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Making Fabric Postcards: Want to Trade?

Updated July 9, 2020: Since originally writing this post, I’ve responded to a number of requests by filming a quick tutorial for you! Please take a look and read through my steps below — you’ll see this is an easy, fun fiber project that spreads some joy into the world!

I love to make fabric postcards… and not just make, but to use and mail. Watch my recent Creative Clip for my challenge to anyone interested in a fabric postcard trade!

Fabric postcards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Some of us only get small moments in time to play with our fabric. I am one of those people. Because of that time crunch, I have developed a system to keep fabric postcards always in progress. When I get those small amounts of time, I can immediately get to work where I previously left off. And before I know it, I’ve produced 6-12 postcards at a time!

With the current global health crisis meaning that so many must stay home to safeguard their health, I’m stamping and addressing my postcards, in the hopes that they brighten someone’s day once found in their mailbox.

Fabric postcard by Judy Gula of Artistic ArtifactsIn addition to fabric scraps, I use the following supplies when creating fabric postcards:

  • Steam-A-Seam 2 (I prefer lite version) I like this fusible because it is sticky and allows me to lay small pieces/scraps of fabric and it holds them in place. If I want to move the fabric I can pull off and replace or move. I recommend you begin with a piece that is 12 in. x 18 in.
  • Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible — I keep the fusible side for the card stock to be applied.
  • Non-stick craft sheet — such as a Goddess Sheet or the Bo-Nash Amazing Sheet. I use the largest size I have, so that it is both under and over my fusible
  • Thread
  • 4 in. x 6 in. index cards, or card stock cut to size

First, peel back one side the Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible. I don’t remove it all the way off — I peel it as I lay down fabrics scraps.

Judy Gula uses a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more to create her fabric postcards

I apply a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more. I do like to use smaller pieces to create a collage look on the Steam-A-Seam. Fill up the sheet with your fabric scraps as seen here..

Next step is the iron the fabric to the Steam-A-Seam, using your non-stick/Teflon sheet to secure the fabric.

Then, using a piece of Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible inthe same size as your sheet of Steam-A-Seam 2, peel the last paper off the fusible and fit it to the non-fusible size of the Peltex.

IMPORTANT: make sure that you have your non-stick Teflon sheet (if you don’t own one, substitute parchment paper) under the fusible side of the Peltex or it will stick to the ironing board… Ask me how I know!

Free-motion stitching on Judy Gula's fabric postcards

Once the fabric collage is fused to the Peltex, I then have some fun at my sewing machine. Free motion stitch the entire front of your fabric collage. Note that there is a tendency for the glue to come off on the needle; it is sticky. It hasn’t caused me problems, but next time I’m going to try the Schmetz Super Nonstick Needles.

I use this stitching time to test out new freemotion “patterns” or to practice them. I also often follow the pattern in the patterns in the fabric scraps. This is also a great time to test out any fancy stitches your machine might have programmed. Sometimes I use one color thread, sometimes multiple — and specialty threads can be fun to play with too!

Fabric collaged sheet ready to be cut into postcards

Once my sheet is completely free-motion stitched (above), I cut it into 4 in. x 6 in. pieces for the postcards. I then apply the 4 in. x 6 in. index cards (or card stock cut to size) to the back side.

Zig-zag stitching the edges of the postcard

Stitch an open zig zag stitch around the four sides of the postcard. Don’t make the zig zag stitch too close, or you’ll perforate the card stock to the point that the edge could detach or pull off.

Detail, zig-zag edge of fabric postcard

If you have a postcard stamp, use it to dress up your back. If you don’t, simply write POSTCARD on the center top of the card. Write your recipients address and add a stamp on the right side of the postcard. First class postage is all you need! Then write your message on the left and drop it into the mail.

I’d love to trade postcards with you — watch my latest Creative Clip for my challenge!

Using Stripology Rulers

One of my favorite Creative Minds has authored this guest post — Chris has converted me into a Stripology fan too!

The Best Thing Since Rotary Cutters!

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Not being a notions junkie, I’ve limited my purchase of new sewing and quilting tools to pretty much the basics. That is, until I picked up one of the Creative Grids Stripology Rulers designed by Gundrun Erla of GE Designs to make a shop sample last year. The ruler slides easily over the fabric until pressure is applied. Then, the exclusive gripper holds the fabric in place while cutting through the slits in the marked increments, eliminating slipping and miss-cuts!

Emma quilt pattern designed by Gundrun Erla of GE Designs, cut using the Creative Grids Stripology rulers

Combining the precision butting using the rulers with the well written patterns by Gundrun means I can no longer claim that I cannot cut or sew a straight line. Above is my Emma quilt — I would have never considered the Emma quilt pattern if I had not already had success following the very clear instructions with great visuals on ruler placement for the cutting instructions! I didn’t realize I had forgotten to turn alternating blocks, but like how they mimic the hummingbird’s spread wings — fabric by Valori Wells. I used some Victoria Findley Wolfe fabric in this quilt too.

Use the Stripology rulers to cut yardage into popular precut charm square sizes

Stripology rulers are available in several sizes and configurations. You can cut full-width fabric and fat quarters into the most popular pre-cuts on the market, 1½ and 2½ inch strips; 5 and 10 inch charm squares. There’s no math required — simply follow the easy-to-read markings: squares for 2 inch cuts, and stars for 1 in. cuts! Above, the Stripology Squared Ruler cutting 10 inch squares of batik.

Use the Stripology rulers to precisely cut your fabric for piecing.

The Clarissa quilt pattern by GE Designs

Above, Stripology XL Quilt Ruler lined up to cut strips from Art Excursion, New Life fabric designed by Denise Burkitt.

Shown here, the Clarissa quilt pattern, sewn with Wild Acres by Victoria Findley Wolfe fabric and a bit of Uppercase Volume 3. I used the Stripology Squared ruler, which includes markings to square up half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and blocks up to 12 inch. While Clarissa calls for assorted 10 inch square precuts (plus an accent fabric), one of the things I love about the Stripology Squared ruler is how easy and fast it is to cut precise charm squares out of any fabric you fancy!

The Lil’ Stella table runner pattern by GE Designs using a Jennifer Sampou Sky ombre paired with Atlantia by Studio RK;

Above, I pieced this Lil’ Stella table runner pattern using a Jennifer Sampou Sky ombre paired with Atlantia by Studio RK; the fabric to the right will be the backing.

Using Stripology ruler to cut fabric for the Lil’ Stella table runner pattern by GE Designs

Left, the Stripology Squared Mini Creative Grids Quilt Ruler cutting 5 inch squares of Atlantis for the Lil’ Stella pattern. Right, the ruler turned for cutting angles required by the pattern.

Precision piecing using a BERNINA with #97 Patchwork foot and the Sew Steady Grid Glider

Using my BERNINA with #97 Patchwork foot and the Sew Steady Grid Glider, combined with the accurate blocks cut by the Stripology rulers, makes precision piecing easy!

Below, I paired Kaffe Fassett fabrics with Designer Essentials: Tula Pink Solids, Fat Quarter Pack. Trinity’s triangular blocks are easily made from precut fabrics — 10 in. squares, 2-1/2 strips, or fat quarters — using the Stripology XL ruler.

Trinity Stripology Mixer Pattern by GE Designs sewn by Chris Vinh and machine quilted by Alexandra Lush Benson

This shop sample quilt was made using the Trinity Stripology Mixer Pattern by GE Designs, and beautifully machine quilted by Alexandra Lush Benson — detail below.

Detail of free motion machine quilting by Alexandra Lush Benson

Below, Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula made her niece Layla an Emma quilt for a Christmas 2019. Always known for her freeform blocks, now Judy also raves over the Stripology rulers!

Emma quilt by Judy Gula, a gift for her niece Layla

Below, Layla’s sister Celia also received a quilt from Aunt Judy — wonderful improv!

Improv quilt by Judy Gula, a gift for her niece Celia

Modern Squares Quilt Tutorial

Modern Squares Quilt designed and quilted by Christine Vinh for Arttistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal
Modern Squares quilt in cool colors created by Chris Vinh for Artistic Artifacts

It’s not too late to create a quilt as a welcome holiday gift if you pick the right pattern! We wanted to re-share this popular tutorial. Designed, pieced and quilted by Christine Vinh, whenever these quilts have been on display, people have raved (including when it was on display in our International Quilt Festival booth a few years ago).

Chris has a beautiful instinct for mixing colors and patterns, and combined fabrics, including from our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik collection, to create both the above pictured quilt as well as a cool color version shown here — she says this is one of her favorite patterns. Here’s how to make your own!

Modern Squares Quilt Pattern

Designed and quilted by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Modern Squares Quilts designed and quilted by Christine Vinh for Arttistic Artifacts

This pattern is a modification of Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt, a free pattern by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting. For the Artistic Artifacts version, Chris reduced the measurements to 8-inch squares and 2-inch strips.

Fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik to create the Modern Squares Quilt

Instead of using the Jelly Rolls and Layer Cake fabrics that Erica used for this Moda project, Chris cut the fabrics she wanted to use from yardage. This is a great option for using fabrics you love — but feel free to take advantage of the convenience of precut fabrics as described by Erica.

The following are details to get you started — use our instructions for cutting (download a PDF to print for reference) — and review Erica’s tutorial for Moda Bake Shop as necessary for sewing and placement.

Our Modern Squares Quilts are made up of 23 squares, using one large square and two pairs of strips for borders around each square. Fabric requirements for a lap quilt, approximately 56 inches x 64 inches:

Cutting 2-inch strips the width of the fabric

  • 1 yard each of two (2) focus fabrics (as mentioned, we used fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik)
  • 1 yard white
  • ½ yard of 6-8 fabrics
  • ½ yard fabric for binding
  • 2 yards fabric for backing

Cutting:

From the two focus fabrics and the white fabric, cut 2 (two) 8- inch strips and 2-4 (two to four) 2-inch strips the width of the fabric (WOF).

modernsquare8in

  • Cut one of the 8 inch strips into 5 (five) 8-inch squares.
  • From the second 8-inch strip, cut 2 (two) 8-inch squares
    • and then 4 (four) 2-inch strips from the remaining width of strip long.

From your assorted ½ yards of fabrics, cut 2-inch strips, or a combination of 8-inch strips cut into blocks and strips.

If you have chosen fabrics with stripes, cut the fabric with the stripes running the length of the strip.

Modern Quilt Squares block completed

Once cut, randomly select one 8-inch square and two sets of different fabric strips to create each block. Vary the selections so your blocks will all be different.

Sewing the Quilt Top:

Erica chose to cut the strips for inner and outer borders around the square; Chris instead used her WOF strips, and trimmed them square to the block as she proceeded.

An assortment of completed Modern Quilt Squares blocks

Sew two strips to top and bottom of a square, press, trim. Repeat the process of sewing the same fabric strip to the opposite sides, creating a square within a square.

Repeat these steps for the second border.

Once all squares are sewn (assortment shown here), cut each square in half vertically, and then in half again horizontally.

With the horizontal cut, you will then have 4 (four) identical quadrants of your original square.

Cutting a completed Modern Quilt Squares block into halves vertically Cutting the Modern Quilt Squares block horizontally for four identical blocks

Designing the Modern Quilts Squares layout

Once all of the blocks are sewn and cut, the real fun begins! Lay out the blocks into a rectangle eight (8) columns wide by nine (9) rows tall using your design wall or open floor space.

Chris used a placement that used a selection of both the Frond fabric blocks and the Batik Tambal Exclusive fabric as “whole” squares, to feature the fabric. Carefully arranging the other quarter squares around these intact blocks is what gives the stacked illusion.

You could also choose to be completely random without having any “whole” blocks. The design is all up to you!

Identifying and sorting your blocks and rows as you begin to sew

Once you have an arrangement you love, mark/sort your blocks in whatever method you’d like so that your layout will be intact.

Sew your rows together using a standard ¼-inch seam allowance.

The Artistic Artifacts sample is borderless, but you may add one or more borders if you desire.

Finishing:

Note that you will end up with some unused strips and small blocks. Erica suggests that these be pieced together to add interest to your backing fabric (see her photograph below).

Once your top is layered with batting and backing fabric, machine or hand quilt as desired.

Use leftover fabric from the yardage to piece your binding, or you may choose to use a complementary fabric. Bind your quilt using your choice of techniques.

Below, Erica Jackman’s original version, a lap quilt that finished to 68 in. x 76 in.

Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting

Simply Style Stacked Squares Quilt by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting;
photographs courtesy of the Moda Cutting Table blog.

The reverse of Erica Jackman’s quilt, which shows how she used her leftover blocks to accent her quilt backing fabric.

Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt (reverse) by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting

   • Print/PDF version of Erica’s tutorial for Moda Bake Shop »

 

A Peek at Gel Plate Printing

Monoprinted fabrics

It’s been a busy summer. Heck, it’s been a busy YEAR. And that can mean falling behind on tasks, such as keeping this blog and the Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel updated. So I wanted to pop in with a quick surface design demo — watch as I monoprint on a Gel Press-PolyGel Gel Plate on fabric.

As you see, monoprinting is easy — and I can tell you it is addictive! Simply apply your paint, ink, etc. with a brayer or other tool, make your mark with textures and press your substrate onto the plate and rub gently. Then just lift the print and admire!

Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints and gel printing plates

Below is a view of the fabric monoprint I created in the Creative Clip. I worked with the manufacturers to formulate our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints so that it had the qualities to make it an ideal paint for gel plate monoprinting: an easy flow consistency right out of the squeeze bottle, high pigmentation, and permanent on fabrics.

Fabric printed on gel plate with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint by Judy Gula

When brayering, your paint colors can stay somewhat distinctive as in my red and yellow swatch, or you can blend them together to create a completely new color, as in the below example.

Adding paint to a gel plate and brayering it smooth

While acrylic-based paints such as our paints are the most popular choices, a wide variety of medium can be applied. The manufacturer of the Gel Press Plates notes that they have seen prints created with everything from tempera to oil pigments sticks (such as Shiva Paintstiks), alcohol inks and more. They offer this tip: if you can wash the media off the plate with materials you would use to clean your hands, then it should work well on the plate.

Rubbing plates and stencils impart texture on a round gel printing plate

You have so many options to create texture and pattern in your paint before you pull your print! Pictured above left is a rubbing plate impression (Cedar Canyon Rubbing Plates are sold in sets of six and are deeply embossed with patterns); right is a stencil in place on a round printing plate.

Monoprinted fabric created on a gel printing place with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint and wooden printing blocks.

And we all know my love of wooden printing blocks… their texture means they are wonderful to pick up paint off the plate, as in the example above, leaving a design behind. And of course that loaded wood block is immediately stamped onto another piece of fabric or paper!

Jamie Malden of Coloricious block printing on monoprinted fabric

I thought you might enjoy seeing this photo of the quilt pictured at the top of this post (in detail; the full shot is below) while it was in progress. That’s Jamie Malden of Coloricious adding the white wood block prints to our gel plate printed fabric blocks. I borrowed this photo from Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution’s 2013 “3 Artists + 3 Days = Creative Frenzy.” blog posting. Jamie was in the U.S. and we were lucky enough to host her for a block printing class; Liz was in town too, so the three of us set aside a few days to do some creative collaborating here at Artistic Artifacts. (My March 2020 Block Printing Tour of India is a Coloricious Holiday — join me for this once in a lifetime experience!

I hope this post inspires you to try monoprinting or other surface design technique — creating your own fabric or paper is very satisfying and ensures your finished artwork is truly unique.

Art quilt created in collaboration: Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Jamie Malden of Coloricious

My Mixed Media Art Journal

Flower inspired Mixed media art journal by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I wanted to share some of the pages of my flower-inspired mixed media art journal. This particular journal has been in the works for years now! You know how some projects are like that, especially journals and mixed media where another layer and an extra dose of ephemera can always been worked in!

Above, the back of the closed journal with a flower charm added to the fabric ties.

Above, the wraparound flap hides another flower image as you begin to open the journal.

You know my love of wooden printing blocks… I thought the bird was a perfect addition to the butterflies and ephemera.

Multiple pages include pieces that were completed in the shop to show off a technique or product. The altered book page on the left has an image transfer, to show how you can get the transparency where the text peeks through.

In a previous blog post I wrote about transforming chipboard shapes — the above page spread is shown in that post!

Another previous blog post: Journaling, a Mixed Media Affair: Fabric Included features a number of pages now found in this journal in their initial stages, such as the above. I wrote then, “…And I need to add the same disclaimer I have before: these pages are not finished yet…there is more to come.” (I didn’t promise how QUICKLY they would be finished!)

I would begin working on both sides of paper: standard letter size piece of mixed media paper or watercolor paper, or a sheet torn from a blank journal. Folded in half, they were then stacked up and stitched into signatures, as shown above.

I’ve added some treasured and thematic Artist Trading Cards received during Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meetings, Art & Soul Creative Retreats, etc. to my journal too, as seen above and in the detail below:

Below, bringing in my love of vintage ephemera with a vintage postcard.

Below, “hinge” of washi tape means the postcard’s charming message can be viewed.

I hope you enjoyed this peek at this updated project!

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