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How to make quilted fabric greeting cards

I have a fun project for you! I wanted to really personalize our greeting cards this year for Christmas. I have seen various types of fabric greeting cards and postcards but I decided to add a bit more flair and fun and use fabric applique!

While there are several ways to finish your applique shapes, I also decided to try something out of my comfort zone and attach my shapes with free motion! It really gave my designs a more fun and personalized touch that I love.

I recently signed up for a subscription with Creative Fabrica - wow, they have so many amazing graphics, printables and fonts! I recently signed up as an affiliate and will share more soon! In the meantime, head over and check out their library of amazing designs!

For this project, I used the machine applique technique with some free motion sewing. I will be walking you through my process for making these cards, but the possibilities are endless for creating your own touch and design! I think I may try foundation paper piecing for these in the future!

Let's get our supplies together.

For these cards, I used the following (other than your usual sewing machine and sewing supplies):


Fabric (I used Christmas scraps) - you'll need fabric for your applique design and the background to attach to the card


Blank Folded Greeting Cards - 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" - I bought this large pack from Amazon


Paper-backed fusible heat bonding web - I used ThermoWeb HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive


Scissors*


Pen or pencil


Iron and ironing board


Thread for securing your applique - I used Aurifil Thread in 40 wt - various colors


Scrapbooking paper for the inside of your cards (optional)

*Most quilters do NOT cut anything else with their fabric scissors. For this project I used 3 different scissors - my general multi-purpose scissors for paper, my fabric scissors and my Olfa applique scissors.

Designing your greeting cards

Let's get started in the fun of designing your cards and making a plan! After signing up with Creative Fabrica, I knew I wanted to use various Christmas themed graphics. I looked through their amazing designs and chose several designs so that my cards would all be different. Now if you'll notice, the designs I chose were not technically "applique" designs, they were graphics. I made sure to choose designs with larger sections that I would be able to cut around and I avoided designs with small details that would not be practical for applique. The possibilities here are endless!

One of my favorite designs was this hot cocoa mug. Notice how I cut the individual sections of the mug, whipped cream, straw and the peppermint. I had the option of separating the tree on the mug but when I went through my fabric scraps, I decided to use one section of this adorable fabric instead!

Fabric applique process

Before we get started, it's important to remember that when you are making applique designs with this process, your images will be in reverse, a mirror image of the original design. If you want the design to appear the same direction as the original design, if you were using a directional design or alphabet/numbers, then you would need to print your design as a mirror image before you begin. With my designs, I didn't mind which direction they were facing.

1. Print your design, which we will use as a template.

2. Using a pen or pencil, place the fusible web on top of your template and trace the template onto the paper side of the web. Make sure you are tracing on the paper side, not the bumpy side which is the glue side. If you are using a design with different pieces, you may want to trace these individually, leaving room around them for trimming.

3. Cut around your drawn design with your scissors, leaving room around the edges of your drawn lines. You only need to rough cut at this point, you do not need to be precise.

4. Attach the fusible web to your fabric by ironing to the wrong side of your fabric. Make sure the piece is in place before you iron. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the proper temperature and length of time you should press the fusible web. Also, do not move your iron back and forth, instead, simply lift and press your iron down over the entire piece to avoid distorting or any movement of the fabric and paper. If you are using an overlapping design, make sure that all of the pieces are in the exact place needed.

5. Cut out your templates more precisely. This is where I like to use smaller and sharper scissors. I don't use my fabric scissors since I'm cutting the paper and fusible material, but I do like to use precise scissors to accurately cut my shapes. I love the 5" Olfa applique scissors. They are a great size to help me cut my pieces quickly and accurately.

6. Attach the shapes to the background fabric. I cut a piece of fabric the exact size of the front of my greeting card, which was 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". Plan how you are going to lay out your pieces before fusing to the background fabric. Remove the paper backing from the fusible web, lay out your pieces and press your iron over each piece to secure. Again, do not move the iron back and forth and follow the manufacturer's instructions for temperature and length of time to heat.

For my Christmas tree, I simply centered the tree on the rectangle and pressed in place. For layered designs, like my hot cocoa mug, I made sure to place all of the pieces in place, layering properly, before I pressed.

7. Lastly, we need to secure our pieces a bit further to the background fabric. With machine applique, you have so many options to choose from! If your machine has decorative stitches, you can use almost any of these around the edges of your pieces. The most commonly used stitches are the blanket and satin stitch. You can also use a straight stitch or free motion sew around the applique pieces! You also have the option of choosing coordinating colors of thread or contrasting colors. The quilting around the applique really sets it off and makes the pieces pop!

I chose to do free motion sewing around the edges of my pieces in a Aurifil 40wt black thread. I love how it gives the piece some fun and personality!

On a few of my designs, I used various colors of 40 wt Aurifil Thread to give the cards more character!

Finishing the greeting cards

Now that we have our finished fabric rectangles and applique, I like to give it them a quick press to finish them off. I used an Elmer's glue stick to secure the rectangle to the front of my card. Don't use too much! We just want to secure it lightly until we can sew the edges. I then sewed around the perimeter of the card.

Since I'm using folded greeting cards, you can see my stitches on the inside of the card. These cards are for my family so I'm not too worried about perfecting the inside, however, if you want a more finished look, you can glue a cut piece of scrap booking paper to the inside to hide your stitches.

Since the stitches are only around the perimeter, I think they look fine! I also made sure to use Aurifil 50 wt in white to blend better against the card.

Now it's time for a handwritten sentiment inside and you are done! I love that this card set has matching envelopes, so I am able to make sure the cards and fabric are protected until they are gifted to my family!

All of these few graphics were downloaded from my subscription a subscription with Creative Fabrica! Aren't they adorable! These definitely won't be the last batch of cards that I made! As a matter of fact, I'm already planning some adorable Valentine's cards! What do you think of the fabric greeting cards? Tell me what you'll be making!

TIME SAVING TIP: When you are finished with your greeting cards, go ahead and change out your sewing machine needle! We've been sewing through the adhesive and the paper greeting cards, which really dulls your needle! Go ahead and put in a new needle when you're finished with your project so you'll be ready to go for your next sewing project!

Affiliate Disclosure Policy: This website uses affiliate links, and I may earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you!

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I'm the caffeinated quilting extraordinaire, who loves to share quilty educational content for quilters of all skill levels! 

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