In a world of just-add-water meals and text messages delivered from phone to phone in seconds, there's something unexpectedly delightful about things that take a tad longer than instantly. For that fact, snail mail has become famously endeared, and has even consequently morphed into an art. Perhaps it seems out-of-date, but when you choose writing handwritten letters over texts and emails, it makes the gesture exponentially more personal and meaningful.
Silkworm and I have put together the tutorial below for fabric envelopes that we plan to use for our snail mail this Christmas. We wanted to add a touch of character and extra-specialness. Of course, you can also use the envelopes for other things like in-person gift-giving or decorative storage for things like sewing or craft supplies. They're quite easy for careless amateur sewers like ourselves to make, and I presume anyone with a sewing machine who knows how to use it could make one in a jiffy!
Needle and thread
A button, embroidery needle and thread (or snap buttons, or Velcro)
Step One: Use the template provided to trace one envelope outline on both fabrics, then cut them out 1/4 of an inch away from the lines you traced.
Step Two: Line the cut-outs up together so that you see the wrong sides on the outside and the right sides are touching. Sew with your sewing machine along the edges about 1/4 of an inch away, and leave a gap unsewn to turn the envelope inside-out. Turn it inside-out once you're finished sewing, and then hand-sew the gap closed.
Step Three: Fold your fabric envelope up the way a paper envelope is folded. Carefully stick a pin or two through every layer but the back to hold it together, and then hand-sew along the dotted lines in the sketched tutorial above.
Step Four: Hand-sew any other borders you'd like on your envelope.
Step Five: Add your button and string or your snap buttons or your Velcro to close your envelope. The snap buttons should have instructions on the back of the package, as should the Velcro (if it's the sticky kind, you should also sew it in place for security). As for the button and string, you'll sew the button on the envelope an inch down from where the flap touches down; then you'll string your embroidery thread on your needle and poke it up through the back of the flap and then back down 1/8 of an inch over from where you poked through. You don't need to tie any knots. Use the string to close the envelope by wrapping it around the button.
That's it! If you do plan to use your fabric envelopes for snail mail, slip them (once they're all filled up) into paper envelopes so you can put stamps on and what not. Have fun in your fabric envelope endeavors!
- Embroider the to and from addresses on your envelopes.
- Sew on handmade fabric stamps (pieces of fabric, possibly embroidered).