Monday, 27 July 2015

ATC Swap Season 7

Oh my, another first, I am guest posting for Ali, at Very Berry Handmade. Go check out Ali's blog.
When I saw that Ali was taking names from those interested in another ATC Swap, Season 8, I leapt at the chance. For me Season 6 was my first, an ATC newbie.  when Ali  asked if there any interest in writing a tutorial, I leapt at that chance too. Mine is from a slightly different perspective, not so much how to make an ATC, but more how not to make an ATC. Or an anti tutorial if you prefer.
So, children, sit quietly and listen to your Aunty Tutorial. And, if you all behave, Ali will make you some of her delicious raspberry ice cream.

First get your ATC, use a business card as the base. Keep it simple. Just use a business card, or a coffee loyalty card if you prefer. Marks and Spencer do a nice one, the green will be covered anyway. Raymond Blanc Brasserie do a nice loyalty card with a nice weight. Don’t faff about as I did cutting scrap booking card, some will be too light, some will be too heavy, and it’s a pain having to look for a set square and a pencil.

Next, choose your base fabric and mark it off. Last year I carefully drew around the card on the reverse of the fabric and left a ¾” margin. This year I will be tacking around the outline of the card, and leaving a generous overhang.

 Last year, I appliqued and embroidered my ATC. But I went to mount it and it had all shifted about ½” upwards. I have no idea how this happened. There was not enough fabric to draw over the back of the card and secure. I can only assume the embroidery had tightened it all up. 
Use a very thin wadding. Obvious but not so obvious. Even thin wadding is bulky by the time you had a front, a back and a label.

Don’t bother sewing on a binding. I had to due to the lack of fabric at the top. I carefully hand stitched my binding, every so carefully round the corners. But …. When I tried to pull it tight at the back it took on a life of its own. I laced the back rather like a Victorian corset, as tight as I could. The binding which had sat in place ever so neatly at the front was now all higgledy piggledy. By this time the sweat is breaking, the postage date was getting ominously close.

On the reverse I used a little double sided tape, again from the scrap booking box. (I love when these hobbies interconnect), a little bit of wadding and then my backing. All of a sudden my nice slim ATC/business card had ballooned in a fat little pillow. Add on the label, and that’s another layer. Never mind an envelope, this would have needed a parcel box all of its own.
After posting  ………. My partner was very gracious and said she loved her ATC. It was made with good feeling and I was happy with the embroidery and applique on the front. Little bits of Liberty and lots of French knots. I have fallen in love with French knots all over again. But, it could have been neater, and slimmer …………. A little like myself I suppose.

Oh, and one last obvious thing, flag the email with your swap partner name and address. Obvious isn’t it?
And now for this year. “Favourite”. I’m going with one of two options. Lighthouses and the seaside, or a big cream bun. The Lighthouse is at the Gobbins, Whitehead, Northern  Ireland. The cream bun is from a cream tea I enjoyed last year, one of many.


Whatever you do have fun. And as you have all listened so well to Aunty Tutorial, enjoy your Aunti Ali’s raspberry ice cream. I hope to make some this weekend.



  1. Thanks for telling your story. I think we've all been there at some time in the past!

  2. Loved reading this on Ali's blog. I went about my first ATC in such a different way from you but we all get there in the end. Love the results - french knots have also featured in all of mine so far!

  3. That must be tiny. Pretty card you made. I do like making post cards swapping wiyh japanese group. Better start soon.

  4. That was hilarious. Well done on making it though as I've never even attempted an ATC. The thought of working that small fills me with terror

  5. How I love your writing style! You have me grinning away here. I adore that little house ATC! neater and slimmer...bahaha you're funny, and I like it just the way it is (hint hint, metaphor there). I drafted a lighthouse block that was pp and ended up a rectangle for Yvonne a while back for a project she's doing. Thought I need to do one for me and make it into a pillow. Let me know if you want a copy of my drawing. It's um NOT business card small though!

  6. Nice chuckle and we all know what you mean! Trouble is you are a torment as we really need to see that ice cream, in advance please, not after the event. It would spur us on!

  7. Congrats on your guest post Helen!!
    I spy macarons again. :)
    V x

  8. Great post Helen! Made me smile a lot because I could relate to pretty much everything you wrote about your experience with your ATC. I had to lace the back on my Christmas ATC like a Victorian corset too, the fabrics I chose were too “slippery”. :-) Thank you for sharing your story!

  9. Um....what's an ATC? It's lovely by the way! X

  10. Love the embroidery and what a cute size for a project.

  11. Great post - you made me laugh a lot and I liked your finished ATC a lot!

  12. A lovely post Helen (I can't resist little houses and also those macarons look very enticing indeed :-)
    Hope you're having a good week!
    Susan x


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