I have a confession to make – I never thought I would end up making a fabric postcard. I have now changed my mind and have discovered they can be deceptively easy if you follow a few simple steps.
My first faltering steps were guided by Maureen C. at Kenmaurs Corner (Maureen was so patient with my strange questions…lol) and now I feel confident enough to offer this tutorial on how I make them. Everyone is different and you may like to do a search of the internet as I’m sure there are plenty of others who also offer their version of constructing a postcard.
Crazy Quilted Fabric Postcard
You don’t need a great deal of equipment or materials to make a postcard. Certainly you aren’t going to have to remortage your house in order to make them – which is probably a blessing since the interest rates are rising – yet again. Simple things from around your home are enough, plus plenty of ideas.
* Cardboard – I cut out a reasonable size, then cut a “window” in this peice the size of my finished postcard. 4 x 6 inches is the general size I use. This is handy when “auditioning” fabrics and trims you may want to use plus marking the size of the postcard on your fabric.
* Base fabric – this is what you sew your fancy fabrics onto. It provides – a base for your work. This needs to be at least two inches larger than the finished size of the the postcard – I often make it larger again.* Fancy fabrics – for your naked cq block.
* Print of something. This is entirely up to you. I like to use a print of something significant for the person I am sending the card to, but you can just use fabrics and embroidery.
* Backing Fabric – this is where your message etc will be written It needs to be at least 1 inch larger than the finished postcard.
* Paper backed vilene. The stuff you use for applique (Visoflex I think it is called – but don’t quote me on that.)
* Stiff Vilene (or vilene with a stiffy if you want to be a bit rude…lol.) This can basically stand up by itself if propped against something, without sagging. It is still able to be sewn through however – defeats the purpose if you can’t.
Step 1 Draw the size of the postcard onto your base fabric. This is where the cardboard template with the window cut out of it comes in handy. Speeds things up and you already know it is square and the right size. You can see where I have already done that in the first photo. Now sew exactly on that line. It doesn’t have to be matching thread (contrasting is often easier to see) – you won’t see it in the final product. The reason will become clear soon. Audition your fabrics and print if you want to use one – in other words move them around until you like where they are all sitting or should that be lying…lol. The template comes in handy here too in that you can see exactly what the fabrics and their arrangement will look like in the final product. Just look inside the square. See easy so far.
Step 2 The fabrics are all sewn down in to their final positions. Now turn your naked block over (base fabric uppermost) and making sure the fabrics are all flat and not puckered – sew exactly on the line on the base fabric you sewed just before. When you turn your postcard over (so now the right side or the pretty side is up) you can see exactly where the edges of your postcard are. It saves a lot of heartache in the end when you realise you may have done your best work on the part that is to be cut off.
Step 3 This is the fun part. Use your cardboard template to create a window on your postcard – trial different laces, ribbons or whatever else you want to use. It helps to get your eye in and I find invaluable if I’m not sure if something will work. For example the ribbon in the left top hand corner. It wasn’t right, but without the template it looked fine.
Step 4 Embellish the postcard as you want. Remember there are no rules and this is where you can really let your hair down and enjoy trialling new techniques or supplies – after all it is your postcard and you can do what you want.
Step 5 Now for the slightly harder stuff – in other words read carefully.You will need the paper backed vilene – which should be cut slightly larger (I go for 1/2 inch larger all round) than the size of the post card. Use the spare peice of cardboard from the “window” you cut from the template as a guide. Iron this onto the back of the crazy quilted block. Do it lightly and carefully – a folded towel put down underneath it will act as a cushion so your lovely work isn’t flattened. Do not pull the paper off at this stage.Now you will need the stiff vilene (also cut at least 1/2 inch all round larger than the postcard). The stiff vilene that I use has the glue on it all ready – not sure if that is the case for all of this type of vilene but I will assume so. This is ironed onto the backing fabric.I can hear you asking – why is she making these larger than we need. Simple – if you make a mistake and iron something on slightly crooked – you still have enough fabric and vilene to cover the postcard. Much better than coming up short, having to pull everything off or having to start again from scratch.Now being careful, pull off the paper from the vilene that is ironed to the front of the post card. Being fairly careful, align the cqed front with the back, vilene together and iron carefully. Basically you are making a sandwich. If you aren’t sure – you should have CQed top, vilene, stiff vilene, backing fabric.
Step 6A As you can see I trim it to just a thread or two outside the sewn line. I find this way any little peices of fabric that haven’t been embroidered or embellished are held down and don’t pucker up when sewing around the edges.
Step 7 I use a larger needle when I sew around the edges of the post card. It has to go through not only several layers of fabric, but two lots of vilene as well – one of which is thick. A jeans needle is ideal. I use a satin stitch or other fancy stitch to “seal” the edges. I’m not sure if you can see it, but I always seem to get “whiskers” from the fabrics that stick out. I just trim these off carefully – trying very hard not to cut my stitching. I don’t know if it is my machine, the stitches I choose, the thread (in this case it was a varigated cotton machine embroidery thread) or just me but I always get these whiskers. Drives me nuts, but I’m learning to live with it – after all I’m not a machine and these aren’t a commercial item.
Step 8 Now, and only now, you can write the details on the back of the card. I don’t do any writing until the whole thing is finished because I am notorious for ironing things on slightly crooked. Again – another thing that drives me insane, but that’s me. I figure if I have gone to all this trouble then to stuff it up at the last stage is a major hair pulling event.
I hope all this is helpful and I haven’t bored you silly by now. Any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
PS Sorry I never thought of saying how I post these until Jo asked. (Slapping hand here) While I know many of these postcards can just be sent through the mail (after being hand cancelled) I prefer to post my cqed postcards in a padded bag. I use a lot of beads in my work (got to have that sparkle….vbg) and a lot of silk ribbon (well if you’ve got it, you have to play with it) and I am always worried that something would happen to it while in the mail. I bought really small padded bags for less than $1.00 Aust and postage was only $1.00 so they are very cheap to send. I know it isn’t quite the same as receiving a stamped postcard, but I’m willing to compromise for the sake of my work arriving intact.