Monday, September 19, 2011

Fabric Postcard and Binding Tutorial

This tutorial has been updated and can be found here:

I've had several requests to explain how I bind my fabric postcards.  So I'm finally getting around to posting a tutorial of my process.

You really aren't going to believe how simple this is!

But first, you need your postcard front design, a layer of stiff sew-in Peltex, a light to medium weight regular fusible interfacing and a backing to write your message on.

Step 1:  Create your postcard front design  This ice cream cone is paper pieced.  When I raw edge applique a design, I use Wonder Under for fusing the pieces together.  Lay your design on the Peltex.  Pressing them together helps keep the layers together while you top stitch on your design through the Peltex.

Now do ALL your stitching before you add the backing.

I use a paper backing because I really do mail my postcards and I like that it's easier to write on paper.  I also like the security of knowing the stamp will remain on the postcard.  However, you certainly can use fabric as your backing.
I use Post Card rubber stamps on my backings.  You can  also just use a marker and write "Post Card" or print the words on your printer. The backing can even be left blank. It's totally a personal preference.  Then I fuse the wrong side of the paper with a piece of interfacing.  This insures that your paper backing will not fall off after satin stitching the binding.  (The sewing perforates the paper)

Now lightly glue stick around the outside edges of your backing just enough to stick it to your completed card top., wrong sides together.  Edge stitch close to the edge just to keep the layers together while you add the binding.  (You don’t see that in the photo because I didn’t use to do that.  But have since learned it is very helpful to keep your design from bubbling while gluing the binding on.)

Choose your binding fabric and cut a 3/4" strip long enough for all four sides of your card.  Press this strip in half lengthwise.

 I usually cut the short lengths first, then the longer lengths after the short lengths are attached.

With a glue stick, run glue along the edge of the paper side or back side of the card.  Be careful not to get the glue out farther than the binding will cover.  It's just to hold the binding in place until it is sewn down.

Place the glued paper side down on one half of the binding.  Repeat for the other short side.

On the front of your card, run glue along the edge being careful not to extend the glue farther than the binding will cover.  Fold over the binding to the front and press it into the glue.

Cut binding lengths for the long edges and repeat the glue process first gluing to the back and then to the front.

When all the edges have binding glued on, just run the iron over both sides lightly to melt any little glue globs that might have happened.  I know you're thinking this is going to gum up your needle...nope!...your needle will not have a clue that it was anywhere near glue.

Now we're ready to stitch that binding down permanent.  With a straight stitch, back tack to just off the edge.  Then stitch forward just to the inside edge of the binding. 


Change your stitch to a zigzag.  You'll have to find the best satin stitch length for your machine.  I set my machine for a width of 3 and just a smidge longer than my preset satin stitch.

This now is the reason to fuse interfacing to the back of the paper backing.  The satin stitch will perforate the paper.  The interfacing assures you that your backing will still remain connected to the card.

Satin stitch all the way across to where the binding meets again.  Straight stitch to the edge, back tack to the satin stitch, turn your card, repeating the stitching for the first three sides.

When I get to the last edge, I pull my starting thread tails across the binding so that they will get stitched into the satin stitching.

When I get to the end, I sew several tiny straight stitches along the inside of the satin stitching to finish the sewing.

Keep the raw edges at the corners from fraying by adding a tiny bit of fray check along the edge.  Not too much, mind you.

If the satin stitched binding edges leave little frays sticking out, trim them close.

WhaLa...all done!

You can view all my fabric postcards displayed as a set in my Flickr photostream here 

Lots of people like to just satin stitch the raw edges of their layers together.  I like the way the binding and contrasting satin stitch frame the little art work within.  I'll be happy to answer any questions you may still have.

Good mail day to you,


carol said...

Well, I'm sure glad I know that, now! I often wondered how you did that. Now I know! Thank you! They look so much more "finished" the way you do them rather than just zig-zagging around the whole edge. I bet you get lots of copiers now from this tut! (Like me!)

Sparky said...

Holy smacking ice cream on my lips...I have never done a binding using my sewing machine...and glue..well aren't you just filled with surprises..i like this a lot...but then I have a postcard of yours and I adore IT ....

Anonymous said...

Nice, nice, nice! Such cuteness! Thanks for the tutorial!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tutorial. Question: when you stated that you made a template for the paper backing that states "postcard" did you provide this on your site as a download? I'm sure I have misunderstood your statement. Anyhow, thanks for sharing!
Brenda :)

edyB said...

This is the best tut ever for this type of binding for a fabric postcard! You've given me the info I need to make my first one for the fabric postcard swap.
Your postcards are wonderful ... Thanks for giving us a peek.
Happy Stitching!

Annie said...

Brenda - No, it isn't a download. You can make that yourself very easily...cut three 4" X 6" papers, write, rubber stamp or print from your printer the word Postcard, draw the lines, glue them all to a full sheet of paper then you can photocopy them that way.

Patricia B Studio said...

I am with Carol...I am a "COPIER".. I love this.. Thank you bunches....and bunches... I have two little cards ready for edges...You will have to wait and see what I do...

Anonymous said...

Thank you! that looks so fun I'll have to give it a try.

leanne said...

Hi Annie - I just saw your button (the Mehitabel Dell doll) on Madame Samm's blog Sew We Quilt and got a shock at seeing her after all these years - I thought the link may take me to something to do with elinor peace bailey ! but here I am :) have you made the mehitable dell doll as well - I made her years ago and was lucky enough to have elinor actually paint her face :)

Truffle queen said...

WOW - I was going to put on binding as if it was a quilt! I've always just done satin stitch on the edge - this is so much nicer! I've also always used fabric on the backing and it's such a pain to write on with Pigma pens! Paper! Yes!! Thanks a bunch for the tut!!

Lesley said...

What a great tutorial! A postcard will definitely be on my "to do' list. Your tutorial is exellent!

Bonnie In Michigan said...

A great tutorial. I was wondering how you did it. Glad I kept poking on things and ended up here.

chrissie said...

These are just amazing-a real inspiration to try something different.

Love Chrissie xx

ShereeSews said...

Wow! Talk about a fabulous blog and some fabulous fabric postcards! You are sew talented.

I also have a new blog on sewing postcards, I'm learning to blog, but I'd rather spend my time sewing!

Thanks - Sheree in Michigan

CrazyCatLady said...

Hello there.... I love the cat postcard -- do you by chance have a pattern for that one?

Unknown said...

I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.


Judy Cooper Textile Artist said...

This is a great way to finish the postcard.Thanks for posting.