Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sewing envelopes: extra postage?

A dear friend of mine, a talented artist and seamstress, wants to sew the envelopes for her wedding invitations. She asked me about postage and special procedures for that, and since I don't sew a stitch, it's nothing I've ever considered.

I've received a variety of lovely sewn envelopes, in a variety of different styles, but I've not sent any.

Those of you that sew, or that are far more knowledgeable about this sort of postal practice than I - will that require extra postage? I'm inclined to say, better safe than sorry and throw on that 20-cent non-machinable extra, because I'm worried about the threads catching in the sorting machines. But my beloved suggested taping over the stitches, or sealing them in some way, to make them less inclined to be problematic.

Has anyone done this? I'd love any insights or suggestions, particularly those with experience behind them. As these are to be wedding invitations, there will be a fair number of them, and of course we want to make sure they are delivered successfully!

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/ideas.

CLARIFICATION: The idea is to sew stitches on paper, not fabric. The main component of the envelopes would still be thick paper, just sewn instead of glued.

19 comments:

  1. How about sending them in clear glassine envelopes of the proper size? It would protect the stitching and yet allow it to be seen. There would still be the non-machineable charge of 20 cents per but that seems a small fee for such lovely invitation.

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    1. Ah - very interesting idea! Thank you! I know she's on a budget, but the clear envelopes probably wouldn't cost that much. Do you think the clear envelopes themselves would still incur the non-machinable surcharge?

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    2. I was also going to suggest the clear envelopes. I wouldn't use glassines though; they aren't transparent enough. I would use clear bags. (www.clearbags.com) I would also still include the extra postage. If she's trying to save money, she could just take them into her post office and verify with them how much postage she should use. They might accept it at a lower rate.

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    3. Oh, yes. The USPS imposes the non-machinable surcharge whenever I use a clear envelope. I reuse the ones from postage orders but surely she could fine them with some vender online. I hope you'll post your invite so we can all see how beautiful it turned out!

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    4. Donovan - thanks for the sage advice! Confirming with a sample at the post office is definitely a great way to go.
      StoneZebra - Ah, good to know on the surcharge with the clear envelope regardless. The invites are not mine, and it's just an idea, but I'll try to remember to post one, especially if the sewing thing happens.

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    5. I used vellum outer envelopes for our wedding invitations and they did not incur any non-machinable surcharge due to their being clear. I also mail a decent number of things in reused clear poly bags, without paying extra. I just make sure the address is on a label on the outside of the clear plastic, so the machines can read it without a problem.

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    6. Thanks, Melissa - good to know. I hadn't thought about the placement of the address label on the outside of the clear plastic, that makes good sense.

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  2. A friend of mine tried this about a year ago. She sewed a 'spiderweb' design into the envelope of a letter she was sending out around Halloween. The Post Office returned the letter saying that any 'abnormality' on the exterior of the letter would be rejected or would need to be mailed in a larger envelope so that it would not cause problems with their sorting machines.

    I've seen it before when people would try and send envelopes with wax seals on the back. You usually have to put them in a larger envelope to get them through their machines -or- pay for special handling.

    Hope this helps.
    -Green Pilgrim

    http://lonelyroadjournals.blogspot.com/

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    1. I've used wax seals frequently, and never had a problem with them.

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  3. Thanks for your input, Green Pilgrim. I have a feeling the size and girth of the thread will have a lot to do with it. However, I can attest that I have received hundreds of letters with wax seals that have made it through successfully, with no surcharge. (On the other hand, I've received an awful lot of mangled wax seals, too!)

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    1. I think maybe it may be an Ohio thing. A friend of mine was sending out wedding announcements (like 100 of them) with the decorative wax seals on the back and they made her put all of them in separate envelopes.

      not wax and ribbons - just wax.

      weird.

      Good luck!

      -GP

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    2. Ah - one wax seal on a letter is one thing, and one hundred on invitations delivered to the post office is another. I have heard tell that the post office is not crazy about the wax seals, as they do not travel well through the very speedy sorting machines... but sometimes one takes a chance on a fun piece of mail.

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  4. You're right Donovan, I should have said cellaphane, glassine is translucent not clear. I emailed you a couple of companies that sell clear envies and Clear Bags is one of them.

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  5. This is a little bit different than what you're asking, but I have successfully mailed a cross-stitched postcard across the country, without damage. I attached the fabric to some thin cardboard with glue, and brushed a bit of clear glue onto the stitches so they would stay down. It was small enough to get a 32 cent stamp, but I put a 45 cent stamp on anyway, and put it in the mailbox.

    I'd put a fabric envelope into another envelope, though, so that the postal machines don't print an ugly orange barcode on it.

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    1. Thanks for the info - and oops, I need to clarify - she wants to sew paper, not fabric! Off to edit original post...

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    2. That does help. I've received sewn paper envelopes that didn't have any extra postage on them. If she runs a dab of glue on wherever the threads are, to be extra sure of it coming through OK, I think she'd be fine.

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  6. I have posted sewn envelopes before. I have also just sewn a letter together like an aerogram and addressed the outside. Here with Australia Post it's just a matter of the weight and dimensions of the overall article. Perhaps not so helpful for your friend unless she wants to come to Australia to get married, but still, it's fun just to think about sewing envelopes.

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  7. 20-cent non-machinable extra? Wow. We don't pay that. A UK perspective is probably no use, but I've never had a problem sensig sewn envelopes internationally :)

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  8. Just checking in on your blog Missive Maven and I thought I'd share my experience with "special mailings"...

    If there are no loose threads on the mailing envelope that is being created, it should not be a problem to mail, but the USPS is definitely not happy to deal with anything that has loose threads since they will catch in the machines and they will probably charge extra for 'hand cancel' processing and THAT might add extra time for the item to be sent. A friend tried to send me a strangely shaped envelope which incurred an extra 'hand cancel' charge, then it took over SIX WEEKS to arrive in my mailbox! =-(

    The bride to be may want to check out the details of attempting to send ONE of her envelopes with a rep at the USPS so she get all the info on whether it is a financially viable idea to send a large quantity. It does sound like a wonderfully creative invitation idea and I hope it works out for her! =-)

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