The US postal service states that a postcard can be no larger than 6"x4.25" and no more than .16" thick in order to use the reduced rate postcard stamp. I relied on the USPS's trusty size guide. For metric readers, the measurements are roughly 15cm x 10cm.
You will need:
- 1 piece of fabric slightly larger than 6" x 4.25" in a pretty pattern. Avoid fabrics with a stretch or open work designs (such as eyelet or lace).
- 1 piece of fabric slightly larger than 6"x 4.25" plain and light colored. You will be writing on this fabric so a plain cotton or poly/cotton blend works best.
- 1 piece of medium weight fusible interfacing large enough to cover both pieces of fabric
- Sewing machine & thread
Step 1: Carefully draw two rectangles about 6"x 4.25" on the interfacing using the pencil and the ruler. Cut out.
Step 2: Iron one interfacing rectangle onto the wrong side of the fabric (for those new to sewing terms, the wrong side is the backside, or the part you don't want to see). Repeat for the other piece of fabric. The fusible interfacing will not only make the fabric stiffer, but it will also help keep it from fraying around the edges.
Step 3: Carefully cut out around the edge of the fused interfacing. You should now have two rectangles of fabric that are postcard size. Each one has a lovely front and a fused interfacing back. Put the patterned rectangle aside for now- we are going to continue with the plain rectangle for the next few steps.
Step 4: Turn the plain rectangle piece so the interfacing is up. It is now time to draw in the lines and boxes. You will need to use enough pressure on the pencil to be able to easily see the lines, but don't press so hard that the pencils lines bleed through to the other side or smear when you rub them. Because you are working on the side that won't be seen, if you warble a bit or make a mistake, just make the correct line next to it. Don't try to erase- it will just smear.
Ed. note- In this picture, the fabric has not yet been cut around the interfacing because the fabric border makes it easier to see what is going on. Your fabric/interfacing rectangle will obviously have been cut out in an earlier step.
The first line you should draw is the center line. Working from the top of the postcard to the bottom, draw a line using the pencil and ruler. Don't go from edge to edge- but leave about a .25" (1cm) gap at the top and bottom.
The second thing you should do is draw the address box. It should be placed to the left of the center line, in the bottom half of that space. Remember, this is the back side so whatever you draw will be in reverse when you put it all together. Use a ruler and pencil to ensure straight lines. Don't draw from edge to edge- be sure to leave a bit of a gap.
Lastly, you need to draw a few lines for the text. These can be as close or as far apart as you like. I suggest a minimum of 4 lines and a maximum of 9. Again, don't go edge to edge but leave a gap, and use the pencil and ruler. To be honest, I don't measure and "do the math" to figure out where the lines should go. I just eye it in and put the lines where they look right.
Step 5: Using your lines as guides, sew along all the lines using a regular, everyday straight stitch. Nothing fancy is required. I found if you sew a line and then re-sew over the top of the line a second time, the final thickness is much nicer (Or you can use a denim stitch- if you have a sewing machine that does this- and just sew it one time).
Step 6: Make sure the threads are trimmed as close to the fabric as possible. Put the patterned and plain rectangles together, with the interfacing sides touching each other. Pin around all 4 edges. This is what the final product should look like. Don't worry if the two sides aren't an exact match, but do get it as close as possible.
Step 7: Carefully sew around the edge. Here you can get creative and use a fancy stitch (I used a star pattern), a zig-zag stitch, or just the regular straight stitch you used for the lines.
Step 8: Trim any edges you think need trimming, or to remove any stray fraying. Be very careful NOT to cut the edge stitching or the whole thing will unravel. Remember, this is homemade so a bit of roughness around the edge is fine. In fact, it gives it character! I didn't use pins in the tutorial so I could get better pictures. As you can see, the two pieces "slipped" while I was sewing so I got a bit of a bubble towards the bottom center. Character! Also notice it isn't perfectly flat on it's own. It's because of the variant tensions on the different fabric, facing, and amount of stitching per-side. It is all rather scientific, or you can just dismiss it by declaring more character!
Step 9: Use a ball point pen or sharpie and fill in your card, stamp, and mail! Because you haven't added any ribbons, buttons, sequins, or other "sticking-out bits", the card is machinable and won't have to be hand canceled. You could be brave and mail with a postcard stamp as it should be the correct size and thickness to do so, but I like to pay for a proper letter stamp- just to be sure.