13 November 2019


I am working on postcards for the CQA challenge.  Postcards collected will be sold to raise money for the Glenrose Hospital in Edmonton during Quilt Canada 2020.  See details here.  https://canadianquilter.com/quilted-postcard-challenge-2020/

I have been making postcards for years.  I like making small projects that allow me to use up scraps and to try new things.  Now I know there are lots of you tube videos telling us how to make postcards but I my own method which I would like to share.
Guilds may copy and share these for use by their members who are supporting a worthy cause and donating postcards to this, or other, fundraisers.  I will be preparing demonstrations of various techniques over the length of the challenge so check back here.

This is an easy technique. It is a left over piece from a panel.  Add batting, a little quilting and a back layer.  Finish the edges and you are done.

 Making Postcards
CQA challenge requires post cards to be 4x6 or 6x4.  The theme is Inspired by Nature.  Sew a label to the back with  your name, city, quilt name and email address.  There are more details here https://canadianquilter.com/quilted-postcard-challenge-2020/

Post cards are small projects that don’t take much material or time.  Some directions have a long list of requirements but they can be made with scraps and left overs and they are a great place to try new things.

Things to consider
The only rules are the one devised by Canada Post.  To send a post card through the mail at standard letter rate your art work must meet Canada Post’s definition of a post card which can be found here.  https://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/manual/PGletterml-e.asp#1397895  
The traditional size for a postcard is 4x6 inches which is slightly bigger than the minimum size accepted by the post office.

A fabric  post card usually has 3 parts.
Front.  Just about anything goes.  But think about the sorting machines at the post office.  Embellishments should not catch on the machinery. If you use lace or other loose embellishments it would probably be better to mail it in a “Crystal Clear Self-Sealing Bag” or clear envelope (I found some in a dollar store ).
I choose fabric for the front of my postcard, cut it about 5 x 7 inches and mark the 4 x 6 inch lines so my design doesn’t wander off the post card.  I layer this fabric to light or heavy weight iron on interfacing and/or batting depending on what technique I am going to use. 
e.g. a light weight interfacing works well with handstitching.
 a heavy weight one works better for thread play and heavy embellishments.
batting works well with machine quilting.
Some things to consider for the front of your postcard.
A left over block cut to size.
Random scraps of fabric layered onto a fusible web.
Pictures cut out of left over fabric and fused in place.
Doodling with your machine on fabric and colouring in your doodles.
A whole cloth quilt.
Embroidery by hand or machine.
If you are planning on free motion quilting it is easier to layer 2 or 3 fronts on one piece of batting.  They are easier to manipulate under the foot that way.  I think this also applies to thread painting.
Batting layer.  Most books and tutorials about postcards recommend a heavy interfacing e.g. Pelltex, Timtex etc. as the batting layer.  It gives the post card a nice stiffness but is hard to hand stitch through.  I prefer to use a scrap of batting.  I add the stiffening with the backing layer.
Backing.  It should be pale in colour and not allow lines to show through as the message and address must be legible.  I usually add heavy iron on interfacing, card stock or whatever comes to hand to stiffen my post card.  If I have used card stock I will add a fabric layer over it so that a satin stich edge does not tear the card stock.  I baste it is place with regular glue stick before finishing the edges of the postcard.
Finishing.The edge finishing is usually satin stitch, zig zag stitch or a blanket stitch done by machine.  I use a few dabs from a glue stick to hold the backing in place while I trim the card to size and finish the edges.  If you choose to do a zig zag stitch around the edge of your post card try to position the edge in the center of the foot so the zig half of the stitch is on the card and the zag  half is off the card.  I usually sign my post cards with a fine tip pen as small as I can write across the bottom edge of the back with “hand made by Sandra Hamilton”. 

I usually ask for my postcard to be hand cancelled at the post office.  It leads to some interesting conversations that may include other postal workers and the customer in line behind you.

© Sandra Hamilton

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