Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fabric Postcard Tutorial

As requested, here is my version of a fabric postcard tutorial.  This is my very first tutorial so if you have any suggestions for improvement, or see any errors, please let me know.

Fabric postcards are made of three layers: the top (which is the art work), the middle, and the back.  They are very similar to quilts in this manner, just stiffer and smaller. This tutorial shows how to make a fall themed postcard, but these same concepts can be used to create any themed postcard.

*Out of peltex, or similar stiff stabilizer, cut a 4 x 6 inch rectangle.  
         This is your blank canvas.
*Out of your base fabric, cut a 4 x 6 inch rectangle.
*Using a green leafy fabric, cut a 2 x 6 inch rectangle.
*Using a light brown fabric, cut a 1.5 x 5 inch rectangle.
*Using Scraps, cut out three leaf designs.  
          For this postcard I used my Sizzix die cutter to cut out my leaves.  
*Out of muslin, cut a 4 x 6 inch rectangle.  This piece is for the back of the card.

Cut enough Wonder Under, or other similar fusing material, to fuse on the back of all your fabric pieces.
Iron them onto the back of your fabric.  I like to cut my wonder under the exact size as my pieces and then iron them on.  It helps keep the iron and the ironing board cleaner.

If you are going to use a die cutting machine to cut your leaves, it is best to iron the wonder under on the back before you cut out the shape.  It will save time by elimnating the trimming of the wonder under, and will help prevent getting sticky stuff on your iron.

Peel off the paper from the wonder under on the base fabric and the green leafy fabric.

Iron the base fabric onto the peltex.

Center the green strip of fabric on the base fabric and  iron on.

Using thread to match, add some decorative stitching to cover the raw edges of the green fabric strip.

I used a close zig zag stitch.
The width was set at 3.6
The length was set at .6

Peel off the paper from the wonder under on the light brown rectangle fabric and center it on top of the green leafy strip of fabric.  Iron it down.

Change your thread color and add some decorative stitching to cover the raw edges of this strip, just as you did for the first green strip.

I used the same zig zag stitch as above.

Place your three leaves how ever you like on the center of the light brown strip.  Once you have them where you like them,  iron them in place.
Since these leaves are too small for me to zig zag stitch around or use a blanket stitch, I decided to do some freehand stitching on top of them to make sure they stay on the card.  Wonder Under usually keeps things in place, but I like that extra security, plus the stitching looks good.  Put your feed dogs down, and "draw" some veins on your leaves with your sewing machine needle and thread.  I used two different threads for this. For the orange leaf I used a light brown thread and the other leaves I used an orange thread.

For extra flair, I did some free hand quilting on the outer edge of the base fabric.  This space is a good place to practice free hand quilting designs.

I didn't add any extra embellishments for this card, but If you wanted to add items such as beads or buttons to the card, this would be the time to do it.

We are almost finished. The hardest part, decorating the front, is complete.  But now we need to cover the back of the postcard to hide all our stitches.  Peel the paper off the wonder under and iron the muslin to the back of the postcard.

Trim off all the loose threads, fabric sticking out, or other fly aways.

 You can use your rotary cutter and ruler for this or a pair of sharp scissors.  I prefer to use scissors.  In the past when using a rotary cutter I have cut the peltex slightly and then my card gets all wonky instead of being a true rectangle.  It is these little things that make a fabric postcard look wonderful even if you only spent 30 min on it.

This step may seem super easy, but it is very important for a smooth edged card.

Choose a thread to accent the postcard
and set your zig zag stitch to:
Width = 3.6
Length = .4

Zig Zag stitch around all the edges of the card.  When doing this, you want your needle to only enter the fabric on the zig, but not the zag.  Take a look at the photo. When the needle comes down on the right, it is not catching any part of the card. It is resting right beside it.  If you master this technique, your card will have a nice clean edge.

For the corners, gradually turn the card as you enter the turn.  This helps give you nice smooth corners.

Add another round of zig zag stitching, with a stitch width of .2 to get a very dense filled in edging.

This photo shows my finished second round.

I don't like to clip my threads on a zig zag stitch.  If I do they keep wanting to pull out from both sides and I don't like getting the fabric glue out to keep them in place. So to prevent this, without breaking the thread, I change to a straight stitch and stitch just on the inside of the zig zag stitch all the way around the card.  At the end I tack the stitches and then clip the threads.  This extra stitching also adds a nice touch to the finished card.

Using a pen that can write clearly and legibly on the muslin, I usually use an Ultra Fine Tip permanent marker, write the words "Post Card" on the back.

 Address the card and put a stamp on it.

Flip the card over and admire it.

Don't forget to take a photo of it and then drop it in the mail.


  1. Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial. It's great -- very easy to understand and follow.

  2. What a great tutorial! The photos really helped me, especially since I have no idea what a "peltex" looks like until now. I just bought some stiff stablizer recently, I'll try to make a fabric postcard soon! Thanks for sharing...!

  3. AWESOME tutorial!!! Well done.

    I have had a few of my readers asking for a tutorial on fabric postcards...look at all the time you saved me LOL I will send them your way as I am certain that I could NOT have shown it any better

  4. Wonderful tutorial! I have been wanting to make postcards to send to our troops for Christmas and other holidays. They can be sent to an address found on the website to be sent with others rather than having to find someone to send it to on your own. I like your tutorial best for making fabric postcards. Thanks!

  5. I think these postcards are beautiful! Unfortunately, I don't have a sewing machine so I think it would be a bit difficult by hand. :-) I will say that your fabrics are just magnificent!
    And you explained it very well. Keep crafting!

  6. Wonderful job on the tutorial. Thanks for doing one! You did a great job!

    I am trying to convince my quilting group, The Blockheads, to make postcards. If we do maybe we could set up an exchange with you and some of your friends?

  7. Great tutorial Leah. Inspirational. This definitely goes into my list of favorites.


  8. Wonderful tutorial. Have you ever had trouble with the stamp not staying adhered during mailing?

  9. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments. You have inspired me to make another tutorial one of these days.

    Linda, I have never had any trouble with stamps falling off. I just press down very hard when I put on the stamp and they always stay on. And all the cards I have ever received always have their stamp attached. :)

  10. Well, Rita and I needed this monday because I couldn't find my notes from when you did the program at Swamp Fox. But I will print this and put it in my Fabric Post Card File.

    The ones R and I made are at the end of my latest blog.

    I want a sizzix now!

  11. Good one Leah, very clear and precise, unlike mine!!!!! How are things with you, are you still doing the Yahoo group?

  12. Great tutorial! I do fabric postcards for my Christmas cards every year :-D

  13. What a fun craft. It seems like you would get the satisfaction of completing a quilt - in miniature! It's new to me and I may just have to try one. Your tutorial is very clear. Thanks.

  14. I enjoyed your tutorial it was very nicely presented and I would like to link your site on my blog related to fabric postcards... thanks for sharing... ShereeSews in Michigan

  15. Some how I missed this??? Glad I found it now!! [smiling]
    Great tut too....Thank You