I’ve enjoyed embroidery a lot lately. I have so much fun choosing floss for a project and then spending hours stitching some of the drawings I’m making for the #The100DayProject on Instagram, as well as some wonderful patterns by other designers.
If you’re new to embroidery you’ve probably wondered how to transfer patterns to fabric. Today I wanted to share a few easy ways to do just that.
Iron-On transfer pens
The first method I use is the Sulky Iron-On transfer pen. To transfer the pattern to the fabric I recommend to print it flipped horizontally. Trace over the lines. Once you’ve finished tracing over the pattern, place the paper over the fabric, printed side down.
Set your iron’s temperature to medium and place it on top of the paper for a few seconds. If the pattern is larger than the iron surface, divide it into sections. Slide the iron carefully over the paper making sure not to move it.
Lift the paper up at the edge and check if the pattern transferred correctly. If the ink looks faded, place the iron for another few seconds until your happy with the transfer.
– The tip of the pen is not fine enough for delicate lines. If you’re planning on tracing finer lines you may need some patience and a firm hand.
– The transfer ink won’t wash out completely but may fade over time. Consider this if your pattern calls for 1 or 2 ply of floss because it is not thick enough to cover the ink.
– Since the ink won’t wash out, there’s no room for mistakes.
If you own a lightbox this is the easiest way to transfer a pattern. You’ll need to mount the fabric on your embroidery hoop until its drum tight. Place the paper and fabric on the lightbox and start tracing.
Did you know that instead of a lightbox you can also use a tablet? Download any painting app and start a new project with a blank screen. Set the brightness at the highest and trace away.
But what if you don’t have either nearby? Well, you can always tape the pattern to a window and start tracing.
While using these methods you have three options to draw or trace the pattern:
The tip of these pens isn’t fine enough for delicate lines. but if you make a mistake while tracing you can either use a few drops of water or wash it off to remove the ink.
Unlike pens, fabric pencils are available in different widths. I use the Chacopel Pencils by Clover or the Dritz Tailor’s Marking set. The latter has a fine tip for tracing over fine lines. Be aware that the blue and pink pencils might not wash out easily.
If you don’t want to spend money on special pens or pencils, you can also use a good old pencil. I use a well sharpened HB pencil to trace over the pattern. So far I’ve had no problem washing the graphite out of the fabric. If it’s still visible, I carefully rub the fabric with a soft toothbrush. That usually does the trick.
I recommend this method for dark fabrics. To transfer the pattern place the tracing paper under the pattern. Trace over it with a pen (in my experience, ballpoint works best). You may need to retrace it afterward with a tailor’s pencil because it can start to fade as your work progresses.
No matter the surface or fabric you want to stitch, the Solvy stabilizer will make embroidery an easy task. You can trace over the transparent plastic like stabilizer with a Sharpie or any other pen. Once you’re done stitching place it in water and watch the stabilizer disappear. The stabilizer makes working with knit fabrics a breeze.
Have you used any of these methods? Do you have other favorite ways to transfer a pattern? Share in the comments!