Welcome to the bonus session of the PP 2016 virtual retreat.

This session is to make a furniture themed postcard. We're thinking about country houses, where a real retreat might be held, and taking inspiration from the sort of furniture we might find there


  • 6in x 4in scaled image of furniture, especially silhouettes, or a design of your own. I can help with images if you're stuck. I used this one, but you need to be careful where you download them from, as they may cost money, or be from dodgy websites. PM me if you'd like me to help)
  • Computer printer (optional)
  • A4 sheet of freezer paper (optional if printing)
  • At least 6in x 4in of dollhouse wallpaperish fabric (Slightly larger than A4 if you want to use a printer)
  • Scraps including some solid black
  • 6in x 4in pelmet vliene
  • Bondaweb (Two 6in x 4in pieces if pelmet vilene not fusible, and for applique)
  • 6in x 4in wadding (optional)

Ideas to try

  1. I've used silhouettes for my postcards, as I think they translate well into applique, and are quite country house like.
  2. If you find an image you'd like to use, resize it so that it fits into a 6 x 4in rectangle, and you're ready to go. If you can't resize your image, you can email me and I will do it for you.
  3. You can print the image directly onto your background fabric. Iron an A4 sized piece of freezer paper onto the back of your background fabric, and trim the fabric to match the size of the paper. Adjust the ink settings so that the print is as dark as you can get it. Test the print on paper. Use the freezer paper backed fabric in the rear feed slot of your printer. Leave the ink to set, peel off the freezer paper to use again and start making your postcard. This fabric won't be washable, but it doesn't matter here. If you want to make it washable in future, treat the fabric with either homemade solution or Bubble Jet Set the day before printing.
  4. Alternatively, print your image on paper, and trace onto bondaweb. You probably won't need to reverse the image, but notice before you print it if you do! Use black fabric to applique a silhouette of your furniture.
  5. Silhouettes sometimes have complicated small areas that need to be cut out, which is why printing onto fabric is a good option. I found simplifying these areas and using a hole punch is much easier than trying to cut tiny shapes. It's not as pretty, but you get a simple yet similar effect.
  6. If you don't have a printer, you can draw a simple image and applique it as normal. I've used simple shapes such as a sideboard, plant stand, lamp and plant.
  7. You can add other fabric, free motion stitching or beads or anything else to your printed or appliqued image, or just leave it as it is. For raw edge applique, try not to use a fabric that frays badly (I didn't!)

Making the postcard

  1. Once you have either a printed image or a design in mind, you need to make the background for your postcard. I like to do this first so that everything is stable. Take your background fabric, and cut a 6 x 4in rectangle, centering the printed image if you have one. Layer this up with the same size rectangles of bondaweb, pelmet vilene and wadding if you're using it. I prefer not to use wadding in postcards, but it is up to you. If you use wadding, you need the layers in this order: fabric, bondaweb, wadding, bondaweb, vilene. Without wadding, you need: fabric, bondaweb, vilene. Leave out the bondaweb if your vilene or wadding are fusible.  
  2. Now you have a stable postcard front, embellish or applique as desired! If you started out with a blank canvas, applique your design now. Here are two I made up from rough sketches, rather than printed images on fabric or paper.
  3. If you just printed an image or did some bondaweb applique, have a go at free motion stitching it. You need a darning foot, and set your stitch length to zero. I leave the feet dogs up, but most people drop them. Try not to go too fast or too slow and have a go. It doesn't matter if your free motion stitching isn't very good, this is a nice size for practising. You can follow the lines or just go for it, but have fun. 
  4. Once you're happy with the front, we need to add the back. This can be anything you like as long as you can write over it. The wrong side of patterned fabric often looks good. Iron a 6 x 4in piece of bondaweb to the right or wrong side of your postcard back as you wish and layer that over the wrong side of the pelmet vilene. If your vilene is fusible, you won't need bondaweb.
  5. Finish the edges of your postcard with satin or blanket stitch. I prefer to use blanket stitch as it is quicker, but satin stitch gives a better finish. Start by using a narrow zig zag with a medium stitch length and go round the four edges once or twice. Then reduce your stitch length and increase the width and go all the way round again. Repeat if you like. 
  6. Draw a line down the middle of your postcard back, write 'Postcard' at the top, write a message, address and send it to someone special!