Have you ever made a custom blend of herbal, black or green tea? Or does your favorite tea simply not come in bags? You have probably wished at some point that you could take some along to the office or on the road without making a big fuss over containers. Or perhaps you just want to be "green", and it isn't always possible to compost your store-bought paper tea bags. Here are a few ideas.
Reusable Cloth Tea Bag:
Get plain unbleached muslin -or 100% lightweight cotton if you want your tea bags to have a pretty design. You should also get a piece of crochet thread about the same weight as the thread normally seen on tea bags such as size 10, some ordinary sewing thread, scissors, straight pins, a ruler or tape measure, a darning needle and a regular sewing needle.
Wash your fabric thoroughly and let it dry. Cut a piece about 4" x 3" and lay it in front of you (face down if it has a design) so that it's 4" wide and 3" high. Measure and mark about 1/4" from each wide end and about 1/2" from the top edge. Using scissors, an awl, or anything sharp, make two holes where the marks are. Thread your needle with the crochet thread and pull it through the holes. Experienced sewers probably recognize this process - you can use these instructions to make any size drawstring bag.
Fold the top of the cloth over the string and use a couple of straight pins to hold it in place, and then make tiny careful stitches along the edge of the fold.
Fold the entire cloth in half from the sides - be sure it's still inside out - and pin it together. Stitch the whole thing together, being careful to watch out for the drawstrings. Now turn it right side out. Tie a good-sized knot and/or a tiny charm or bead onto the string; this will keep the string from getting pulled out of the bag.
Fill this with any tea you like, wash it out and use it again and again. You'll probably want to make about six of these so you don't have to keep washing the same one out all of the time. Making them can be habit-forming, so if you catch the bug you can give them as presents or make them for the church bazaar.
Easy Coffee Filter Teabag:
Get some ordinary basket-style paper coffee filters and clean cotton string. Put your loose tea in the middle of the filter. Fold the filter up and around the tea, twisting it a few times. The twisted end should be tight, while the part actually holding the tea should have some room left so the water can flow freely through the leaves. Tie the string firmly around the twisted end. There you have it!