by Karen Musgrave

There are lots of ways to finish the edges of postcards. The easiest and quickest way is to use a marker to color the edge of whatever you put inside (Timtex, Pellon, etc.). One of my favorite ways to finish postcards is with a satin stitch. Recently I’ve also begun adding fun fibers along the edge of the stitching. Another method that I like is a simplified binding. I’ll share my techniques for satin stitch and simplified binding here.

Satin stitch is nothing more than a shortened zigzag stitch. If your sewing machine has zigzag capability, changing the length and width of the stitch will create a wide variety of satin stitch lines.

Shortening the length of the stitch causes the threads to be stitched at closer intervals. The shorter the stitch length, the less the fabric will show between the stitches, creating a “satin” appearance.

The stitch width is the second way to change the appearance of a satin stitch. By using the widest setting on your machine, large, bold lines of stitches can be created. Decreasing the stitch width creates finer lines. My machine will decrease the width until it almost looks like a line of straight stitches. Most often, the stitch width I use is somewhere in the middle.

Refer to your sewing machine manual to learn how to make length and width adjustments on your sewing machine. Experiment with length and width adjustments on a scrap of stabilized fabric to find the satin stitch line that you like. Note: The filling you use to create your postcard — Timtex, Pellon, or other — acts as a stabilizer. You must use a stabilizer when experimenting to simulate your intended outcome.

TIPS for successful satin stitching:

1. Don’t forget to use a foot that will accommodate the stitch width.

2. I like to start my stitching on the bottom left corner since we generally look at things the way we read (top to bottom, left to right). Don’t rush and let the machine do the work. Stitch so that the needle falls off the edge of the postcard. This will encase the edge and create a clean finish. I simply stop with my needle on the outside edge, pivot the postcard and start stitching again. If you have threads hanging off, just cut them off.

3. There are so many threads on the market that the possibilities are truly endless! Always test your stitching on stabilized scrap fabric, especially when using variegated threads. Don’t like the look? Simply stitch over what you don’t like with a new thread. Remember that you can use a different color thread in the bobbin to coordinate with the address size of the postcard!

4. Train your eye to watch the edge of the postcard, NOT the needle. The sewing machine needle movement is distracting.

Simplified Binding

1. Use pinking or specialty scissors to make a simple binding.

2. Cut a strip of fabric 3/4″ – 1″ wide by 21″ long.

3. Fold the fabric over the edge of your postcard. Straight stitch to hold it in place. You can miter the corners if you like or simply fold over. Doesn’t need to be perfect! It’s part of the fun.

4. When you get to the end simply fold the extra fabric under so the folded edge is flush with the postcard edge.