Friday, November 07, 2008

Postcards Done

I finished up some detail stuff on the postcards today so they are all done. I'll back track to where I left off, starting with the moon one above. I'd read that you could use paper instead of cloth for the back of postcards, so on this one I tried using index card weight card stock. Below, I'm ready to fuse it to rectangle of Decor Bond. That's a board covered with foil that I'm doing the fusing on. It's a trick I learned from my Baltimore Album applique days. The foil reflects the heat back and the hard surface assures a good bond.

I added some echo quilting to the sky portion of the card, then lined up the decor bond backings on the two parts of the postcard and fused them together. This is why my applique was attached to the non-fusible side of the Decor Bond, so that I wouldn't have to add more fusible web to secure the two parts together. More on the fusing process below.

I squared the piece up to 4 x 6 inches, then contemplated edge finish. Because of the paper, I didn't want to do a satin stitch, and I couldn't manage couching a decorative thread on the edge. So I just used a zigzag stitch that wasn't too wide or tight just to keep the edges together and from fraying too much. What I didn't take into account was that the decor bond center would show on the edge - glaringly white against my dark picture. I tried inking it but that didn't really solve the problem, so I ended up gluing the decorative thread I couldn't couch to the sides. I used G-S Hypo Fabric Cement which is an epoxy suitable for porous to porous adhesion (fabric, textiles, yarn and appliques are just a few of the items listed on the box) and which has a "precision applicator" for detail work. I had other glue on hand that I knew would work but which I also knew would be pretty messy to apply to such a narrow surface. The needle applicator was almost too precise though - I had some trouble getting enough to come out in a continuous line, and then speed is of the essence since it dries quickly. I managed to get my perle cotton shot with silver attached and it makes the perfect accent around the edge. I just wish those zigzag stitches weren't there. Click on the picture to see better what I'm talking about.

Now back to my landscape trio. These I added fabric backs to - unbleached muslin fused to decor bond. I could have done one big piece, then sub-cut after fusing, but when I searched through my muslin, I didn't have a strip long enough from my scraps and I didn't want to cut into a big piece. Each postcard back got fused on separately.

When fusing front to back, I covered the postcard with a Teflon pressing sheet to protect it and the stitching. Then I flipped it over, covered it again with the pressing sheet and applied the iron once more to make sure I had a strong bond.

Here's the squaring up.

I tried several different ways of doing the satin stitching around the edge. The first one got this treatment of a loose zigzag stitch followed by a satin stitch. But the coverage with these two passes was not the best. The next one I tried tightening up both rounds a bit, but I was still getting some gaps. The last one got two full passes of the satin stitch which gave the proper coverage, but it takes a long time and eats up so much thread. I'd already determined I didn't like doing the satin-stitched edges when I tried it on journal quilts, so why did I go back to it here? I guess I just keep thinking I'll find the magic combination that will make me like it - after all, so many use this method. Binding something this small seems like a real pain, but maybe I'll try that if I make more.

The final step was to glue some birch bark as trunks onto the fronts. I'd snagged some bark from a tree by the river that was shedding and wanted to incorporate it in these postcards meant as a memory of the weekend. Thus the glue tests I ran the other day. I tried several white glue types but they needed long drying times and buckled both the bark and the fabric. But good old Beacon Fabri-tac did the trick. I had some trouble spreading it and getting it out to the edges, so I'm not sure how durable the edges will be over time. But for now, the bark bends without splitting where the glue adheres it to the fabric. Yes, I know I could capture it all under tulle, but I didn't have any on hand, nor did I want to cover the whole piece in it. Maybe on another project I'll give it a try.

And here is my inspiration picture of the Columbia Gorge taken by Sherrie Spangler, and my completed postcards. Were they worth the effort? Not 100 percent sure. Plus, I'm not sure I'm comfortable mailing them what with that birch bark and that glued-on trim. They may end up going into envelopes for protection. I did really like using the Decor Bond for stability. The two layers fused together were perfect and it is easy to sew through, even two layers worth. It makes the card slightly less thick than Timtex would - with a feel more like an actual postcard.


Miss 376 said...

The postcards are beautiful

Fran├žoise said...

Your postcards are beautiful. And so much work went into them.
I always find the most difficult part in a postcard is finishing the edges nicely.

quiltcrazygal said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful postcards. I have been looking at your blog and it has inspired me so much. I have recognized you with an award for a new blog I found on my page. Please stop by if you are interested. Again thank you for sharing your outstanding work! Jenna Louise

Scrappy Cat said...

Your postcards are so beautiful! I think putting them in an envelope would be the safest way to mail them - that's what I'd do. You could mail one to me as a test! :)

Seriously, I really love them. I know finishing the edges can be a pain - I usually do two passes of satin stitch. It is slow, but it gives a nice look. You could also try coloring the edges with a permanent marker before stitching - then you wouldn't see the white edges if you didn't want a really close satin stitch.

I like the decorative thread glued to the edge of the first one - I think you do still need the zig zag to keep the edges from fraying.

Anne Wigfull said...

Well worth doing! I don't know if there is a UK equivalent to Decorbond. I like a fusible buckram which is thin and as stiff as card.And if you cut any wadding you might be using just a tad smaller than the front, the buckram and the backing if used you don't get the show through on the edges. I don't understand though, why you you couldn't couch on the edging?

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. Scrappy Cat - thank you in particular for giving me permission to mail them in envelopes - I was feeling like such a wuss for not wanting to subject them "naked" to the US postal system. However, some day I'd like to give it a try with a different kind of fabric postcard. Send me your address via my personal e-mail and I may take you up on your offer of being a test subject! ;-)

Ann, thanks for your suggestions - I'm going to research the buckram. As for why I couldn't couch the thread - it was mostly a matter of feeling like I was all thumbs and not being able to hold it against the side of the card while positioning the card under the presser foot properly and getting the swing of the zigzag right. The only thing I could manage was couching it on top of the card, not what I was looking to do. It might have been easier if the thread was thicker. More experimentation needed!