I love getting snail mail. It is one of life's 'slower' pleasures in this all too fast-paced world. Getting to know someone while bits of their personality emerge over time and waiting with excitement for each new installment is an old fashioned sentiment that I think is so precious. Combine that with a love of fabric, sewing, and embroidery and you have the perfect project; the fabric postcard! You know those scraps that are so beloved you simply can't throw them away but you have no idea what to do with? Well, you can use them to make a mixed media, original piece of art to send to someone special!
I found these blank postcards at the craft store. These cost 3.99 for a pack of 10. They are standard sized 4 x 6 inches. You could make these yourself with card stock but I like these because they are pre-printed and measured so it takes out a couple of extra steps allowing you to focus on the fun part! HERE is an example of some blank postcards I found in a super quick online search. These are a bulk price so you can search around a little to find the amount and value you are looking for or check with your local craft store.
Let's get to the fun part. Pull out some of those scraps of fabric you have been hanging onto. If your scraps are smaller than the 4 x 6 size, simply find a coordinating fabric to sew your scrap onto. I measured the fabric to be slightly overlapping around all the edges of he postcard.
I just had a small scrap of take out fabric so I am sewing it onto the coordinating red fabric. I measured the red fabric to slightly overlap the 4 x 6 postcard. I then sewed the take out scrap fabric onto the piece of red fabric, centered in the middle.
I just topstitched around the edges but you could use a decorative stitch or a zig-zag if you like.
I chose a red thread. If you are concerned about the fraying around the edges, you could use a satin stitch (or zig-zag stitch) to finish the edges. Another option would be to use pinking scissors which create a zig-zag edging around the fabric and help prevent fraying. HERE is an example if pinking shears. I think they are great to have if you like to sew.
The next step is to cut a piece of batting the same size as the piece you just sewed. In a pinch, I have used felt as my batting but you just need to check that your finished piece is going to be less than 1/4 inch thick, as per postal regulations. THIS is the batting I used. I had some left over from a baby blanket I made. Just an example to show you what this is but, by all means, shop around.
The next step is to sew the fabric rectangle and the batting together. There are different ways you can approach this. I chose to mark spaces with pencil, then sew diagonally across the piece. You can use paper clips or even basting spray to hold the fabric while sewing, as it tends to shift a bit.
Here is what it looks like after sewing. This is the fabric piece and batting sewn together.
Next, lay your quilted piece over your postcard, centered, and trim the excess around the edges using scissors or a rotary cutter.
For help in centering the piece, you could hold it up to the light or fold the fabric over with paper clips to see where you want the postcard to be.
Use your scissors or rotary cutter and trim close to the edge of the postcard.
Now use a finishing stitch around the edge. If your machine has a satin stitch that would be ideal. I used a zig-zag stitch, a little sloppily I might add. The key is to take your time and go nice and slow. Trim off all the excess little threads to neaten.
In this next example, I used a decorative edging to attach the smaller piece of fabric to the coordinating red fabric.
I cut my batting to match.
This time I attached the fabric to the batting by hand embroidering some of the white space between the tulips with a running stitch. (You can learn the running stitch HERE). I added some beads and attached a butterfly using a french knot. (You can learn how to make a french knot HERE). Then I finished it off by using my sewing machine to add two border squares around the edges.
I place the postcard underneath and then crimp the edges over it to see where I want to place it. As you can see I worked pretty spontaneously with not a lot of pre-planning or measuring. I really enjoy the results that come from impulse and intuition. My eye is always drawn to the imperfection in a piece. It adds to the charm and makes it more human. It is also a creative challenge to figure out a problem that occurs when you have not pre-planned for success.
Turn over an trim the excess.
Cut as close the edge as possible.
I used a decorative stitch to finish the edges. Notice it is not centered. There is no border on the left side but the right has a little border. It looks fine as it is but I decided to add some trim to even it out.
I evened out the sides by adding some scrap trim I had to either side.
Here is what the back looks like. Ready to be written addressed and sent off for an adventure! Be sure to include extra postage. This will likely have to be hand sorted rather than by machine which is a little extra. There is a non-machine-able surcharge.
I made a few more. In the example with the prairie dog fabric I free stitched the fabric to the batting. That is when you just put it in your sewing machine and sew free-hand all willy nilly. I just tried to balance the negative space by adding red thread to the white background areas. This is a really fun afternoon project to do. Make a few to have a around for a special occasion. I think I read somewhere that these can be mailed in a cellophane bag to protect your creation. I will mail them all and let you know how it worked out!
If you are interested in any of the above fabrics, They are available at my Spoonflower shop HERE.
Thanks for stopping by.