TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quilters Join Crafters in Making Decorative Postcards by Donna Hussain

Transform your fabric scraps into beautiful postcards!

My stash of fabric scraps left over from quilting is taking over the closet of my guest bedroom. Although I try to diminish the scrap piles by using the fabric for accent colors in new quilting projects, my stash continues to grow. Could it be true that scraps stored in a dark warm place multiply?

My friend, Lyn Strauch, who shares my love of quilting, recently introduced me to new creative activity: making decorative postcards from colorful fabrics, buttons, sequins, fancy threads, paint, stamps, trim and assorted doodads to send to friends and loved ones. If addressed and stamped, the US Post Office will deliver the postcards by mail. While a quilt takes months to sew, a decorative card takes only an hour or two to make. We quilters already have most of the needed supplies on hand. Our pleasure is threefold: we enjoy the creative process of making the postcards, we bask in the delight and smiles of those who receive our cards, and we rejoice in finding a use for fabric in our stash.

Several weeks ago my art quilt circle spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon making decorative postcards under Lyn’s guidance. I learned many useful tips from Lyn that I now share with you.

Getting instruction from Lyn Strauch.

Lyn Strauch teaching a class on fabric postcards.

Supplies and Directions

Cut Timtex or Peltex available at fabric stores into 4x6 inch rectangles, postcard size. These stiff products are used for the postcard base. One side of the card is for the mailing address and message. The other side is decorated with fabric and embellishments that are fused, machine sewn, glued, painted, stamped, or hand-stitched to the surface.

All kinds of remnants can be used in a fabric postcard.

The decoration is made by a selection of:
Fabric scraps
Decorative threads
Fabric trim
Found objects

Fusible web products like Wonder Under or Steam a Seam are used to fuse fabric designs to the card. Iron these fusible products to the back side of your chosen fabric before you cut the fabric into desired decorative shapes. Some Peltex products are manufactured with a fusible web surface, but you will still need a fusible web product for layered fabric designs.

CAUTION: Cover the ironing board surface with parchment paper or an appliqué press cloth before you begin to fuse. Without this protection your ironing board cover may be damaged with sticky fusible web scraps. In addition, always place an appliqué press sheet between your iron and the items you are fusing. Without this interface you risk permanent damage to your iron.

Fuse muslin or a light-colored solid fabric to the message-address side of the card. Write the word POSTCARD with a pen along to top edge of the card (a Post Office requirement), then draw a vertical line down the center of the card to separate the left-hand message area from the address area to the right.

Sew borders for your postcards with your sewing machine using the satin stitch, blanket stitch or zigzags. Decorative machine stitching can also be used in the embellishment of your cards.

The post office should have a standard rate for mailing decorative postcards. Unfortunately, the rate seems to vary from one city to another. So take your decorated cards to the post office to check the mailing rate. Flat postcards should need only a postcard stamp. If the card has heavy decorations it may require the stamp rate of a letter. If you have decorated the card with three-dimensional protruding objects, like shells, you will be required to send the card in a padded envelope.

Lyn has a collection of over one hundred fifty decorative postcards that she has made or received from others in postcard swaps. The postcard photos in this article are from her collection. To learn about swap options, type the words Yahoo Groups Postcards in the search window of your computer. You can join a group that interests you by asking to enroll as a member. When a new swap is posted you learn the theme of the swap, for example Purple, Autumn, Triangles, or Warm, and the date your postcards are due. You later have the pleasure of receiving postcards in return from your swapmates. Sounds like fun.

Lyn Strauch with her postcard collection.

For further information on making decorative postcards, I recommend (click on the links to go to Amazon):

Fast, Fun, and Easy Fabric Postcards
by Franki Kohler

Quilt Designs for Postcards
by American School of Needlework

Positively Postcards
by Bonnie Sabel and Louis-Philippe O’Donnell

California quilter, Donna Hussain, has exhibited in major quilt shows around the country, authored books, and is a regular contributor to Fiber Focus. Click on her name to see all of her past articles.

The photo shows Donna with her husband, Pascha.


1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy making and trading postcards and ATC. They are quick and fun, and it is fun to get things in the mail besides bills.


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“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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