Since my diagnosis with a brain tumour in May 2016, I have inexplicably rediscovered my love for all things stationery: stickers, journals, cards, office supplies, planners, etc. Before I knew it, I bought a hot glue gun and bedazzled a ginormous number of paper clips!
In late August, shortly after my (very successful) brain surgery that eradicated Tommy Tumour completely, I watched Daisy Martin’s video about a group she set up on Facebook called Travelling Mail. Martin is a multi-faceted YouTuber (see her blog My Green Cow for more information on planning, smashbooking, and her other artistic ventures). I had enjoyed her creative journaling and unboxing videos for a few months prior to surgery, and I was thrilled to find out about the opportunity to participate in Travelling Mail.
What is Travelling Mail?
The premise of Travelling Mail is simple, fun, and well-suited to those of us who love snail mail. (You remember that, don’t you? An actual human being brings letters and parcels to your house! Wowzers!!) You prepare a postcard and post a message on the Travelling Mail Facebook page. The first person to respond then private messages their address to you, and you send that person the postcard to sign and send on to another person in the group. When the postcard is full, the last person to sign sends it back to you, its “owner”. You now have a great memento of its journey around the world. You can also prepare and send travelling notebooks. There is a little extra work involved with receiving notebooks. Before sending them off, you fill out four pages of it with anything from information about yourself and your life to doodles to recipes to favourite quotes. For me, the postcards have been more suitable to my recovery, and I’ve received mail from people in locations as diverse as Sweden, India, Wales, Turkey, America, Ireland, France, Australia, England, and the Philippines. I’ve started a few postcards and notebooks too, including a few I handcrafted like this fabric postcard.
The design was inspired by the contents of the October 2016 Brimbles Box, a monthly stationery subscription featuring the work of mixed media artist, and self-described “planner nerd, stationery addict, art journaler, bookworm, and tea lover!”, Anna Brim (visit her blog here). Her whimsical art makes you feel happy and smiley, and that month’s box had an autumnal theme that featured woodland animals. (You can see an example of her artwork to the right of my name. It’s a sticker version of her adorable woodland fox!) I immediately grabbed this square of fabric from my stash, added two borders to it, made it into a fabric postcard, and sent it on its way to travel the world! After three weeks and two days, The Crafty Academic was back in the sewing saddle, and it felt great. (I did have to lay down after only 45 minutes—What can I say? They had cracked my head open like a walnut!) Llinos, one of the members of the Travelling Mail group, asked me how I made the postcard so I’ve created the following tutorial to inspire you to make your own!
The Crafty Academic’s Fabric Postcards
Although I’m calling these “postcards”, they are actually one-sided notecards. If you are using them for Travelling Mail, they need to be free of any address and postage to make sure there is plenty of room for people to sign them! And, they are just too stinkin’ pretty to try putting through the post!
What you need
All measurements below are based on the size of a C6 envelope, which measures 6.5in x 4.5in (16.5cm x 11.5cm). Feel free to decrease or increase measurements depending on envelope size.
* Fabric (7.5in x 5.5in / 19cm x 14cm)
* Medium to heavyweight interfacing (6in x 4in / 10cm x 15cm)
* Sewing machine
* Rotary cutter, or scissors
* Self-healing cutting mat (if using rotary cutter)
* Wonder clips or binder clips (or anything else you have in your stash to hold the layers together)
* Cardstock or scrapbook paper (5.75in x 3.75in / 14cm x 9.5cm)
* Corner rounder (optional)
* Glue (I used UHU, but any kind of craft or fabric glue will work, and regular school glue could be used in a pinch)
* Envelope (Size C6: 6.5in x 4.5in / 16.5cm x 11.5cm)
* Embellishments such as rhinestones (optional)
NOTE: I found that light interfacing resulted in less precise mitred corners, but use what you have in your stash and see how it works before you rush out to buy something.
What you do
Place the fabric pretty side down on your work surface and set the interfacing on top. Centre the interfacing on the fabric. Fold each corner of the fabric back (as shown above), forming a 45-degree angle, and clip in place. Once you finish all four corners, fold each side of the fabric to the back of the card, clipping securing as you go. When you finish, you should have something that looks like this:
Ready! Set! Sew!
Take the postcard to your machine and sew a 1/8-inch seam allowance around all edges. Anchor your starting and stopping stitches by backstitching over the first three or four stitches. Or, if your machine has one, use its “Fix” feature, which ties a knot to secure your sewing before the first stitch and after the last. When finished, your card should look something like the one below.
Take it back to your work surface and apply the cardstock to the back of the postcard using your glue of choice. Be careful with the amount of glue you use. Using too much results in spots on the front of the card even after the glue has dried (not pretty!). Guess how I know: personal experience!
When the glue has dried, your card is finished. Want to jazz it up a little more? Add some embellishments like rhinestones (visible in the card on the lower right of the photos below). You can also rework the measurements to make fabric greeting cards like those shown. Please share your work with me using the social media links on this page.
One last thing. Don’t have access to a sewing machine? Let me know in the comments if you’d like a follow-up “no-sew” tutorial! And most importantly, have fun!