Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quilted Postcards

I have been making quilted postcards for a little while. I had seen some at my local quilt shop, and I was surprised that they would actually go through the mail, but so far I have had no trouble at all with them. I have made these for all kinds of occasions, including sending thank you cards to handlers and judges when we have had nice wins in the conformation ring.

I am way late on making my Father's Day cards for my brother and nephew, but thought I would go ahead and use this opportunity to make a little how-to post for those who have asked how to make them.

As I said, they go beautifully through the mail - here are the requirements:
  • They should measure 4 x 6 inches.
  • The word "Postcard" must be on the card.
  • Requires first class (not postcard) postage.

Here are the supplies:

In Microsoft Publisher, I have made a template where I can print off two postcards on a sheet of cardstock. My templates are 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches in order to give me some trim room. Sometimes I will go ahead and address and type in the message, as I did today, other times I will address and write the message by hand.

For the picture on the card, I use paper-backed cloth which is available at hobby and sewing shops. The fabric comes in different colors and textures. I recently found some very sheer fabric where you can see the underlying fabric through it - I want to try a project with that someday.

I generally cut 3.5 X 5 pieces of the paper-backed fabric and run them through my photo printer. However, if I am going to be making several postcards, I will just put several photos on the same page and run the entire sheet through the printer and trim afterwards. This paper-backed fabric is not cheap, so I try to make the most economical use of it.

For the background, I cut a 4.5 x 6.5 piece of fabric (today using scraps of Amy Butler fabric I had left over from a little quilt I made). Also cut same size pieces of batting. I like to use the thin but dense all cotton batting.

I also use a spray temporary adhesive to hold everything together as I sew. This stuff is also unbelievably expensive. So - I always use my 40% coupons at Hobby Lobby to buy it.

Speaking of cutting, this is my very favorite tool lately - and I found it at Wal Mart. It is a rotary cutter made by Fiskars and it is attached to big ruler. I am the world's worst at cutting a straight line, so this little tool is a wonderful thing. My mother used to say that she could tear a straighter line than I could cut.

Here's everything cut and ready to go.

First, spray adhesive on the batting and lay the fabric on top. Be careful when spraying - if you are not careful, everything around you will be sticky.

Peel the paper backing off the photo.

Spray the photo and attach to the fabric. Now you have a sandwich of batting, fabric, and photo.

Sew the photo to the fabric. I like to use a decorative stitch and basically applique the picture. Note that I am using a walking foot - this keeps the layers of the "sandwich" together better. The walking foot pulls the fabric from the top while your machine is pulling the fabric through from the bottom. I use this anytime batting is involved! I bought this foot at a fabric store - it's a off-brand but alot cheaper than the foot sold by my machine manufacturer and it has worked just fine.

Here it is after sewing. I like to use variegated thread too - this thread is yellow and pink.

This is what it looks like from the back. Now I spray this and attach it to the postcard.

Now the sandwich has a cardstock layer.

Sew again, this time using a straight stitch, a quarter inch from the edge, all the way around.

Finally, I use pinking shears to give it an interesting edge. Pinking also tends to obscure any little sewing boo-boos.
The finished cards, front and back.
One last tip - when I mail these, I always take them to the post office and ask the clerk to hand cancel them. I read this tip somewhere online when I was first trying to find out how to make them. I have never sent them through the mail without being hand cancelled, so I can't say for sure that this is a must-do.
Let me know if you give this a try! I'll be happy to send you my Publisher template if you would like to use it.


Dawn said...

I like your postcards! And you gave such good directions we may just have to try some.

Cathe Holden said...

That's CRAZY!! How cool are you for making these postcards?! I absolutely love when artists think outside the box like this.

I see you had them hand cancelled, did they arrive in good condition?

Also, glad to see you're doing the blogger ornament exchange! Me too!