Fun and fast Christmas sewing
Today we’ll be showing you how to stitch Christmas postcards. Christmas postcards are like little quilts that go on adventures as they travel through the post to family and friends. Making them is easy. All you need are some festive Christmas fabrics, pretty thread and fleece or wadding. These postcards can be stitched on a quilting frame, a long arm or just free motion quilted while sitting at your sewing machine. To save time we’ll be making the postcards in batches. We’ll stitch a practice piece first and free motion quilt it with pretty threads. Then we’ll cut this up later into postcard sized shapes.
What you’ll need:
- Festive fabrics
- Fleece or wadding for the middle
- Pretty thread
- Ribbons and rick rack for machine embellishing
- Pompoms sequins or buttons for hand embellishing
- Printed postcards – we have a PDF file that you can use to print on your home computer
First find some festive fabric
If you’re anything like me, you have a stash of festive fabric from years gone by. Even so, you still might be tempted to grab some of the new lines that just came out. I’ve done both here to make up my practice piece. I’ve added fabric from my stash to the fun new fabrics that I bought this season. I’ve pieced these simply together into strips. I’ve used red fleece as the backing.
Quilt a practice piece
Next load your practice piece on your long arm or quilting frame. You could also free motion quilt your practice piece sitting down at the sewing machine. The main point here is to do the quilting part all at once on a big practice piece. Play with pretty thread and holiday designs.
The video clip below shows a free motion quilted holly pattern. I practised it on paper first to get the design in my head. Once I could move smoothly through the holly design with pen on paper, I was ready to try it with needle & thread on my practice piece. I’m using the Juki TL QVP Mini straight stitch on the 6-foot Machine Quilter frame. In the short video clip you can see me just playing with the bauble designs in the fabric. The idea is to be playful and have fun with the quilting. Mistakes don’t matter because you’re going to choose the best parts of your practice piece for your postcards later.
Print your postcards
When you’ve finished quilting take your practice piece off the frame. Now you’ll need postcards. You can print your own postcards on your computer printer. Get some A4 card that will fit in your computer. Try Amazon. You can get 50 sheets of white A4 card for £5.99 via Amazon Prime. Avoid glossy photo paper because it’s hard to write on. Use a mid-weight matt card at least 250 gsm. Once you have your card, follow this link Follow this link to the Machine Quilter Blog to get FREE holiday postcard artwork. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see two sets of Christmas postcards. You can download this and then print it on your computer printer. Finally, I use a dull rotary cutter with my ruler and mat to cut out the postcard shapes.
Cut up your practice piece
Now use your paper postcards as templates. Find your favourite bits on your practice piece. Use the paper postcards as a template and cut around them. Your fabric postcard shapes should be a bit longer and wider than the paper postcards. We’ll trim them later.
Embellish the postcards
Now it’s time to embellish the postcards by hand or machine. I’ve added ribbon and rick rack and pom poms and buttons. This is a fun way to make each postcard a bit different.
Stitch the ‘little quilts’to the postcard backing
The final step is to stitch the quilted fabric cut-outs to the postcard backing. I’m using the Juki DX7 sewing machine to do this part of the project. First I changed the needle to a titanium coated 100/16 Topstitch needle. The extra strong titanium coating keeps the needle sharp so it can stitch through the card and fabric layers.
Thread your machine with some pretty thread that looks good with your fabric postcards. I’m sewing with the card side up. Be sure that the right side of the postcard is facing up and the right side of the practice piece cut-out is facing down. Check that you can see a bit of the fabric sticking out all the way around the paper postcard.
Now stitch along the inside line all the way around the postcard. I’ve set the stitch length to 3 on the dial. Once you’ve stitched all the way round, change to a zig-zag stitch and adjust the width to 2.2 on the dail. Now zig zag all the way around the card again, this time filling in the space between the straight line of stitching and the edge of the card. Make sure that the zig-zag stitching doesn’t go over the edge.
Finally, trim the excess fabric with a good pair of sharp scissors. Use the edge of the postcard as a guide. Turn it over, trim off any bits of threads and voila; you have a gorgeous little postcard quilt. Soon you’ll have a whole stack. Simply write your message, address it, pop on a stamp and post it to someone you love.
There you have it. Free motion quilted Christmas postcards. A special and simple way to spread joy this season.