Tutorial for textile Artist Trading Cards

I have been incredibly remiss in talking about ATC’s here. I have posted most of what I’ve made so far on Twitter. I promise I’m going to do a mass ATC post here soon, but today, I have in mind to make a tutorial. It occurred to me that I had not seen a tutorial about making fabric post cards or ATCs in a format that appealed to me, so I thought I’d try my hand at a tutorial.

What you will need:

  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • microtex or denim needles
  • fabric
  • fusible web (I use Steam a Seam 2 lite — no affiliation)
  • Timtex
  • rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • scissors

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(Note: this method will work for larger pieces, like postcards (and smaller, as you can see on the stack). It gives you a finished blank canvas on which to work. Anything goes!)

I cut a 3 /12 inch wide strip of Timtex and then turn it to cut it every 2 1/2 inches.  I use a rotary cutter and ruler.

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Once the blank cards are cut, I cut a strip of the fusible web, again 3 1/2 inches wide. This time, I place the cards onto the sticky side. Then I flip it over, and put fusible web on the other side, in a strip.  If the strips are a little short, I cut a bit more and add it to cover the last card. (Sorry I have no pictures of these steps. If you have any questions, just ask!)

Once the fusible web is fused, I cut the cards apart, either with scissors or the rotary cutter. IMG_1323

The next step is fusing fabric onto the cards. I happen to conveniently have strips of fabric that are already 2 1/2 inches wide just lying around in a drawer in my studio, so I’ll grab a few of those. I lay a card down and wrap the fabric around and fuse on both sides.

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Then trim the excess fabric.

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If there is fabric around the edges, trim that too. If a little bit of Timtex is exposed, don’t worry about it too much. The satin stitching around the edge will cover it.

Go to your machine and set it up for a zigzag stitch. I use a stitch width of 2.2 to 2.4, depending on my mood and stitch length of 0.4.  (This is a US machine. I don’t know if European machines have different numbers.)

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Now you are ready to start stitching around the edge.

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If the needle is just touching the top edge or right inside, it’s a good position. My foot has an arrow in the middle, as you can see in the picture, and I like to have the arrow just to the left of the edge. Start stitching (hold the threads if you need to).

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Picture of satin stitching half way down the edge

When you get to the bottom, don’t stitch over where the last two threads or so would go.  It’s fine if you do, but a little more elegant if you can leave it free.

Good posiition for stopping at the bottom with the needle ready to go to the left.

Good posiition for stopping at the bottom with the needle ready to go to the left.

Stop with the needle ready to swing left. Lift the presser foot and pivot the card.

Ready to go down the next side.

Ready to go down the next side.

Now repeat for the remaining three sides. I don’t worry about back stitching anywhere or trying to knot it at the end, although it wouldn’t hurt to do these things. I figure they aren’t getting heavy wear.

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Now you have a finished card you are ready to decorate! Let your imagination soar!

Troubleshooting:

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When this happens, it’s no problem, just take your scissors and carefully trim the fabric that is sticking out away.

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No one will notice but you!

Any questions? Please feel free to ask!

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