendly. The most popular options include:

  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Rosemary


Cedarwood emits aromatic hydrocarbons and acids that act as a natural pesticide. The oil in cedarwood is found in most natural insect repellants. Place untreated cedar chips or shavings in your linen bag to repel insects around your stored clothes and bedding.

Make sure to switch out your cedar chips or shavings every 3 months to ensure maximum repellency.

Cinnamon sticks

Other than cooking, this kitchen spice also repels insects excellently. By filling your linen bag with cinnamon sticks, you can rest assured that your linen will be well protected against pesky insect-holes!


The oil found in cinnamon is known for its effects of killing insect larvae. This is especially beneficial, as the larvae are the main culprits in creating holey clothes and linen.

As an added bonus, this spice also repels mosquitoes. Talk about dual purpose!


Another kitchen spice you can fill your linen bag with is cloves. Simply fill your linen bag with these dried flower buds, and you’re good to go!

However, remember to wash your linen and clothes after a winter with clove, since this spice is known for irritating some sensitive skin types. Also, remember to top up the aroma of these flowers with a few drops of clove essential oil every couple of months.


This beautiful flower is worth more than just a resilient shrub in your garden. In addition to its calming abilities, lavender oil is also an excellent insect repellent.

When utilising this flower in your linen bag, you can either use them fresh or dried out.


To use fresh lavender, crush the stalks and flowers by pulsing them in a blender a couple of times (you don’t want a pulp!). The crushed fresh plant will emit a wonderful aroma in your closet in addition to staving off the insects.

To use dry lavender in your linen bag, hang a small picking of fresh lavender upside down for a couple of weeks. Snip the flowers and stalks with scissors into the linen bag. The dried lavender will emit a more subtle aroma, and last a bit longer.

In addition to the actual flowers in your linen bag, you can add some extra drops of lavender oil to your flower pickings. This can also be used to top up the aroma when the fragrance starts to wear out after a couple of months.


Mint is also an outstanding moth and insect repellent. The strong aroma of this herb staves off moths, other insects and even mice!

Pick a few leaves from any mint plant, and either crush or dry them before filling your linen bag with the fresh scent! For extra potency, add a few drops of peppermint oil to cotton balls and add these to your linen bag.


This wonderful herb is good for more than just flavouring meats and veggies. Pick a few rosemary stalks and pulse a few times in a blender. This will release the wonderful aroma and scent, repelling all the pesky moths and insects.


Mix it up

There are many other herbs and spices that can be used in your linen bag. We chose the most common ones found in your kitchen, garden and grocery store. However, feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices like thyme, star anise, crushed peppercorns, eucalyptus and dried citrus peels.

Furthermore, experiment with scent combinations like lavender and rosemary, or cinnamon and cedar chips. Also, to top up the scent of your linen sachet’s fillings, add matching essential oils to the contents after a few months.

So, pack away!

So, what are you waiting for? Pack away your heavy winter gear, and refresh your bedroom furniture with these wonderful linen bags. Make your own scent by experimenting with the flowers and herbs mentioned above, or go for one simple aroma. Don’t let the linen bags stop in your closet though! Make some for your drawers, other cupboards in the house or gift one to a friend!

If you’ve packed away all your winter essentials and your old summery-bedroom gear bores you, feel free to hop on over to our site for more information! The Mattress Warehouse has a wide range of bed linen and bedroom furniture, like bedside pedestals and headboards, available to suit all your bedroom ding needs. Additionally, our online chat consultants would be more than happy to assist you with any purchase queries. Happy spring cleaning!

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