tutorial: stitched watercolor postcard

We live in New England, and summer has to be really, truly savored.  I work full time in an office. Yes, in a cubicle. The windows don’t even open, people. I mean, I am inside for many, many of my precious summer hours.

So maybe you’ll understand why, for me, sewing is a spring, fall, and winter pastime. Since (as I mentioned) I’m working during the week, I generally stitch on the weekends, and in summer, I generally want to spend my weekends making stuff like this:

That said, every now and then, even in summer, my sewing machine calls to me. For those moments, stitching a quick little something like this watercolor postcard is a perfectly satisfying solution. Here’s how it’s done:

You will need watercolor paper. I picked up this pad of watercolor postcards at our local art supply shop. You can use any size paper, of course.

I recommend using the best-quality watercolor paints you can afford. I love these Da Vincis–they cost around $4-5 a tube. Of course, any watercolor set will do just fine…I’m just picky that way.

1. Paint swaths of color, or you can create something with a bit more defined shape if you like. Anything goes.

2. When you’ve got a painted surface that you like, load up your machine with a contrast-y thread — I used black, because I love the way it looks like an ink pen — and I am always drawn to art that combines ink and watercolor.  If you have a fine needle, like one you’d use for delicate fabrics, use that, but any universal needle will also work. Set your presser-foot pressure on zero and use a straight stitch, stitch length at 1. The little stitches will make the line a bit bolder.

Once you’ve started, move your paper around to make the line go where you like…that zero-pressure foot means you can move the paper to make nice curved and wavy lines.

To make the sharp turns at the leaf tips, I left my needle in the paper, raised the foot, turned the paper, then continued on my way. I stitched a few lines for the stem, to make it a little bolder  and a bit like wood grain.

Keep the paper moving so you don’t puncture it too many times in one spot. When you’re done, trim the threads. It doesn’t take much to make this project look really sweet.

Yes, it got a little bobbly and weird at the bottom, but what tree doesn’t have it’s bobbly bits? It’s nature’s way (and my way, too!).
Even the back of the postcard looks nice.

Now I can pop this in the mail and go outside and gulp down a bit more summer before the leaves start to change.

This entry was posted by Debra.

5 thoughts on “tutorial: stitched watercolor postcard

    • Oh, the little dry circles in the pan work great too…it’s just a little bit harder to mix your own shades that way, but the results are still pretty. Thanks for stopping by, Laura!

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