Friday, September 25, 2009

Fabric Postcards

Have you received these little postcard gems from your quilty friends and now you want to send one back? Have you marveled at how lovely it is to receive a miniature piece of art in the mail -- instead of just another bill? This set of instructions will have your imagination running wild as you create fabric postcards for any occasion. Believe me when I tell you that there is no one method for making these little postal gems ... what you see here is just "my way" so adapt it as you wish!

First up is a supply list. On my cutting table I've gathered my Steam-a-Seam (fusible stuff), a roll of Timtex, which is a very stiff interfacing like what you find in baseball caps, for example. I also have a little supply of Halloween fabrics and some pieces that I'm going to turn into applique pumpkins. This, plus an iron and a sewing machine, and you're good to go!

The Timtex is the foundation of my postcard ... it's stiff, I can fuse fabric to it, it keeps the card nice and neat as it travels through the mail system. Some people use batting, heavy interfacing, wool pieces ... whatever works for you to give you the texture you want. I just prefer the stiffer "card". A postcard measures 4" x 6" and less than 1/4" thick -- if any of these dimensions are exceeded, you can still mail your treasure, but you'll pay more in postage. I frequently have Postal Clerks whip out their little template to make sure that my cards fit the requirements, so best to not fudge on the sizing. I'm cutting it into 6" strips and then cutting across into 4" x 6" rectangles.

I'm going to be working first on the "design side" ... that way, any stitching I do will be covered up by the fabric applied to the message/address side. I took some fabric bits and applied the fusible film to the wrong side, following the manufacturer's instructions. Remove the paper shield and place the fabric on one side of your foundation. Heat with the iron to apply it. Here's my first rectangle with the fabric on one side. I trimmed any extra fabric from around the edges.

Now I need some things to decorate my postcard. I found a picture of a spiderweb and spider in a coloring book and traced it onto the fusible paper ... also in my little stash of stuff was a paper-pieced candy corn that is just the right size for a postcard. The little pumpkins and bats (which glow in the dark, by the way -- can you see a post office employee late at night with my postcard??!!) I cut out of an apron pan or something and I've applied fusible to the wrong side of the fabric.

Then I cut out the appliques, remove the protective backing and arrange the pieces on my postcard. One of the reasons I really like Steam-a-Seam is that it is repositionable before you press it into permanent place. It's good for me because I frequently go between upstairs and downstairs carrying my little projects and this way the pieces don't blow off.

Up in my sewing room I rummaged through my thread boxes and found some great funky thread to use on my postcards. Then I had an idea that I could write a little message with thread using the letters on my machine -- a feature I've never used! So, I programmed in BOO and HAPPY HALLOWEEN and did some decorative stitching on a few of the cards.

To finish off the applique pieces, I'm using a great orange thread (Superior Bottom Line is my best friend) and just stitching a little buttonhole stitch around the pieces. The fusible will keep it pretty well in place, but the extra stitching around it really sets it off. You can use any stitch you have -- zig zag, satin stitch, even leave it as a raw edge piece! With the top finished, I have two more steps.

First, I need to apply the message/address side to the postcard (which is going to cover up my stitching, too).

I'm using bleached muslin for these cards -- use anything you have that is light enough to write on. I've used unbleached muslin, pastels, batiks, etc. -- whatever you have at hand. Apply your fusible to the wrong side of your backing fabric and then cut into 4" x 6" pieces. Press it into place on the back side of your postcards.
And now for the final touch -- your postcard "binding" ... today I'm still using my decorative threads and decide to do a close zig zag all around the edges of my postcard. This is doing two things -- first, it's giving my "art" a frame, and second, it's ensuring that all my layers are securely joined and ready for travel. Next step for you -- write a message and address it, take it off to the post office and send it on its way!!

Hope you had fun making these postcards!


Fabric Mom said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

Ann-Christin said...

Thank you for this tutorial. I love yuor cards! I think Halloween is an american issue, but I think its fun!


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