Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fabric Postcard Tutorial

I admitted in my last post that I got carried away making these small Key West houses. Since I had some extra ones after making my book and based on their size, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to experiment with fabric postcards. In creating these small pieces, first I fused the pieces onto the sky background fabric. Then I backed them with a scrap piece of low loft batting. I then stitched around each of the houses and finally added the house's posts and railings with a small zig zag.

First I trimmed the little house using a piece of parchment paper so that I could see where I was cutting. To make the postcards stiff, I used the stabilizer, Timtex, that was available at the local quilt shop. I then applied fusible web to both sides of the stabilizer. (I prefer to use Pelltex that comes already fusible on both sides to eliminate this step, but it wasn't available.)
For my first postcard I used a piece of fabric for the back and used a Sharpie pen to label it as a postcard.

For the next postcard I decided to try using watercolor paper instead of the fabric for the back. I used a purchased postcard to make sure that the template I was making was "legal" - although I don't really know what legal is. But I thought better safe than sorry. Using my word processing program I prepared a word document to print 2 postcard backs on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper. (Click here for a free downloadable template - Trim to fit your size).

After trimming the one large sheet of watercolor paper (130LB weight) to 8 1/2"x11" sheets, I printed the backs and trimmed them to 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". Then I fused the top, fusible Timtex and the postcard backing and tried different methods of finishing the edges. I used a blanket stitch, a zig-zag stitch and then I also bound the edges. I really preferred the watercolor paper. The postcard was nice and stiff and it was much easier to write on.

Normally, I am not a scrap saver, but there were so many little pieces of fabric that had the fusible on them, I couldn't resist. So I decided to make scrap postcards. To do this, I used a piece of parchment paper, with an outline of the correct postcard size and started layering the pieces, ironed, layered some more, ironed and layered some more until I thought there were very few holes. Just to make sure, I removed it from the parchment paper then fused it to a background fabric. To make sure that none of the little scraps lifted in transit, I covered it with tulle before stitching around the sandwich.The final test was mailing the postcards. My experiment involved sending one of each type to myself to meet me when I arrived home in PA. The PO in Key West charged 64c each and informed me that they had to be hand stamped. Again, the watercolor paper was better in terms of how it took their stamps. The one on the left is the watercolor paper and the one on the right is a fabric backing.Those postcards were waiting for me upon my return in excellent shape. Hooray!
Now that I'm back in Pennsylvania , I really miss those houses and the warm weather.


  1. cool beans! inspiring...would try right now but need to machine quilt my PROJECT! CK


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