I'm sure someone guessed that my solution for the vintage embroidery would have been postcards! I am so pleased with the way the cards turned out and that I can now share Grandma Dove's embroidery with my Mom and brothers. Here's how I made them.
This is what I started with. The embroidery was done by my Grandmother in the early 1930's. It started life as a pillow cover and then it was framed for 20+ years. Last week it fell off the wall and the frame shattered. The linen is too fragile to invest in having the piece cleaned and re-framed. Mom and I agreed that we could toss it out and then I had this idea.
You can see in this photo how fragile the fabric is and that some of the embroidery is coming undone. I wasn't about to get involved in embroidery repair but I could stabilize it.
You know I love Mistyfuse and it came to the rescue once again. I like that it doesn't add any additional stiffness to the fabric so I can fuse with multiple layers. I thought the fabric was too close to sheer to fuse directly to the postcard interfacing so I first fused the whole embroidery piece to a piece of muslin and then I added a layer of Misty fuse to the muslin (for later fusing to the postcard interfacing.)
Then I played around with the postcard interfacing to see how I could cut them to maximize using the embroidery.
Here's what I came up with.
Where I had seams I decided not to stitch a seam but to butt the cut edges together. I stitched the edges down and then covered the seam with ric rac. You can see from the finished photos that I added ric rac to some of the other cards too.
For the back of the cards I stayed with the vintage theme and found this old sugar sack in my stash.
Here's the back of all of the cards. The print is light enough that black ink for addressing shows up just fine. I know that because Mom got her card with no problems.
Because of the fragile nature of the embroidery I broke my rule with these cards and will mail them in clear envelopes. This is the one I sent to Mom for her birthday.
The best part is that this is all that's left to be tossed out!
I finished the rainbow scrappy blocks and, of course, there were scraps left so I got some postcard interfacing and started piecing some of the scraps onto the postcards. I didn't do much cutting. I used the scraps as I found them.
The top two here started with the centers that were already pieced. The bottom was was just a bit of insanity.
I think that these are my favorites. Isn't it cool what you can make with trash?
I had a lot of birthdays in May and our Airbnb traffic has picked up. Since both audiences get fabric postcards I wen't through my last stockpile pretty quickly. I only had 2 left and lots of Airbnb guests coming up. I had to get buys and make some new cards.
I've been thinking about a fireworks theme for a long time but couldn't figure out how I wanted to execute it. Working on my little mandala quilt last month gave me the idea to get these done.
I've written up a tutorial if you want to make some for yourself. You can find it under the Tutorials tab above or just click here.
I worked through a few prototypes testing threads and technique. I decided that even the rejects looked good enough to keep.
Seeing as these are made from garbage I think they turned out pretty cute! Here's a little background on how these cards came about. First you have to start back on April 7 when I was pondering cards from 2 piles of fabric trash. Go ahead, check that out and I'll wait for you here.
I ended that day with 2 possible designs and I liked the rainbow city best but wanted a different sky.
I pulled some of my "waste" fabric from dyeing the Blue Sky Gradient and fused that to my card base as a starting point. I decided how deep I wanted my river and drew a pencil line. They I started arranging the buildings making sure that the bottom of the buildings went below the drawn line. I don't know why I stitched them with parallel line but it was easy and I liked the way it looked. Every postcard has one pointy building because I had a lot of little bits with triangle points.
Next I fused some dark blue fabric with Mistyfuse and then cut strips to fuse to the cards. I stitched through all layers with horizontal parallel lines making the lines closer together at the city edge. I really love Mistyfuse for my postcards because it doesn't add any bulk or stickiness. The hard it is for the needle to get through the layers the more likely you are to have problems sewing with some of the specialty threads.
This is Superior Glitter thread and it can certainly be persnickety, hence the Mistyfuse. I have at least 14 (out of 24) colors in this line and I love the holographic sparkle that it adds. I use it a lot on postcards and this blue is probably the color I use most often.
After I finished that I fused backs on to the cards and then stitched around the edges. I did the water part in dark blue and the top part in light blue.
Look at that perfect sky match! Remember my Thread Confessions? This is one of the acrylic threads that I bough YEARS ago at a deep discount. This particular cone had never been opened until this week. What would I have done without that absolutely perfect match?
This is why we have thread (and fabric) collections. They are absolutely necessary.
I stitch my postcard edges with a zig zag stitch set at 4.0 wide and .2 length. For these I put the same thread in the top and bobbin.
I did not let my 2 sample cards go to waste either. I finished both off. One is in the mail to a friend for a birthday card and the other will go to our Airbnb guest arriving tomorrow. Counting these 2 I made a total of 13 cards.
The postage stamp quilt is packed away until next month and I'm back to working on things at home.
Remember this pile of stuff that should have been tossed in the trash?
And then I made this? I liked it OK but it's really kind of a nothingburger. Just a ho hum use of scraps.
Well turn it upside down and put a sailboat on it and now we have something! In fact, I have 8 of these somethings. How about that perfectly thread matched edging? I've got a little confession about that for Thursday, The sailboat is dark navy. I first tried black but it was way to stark. The blue made a big difference...that doesn't really show in photos. Can you tell that I'm ready for the family beach trip?
Over the next few days I'll show you where I'm heading with some of these projects I'm working on. Today and tomorrow I'm at sewing days with Country School Quilters so I'll catch you up on that golden oldie UFO on Monday. Today we'll check in on the postcard pile.
But first, a funny story. I've decided that I "need" a wet saw for my glass work. One day this week I was running errands so decided to stop by Harbor Freight, Home Depot and Lowe's to start getting educated. I couldn't even get acknowledged at Harbor Freight, at Home Depot the saws are on a high shelf so having the "out" to look at is kind of useless but I did get some "help". I was asking the guy on each saw where the water comes from. I wanted to know exactly where the water hits the blade. He pointed to a spot and told me that the water came from there directly on the blade....so apparently the laser light doubles as a water spout! The guy at Lowe's actually did know what he was talking about. I'm very excited to get a saw soon! Of course the blades cost as much as the saw. Glass cutting blades are incredibly expensive.
So back to the postcards. Here's what I'm working with. These are the cut offs from the fabric for the wedding quilt that Mom is piecing. There are slivers and some chunks that are about 7" long and between 2 and 4" wide. A smart person would have tossed all those strings out but, hey by this point you are not surprised that I can't do that.
No big surprise (nor a creative leap) that I went right for a horizon image. Of course this could go either way up. I kind of like it but it needs something else for sure and I don't know what that is yet.
Some of the bits are wider so I thought of a possible cityscape. I do like this but I don't have a lot of yellow fabric. I do have tons of purple bits in 4 shades so I might try this with purple buildings on a yellow background because I have plenty of the bigger yellow chunks.
Then I remembered that I had some bits from the rainbow quilt that are too small to sew together and tried out a rainbow city. The black is leftover from the rainbow quilt too. This has some serious possibility but I do not like the purple sky for this.
I tend to like to work on these in the evenings after dinner (or supper in the South) so maybe I'll have an update soon. I do need to get something together because there are a lot of birthdays in the next few months and I give one to each of our Airbnb guests so I go through them at a pretty fast pace.
One of my friends finish her last chemo treatment last week.I thought she needed fireworks to celebrate.
I made the starburst from the new Quilt Highlights thread that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I love the way I can draw it up into sort of a ric rac effect. The green that I bought will be great for leaf vines.
I was making such good progress on the postcards that I finished them yesterday between football games.
I used 2 different tree silhouette patterns and 3 different backgrounds.
I felt like the edges needed to be as solid as the trees. In other words, not a stitched edge. I cut 1/2 inch strips of fused fabric and wrapped it around the edges fusing it in place. This wasn't particularly easy but I like how it looks. After the edges were fused and trimmed I topstitched all the way around to make sure it stayed in place.
I made a dozen of these cards simply because that's how many trees I was able to cut from my black fabric. I'll use them for birthday cards and cards for our Airbnb guests so they won't last long.
If you want to see how these were made check out yesterday's post.
I made it all day yesterday without a nap. That's a major milestone and it's good because I'm teaching all day today at The Longarm Network and it would be nice not to need a nap there. Wonder what they would think if I brought a yoga mat and rolled it out in the floor for an afternoon nap like when I was in 1st grade?
I thought about starting to mark my mandala fabric today but I felt that it needed more math ability than I was capable of. So it seemed logical to start something else....some postcards. I need some new ones for guests and birthday cards. While roaming the web over the past week I found a new quilt made by Rachel Derstine and thought the technique would be great for new postcards. With her permission I moved on to start making a much simpler postcard version. First step was to draw some tree designs.
I drew some 4 x 6 squares on scrap paper and drafted some ideas. These 2 were rejects.
These 2 passed muster. Now I needed to transfer the design to my fused fabric. Since these are on regular paper I quickly found out that tracing around them wasn't going to work well.
I remembered that I had some ink pads and, surprisingly, they are still working! Stamping over the tree shapes gave me a perfect outline for cutting them out. I have a fat quarter of the black fabric and will get 12 trees cut out of it. This is a project that I'll work on while watching TV this weekend.
I'm using some of my "waste fabrics" for the background. These aren't fused yet. I just wanted to see how they will look. I'll finish cutting out trees before I start putting them all together.
I have been making and sending Christmas postcards for a long time. I didn't keep great records but I know which ones I've made since 2007 and I have enough left over for 2 more years. 2008 is totally missing from this photo. I called Mom and the earliest one she has was from 2006 so I'll assume that's when I started. I didn't make as many in the early years as I make now but I'd guess that I've made over 650 of them.
This is the first time I've actually pulled them all out to see them together. Some are better than others. I started making postcards to learn some new techniques and design principles and I'd say that I've accomplished that goal. I have 2 big bins full of cards that I've received in various trade groups that I've participated in.
Last year, for the first time, making the cards was a chore. The ideas didn't come easily and I felt rushed. I almost stopped making them but decided to give it one more year. This year the ideas came quickly, the making was fun and I've received more feedback from the recipients than ever before. People have sent me photos of how they display them and sent me lots of messages about how much them love them.
I suppose I won't stop. Plus sometimes I get cards in return! Here are the cards that I have that are displayed on my fireplace mantle for Christmas.
After I took this photo I found even more!
I think I need to figure out another way to display them. I know from receiving these how much people like receiving them so I'll keep it up and start thinking of designs for 2017!
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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