Monday, April 06, 2009

Seasonal Diversion

I've spent the last few days working on these Easter Postcards. I must admit I was partly inspired by the book Positively Postcards by Sabel & O'Donnell. I picked it up from the library on a whim, and was soon captivated by it. I particularly like it because, unlike so many books, it has some good basic and specific information about how to approach making fabric postcards instead of general instructions and then patterns to copy. To illustrate the various approaches, the book is chocked full of beautiful examples, each with a brief description of how they were made. These many examples alone would make the book worth owning and gave me some good ideas of things I might try.

The one in the upper right is the simplest, just using a piece of novelty print that is quilted around the main motifs. I added one of the frame designs from the book to make it a little more interesting, cutting it from another fabric from that line and fusing it down and satin stitching the inner edge. I cut it large enough to turn to the back and glue in place, like I did on my first year of journal quilts. Although I liked not having the satin stitching around the outside, I didn't like messing with the glue and the resulting lumps on the corners so will probably not do this again.

The one below it is a simple stacking method to build up borders without actually piecing them. Each fabric is cut slightly smaller than the base one, and while the book instructs you to use fusible web to hold the layers together, I just layered them with the batting and did a basting stitch around the edge of the smallest one to hold them in place until I could satin stitch around the raw edges. I also quilted around the rabbits in the center fabric.

The other two were just experiments with piecing different shapes together to get my 4 x 6 size, then adding applique, quilting and in the case of the top one, machine embroidery stitches.

Breakthrough! I had a small epiphany prior to finishing the edges of these last three. You may recall that I have been less than happy with the results of my satin stitched edges. One of the reasons I picked up the book was in the hopes it could tell me something new that would solve the problems I've been having with stray threads poking out and needing to be trimmed or inked into submission. Unfortunately, the author went along with everyone else, accepting the fact that there would always be threads to trim and spaces to ink. Well, that's just unacceptable to me, which is one of the reasons I tried the method of turning fabric over the edge in the first postcard.

I resigned myself to struggling once more with an edge I wasn't happy with, and in fact, quit early on the day I made these, because I just couldn't face that last step. Better to take a break and think it over. That turned out to be a good move, because in the meantime it dawned on me that I could probably solve my problem of poking threads by applying Fray Block by June Tailor around the edges of the postcards. This product goes on as a liquid and dries to a clear plastic that locks in threads. It is similar to Fray Check by Dritz but it dries softer and more flexible. I was both surprised that I had not thought of it sooner, and apparently neither had anyone else offering instructions for satin stitching edges of small quilts and postcards. I suppose if you've never sewn clothing or used a serger you might not know about this product. May I recommend that you immediately add it to your arsenal of of quilting supplies? Because it absolutely solved my problems with getting a clean satin stitched edge. The extra stability along the edge of the fabric made turning corners easier and seemed to make the satin stitching stay in line - few gaps to ink and no loose threads to trim!


Chris said...

TSK! Fray Check! As soon as you said it, I too thought, how could this not occurred to me. I am really still a beginner at any kind of alternative binding, and I've avoided a satin stitch because it just wasn't coming out the way i would hope. This tip will have to help.

RHONDA said...

With the one that you turned to the back...have you thought of lacing it (as you would with an embroidery), and then glueing a piece of coloured card on the back? Would that work for you? Just a thought...

Oh... And the cards are very cute!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Chris, I too haven't tried very many alternative edge finishes, and those I have tried I've been less than happy with, or they seemed to take too much time and effort. I hope the fray check trick works for you.

Rhonda, no, I hadn't thought about gluing a card to the back. The only time I used card stock, I stitched around the outside, and didn't like stitching through the card plus couldn't use a tight satin stitch. I can see where this might work. What kind of glue would you suggest? Thanks for the idea.