Stamps, ink, thread?
Check, check, check.
Wait – thread?
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).
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.
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!