Mixed Media Postcards

The new sewing machine has enchanted me. While I’ve made some spectacular mistakes that involve picking chewed-up thread bits out of the machine with a vacuum cleaner and buying a special pair of teensy scissors to reach into crevices and cut out thread, the machine is easy to use. Particularly if you use it for what it was intended to do–sew cloth.

I’ve been working on combining fabric and paper to make some postcards for the Japanese kids left without homes after the earthquake in Japan. You can help, too, the address is at the bottom of this post. But first, the postcards.

Voile in yellow, orange and pink. Cheery!

I purchased some floaty material called voile in a color that, if it were any more saturated, would make my pupils contract involuntarily. Because the material is so sheer, the color is, too. The images here seem to be more vivid than the real fabric. I’m trying to work outside my usual neutral color palette, and this was way out of my comfort zone.

Sewing the fabric to the card proved to be a little tricky. Voile is slippery. Sew it onto paper and it shifts, slides, bunches and stuffs itself into the place where the bobbin will eat it. So I purchased a piece of double-sided fusible and ironed the voile onto one side and the paper (to make it look like a postcard) on the other.

The double-sided fusible was thick enough so the paper was just a nice detail. I could have used single-sided fusible, but I wanted the postcard to look like a postcard and not like a discarded scrap from the sewing room.

The postcard needed a bit more life, so I sewed another layer onto the top half of the card. This gave it a deeper, more finished look.

The card is fun; it reminded me of an Arizona sunset. Which made me wonder what would happen if I drew a design on paper and covered the paper with the voile. No fusible, just machine stitching.

First I drew a cactus and a horizon line on a card in watercolor pencil to create a simple image. Right now I’m in love with cactus spines (only when they are firmly attached to the cactus), so I drew them in with a pencil, then went over them in a yellow glitter pen. That doesn’t show in the image above.

Then I adjusted a piece of voile so the red was across the top and the orange on the bottom of the card. When I stitched it on, it looked pleasing, but needed a bit more.

I sewed another piece of voile across the top third of the card. I used a bright yellow thread which blended better than I anticipated. I used an ivory bobbin thread to not contrast too strongly on the back of the card.

Finally, using a River City Rubber Works postcard rubber stamp, I finished the back of the card to look like a real postcard. The card on the top is the reverse of the first, plain postcard, the one on the bottom is the cactus postcard, ready to send!

Please join me in making postcards for the kids in Japan who have lost their homes, toys, beds, and clothing. I dubbed them Sakura (cherry blossom) children because the festivals around cherry blossoms were cancelled in Japan this year. Postcards are easy to make–you can use actual postcards, too, just add a cheerful message. You can send them to me in groups (in an envelope) or individually, directly to my mailbox. I’ll forward them to Japan.

Sakura Children
P.O. Box 12183
Glendale, AZ 85318

Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach who is learning how to use a sewing machine.

7 thoughts on “Mixed Media Postcards

  1. Your fabric postcards look wonderful! I’m loving your use of such bright colors and the cactus complete with needles! I’ve taken some great close-up photos of cactus needles. They are fascinating when you zoom in on them, just don’t get too close!!
    I hope you get lots of postcards. I’m working on my stack!

  2. Quinn ~

    A book you might enjoy is one called Serendipity Quilts by Susan Carlson. You can order it on Amazon.com It’s the book I am using to make my Lavender Luna quilt. It’s all about making fabric collages. You just take pieces of fabric and start putting them together like a puzzle, creating a beautiful collage picture in the process. You glue the pieces onto a fabric backing using regular or fabric glue, and then after you are all done you quilt it either with your machine or by hand. The beauty is in seeing how all those pieces of fabric blend together to create a true work of art. I’ve put up a few pics of Lavender Luna on Facebook…for being my first attempt at this I don’t think She looks so bad.

  3. Nice postcard. I make them also. The threads getting stuck.
    Raise your needle in the highest position, by sight, by turning wheel and then pull item to the left from under needle when finished sewing.
    If it doesn’t come out easily, hence, breaking threads, turn your wheel a little more til it does. Do not turn your wheel backwards, just the way it goes as it’s like running your transmission backwards in your car.
    Bravo for you getting a sewing machine!!!!!!!!!! It’s an amazing machine. Happy Easter!!

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