Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sewing Green

March 7, 2017
Sheree McKee


Display fabric postcards

๐Ÿ€ Green Green Green... the color is fresh and cheerful.  It's also the welcoming spring hue of St. Patricks day.

I like to display my collection of swapped fabric postcards (FPC) during holidays.  They have replaced traditional holiday decorations in my kitchen.

Display fabric postcards

๐Ÿ€March in Michigan still feels like winter without any leaves on the trees plus cold weather

This window has a north exposure.  Since the postcard backs face outward, and they only display for about 10 days, I really don't worry about any fading from sunlight.

Display fabric postcards

๐Ÿ€ One of my favorite holidays is St. Patricks Day.  I try to join postcard swaps during this time of year, just to increase my collection of Green fiber postcards!


๐Ÿ’šRecently, I completed these green postcards for an upcoming March swap.

They are dimensional pinwheels, inspired from a blog by Teresa Down Under called Sewn Up: 41 Fabric Manipulations

If you look closely, you will see a gemstone on each one.

Here is the link to Origami Pinwheels by Teresa Block #22

prairie points at sewfabsew.blogspot.com

๐Ÿ’š This postcard contains 5 different prairie points.  It was an impromptu throw-together, without any planning.  Just a sew as-you-go project.  But I am happy with the results.

Threads for couching and bobbin-work

Speaking of green, let's talk about a few "green things" you might want to try on your postcard projects.

Knit-Cro-Sheen by JP Coats works nicely for "Couching" and "BobbinWork" techniques.  It is a size 10, cotton crochet thread that comes in solid or variegated colors.

This multi-tonal green has many uses and is one of my favorites to work with.

Pearl Cotton by DMC is another great alternative with a beautiful pearl finish.


I have zig-zagged over stands of crochet thread to add surface texture on past fabric postcards.   I've also couched several strands at a time, using a specialty presser foot, along the outer edges of my postcards. This makes a unique looking edge.

  1. While these threads are too thick to use in a machine needle, you can hand-wrap a bobbin with them.  
  2. Then loosen your bobbin case screw to allow an easy thread flow.  
  3. Now you can stitch on the wrong side of your project to create some "Bobbin-Work" techniques.  
  4. With bobbin-work it's best to use airy, loose-style decorative stitches to prevent knotting.  
  5. Select a longer stitch length and a tighter top tension to draw the heavy threads upward .  
  6. Test a stitch sample to get the feel and look you want, for best results.

Trim for embellishment


Or spelled Ric-Rac, is a craft braid trim that's flat, usually polyester and used for sewing and crafting.  This trim comes pre-packaged or by-the-yard.  It can add a whimsical addition to your FPC.  Some crafters and seamstresses prefer the vintage cotton versions when working with vintage fabrics.

  •   Baby 1/4" width
  •   Medium 1/2" width
  •   Jumbo 5/8" width


Attached to Rick Rack Blog

How to Sew with Rick Rack: The Most Terrific of Trims

How to Sew RickRack to your Quilt like an Expert

Fusing Rickrack Tutorial



Buttons and flat embellishments are the perfect compliment to a fiber postcard.  But their thickness can add to the cost of shipping if your envelope is more than 1/8" in thickness.  

When I create highly embellished postcards, I usually ship them inside envelopes to protect the surface.  Sometimes I add a single layer of bubble wrap over top. And I automatically plan on using two-ounce postage rates.

Fine pewter buttons made by treasurecast.com
Celtic Sisters Knot

Heart celtic buttons by treasurecast.com


Here are some beautiful Celtic Buttons created in fine pewter by Treasure Cast of Boise, Idaho.  

These USA made, pewter buttons have shanks to either sew on, or clip the shanks off with a wire cutter and glue the buttons in place with some E-6000 adhesive.

A handmade, St. Patricks Day postcard would make a nice surprise to send to your friends!

Pull out all your green fabrics and notions to stitch up your creation!

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Past Blog Posts that you might enjoy!

Irish Postcards

Marker Art


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Surface Dimension for your Fiber Postcards

February 2017
Sheree McKee

Do you appreciate texture and dimension in your textile projects?  I do, and I often think about methods to add surface design to my postcard creations.  These Fabric Postcards (FPC) were fun to make using an Origami technique for folding and manipulating cotton fabric into flowers.

Image 1 Valentine Purple
Petals are in 12-3-6-9 o'clock positions
and flattened then secured into the  binding seams.
Folded Flower block was set at top half of postcard
allowing a bottom black band

Image 2 Coffee Canisters
Petals were left free in this example

While the construction looks like four individual flower petals, similar to Kanshashi.... they aren't.  Instead, I used a single 9" square of fabric folded down to create the flower medallion.  These are constructed into the fabric postcard, not simply added on top.

My inspiration came from a blog called Sewn Up by TeresaDownUnder.  She has a tutorial section on her blog called "41 Fabric Manipulations" and it is enjoyable!  Her site is full of dimensional quilt blocks and tutorials on folding, pressing and stitching methods.  I used her Block #20: Origami Flower.

I don't want to re-invent the wheel so I suggest you review and practice by watching her tutorial video a couple times.  Then come back for methods to turn your Origami flower into a FPC.  Here is the helpful You-Tube Video on Block #20 by Teresa.

TeresaDownUnder starts with a 10.5" fabric square in her tutorial, but it is too large for our postcards.  After testing, I eventually reduced my starting fabric square down to 8 1/2" for the sake of fitting onto a standard 4"x6" postcard.  However, I suggest that you learn the technique, by starting with a folded sample made from the demonstrated 10.5" size.  Perfect it first, then move down to the more challenging 8 1/2" fabric square.

Image 3
Left is made from 10.5" starting fabric square which yields a 5x7" postcard
Right is made from a 9" starting fabric square which yields a 4 1/4" x 6 1/4" postcard
These petals were rolled under and stitched to secure in place
Image 4 - Side profile shows dimension

Several different flower petal styles depend on whether you: 
  • Leave the petal edges free  (see Image 2)
  • Roll the petals under and secure stitch  (see Image 6)
  • Flatten and secure into edge bindings  (see Image 1)

Rotate the folded Origami square so the petals lay either:
  • Square to the postcard edges (see Image 1)
  • Diagonal to the poscard edges (see Image 5)

Image 5 Valentine Red
Petals in the 1-5-7-11 o'clock position by rotating the
flower block and the petal tips are kept free.
Flower block centered on FPC with two rows
of grosgrain ribbon on each side of it

Image 6 Valentine Black
I rolled each petal edge under then secure stitched in place

Changes I made that differ from the video:
  • I reduced starting fabric square to 8.5" in order to yield a 4"x6" finished size
  • I fused tiny pieces of webbing inside each petal point (see image 6)
  • Sometimes I tear my squares to keep on grain, but you could use a rotary cutter

Image 7
Fuse down eight points with small
amount of fusible webbing to secure points

Construction Steps:

1. Press and make a folded flower from 8 1/2" fabric square
2. Fuse webbing inside eight petal points (4 points x 2 sides)
3. Open flaps and secure middle of flower with a sewn button
Step 1

4. Cut a 4 x 6 piece of stiff stabilizer - I use Peltex 70
5. Decide where you want your flower located on stabilizer (centered vs. top or bottom)
6. Pin it in place

Step 4 testing a square layout
Step 4 alternate diagonal layout

7. Sew flat grosgrain ribbon to hold flower in place on the stabilizer or
8. Stitch and flip coordinating fabrics to secure it to the stabilizer

Step 8 diagonal setting
Step 8 diagonal setting

Step 8 squared setting

Step 8 squared setting with flower at top position of postcard

9. Trim excess fabrics then topstitch around perimeter

Step 9 trimmed to 4"x6" before topstitching perimeter
Keep petals out of the way

10. Prepare a postcard backing and fuse it backside

Step 10

11. Decide an edging method (satin stitch, decorative stitch, binding)

Decorative Stitched Edge

Partial Binding

12. Gently shape flower petals by pushing petal upward and tips downward

Image 8
For a Coffee Themed Swap
at PostcardMailArt on Yahoo Groups
Image 9
For a Coffee Themed Swap

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Thanks for stopping by!

Another of my Blog Posts you might enjoy:

Writing on the back of your Fabric Postcards

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fabric Landscapes in Winter Whites (Postcards)

Fabric Landscapes in Winter Whites (Postcards)

February 2017
Sheree McKee

Almost evening takes on shades of purple

The shades of winter here in the Great Lakes area, can be just as pretty as any other season.  While many people think of winter as dreary, there are other opinions of this icy time of year.

Winter can be fresh and pure, or dark and gray.  But witness a sunny winter day, and the sparkle is unbelievable!

These fabric postcards (FPC) are a swap between myself, and two members of PostCardMailArt Yahoo Group, Meena Schaldenbrand of Michigan and MaryLou Curry in Ontario, Canada.

Meena created a lovely layered scene.  The third layer is a satin jacquard, the second layer is a punched pine tree scene, the top layer is fine tulle.  All together the postcard is delicate and beautiful, as well as unique.

by Meena Schaldenbrand

MaryLou loves handwork and crewel embroidery.  She used a napped wool-like background to create her landscape in horizontal layout.  She crewel embroidered the hills and pine trees.  Then using a specialty metallic thread she added in twinkling snowflakes.
by MaryLou Curry

I decided to use a vertical layout for my landscapes below.  All of my work is by sewing machine.  I used decorative machine stitching to outline the birds and hills.  The tiny stars are glued in place (still fresh in this photo).  I also used feathers in different shades to represent pine trees.  Each feather was cut to shape.  My last layer of snow is a piece of cotton quilt batting.  Several of the fabrics have sparkle or metallic threads, but the photos do not show it well.

by Sheree McKee for MaryLou

by Sheree McKee version 2

Ideas for getting started with your fabric choices ~

Colors:  Whites and Creams, Grays and muted Blues,  shades of grayed Violets

Textures: Lofty batting, or napped fleece / wools for snow.  Sparkly organza or metallics for ice.

Prints:  Swirls can represent clouds or wind, Speckles and Dots resemble snowfall,  Striations for barren fields or tree bark

#1  Select 3-4 landscape fabrics, fuse webbing
to backsides then cut approx. 2"x7" each.
Prepare a Stabilizer sized 5"x7"

#2  Trim the non-sky fabrics on one side into hills
I added the white dot on right and eventually
eliminated the darkest purple

#3  Layout your fabrics in a test run on top
of your stabilizer.  I originally had five colors.

#4  I decided to eliminate the darkest purple,
rearranged, then used only four landscape fabric choices

#5  Cut away about half of your strips  

#6  All layers fused and stitched with different thread
colors.  I created the branches at bottom with
bobbin work, using heavy pearl cotton in my bobbin.

#7  The final postcard is trimmed to 6"wide by 4"tall.
This is the reverse side, before fusing a final
cotton backing fabric - a solid violet color.

#8  To complete, I stitched along outer edges but used
a feather stitch in bottom 2/3 and a straight stitch
along the skyline area.

Web articles on fabric landscapes:
Nancy Zieman: How to Design Winter Landscapes

Kathy McNeil: Choosing Fabrics - Landscapes (Video)

You might also like my previous blog article: 

Radius Shaped Edges on Fabric Postcards