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Crafty Cards

 



Too often when one thinks of sewing and embroidery projects, the field of vision is limited to shirts with teddy bears, and fancy pillows. But embroidery is another form of art, one that we can use to add a personal touch.

If Hallmark is to be believed, greeting cards are meant to have that personal touch. After all, when you give someone a card, it's usually for some sort of personal reason. There isn't much of a market for the "Congratulations, Person I've Never Met" cards, or the more rare, "Hi, Who Are You?" Hallmark favorites.

What's great about crafty, embroidered cards is that they're fun, personal, and most of all, unique.

First, gather your materials.

For most of us, "gathering" is not the same as "eating," but when you're a bunny made up mostly of teeth, almost everything is synonymous with "eating."

To make your card, you'll need some cover fabric, sturdy cardstock, nice white or cream writing paper, one fanged bunny, and a swank Urban Threads design. Okay, the bunny isn't actually required, and really not terribly useful, but hilarious all the same.

If your swank design is an applique design, like mine, then you'll need a few swatches of fabric for the applique bits.


When you choose the fabric, make sure you have enough to cover your entire card. Basically, it should be at least as big as your cardstock.

Make sure it's nice and smooth (this may require some ironing). Lay it out on a flat surface, and haul out your favorite pointy implement.


Place your piece of cardstock on top of it and loosely cut around it, leaving a bit of space around the edges.

This may seem a menial task, but the bunny looks quite pleased with himself, and you would too, if you cut it out using your teeth instead of scissors.


Cut a piece of stabilizer (a light to medium cutaway works best) and then find your trusty can of spray fixative.

Most of the time you won't need to spray your fabric and stabilizer together, but this time it's quite necessary, so really go to town on it and give it a nice, generous spray.

You want to make sure all parts of your cloth are smoothly stuck to your stabilizer, not just the part under the hoop. You're going to be using the whole piece of your fabric, so make sure you get all corners and edges, and that there are no lumps and bumps.


Hoop up your material, and make sure that your design is going to face the correct way. Make sure that however you hoop it, there's enough space above the top of your design to fold over to the back of the card.


If you're using an applique design, cut out the little bits of fabric now. If you're going for the rough edge look, you don't need to back them with stabilizer.

If you need a refresher course on the finer points of applique, check out this little project.


Stick the hoop onto the machine and have at it. Mine sewed the applique dielines first, much to bunny's amazement. I popped the fabric bits in the dieline, and then the machine stitched the tackdown. Keep an eye on things while it's sewing -- don't trust bunny to do it for you.


 
 

Once the design is done sewing, take it out of the hoop and introduce it to the iron. Iron out all of those pesky hoop marks so they don't show up on your pretty card when it's done. It's a lot easier than trying to do it later and iron a card, trust me. Paper and heat mix about as well as me and clowns. Which is to say, badly.

If you want to add anything else, like hand stitch sequins or beads or other trinkets, do that now. We'll hide the back of the card next, so the backside of those accents won't show.


Take the ironed fabric and flip it back side up. Take the cardstock and use the sewout in the back to help you place the paper.

Spray the living daylights out of the back of the fabric (stabilizer side) with fixative, and carefully place the cardstock over it, pressing down firmly. Make sure all corners and bumps are stuck together smoothly.


To get a nice, flush edge with your card, snip about a quarter inch in from the edge of your cardstock.

When you're done, you should have a nice, clean card with fabric on one side, and cardstock on the other, stuck together with copious amounts of fixative.

Carefully fold your card in half. To get a nice clean edge, it helps to run over the fold with the edge of a pencil or other hard implement. Be sure not to press too hard and tug at your fabric.


If you want an extra little handmade touch, you can add a few more layers of embellishment. One way of adding a personal embroidery touch is text. You can write up a little note or word in your handwriting and then embroider it yourself. It will be extra personal since it's in your own writing style.

I used some of the fabric left over from the applique pieces and hand stitched a note using contrasting thread.


Since I'm terribly efficient (i.e. lazy), I used my machine to stitch the note. If you want to keep everything neat and coordinated, change the color of your bobbin to match your thread.

Get creative with extras. You can add layers of fabric, buttons, ribbons, anything.


To finish off your card and make sure it stays together nicely, go around the edges with your sewing machine.

If you didn't already, I would highly recommend that you match your bobbin color with your thread. I used the same thread as my design to contrast with the fabric, and went around about three times at varying widths from the edge. You'll have a nice decorative edge, and keep your card and fabric secure.


You can write directly on the cardstock, or if you want to be extra fancy, you can add another page of nice writing paper.

To add to the personal, handmade touch, I found some nice fonts on my computer for inspiration, wrote out my message in pencil, and then bunny finished it over with pen.

Most people don't know it, but fanged bunnies have exceptional penmanship. Well, the bunny claims that, anyway, and you don't question something with that many teeth.

Once you've written it out nicely with your pen, erase your pencil lines.


Cut out your paper to size, and center it on the card. I used a bit of masking tape to keep it in place, and sewed a line over the top edge, about an eight of an inch in, using the same color thread.


 


 
Now you have a beautifully embroidered, handmade card that Hallmark would be insanely jealous of, and anyone you give it to will be wonderfully proud of it. Make thank you cards, party invitations, graduation invites, and birthday cards. With a bit of fabric, cardstock, and some cool designs, you can make not just a card, but a little work of art.

A tasty, tasty work of art.


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