Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Postcard From Lutradur...

Meet Jakey.  I wanted to show you a fast method of making a postcard.  And yes, I'm obsessed with cats... so Jakey got involved.  Because Lutradur is non woven, it doesn't fray.  That makes it perfect for fast  postcards, as you can work with a minimum of stitch, but still get very effective results.  This particular postcard is a 'framed' portrait of a comedy cat, but it could easily be a window with a view beyond, or have a fabric photograph in the aperture of the frame... whatever you like.  The usual size for a postcard, incidentally, is 6" by 4", so I cut all my materials to that size before starting.  I used transfer dyes throughout.  If you don't know how to use these handy dyes, there is a complete guide in Lovely Lutradur, or just follow the directions supplied with your dye.

I started by cutting a piece of polyester needlepunched wadding, as I didn't want to stitch through all the layers, so that I could write on the back, which was to be a piece of Lutradur XL, and coloured it the same as the colour I was going to use on the front.  I did this because the lutradur on the top level is semi transparent, and having the same colour underneath it would reinforce the top colour. 

Then, I coloured the top fabric, Lutradur 100, and placed the picture of the cat on the top where I wanted it to sit.  I did this by eye; you could, of course, measure the piece to be sure that you get it in the right place.  Then, I took a pencil and drew roughly round the cat picture.  I then cut a very scant quarter inch within that frame, so that the aperture was the right size to hold the picture firmly.  You can see in the image below where the pencil marks are, and the subsequent cutmarks.

Then, I placed the cat picture on top of the wadding, and ironed them together; this was enough to keep the image still, but you could stitch it in place at this point, or just pin it to make it secure.  Then I placed the Lutradur 'frame' over the cat.  At this point, I thought... this is boring.  Fortunately, I had made a sheet of yellow dye with orange flecks on it, so I ironed that over.  This had two effects; firstly, it broke up the chunk of plain yellow at the bottom, and secondly, it made the yellow colour stronger. 
I could, of course, have added stitch instead; french knots would have been an interesting replacement for those dots of colour, for example. 

To anchor it down, I had intended to simply stitch round the pencil line, but I thought that was a bit boring, too... so I couched down some sari thread, using machine zig zag.  That could just as easily be done by hand, of course.  Or the lines could have been erased, and the piece been stitched intensely all over (other than the cat picture itself); there are lots of different design choices possible here.

Once I had done that, I added the Lutradur XL backing, and stitched round the edges.  I had intended to add more sari yarn, but somehow that didn't seem right.  I did, however, think that something was missing.  So I found a fabric marker, and added a 'signature'.  The fabric marker was not very good, however, and I didn't like the effect, so I stitched over it for good measure.  That, of course, has shown through on the back, so my pristine, card-like finish is ruined!  I think it was worth it, though.

One completed postcard.  Is it perfect?  No.  Is it good enough... probably. I could work some more on  it... I think that small beads scattered around where the dots are would be interesting, or some hand stitch.   Now it's your turn... see what you can come up with!  If you don't have lutradur XL, use Pelmet Vilene.  Similarly, if you don't have Lutradur 100, you could use any one of the lutradurs, though if I was using Lutradur 30, the lightest of the lutradurs, I might think about covering the whole of my wadding with yellow fabric, or a contrasting fabric, possibly, and fusing the image onto the top of that.  Why?  Well, Lutradur 30 is very transparent, and it would be easy to see the wadding underneath; it doesn't look very interesting.  A yellow fabric would strenghten the colour of the lutradur, whilst a contrast would do the same, but in a different way.  Don't be afraid to experiment: remember, it's only fabric. 

1 comment:

Heidi Rand said...

Love the description of your process, problems and all. Postcards are one of my favorite things to make, I make lots of fabric postcards but haven't made too many with Lutradur, and you're so right that it's perfect for postcards! Also love the frame idea.