Friday, May 30, 2014

Embroidery: Transferring A Pattern To Fabric

Freehand embroidery is my choice when it comes to stitching because, well, I'm lazy and don't want to go through all the steps it takes to transfer a pattern to the fabric I'm working on.  There are many ways to transfer an embroidery pattern to the intended fabric, ranging from sounding "alien" to "omg, why didn't I think of that a long time ago?"  and everything in between.  Here are just a few ways to transfer your pattern to fabric:

1.)  This is an image of a page right out of - you guessed it, an antique needlework book for embroidery.   The book was probably used for classes in high school and or college that were similar to what we refer today as home economics.  The book contained instructions for all sorts of needlework besides embroidery such as crochet, knitting, tatting, and more.  Here are the "antique" directions for transferring a pattern:

It is the first paragraph that refers to transferring a pattern...  i have not a clue what "powder blue" is or if its available today or where one could find it if it were available

2.)   My mother taught me to use Dressmaker's Carbon when I expressed an interest in embroidering and needed to transfer a pattern to a scrap of muslin I found in our hall closet.  As you can see it comes in quite a few colors as well as white so you can choose the color that will contrast and show up best on the fabric you've chosen to embroider:


 Dressmaker's Carbon is found at any fabric store including Joanne's where a package of it runs around $4.50 and has many sheets of carbon paper in it.  Sometimes you can find it at a grocery store (like Ralph's) that stocks basic sewing needs like straight pins and some thread, etc.  I've seen it at the "99 Cent Only" store and at the "98 Cent Store" (where everything is .98 and up, the prices always ending in ".98", lol) where it is only about a buck per pack.  Thing is, if its not a name brand carbon (such as Singer) you may end up wasting your dollar on crappy carbon paper that doesn't transfer well.  The only way to know if the brand you're buying makes a good transfer is by trial and error.

3.)  The last way to transfer a pattern to fabric for embroidery that I'll mention here is by using tracing paper.  Just trace your pattern onto the tracing paper and then pin the tracing paper to your fabric.  Embroider right over the tracing paper and when you're done just pull the tracing paper away from the fabric and leaving behind nothing but your beautiful embroidery.  I prefer this way to using a carbon because if I'm doing a lot of embroidery I've found the carbon tracing to wear away (or just the opposite, actually show through my embroidery work!  Dressmaker's Carbon does come out in the wash, granted the work can be laundered).

 I definitely suggest the 99 Cent Only store (or other discount store) to get your tracing paper.  I've found no matter how much I pay for it, tracing paper is pretty much all the same except for the price.  Joanne's is way too pricey for me when it comes to things like tracing paper (and plastic sheet protectors and graph paper too!)  If it's convenient check the discount stores before a big name craft store for your supplies.

There are many ways to transfer a pattern to fabric, these are just a few - the first being almost impossible and definitely time consuming and out-dated.  The second, an old school way and third a way to transfer I wish I had known before now. 

What are some of the ways you've transferred patterns to fabric?  Have those ways worked well for you?  Which way do you prefer?

(Comment below!)

Here's a freebie embroidery template just for reading all the way to the end of this post: