Friday, December 17, 2010

Tutorial for Fabric Christmas Cards

Disclaimers:  (1) I'm not big into measuring or exactness, so if you want exact patterns or dimensions, I'm not your girl.  (3) I'm also sort of low-tech, so if you have fancy machines that do some of this this stuff - go for it. (3) I made this up as I went along.  There's improvisation involved, don't stress!

Supplies -  Materials
Fabric - collect up a good selection of holiday fabrics.  Focus on solids or small prints, something that's readable when cut into small pieces.
Fusible web -  I'm a Misty Fuse Girl, but there are many choices out there.
Blank Cards - I used A2 size,  because when folded these are equal to 1/4 of a standard sheet of paper.
Plain Cardstock - buy an inexpensive ream at an office supply store,  it has many uses.
Decorations - sequins, ribbon, trim, glitter, anything that sparkles and can be glued down.
Markers - gold and silver are fun - pick something that will show up on your chosen cards.
Freezer Paper - another essential material for SO many reasons!
Glue - for your decorations.  Something that dries clear.

Supplies - Equipment
Rotary cutter, paper cutter, or Exacto knife.
Cutting Board
Iron and Ironing board
Sewing machine - fun embroidery stitches helpful, but not essential
Teflon pressing sheet  - I have seen others recommend using parchment paper - whatever it takes to not get fusable on your ironing board.  It's harder than you think.  Betcha mess up at least once!

Overview of the Process
1.  Cover card stock with fabric.
2.  cut out designs and fuse to the covered card fronts.
3.  Embellish the design as desired, including decorative stitching.
4. Adhere the finished card front to a blank card.
5. Write your message inside.
6. Stuff the envelopes and send.

Detailed Instructions
1.  Start thinking of some simple shapes you want to cut out and apply to the cards.

2.  While you're thinking, start preparing some fuse-backed fabric.  I cut the pieces of fabric based on the size of the webbing, leaving a half inch clear zone to protect my iron. If I'd planned ahead I might have sized it to efficiently cut out the card fronts.   You will need enough material to cover your chosen number of card fronts, as well as enough to cut out your shapes and embellishments.

3.  Prepare the bases for the card front by cutting pieces of card stock into 1/4s.

After my first prototype I decided to trim down these 1/4s by an 1/8th of an inch or so, in order to have a bit of the card boarder showing.

4.  Select the fabrics you will use for your background and cut out pieces that are about 1/2" bigger each way (1/4" all around) than your cards.

Fuse the fabric to the cards:
    a.  Place fabric face down on the ironing board.
    b.  Center a card front on it.

    c.  Cover this with your pressing sheet.
    d.  Lightly press to adhere.
    e.  Clip the corners to reduce bulk.
    f.  Cover again and re-warm.
    g.  While it's still warm (but not TOO warm - OUCH!) finger press the edges over the back.

    h.  Carefully iron the edges down so you don't get fuse on your iron.

    i.  Card fronts are all ready for the fun part!

5.  Prepare and cut out your shapes.   I chose a tree, a stocking, a Christmas ball (ornament) and a star.  You also might want to try fussy-cutting some motifs from holiday fabrics, or just free-hand cutting - whatever strikes your fancy.  To make your own shapes with a pattern:
    a.  Draw out your shapes by hand or with your computer.  I used a drawing program to be sure my tree   was symmetrical but I sketched the stocking by hand.

  b.   Cut out 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of freezer paper.

   c.   Print or photocopy your designs onto the freezer paper. They feed nicely through my inkjet printer.
   d.  Roughly cut out the stencils with some border around them.
   e.  Iron them onto the right side of a piece of fused fabric (be SURE your pressing sheet is underneath.
   f.  Cut out the shapes with the paper still on them.

   g. Peel off the paper stencil - you can use it several times before it looses stickiness.
   h.  Your shapes are ready to iron onto your card fronts.

A round quilt stencil with an added knob was an easy shape to cut out.

6.  Go to it!  Arrange your shapes on the card fronts, add your embellishments, go crazy!
These used glitter glue, gold fabric, and stickers.
(I later pulled off the candy stickers, they looked too artificial).

A star cut out of gold fabric, tiny ornament stickers, some gold glitter glue
for the "ground," and decorative embroidery stitches for a border are the
embellishments I used to "finish" my Christmas trees.
7.  Use fabric or white glue to fasten your card fronts to the purchased blank cards, then use markers to write a personal message.

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