Wednesday, 18 December 2013

2013 Christmas Cards

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago one of our Christmas traditions is to make our own Christmas cards. I enjoy card making all year round, but when it comes to making Christmas cards it becomes a joint effort because some very different skills are needed. While I might happily put an hour or two into making an individual card, we don't have the luxury of that sort of time when we're making several dozen in a short space of time and so it all becomes about engineering a design that can be reproduced in a few minutes. All the emphasis goes into producing that first card, so that the rest can flow off the production line.

This year we came across a fabric shop in Chester when we were there in October. Spotting their selection of Christmas material got us thinking and we quickly decided to make Christmas tree cards using three triangles from different fabrics. Simple.

Do you have any idea how much time it can take to settle on the size and shape of three triangles? We tried to do it by eye, with mathematics and got through a lot of sticky-notes. There may have been a few rude words exchanged. We tried triangles of equal size (definitely no), equal shape with decreasing size (didn't quite look right), equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles, nothing quite ticked all the boxes. The breakthrough came when we realised that we needed three completely different triangles. The top triangle needed to be pointier than the base triangle and setting the middle triangle half way between the two finally solved the quandary and we were finally on our way.

Design now sorted, here's a guide to making your own Christmas tree cards:

1. Make cardboard templates of your three triangles to the below measurements.


2. Use these templates to cut out equal quantities of big, medium and small triangles. They should tessellate nicely allowing good use of the material.



3. Make another template that is the size of your base card and has your final tree shape cut out of it - this is all about speed!


(Optional: We printed a short letter into the inside of our card before assembly. If you decide to do this you'll need to make sure that the line of stitches we'll be adding later won't interfere with your text. )

4. Set up your sewing machine with a shiny thread and do some tension checks - metallic thread can be a pain!

5. Position your card, with the template and three triangles under your machine and carefully sew a line of stitching through the middle of each triangle, and overshoot at the bottom to make the trunk of the tree.


6. Release the card and the template from your machine and tuck the ends of the threads through to the back of the card. Trim the threads and secure with a little bit of tape if needed.


7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all your cards are made.




14 comments:

  1. Very nice. I like the gift fabric.

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    1. Thanks, I think it was that one that got us thinking!

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  2. Simple and effective. My sort of card making.

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    1. Cheers, at Christmas there is no other way. Simple and repeatable is the plan, hopefully without compromising on prettiness.

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  3. Very festive, I think I would like to attempt to make my own Christmas cards, too late for this year but there is always next. Was it Abakhan fabric shop you visited?

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    1. I think it was Liberty Bell in the upstairs bit on Bridge Street - www.liberty-bell.co.uk

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  4. Brilliant. I make individual cards too, but have always avoided doing them in quantity. This is a great idea!

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    1. There's definitely a different skill to doing them in quantity, templates tend to be key ;)

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  5. How lovely, the end result looks very professional and festive, not as simple as you'd think though....I bet your attention wavers after ten or so.xxx

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    1. Thank you. We did them in batches broken up by tea and stollen (and still went cross eyed). Machine sewing gold thread through card was slightly temperamental - one or two cards ended up with great knots of gold on the inside of them!

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  6. I love them! I never thought of using material. That would have been so much faster than the cut and glue method I used-which I am pretty sure fell apart in the envelopes. I will have to try this next year.

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    1. I look forward to seeing yours in a years time :) Getting the triangles cut out felt very efficient, the sewing it all together less so.

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  7. I make my own cards too but this is mainly using a photo I jave taken and maybe manipulating it. The glue and sticking was confined to m primary teacher days.

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    1. Hi Sue, thanks for your comment. We've also used a photo in the past, they can make very pretty and effective cards can't they :)

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