Monday, July 7, 2008

Stitching On Cards

The wonderfully talented Stacey put together a fabulous article this week! Thank you!



Patterned paper?


Stamps, ink, thread?

Check, check, check.

Wait – thread?

I know you’re wondering. Is thread really on my main checklist for cards? Yes. Absolutely yes. Okay, I’ll admit that I don’t really check this stuff off from a list, but when I am planning a new card (or layout or mini album or tag or whatever), thread is one of the first decisions I make – right after papers.

Thread is critical for me. I get excited about thread. Sometimes I stitch with my sewing machine, sometimes by hand (check out the bird’s tail on “Hi,” below). Often, I’ll do a little of both and every once in a while, I’ll do a whole lot of both! I just love it – without some type of stitching, I have trouble feeling like a project really reflects “me.” And that’s what it’s all about, right? I want leave a little bit of myself in everything I do.

In my world, sewing has different “levels.” On a very basic level, machine stitching around the perimeter of a card gives my card boundaries. This stitching sets the tone of my card with color and movement. For example, if the stitching is neutral or just blending in with the papers, it’s mostly just adding delightful texture. It’s not necessarily what you notice first at all (“You Bless Me’ card, below).

When I chose a contrasting color, the stitching quickly becomes a significant element (“Happy Birthday,” below).

In addition to color, stitch movement is a defining factor on the card. When I’m wanting a solid, grounded border, I’ll stitch straight lines around the card. Sometimes, this is all that is necessary to “contain” my card and it’s elements. More often, I’ll stitch over that same “frame” at least three times, slightly straying from the straight lines (“My Heart Will Follow You Anywhere,” below). For me, this sets a tone of imperfection and flexibility. I really like the way this unpretentious “I didn’t try too hard” stitching feels. It looks a little lazy, and it’s comfortable and creative and fun. It’s really “me” and I really like that.

The second level of stitching involves working with the card elements, sewing around sentiments, patterned paper strips, ribbon, you name it (“I Miss You,” below). (Oh, and just FYI, there is an unwritten rule in my scrap room: no sewing though heads or body parts if you stitch on a person.) I usually use the same color of thread throughout the card, unless my papers are very neutral and the thread is a significant color element.

Sometimes you’ll want to add texture, color, and design – this is just FUN. Make a pattern – pretty much anything goes here, and it is SO much easier than it looks!

The third level of stitching (remember this is just my world we’re talking about here) falls into the sometimes-I-don’t-know-when-enough-is-enough category. This is when I add gratuitous handstitched x’s or machine stitched zigzags “just because.” I love adding stitched photo corners with overlapping lines, little stitches here and there to make elements like tags or ribbon scraps to appear tacked down (in reality they are adhered well before the stitching is added). The stitching I’m referring to here usually includes my “finishing touches,” but can go on for a very long time if I’m not careful (“Marie” tag, below)!

Nine things to keep in mind as you dust off your machine and grab your thread:

1. Imperfection = good

2. No sewing through heads.

3. Keep your stitches far enough apart that the paper doesn’t tear.

4. For hand stitching, pierce holes first with a pushpin, then sew through them.

5. Tape – don’t knot – loose threads on the back so your card will lay flat - oh, but on the FRONT of your card, knots are accepted and even encouraged!

6. Do not – I repeat, do not – machine stitch through Glue Dots. Need I elaborate?

7. Practice. Practice. Practice.

8. Be creative. Do something you’ve never seen before.

9. Have fun!

Oh, and I can’t write a tutorial about sewing on cards without sharing my “Dirty Little Secret” card. It looks cute and colorful and fun and thankful...but it has a dirty little secret! It. Is. Stitched. Closed.

So. There you go. My last point to make. When stitching on cards, do not sew them closed. It’s much easier to do than you might think!


Radiogirl said...

Oh, how I love this article! And all of the wonderful cards. Good stuff.

I'm new to sewing on cards, but here is one I did recently.

I'm always afraid that I will break a need or try to sew through something that is too thick.

Thanks for the info!

Kandis Smith said...

ha haha ha!! I've totally stitched my cards shut before! Now I know I'm not the only one! :) LOVELY tutorial Stacey-so much inspiration!

Melissa said...

Ohhhhh your work makes me melt into puddles Stace! This is wonderful and your creations are so amazing.

Sherry Wright said...

Oh my... these cards are amazing!! I'm utterly in love with each and every one. *sigh*

Anabelle said...

Fabulous cards and fabulous tutorial!!!! You are one awesome stitcher and cardmaker!

Erin K said...

These are all amazing! I'm a HUGE fan of yours by the way.

Laura said...

stacey, you are FABULOUS! this is terrific. I don't have a machine to do machine stitching, but i LOVE the look of it. And i think i would stitch EVERYTHING if i could!!! :) Thanks for all these great examples and ideas!

Keri Lee Sereika said...

Totally fab baby! And have I mentioned how much I love love love your sense of humor??

Sharon said...

Wow is all I can say to all these amazing cards Stacey has made....I too love to sew on my scrapbooking projects as it adds so much more warmth to a project!

Miss 376 said...

What lovely cards, plenty of inspiration

Danielle said...

I love your work, Staci! I'm another stitching fanatic here! Thanks for sharing your wonderful article and gorgeous cards!
Danielle Flanders

Christi said...

Thank you so much for this article! A friend of mine just gave me a mini sewing machine that just does straight stitches but I have no clue how to use it and am a little intimidated but after reading this I am feeling inspired. Thank you!!

Jess said...

Great article Stacey! I just tried hand stitching recently (no machine to use) and I really enjoy it and found this very inspiring.

SophieLaFontaine said...

This was so informative; I never stitch or use thread, now I want to!!! And it was funny too! I laughed hysterically when I read about you stitching your card closed!!

Raquites said...

Great tutorial! It left me in stitches. I love the look of sewing on cards, but am always afraid I my inexperienced self will ruin my work when adding have inspired my to just go for it.

moralia said...

I think I sew on all my cards! lol! Great tutorial! Especially the tip about "not sewing cards closed".. rotfl!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you sew much. I have never sewn on a card before but I will try it soon