Friday, February 10, 2017

Fabric Postcard Tutorial

On Wednesday, I shared how I created this panel of "snail mail" prints

A few of these became fabric postcards, like the one pictured above.

I have made a few fabric postcards in the past, and the method seems to change a little bit each time. This post will share how I made the fabric postcard pictured above.

A few disclaimers before I begin:

1) For your convenience I have shared a few links to Amazon to better show the products I used. Please note: if you visit Amazon through my blog and make a purchase, I do earn a small credit. 

2) I have blended information from two fabric postcard tutorials to make my own. Both have some great information. Patchwork Posse has lots of tips and gorgeous examples of fabric postcards in this tutorial. And, I love using the finishing tips shared on this tutorial at Quilted Delights to zigzag stitch around the card.

3) Even with the changes I have made to finish the edges, the card stock is raw along the edge of the zigzag. Next time, I may try finishing the edges following this tutorial at Needled Mom.

4) I am not an expert! I am self-taught through on-line tutorials and trial and error. I am still learning. :)

Items You will need:

1. Decorated fabric for the front of the post card. (I used a colored piece pictured above. In this tutorial, I shared how to piece a crazy quilted front for your postcard.)
2. Rotary Cutter, Ruler & Mat
3. Sewing Machine - helpful, but you could sew by hand.
4. Card Stock 
5. Paper Trimmer (I have this one by Fiskars, but found less expensive options here.) or scissors and ruler.
6. Pellon Peltex 72F Two Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer (Note: The Peltex is 20" wide, so a 6" strip would yield enough for 4 or 5 postcards. 1/3-yard should provide enough for up to 10 postcards. I purchased 2 yards at Jo-Ann Fabric with a 50% off coupon.)
7. Iron/Ironing Board
8. Pen(s) to write the address and message. (If using a fabric back, these should be permanent and fabric safe.)

How to assemble a 4- x 6-inch Postcard:

1. Iron and then cut the front fabric (fully embellished) to measure 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". Leave an extra 1/4" on each side.

2. Create the back of the postcard. 
Note: Using a card stock back will dull the needle on your sewing machine quickly.
a. I created a document in MicroSoft Word. (This is optional. If you want to hand draw the lines on the back, skip to "d" below.)
b. Cut a sheet of card stock to measure 8 1/2" x 11" using a paper trimmer or mark with a ruler and cut with scissors.
c. Put the card stock in your printer and print the postcard document.
d. Cut card stock to 4" x 6" using a paper trimmer or mark with a ruler and cut with scissors.
e. If you are worried about messing up when you write your message on your postcard you can write it at this point. Remember to leave about half an inch at the bottom for postal stickers and 1/4" around the edges where the card stock will be sewn.

3. Cut Peltex to 4" x 6".
4. "Sandwich" the layers. 
a. Place the front fabric face down.
b. Center Peltex on the wrong side of the front fabric.
c. Center the card stock face up on top of the Peltex.

5. Before ironing, carefully pick up the "sandwich" and gently push the edges of the front fabric against the Peltex to make sure it is centered as desired.

6. Fuse the layers according to the Peltex directions. I used the highest setting with no steam for 5 seconds on the back side and then carefully flipped it over and ironed the front fabric to the Peltex (taking care with embellishments like beads.)
Tip: If you wrote on the cardstock, you may wish to put a piece of fabric over the ink to protect your iron and ironing board.

7. Place the "sandwich" front-side-down on your cutting mat. Using a rotary cutter and ruler, trim front fabric to 4" x 6".
8. Trim any loose threads from the edges.
9. Finish the edges of the postcard. 
Hoping the card stock would look better around the edges, I tried something new this time.
a. Using a zigzag stitch, I set the width at 3.5 and the length to 0.3. I like to begin along the bottom edge of the postcard.
b. On the corners, I move slowly. Lifting the foot (with the needle in the postcard), I pivot the card slightly, take another stitch, and repeat this process a few times. When I get to the next side, I take a couple of stitches forward and then zigzag in reverse to the corner to better cover that section and then continue forward to the next corner. 
c. When I get near my starting point, I stop to clip the loose threads on the top and bottom of the postcard from my beginning stitch. (See the threads in the photo above? I do not like them to tangle up in the zigzag stitches.)
d. Following advice from the Quilted Delights Tutorial, without breaking the thread, I lift the needle and change to a straight stitch. Lift the zigzag foot and very carefully, slide the postcard so the inside edge of zigzag is lined up with the needle. Lower the foot and stitch around the postcard, then knot the thread.
e. Clip loose threads.
(The edges of the paper are still a bit raw from the zigzag stitching. Using a fabric back, this was not an issue. However, with a fabric back, the fabric needs to be prewashed and you need to use a permanent pen that will not run when wet. I use a Pigma Micron pen and heat set it with an iron on a dry cotton setting.)

10. Write your message on your postcard. The address should be on the right side and your message on the left. (I divided the center with little glitter-ink hearts.) If you plan to mail it without an envelope, leave the bottom 1/2" blank. Writing there would be covered by the sticker from the post office. (Personally, I have been having fun with some of the glitter pens in this 100-pack of gel pens I purchased on Cyber Monday with an Amazon birthday gift card I had not used.)

11. Your postcard is ready to mail! 

Please note, fabric postcards cost extra to mail. Currently, the surcharge for the US Post Office (USPS) to hand cancel them (as they cannot go through the machine) is $0.21. I purchased a package of 100 A6/A2 plastic envelopes like these to mail my postcards in. With the plastic envelope, these require a letter stamp (instead of a postcard stamp) and a surcharge stamp. (Within the US, that is $0.49 + $0.21= $0.70 at this time.) My post office told me I can put these in the outgoing mailbox (with the proper postage) and they will be sorted to be hand cancelled at the post office.

With February being InCoWriMo (International Correspondence Writing Month), I am having fun with the "snail mail" theme. I have been sharing my outgoing InCoWriMo mail on Instagram - where I also enjoy seeing what everyone else has shared with the InCoWriMo hashtag.

Within the next couple of days, I plan to add a page to my blog that will include a PDF of a postcard back and of the little mailbox drawing in case anyone is interested in using them. (If you do, I'd love to see and feature what you create!)

Tomorrow, I will share some happy mail that brightened my week and I hope to have another tutorial from the "snail mail" panel I colored and embroidered soon.

Thank you for stopping by!


Queeniepatch said...

You are such a good teacher showing in detail how to make these lovely fabric postcards.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

This is a great tutorial. I have procrastinated forever on making these. I have never seen a better tutorial. Thanks for all you share. Thanks for continuing to blog.
xx, Carol

Christine B said...

Great tutorial Renee! The postcards look like a lot of fun to make I will have to add them onto the 'to do' list!! Thank you! Christine x

Tiffstitch said...

Thank you for the tutorial!!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Great tutorial Renee - thank you!

Brigitte said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial, Renee.

Anonymous said...

Ooops, I missed commenting on this one, though I had read through the tutorial and had the thought that it wouldn't be so hard to follow you step by step!

Katie said...

Another great tutorial. Thanks for sharing!