The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap 2014 – “Create”

The time has come again for The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap! Organized by the ever inspiring Beth Kempton of Do What you Love, the swap is now in its 7th year! I have the most fond of feelings towards Do What you Love as they have organized the amazing and life-changing courses I’ve been taking. I had a fabulous experience participating in The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap for the first time last year so I knew I definitely wanted to join again 🙂

This years swap theme is Create, which can be interpreted in any way choose but we do need to include some type of stitching. Additionally this year we have been presented with the additional challenge of some type of paper integration or use in our postcard. Now, you might think – ‘Hey! Postcards are normally made of paper, that shouldn’t be hard.’ But sewing and paper are not always the best of friends so it was something I needed to think on how to best integrate without destroying my sewing machine 😉

My interpretation of the theme was all manner of creating artwork or handicraft with all kinds of tools that this can be aided by – pencil, sewing machine, whisk, hammer, etc. The quote I came up with is true to my life – “to create is to breathe.” I am constantly creating! I decided that the physical process I used last year was one I wanted to continue developing. I did pencil sketches and then drew out my original illustrated artwork digitally.

Once I finalized the vector artwork, I selected some of my coveted stash fabric (same fabric as I used last year) and ironed on butchers paper to once side in order to make it stiffer. Additionally, I used painters tape to adhere the fabric/butcher’s paper combo to a normal letter size page so it would feed much easier through the printer. You can see below that I printed two copies, just so I had a backup!

By hand, I did a variety of embroidery stitches to add color and a more tactile impression of the lettering and tool icons. I decided the paper elements I added would be small enhancements in the actual artwork, blending them with the embroidery. I did small drawings on little sections of paper and then machine sewed them down (top of the whisk, top sewing machine, glue label, hammer handle, pincushion bottom, and flower). I think it works together rather well! It allowed me to add artwork and lettering that would be much too small to hand stitch.
Once I finished the front, I created some hand drawn paper stamps and stitched them to the postcard back so it would be a bit more fun. I then stitched front and back card together and I had a brand new post card!

I can’t wait to send off my creation to my partner (partners are randomly assigned) and to receive their design in turn! Snail mail is the best, especially when it’s something cool like this!

The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

This year I’m participating in The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap for the first time! It’s a really fabulous idea from the mind behind Do What You Love, Beth Kempton, and already in its sixth year. Participants are given a theme, “Celebrate” being this year, and everyone creates a postcard interpreting the idea in their own way. Aside from staying within the theme, the only rule is that it needs to have some type of stitching on it. You are assigned a random partner, could be anyone from anywhere in the world, and mail out your design to them (and vice versa). Pretty cool right?I decided to create all original artwork so it was a bit timely but I’m happy I did it from scratch. I first did some pencil drawings of cake variations and also of the text which was hand lettered. These were then inked up, scanned, and worked on digitally. After I figured out the layout on the computer, I decided to print directly on to my fabric using my home inkjet printer. It’s actually pretty easy, especially if you iron butcher’s paper to the fabric back to stiffen it so it will run through the printer. After few issues with getting it to feed through, I figured out the best process to make it work and it printed with very crisp artwork – yay!

I added hand embroidered details, but didn’t completely fill the artwork with stitches because I thought the interplay of the minimal embroidery and base fabric worked quite nicely. It was a good chance to practice my french knots again 🙂 Once I finished all the stitching, I applied interfacing to the back and did a less complicated design for the other postcard side on felt (I skipped a photo because the front is much more interesting!), finishing up by sewing everything together by machine.

I had fun making this project and I really enjoyed the new experience of using my artwork for a craft like this. I hope my partner enjoys what I’ve created – I can’t wait to see what arrives in my mail box!