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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tutorial 11--Making a Fabric Envelope

Here's a chance to use some material you may have lying around.  This project is good if you have material that is loosely woven.  I used flannel.  Selected edges of the envelope have had the threads removed, giving it a "furry" look.  This is not suitable for knits.  This reusable fabric envelope can be used for packaging gifts.

Making a Fabric Envelope

Difficulty Level
Very easy

Time Taken
5 minutes

Loosely Woven Fabric
Sewing Machine

1)  Trim the edge of the piece of fabric so it is straight.  The piece of flannel that I used included the selvedge edge, which I will keep as a decorative part of the envelope.

2)  Fold the bottom edge up, to the size you would like the envelope to be.  Trim the top edge 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) above the top edge of the envelope.

3)  Sew the right edges of the envelope, 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) from the right edge.  Similarly with the left edge.  In the picture below, you can see the selvedge edge of the fabric that I used.

4)  Fold the envelope so that the flap is folded in half.  Trim the flap at an angle.

5)  Unfold the envelope.

6)  Remove the threads along the top edge of the flap.

7)  Remove the threads along the sides of the flap.

8)  Remove the threads along the top edge of the envelope's opening.

9) Put a gift in the envelope and tie a ribbon on it, or put a pin the front.  Here, I used a pins that I received from LAWST in their Blog Giveaway.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tutorial 10--Junk Mail Valentine

I hope this little card
Brightens up your day.
I made it out of junk mail
So don't throw it away.

I donated the 3 cards above to Etsy's Special Delivery Project.

In Tutorial 2, I showed how you could make a Christmas card out of junk mail, by using a method known as iris folding.  Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, in this tutorial, I will make a Valentine's Day card using free templates on the web to speed the process up; however, the templates require that you work on the iris folding from the back of the card, so it is more difficult to spot mistakes if you are using junk mail.  This tutorial will be easier to understand if you have already done Tutorial 2.  Instead of junk mail, you can use wrapping paper, origami paper, or ribbons.  

The rightmost card below was made using junk mail advertisements for plaid shirts.  It would be a nice, not-too-sissy Valentine's Day card to give to a man.

Making an iris folding Valentine's Day card out of junk mail, using a template (this tutorial is for the card in the center).

Difficulty Level
Very easy

Time Taken
I hour


  • Thick paper for the card (I used 67 lb cover stock)--one large piece and one half its size
  • Junk Mail, unwanted magazine, used wrapping paper, or any other pretty paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or string
  • Color pencil
  • Optional--Compasses, bowl or some circular object for drawing a circle

Step 1)  Fold the large sheet of thick paper into half.  If the paper is too large for the card, cut it to an appropriate size.  I cut mine to 6.2 inches (1.5 cm) by 4.5 inches (11.3 cm) before folding.

Step 2)  Cut a piece of thick paper (I used the same cover stock) to the same size as the front of the card (i.e. half the size of the paper in Step 1).  This will be the frame of the card.

Step 3)  Draw half a heart on a separate piece of paper.  I used the compasses to draw a circle.

Step 4)  Cut the half a heart out.

Step 5)  Draw half a heart on the frame from Step 2.  Flip the half heart piece and use it to draw the opposite side of the heart.  Make sure the heart is centered.

Step 6)  Cut the heart shape out of the card stock.

Step 7)  Print this template out.  The template was too small for the heart I had cut, so I drew extra lines, extending the pattern on the template.

Step 8)  Tape the frame onto the template, so that the iris is in the center of the heart.  Note that you are looking at the back of the frame.  The heart covered some of the numbers up, so I rewrote them within the same triangle, in a position where I could see them.

Step 9)  Cut out pictures with pretty colors from the junk mail.  Since this is a Valentine's Day card, I cut out pictures with lots of red, purple and pink.

Step 10)  Cut out a sliver of junk mail.  Determine which side of the sliver is the right side (which will be shown on the card).  Fold one long raw edge over, with wrong sides together.  Tape the folded sliver on to the smallest number that appears in the template, placing the folded edge aligned with the lines of the template.  Do not tape on the template.

Tip:  The project will go faster if you stop reading the junk mail.

Step 11)  Continue with another sliver, taping the sliver onto the portion with the next larger number on the template.  Make sure the sliver is long and wide enough to cover the corresponding number portion on the template.  Here's what it looks like after 3 slivers have been taped.  Note that the folded edges are aligned with the lines of the template.

Step 12)  Continue in this manner.  Here's what the frame looks like halfway through.

I'm going to flip it over to show you what it looks like so far.  If  you're not careful, you could end up with words or some undesirable picture on the front.  This is the nature of junk mail.  We are, after all, working with junk.  Also, I've found that the project goes faster if I stop admiring the advertisements. 

Step 13)  Continue taping slivers to the back of the frame.  Find some special picture for the iris.  I found a picture of a dress with a flower on it, which I will be using for the iris.

Step 14)  Tape the final piece of junk mail over the iris.  Detach the frame from the template.  Turn the frame over so it is topside up.

Step 15)  Outline the heart with a color pencil.  

Step 16)  Tie a bow and glue it to the bottom of the heart.

Step 17)  Glue the frame to the larger piece of card stock.

Step 18)  Write a note in it, and give it to someone special :) .