Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Prep for Fabric Postcards

August 2015
Sheree McKee

10 steps to Prep

  1. Sew in short sessions, sometimes over several days 
  2. Make multiples at a time 
  3. Fuse front base fabrics to stiffener or stabilizer filler ahead of time
  4. Layer or build the front theme design
  5. Embellish front with FLAT fibers and trims
  6. Apply backing by fusing or sewing
  7. Add final dimensional items to fronts 
  8. Trim to size 4"x6"
  9. Overcast edges or add wrapped borders
  10. Sign and label back, add postage and address

That's what works best for me, 30-45 minutes is easy to squeeze into most hectic schedules.  I am a morning person, sometimes sewing at 4:30 am before the birds are singing!

I seem to have a sewing construction order that works for me.  Since most of my swaps will trade two to four fabric postcards, I tend to make three at a time.  If I like the end results, then I'll make a few more.

I try to keep several fabric strips cut and ready for upcoming projects by tearing them into 5" wide strips, crosswise.  I also prepare full-width cuts of stabilizer approximately 5" wide.  Sometimes I take a random 30-45 minutes to select fabric, cut, fuse and cool it, knowing I will sew it on another future date.
Yellow template is 4"x6" size
I like the 20" width of Peltex 71F stabilizer.  The Peltex has a one-sided, rough fusible texture.  I use a protective non-stick mat underneath the Peltex, to protect my ironing surface and I use a cotton press cloth on top of my theme fabric.
My favorite stiffener or filler
TIP:   Always allow the fused layers to cool before removing them from the ironing board.  If you remove the steamed stabilizer too early, or allow it to bend then you can set an unwanted curve or distortion into it.

After cooling, cut into three temporary sections approximately 5" x 6 1/2" as seen below.

Making Multiples

4.  LAYER OR BUILD the front theme design with additional pieced or appliqued fabrics.   
TIP:  Since I often machine stitch through these add-on layers of fabric, I try to use a white bobbin thread.  This will minimize any show-through thread stitches on the backside when the backing is added.  Most fabric postcard backs are muslin or a light-colored solid fabric to emphasis hand written text.  Using dark bobbin threads can interfere with the readability.
5.  EMBELLISH FRONT with FLAT fibers and trims 
Too much dimension can hinder the ability to fuse your backing on
6.  APPLY BACKING by fusing or sewing

7.  ADD DIMENSIONAL items to fronts such as buttons, charms, thick cording
I try to keep dimensional objects at least 3/8"-1/2" away from edges.  This allows my presser feet plenty of space to overcast outer edges in the final stages.
8.  TRIM all four sides to  4"x 6" 
Most often I use a rotary cutter, and I'm very fond of the scallop wheel shape!
9.  OVERCAST EDGES or add wrapped borders

10.  SIGN, DATE, STAMP, ADDRESS the back 
Use special fabric markers or fine point Sharpies or Micron pens
Identi-pen at Dharma Trading


Monday, August 3, 2015

Scrap Happy

August 2015
Sheree McKee

Scrap Happy!  

I treasure my leftover scraps from making fiber postcards.  I save them in three ways: Fabric with Fusible, Fabric attached to Stabilizer, Scrap-ola

A.  Fabrics with Fusible

Fabrics with fusible already bonded to their reverse side, are ready-to-go.  They can speed up your next project because it's as simple as cutting a shape and fusing it within your postcard design.

After each postcard project, I carefully inspect my leftover pieces by looking for the shiney fusible layer, and I keep the pieces with paper backing on their reverse side.  

These can be small or large scraps, but I save the best of them.  I like to store them in a  gallon size zip-lock bag for easy viewing, shaking, and sorting.  

With fusible attached, these are perfect for fussy-cutting

B.  Fabrics attached to Stabilizer

There was a time when I used to toss away the leftover fabrics attached to stiffeners.  I never imagined I could use these thick scraps for anything worthwhile.  Most of them tended to be narrow, stiff sliver shapes.  But I was wrong!  

Fabrics attached to stabilizers, can add a dimensional layer to your postcard projects.  Imagine layering them as a post on a birdhouse design, a branch on a tree, or cutting out modern geometric shapes.  The ideas are endless!

You can fuse them down, or use your favorite decorative stitches to attach each piece. 

I have even bridge-stitched them together using decorative machine stitches to adjoin the pieces side-by-side.  This makes a whole new patchwork postcard, ready for attaching additional embellishments!

Thin slivers can be adjoined to make enough for a whole postcard

C.  Scrap-ola

That's what I call my scraps.  I think we all save our fabric fragments.  But what size is a true scrap?  Of course, that's a personal decision! 

If my leftover fabric piece is larger than 10"x10" I fold it back into the main yardage and store it away with my fabric collection.  

But if it falls into my definition of SCRAP-OLA (under 10"x10") I like to tuck them into color-coordinated, recycled tissue boxes.

It sure makes great sense, to recycle and repurpose both the pretty tissue boxes and the fabric scrap-ola!

I match my scraps to the color of the box!
This crate holds two layers of stacked scrap-ola boxes
Scrap-ola on its journey to a new postcard!

My final postcard made from recycled Scrap-ola