No Sew Fabric Postcards

I started making fabric postcards years ago because I didn’t have the sewing chops or time to make bed-sized quilts. Postcards are my way to make very small-scale art quilts with the added wonder that they’re mail-able! Click here to see my 2012 blog post about my fabric postcards. I had been collecting vintage postcards since I was a kid, and once I began to print my own photos and designs onto fabric it was a small hop to sew them into mixed-media fiber postcard form. Here’s an example, my self-portrait photo that I printed on cotton, then adorned with a bit of gauzy fabric and stitching around the design.

Fabric Postcard

Here’s another, my photo of an egret flying with random stitching around the design lines.

Egret soaring fabric postcard

For these fabric postcards I adhere the front to thick stabilizer and then add a backing. I designed this back by scanning the back of an old postcard in my collection, cleaning it up in Photoshop Elements, and adding my name and website.

Fabric postcard back

I print this back onto fabric and then sew the front/stabilizer/back together and edge the sandwich with a satin or zigzag stitch.

These mini-quilt postcards are so much fun to make – but I recently came up with a much quicker no-sew version. I use the same design for the back, but instead of printing onto fabric I print it onto paper cardstock. The front is fabric – I print a few of my postcard-sized designs onto a sheet of pre-treated cotton, then cut each out and run through my Xyron machine to back them with permanent adhesive.

Fabric postcards

You don’t have to use a Xyron, you can use glue or double-sided tape, or spray with adhesive. Then I bond them to the cardstock backs, using a bone folder to make sure they’re well-adhered so the edges won’t come apart during their trip through the mail.

Fabric postcards

I just checked with my local post office, and they said the normal postcard rate would apply: that’s .34 for delivery in the US and $1.15 internationally. Since the postcard rate in the US applies to cards up to 6 by 4.25 inches if you want to make them larger just use the current first-class letter rate, which is now .49.

Anna's hummingbird fabric postcard

Interested in learning how to make the mini-quilt type of fabric postcards? Click here to see a free preview of my online class on CraftArtEdu, “Fabulous Fabric Postcards.”

Want to learn how to print your own fabric? Click here to find out more my ebook, Inkjet Printing on Fabric.

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Evolon cuff bracelet. Part 2: Printing and sewing

Last week I told you about the Evolon cuff bracelet I made using my blended digital photo collage. This was the file:

Julia butterfly cuff sheet

And this is what came out of the printer:

Cuff print

You might be shocked at the difference, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. When you print on an untreated surface, as opposed to one treated to optimize inkjet printing, you’ll see major differences – the colors aren’t as saturated, and they may even shift, and the resolution (line sharpness) isn’t as good. Think of the difference when you print a photo on untreated computer printer paper, compared to one you print on good quality photo paper.

The untreated Evolon turned out better than I expected. The colors were definitely muted, and the lines were not as sharp as the original. In contrast though, I’ve found printing on untreated Lutradur much inferior to the results I get when I treat it with Digital Ground or inkAID. On untreated Lutradur, the colors are vastly reduced in saturation and the resolution is extremely poor. I’ve also found that the ink on untreated Lutradur remains wet for quite a while, so it will smear if you need to use the print right away.

Anyway, I thought that the way the print turned out would be fine for my purposes. I cut out one of the cuffs, and as I handled it I was happy to find that the ink didn’t smear at all. I cut out two more pieces of fabric, one for the center, a stiffish beige patterned print from a home decor book that I bought at Scrap-SF (yay upcycling!), and a piece of black velvet for the back. I decided to leave all of the edges unfinished, isn’t the shabby chic look much easier, not having to bother with seam allowances and such? I did a zigzag stitch to tack the print to the beige fabric.

Evolon cuff bracelet

From my collection of buttons (mostly courtesy of my mom and estate sales), I picked a flat mother-of-pearl, and stitched thick elastic between the fabrics to attach to the button. I used two different kinds of lace around the edges, one was flat vintage lace from a garage sale, and the other some newer curly lace.

Cuff bracelet lace I stitched two different kinds of pearls and some gold-toned beads to parts of the cuff. These are small flat pearls.

Cuff bracelet pearlsAnd these are round pearls and the beads.

Cuff detail

After I finished all of the construction and adornment, I stitched the black velvet to the back, for that rich luxurious feeling only velvet has.

Evolon cuff braceletI was sad to have to send the bracelet off, and now I’m really glad I printed the second piece and I’m heading down to the studio to make another one!

Stay tuned for my further experiments with Evolon, I’m really inspired by this wonderful material.

Evolon cuff bracelet. Part 1: The design

I’ve been itching to use Evolon® since I first heard of it years ago. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easily available in the United States. So I jumped when I had the chance to participate in a challenge to create a project with it.

First, what in the world is Evolon? The manufacturer, Freudenberg Nonwovens, describes it as “a unique microfilament fabric combining very good textile and mechanical properties. Like traditional microfiber, it is soft, drapable and light, but it is also at the same time very strong.”

It comes in two weights: Regular and Soft. For the call-out I got a 20 by 36 inch sheet of the Regular. It feels divine, with a rich, soft suede-like texture. Like Lutradur, it doesn’t tear or fray, making it much easier to use for many art and craft projects than paper or woven fabric.

I wanted to make something that took advantage of the strengths of Evolon, and I love making jewelry with unusual surfaces, so I decided to try my hand at creating an Evolon cuff bracelet. I designed the cuff by making a blended digital collage with my photograph of a Julia Butterfly and my photos of the face of an old stopwatch and a fragment of an old metal measuring device. This is the butterfly image, which will be the focal point of the design, and below it are the two other images:

Julia butterfly on zinnia

Watch and measure digital collageI started out by opening a 3 by 8 inch blank canvas on Photoshop Elements. I dragged the butterfly image onto the blank canvas and resized it to show most of the wings. I then dragged the other two photos onto the canvas and adjusted their placement and opacity. You can see the separate layers on the palette at the bottom right of this screenshot.

design with layersI erased some portions of the watch layer, including the hands, because I thought they interfered with the design. The layer now looks like this:

Screen shot stop watchHere’s the layer of the fragment of the old measuring device. It’s a very small portion of the collage, but I liked the symmetry of the numerals with the numbers on the watch.

Screen shot digital collageI’m printing a letter-sized sheet of Evolon, so I opened a new blank canvas and placed the finished collage onto it. I also duplicated and flipped the collage so I could make two cuffs, and added a smaller version at the bottom to fill the sheet.

Julia butterfly cuff sheet

In my next blog post I’ll tell you about printing, assembling, and sewing the bracelet.

Oh, okay – George thinks I shouldn’t make you wait to see the finished cuff bracelet, so here it is!

Evolon cuff bracelet

Have you ever heard of Evolon? Have you ever used it? I’d love to hear what you’re doing with it, if so. If you’re in the US, I believe the only place to buy it without paying international shipping charges is through Meinke Toy’s website. They also sell Lutradur and other wonderful fiber art supplies, and are very helpful.

CraftEdu goes live!

Finally – after months of working on classes, taking photographs, writing scripts, narrating, annotating, editing, polishing …  CraftEdu goes live in beta today! I’m so honored to be part of this wonderful group of talented teachers, artists and crafters.  We’re a diverse group, with something for everyone: lots of jewelry artists of all stripes (Donna Kato, the polymer queen, is our fearless leader), but you can also find classes on digital art, fiber and textiles, encaustic, rubber stamping, mixed media, and much more!   Click here to visit CraftEdu.

I have two free classes up: Inkjet Inks, What You Need to Know for Your Arts & Crafts; and Introduction to Lutradur.   I also have two on demand classes up so far: Inkjet Printing on Fabric and Inkjet Printing on Lutradur. I’m busy working on more.  Join my group to ask questions, share ideas, or get information!

CraftEdu