Using fabric scraps to trim greeting cards

finished card

Every sewist has come up against the difficult decision of what to do about fabric scraps from sewing projects. Some scrap pieces are small enough such that tossing them is the obvious thing to do. However, often the scrap pieces are big enough that they seem like they might be useful for small projects. The problem is when I’m staring at a bunch of scrap pieces seems to be the time when I’m the least creative. I’m full of ideas at any other times, but the sight of scrap pieces seems to stanch my creative juice.

Conversely, when I set out to make custom greeting cards, the very process seems to blank my mind as to what to make. I’d stare at a greeting car blank and draw a… blank, as to what to put on it.

Enter fabric scraps! Why not use the leftovers from a garment project to make greeting cards?! Immediately after I’m done with a project, I would already have all fabrics and thread and trims are already at hand, and more importantly, they are all coordinated, matching or contrasting each other. And the machines would already be threaded with the right color thread. All I’d need to do is to throw them together on a greeting card blank.

Here are two cards that I made using scraps resulting from shortening my “Dorothy” Halloween costume. With these two cards, I was going for the “deliberately unkempt” look, leaving raw edges and “tassels” of thread at ends of stitch run, leaving the wrong side of the cards unfinished, etc. Well, OK, I was just being lazy. 🙂

I just used the same mid-sized universal needle that I used for the garment in making the cards. I can see how sewing card stock might dull the needle, so be aware of that ad change needle sooner than you would normally would.

For these two cards, I used the blue gingham cotton and the white lining fabric for border: cut 1″ wide strips, place them right side down and sew them to the card down their center, fold and press, and zig zag or topstitch:
ready to make cards fabric trimmed with scraps attaching fabric border to card attaching fabric border to card attaching fabric border to card

I leave the strips long and trim them after I started attaching them. Swiveling the card to one side made it easier to do trimming:
swivel card to trim border

I used the white netting for the crinoline for an “overlay” of one card. I want to be able to customize the card further with, perhaps, lettering, so I attached the netting with small safety pins, including them as a design element. The safety pins allow me to remove the netting later to embellish the card some more, to customize it to the occasion e.g. birthday, wedding, etc.:
finished card

I also used tiny scraps of fusible fleece (left over from making a matching clutch purse for the Dorothy costume) to make petals of a flower, which I fused to the card. (The heat of fusing warped the card a bit but when it cools, it returned to almost normal shape, being only slightly wavy, which added to the “unkempt” look!) I added a small pearl for the flower’s center: I removed the presser foot, set zig zag stitch width to the widest, set stitch length to zero, threaded the pearl onto the sewing machine’s needle and turned the wheel by hand to zig zag a few times to attach the pearl.
flower with fusible fleece petals and pearl center

I wanted to use oral letter size envelopes for the cards so I trimmed the cards and added the cut-off pieces to inside the cards as “leaves” in a book:
inserting

Oh, and it would also help the card making process if you already have a stock of greeting card blanks on hand so you don’t have to spend time making some and can just get right to creating cards.