Brilliant or Insane?

So I had this idea… This year it’s my turn to host the big family Christmas party.  I found this out before Thanksgiving and I immediately began thinking of what I wanted to use for invitations.  I like to make my own, but I’ve been thinking about using less paper, saving the earth, etc., etc.  Then I thought about my new(ish) love of sewing and, hey, look at all that felt in my fabric drawer.  Also, how did I end up with fourteen canning jars filed with vintage buttons? Then, voila!  I had an idea.

The first hurdle for me was deciding how to get the words onto the fabric.  Now, sure, I’m Martha Stewart-ish, but I’ll poke out my own eyes before I embroider party details onto sixteen felt invitations.  I wasn’t interested in writing them by hand either.  I wanted them printed neatly, and in a stylish font.  That left me with the choice of printing iron-on transfers, (which I have had frustrating hit-or-miss luck with), or a new and brilliant idea that came to me one day – printing right on the fabric with my computer printer.

I have an Epson printer which prints with waterproof ink, so I knew I’d be safe to steam iron the fabric once it was printed, but how would I print it?  The muslin I bought was far too thin to run through the printer by itself.  Then I remembered Amanda and Amy‘s posts about making fabric stencils by ironing freezer paper into fabric and (I know this is a wild jump in ideas from stencils to printing fabric on a computer – just go with it) I knew I had a winner.

So here, in no fewer than 800 steps, is how I made the invitations:

  • I ironed the muslin to the freezer paper and cut it into 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets.
  • I printed my design on the heavyweight, textured paper setting. (Every other sheet I printed jammed, but muslin’s cheap so I persevered.)
  • After they were printed, I peeled away the freezer paper and ironed on lightweight fusible interfacing.
  • I cut out circles the size of my almost spent roll of masking tape (my measuring is always so precise – cough, cough).
  • I used a fabric glue stick to tack the rounds to felt that I had cut slightly bigger using a fresh roll of masking tape as my guide.
  • I sewed rickrack around the muslin round to affix it to the felt round, and then I plugged in my glue gun.
  • I glued on a small V of rickrack to the bottom of the rickrack trim, then glued on a coordinating vintage button.
  • On the back to neaten up the stitching, I glued another button in the same area.
  • I used a small punch to make a hole in the top of the felt round and I set a grommet into it.
  • I tied a ribbon for hanging.
  • And then I stood back and admired my work.  Phew!

I really do love the way they came out and I was all excited to send them, but as soon as they were off  in the mail, I panicked.  Would people think I was showing off? Would they roll their eyes like they usually do and act disgusted with me? So far the reaction has been wonderful.  My sister, although she did shake her head a little in disbelief, had her invitation hanging on her Christmas tree.  My aunt left a wonderful message on the answering machine telling me how impressed she was, and my cousin Karen just sent an email to tell me she loved them.

So yay me, I guess.  I still think it was a crazy idea, but also a brilliant one!  What do you think?