Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No sewing machine neccessary

March 2014
Sheree McKee

You won't always need a sewing machine to create a fabric postcard.  A little hand sewing along with some iron-on fabrics can make for some interesting creations.  

The popularity of fusible webs and stabilizers can make the job quicker and easier. 

I recently made this "Springtime in San Diego" for my swapping friend Sue B., during a vacation in SoCal.  There was no sewing machine to assist me.  

On hand, I had small scissors, thread, beads and Peltex stiffener.  A site seeing trip to the local fabric shop is where I purchased fusible webbing and a couple fat quarters of cotton.  The city scene was my motivating fabric, and all the other colors were planned around it.

In an hours time, I fused the gold swirly sky and green geo grass fabrics directly to the Peltex. Then I fused web to the back of red sun and colorful city fabrics and easily fussy cut around some buildings.

After ironing the sun and city onto background, I knew I would need to secure it somehow.  So I used a feather embroidery hand stitch to make bare spring trees along the left and bottom edges.  Several windows were highlighted with seed and bugle beads.   These layers of thread and beads were intended to hold together the top, and middle layer of postcard.  After the detailed (but quick) embroidery was complete, I fused on a flat backing fabric to reverse side.

Since I didn't have a sewing machine on vacation.  I decided to use larger bugle beads along with a hand sewn blanket stitch to finish the perimeter edges.  All in all, it might have taken a total of 3-4 hours over a couple relaxing days sitting near the pool.

While I don't intend to make many more hand sewn postcards...,  I know it is possible to take a postcard project along on vacation and practice my patience with hand stitching.

ShereeSews in M!ch!gan

stitch by stitchThe Dedicated House

Monday, March 17, 2014

Get Ready to Swap Fabric Postcards

Spring Landscape

Easter Tulip
March 2014
Sheree McKee

So you're thinking of swapping some of your fabric postcards? 

How do you get started?

Here ten basic guidelines 
for becoming a responsible and valued 
swapping partner.

ShereeSews in Michigan

  1. Find a swap group and register properly.  I've listed a few below.
  2. Learn the ropes and rules ~ by reading and understanding the group guidelines and requirements in advance. Some swaps might be one-on-one, others may require swapping with 3-5 partners.
  3. Be responsible ~  that means check-in often and communicate with the whole group and your swap partners!  This is important and helps develop online friendships.
  4. Keep records ~  put deadlines for mailing on your calendar, computer desktop, cell phone reminder list.  I also print out a hard copy of my swaps and keep it visible in my sewing room.
  5. Keep with the current theme ~ creative interpretation is golden, but make sure it fits the theme
  6. Keep the proper postcard size ~  your group will determine it, most often 4"x6"
  7. Sign the back.  A few kind words always make a swap more enjoyable.  Double check the accuracy of address you are mailing to.
  8. Do your best work ~  I always make a few extra fabric postcards (FPC) so I can mail out my best work.  Extras can then be sent to relatives and girlfriends.
  9. Know your postal costs ~  you might be swapping domestically in the USA, or internationally.  Rates differ so visit the USPS.com  Flatter is cheaper, thicker will have specialty shipping costs added. 
  10. Have fun, this simple hobby can become addicting!


    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    On the EDGE (of a fabric postcard)

    March 2014
    Sheree McKee

    Edges! "Just how am I going to finish the edge of my fabric postcards?"  I used to be obsessed with that question.

    Many creative people are content with sewing a satin edge stitch.  But that seemed too simple to me. I always want something different.  And to be honest, I dislike sewing a satin stitch.  To me, the mundane stitch is boring, sews way too slow for me, it seems like an eternity.... watching the machine needle swing left, right, left....

    In the end, I am never pleased with the results.  So I decided to experiment.  I still am experimenting to this day.  I rarely make two postcards in a row, identical.  They might have similar top layers, but often the perimeter will be different on all of them.  That's because when I sew one, I get an idea for another way to to tweak the next edge experiment.

    I even change my postcard backs.  Sometimes I use fabric, often I use card stock.  This also adds some spice to my creations.

    Here are a few ways I've completed fabric postcard edges.  I will continue to update and add to these photos.  Please come back again.

    ShereeSews in Michigan

    baby rick rack

    knotted cords

    fused green binding, couched red cording
    binding wrap

    bobbin work decor stitch
    textured yarn edge

    decor stitch

    overcasted metallic cording

    scallop cardstock back

    overcast medium cording

    ribbon work & pearls overlay

    medium rick rack on top

    large rick rack behind

    all layers scallop cut

    scallop top, over card stock back
    overcast cording
    couched nubby yarns

    sequin strand overlay - hand sewn with whip stitch

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    Tutorial: Sew a Lucky 4 Leaf Clover

    March 2014
    Sheree McKee

    This Lucky 4-leaf clover is 3" tall and can be used to embellish a fabric postcard.  But if you use one, plan on paying a little extra for specialty postage.   It can also be worn as a brooch, or used as a magnet.

    I'm a new blogger, learning the ropes.  This is my first tutorial.  I hope to improve each day!

    Thanks for visiting!     ShereeSews in Michigan

    Use 3/4"  buttons to cover gathers at center

    Finished size - 3" tall and 1/2" thick
    Construction time - 20 minutes

      • Cut Four  - 3" squares of green cotton print fabric for leaves
      • Cut One   - 6" length of rattail cording or flat braid for stem
      • One   - button at least 3/4" diameter to cover middle gathers
      • Small bit of polyester fiberfill stuffing

      Supplies for Lucky 4-leaf Clover

      Four small poufs of fiberfil and a 3/4" button
      Rattail cording or Flat Braid


      • Yo-Yo pre-made ( 1 1/4" fabric yo-yo for backing or additional large button)
      • Pin back or magnet if desired


        • Sewing needle large-eyed, thread, beeswax


        1.  Seal raw ends of cording or braid by melting or glue dip.  Set aside to dry.

        2.  Prepare your threaded needle.  Cut a six foot length of thread.  Fold in half to make three foot.  Feed the fold into eye of needle then balance thread tails.  You now have four threads approximately 18" long.  

        3.  Strengthen thread by running through beeswax or soap several times.  This strength will prevent breakage when gathering all the leaves.

        4.  Fold a petal square on the diagonal.  Put a small ball of poly fiberfill into center fold.

          Finished side view of thickness with fiber fill

          5.  Run a 1/4" basting stitch along the two raw edges of triangle, pivoting at 90 degree corner.  Leave a 4" tail at start.  You will enclose the fiberfill inside this triangular leaf.

          6.  Gently gather the first leaf, shaping it into a slight cup shape.  Do not tie-off or cut threads!

          7.  Continue adding three more leaves onto your running thread by gathering each one and sliding them together.

          8.  Following the 4th leaf, run a stitch through both cord ends of stem, approximately 1/4" from the sealed raw edge.

          9.  Gather all leaves and stem together.  Close the circle using a double square knot to prevent slippage.  Gently re-shape the clover.

          10.  For a neat back, whip-stitch a pre-made yo-yo over center donut hole on back and
          sew a large button over the gathered circle on front side.

            2014 Sewing Fabric Postcards with ShereeSews


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