Jul 31, 2009

Mailart Tutorial

A while back, I taught an online Mailart class. My sudents were absolutely wonderful and did a great job on their mailart envelopes. You can see their handiwork HERE.

• Paper
• Pencil/Eraser
• Scissors
• Ruler
• Sewing Machine
• Iron
• Aida, Evenweave, or Aida
• Contrasting floss
• Cotton Fabric for envelope lining
• Coordinating sewing thread
• Iron-on interfacing/stabilizer
• Snaps or iron-on velcro dots
• Decorative buttons (optional)

Determine the size envelope you want. Mine is approximately 4 1/2" tall by 5 3/4" wide. (You can make it whatever size you want.)

On a piece of paper, draw an envelope pattern. It will be twice as tall as the envelope you want to create, plus an extra 1 1/2" to 2" for the envelope flap. Using scissors, cut out pattern.

Place the pattern on top of the fabric you'll be stitching on. With the contrasting thread make a running stitch around the pattern. Also stitch the lines where the envelope will be folded. Be sure to make the fabric 1/2" larger all around the size of the paper pattern for the seam allowance.

The top section is the envelope flap. The middle section is the front side of the envelope. The bottom section is the back side of the envelope. (Image is clickable to see a larger photo)

Using pencil and graph paper, draw out your sender's address and your return address. One square will equal one stitch on your fabric. If you don't have graph paper, Incompetch has an excellent graph paper generator.

Once you have the addresses graphed out, backstitch them onto the front of the envelope using a contrasting floss color. Be sure to keep your flap at the top when you're stitching your addresses. I recommend using a dark color so the post office can read it without problems.

Decide on what pattern you want to stitch on your envelope. Remember to leave space for the stamps (and the overseas customs tag, if applicable), but other spaces on the fabric is fair game. Choose designs that have small motifs and/or border designs. Or, you could choose a small portion of a larger design. If you'll be stitching on the front of your envelope, be sure it will fit in the space leftover after you backstitch the "To" and "From" addresses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you plan on stitching on the back side of the envelope -and- your design has a right side up, you will need to stitch the design upside down in order for it to be right side up when constructing the envelope. So remember to flip your fabric around if stitching on the back of the envelope.

Stitch your motifs, borders, designs, etc. Be sure to stay within the running stitches you did in Step One. This is not the time to "color outside the lines", LOL.

Examples of Finished Mail Art can be seen HERE and HERE.

Cut out a piece of lining fabric and 2 pieces of interfacing the same size as the stitched envelope piece.

I used Pellon Peltex 950F interfacing. I got it from JoAnn Fabrics. It's pliable and easy to work with. Do NOT get the iron-on interfacing that is thick as thin cardboard. You will have a heck of a time working with it. If you hold it at one end and it doesn't bend on its own, it's not the right stuff.

Iron one piece of your interfacing on the wrong side of your stitched piece and the other piece of interfacing to the wrong side of your lining fabric. Follow the directions given for your interfacing. Now is a good time to attach any decorative buttons, snap closures, or ribbon you wish to use to keep your envelope flap shut. (I used iron-on velcro dots)

Place fabric and stitched piece, right sides together, then stitch 1/4" seam around the edge (using your basted line as a guide), leaving at least a 2" opening to turn right side out.

(Photo shows only stitched piece and lining,
not the interfacing attached)

In order to have square corners, it's better to start the seam allowance stitching in the center of one of the sides. Remove your basted lines and turn right side out. Press the wrinkles out. Then whipstitch opening closed.

Fold the envelope into shape, and press the folds.

Whipstitch the sides of the envelope.

After putting contents into the envelope, whipstitch the flap shut (Be sure to tell the recipient to cut the whipstitches in order to open the envelope.

Design: Tea Crazy*
Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 32ct Antique White Monoco Evenweave
Fibers: DMC Linen Floss
Time: It took about 2 weeks to plan the
envelope design, and 2 weeks of stitching.

• Glue (I used superglue) the stamps onto the front of the envelope to be sure they stay secured.
• Have the postal clerk hand-cancel the postage stamps to reduce any risk of the MA being damaged.

*Design and colors were altered from original chart design.

©2009 All rights reserved.


Ranae said...

Oh my gosh! I get green with envy when I see these mailart posted.
You truly make it look so easy.
I really need to try one of these. I hope you have this on your sidebar for future reference, because I will def need it, ol.

CJ in OK ;-) said...

Thanks for all the information about these mailart projects I have always been curious. Not sure I could ever hand over my stitched work with no protection to the postal service. FYI, it said wrong sides together before seaming, I think it should be right sides together, as in the picture. CJ ok;-)

Rachel S-H said...

That looks fantastic!

stitcherw said...

Awesome tutorial, so clear and easy to follow. Love your finished piece too, it looks wonderful. It would be a delight to get in the mail.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tutorial! Thanks for all the hard work making it!

Lillie said...

A great tutorial! Thanks for sharing :D

Akila said...

Love the idea Meari. Thanks a lot for patiently explaining it in such great detail. Will make something for 2 of my closest friends who are also great stitchers!!! Thanks again :)

Daffycat said...

Holy cow! An excellent tutorial! Thanks, Meari!

Debra said...

Great job! And you had a lot of "students". They all look great.

mbroider said...

You make it look so easy to do! Thanks for the tutorial Meari!


Cindy said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial! I'm planning on doing one of these in the fall, and this will definitely help :)

Kristin said...

What a great class.

The Teacup Cottage said...

o.k. I absolutely want to try this. I got the project idea, but would you mind telling me where that teacup pattern was found. This would be so cute to hold Splenda in my purse.

Lisa said...

I just found your tutorial, and I want to say a great big "Thank You"!! I've been wanting to try this, and I think I will do this for my best friend's birthday in the fall. I have some knowledge about sewing, so I had a basic idea how to do this, but your tips and tricks will really help. Thanks again for a great tutorial!

Sarah Beth said...

Awesome. I plan to do this. There was a comment about whether its supposed to be wrong or right sides together...could you clear that up please