Tear-Away Tracing Paper: Transferring Patterns to Fabric
One of the first steps for working on an embroidery pattern is transferring the design to your fabric. There are lots of different methods of doing this – which is great (lots of options, woo hoo!) but that can also make it quite daunting for beginners (how on earth do you know which one to use?!).
But don’t worry, I’m here to help! I'm going to teach you a method to transfer patterns onto fabric: tear away tracing paper. This is particularly suitable for dark or thick fabrics which you can’t see through or textured and delicate fabrics that don’t allow you to draw, iron or stick a template to them.
I'll be honest, I did actually find this method pretty challenging but it is definitely doable.
So let's get started!
Also works on dark or thick fabrics
Works on fabrics which you can’t draw on (e.g knits)
Template lines clear and visible
Template lines removable
Works day + night
Additional cost of the tracing paper
Stitching with tracing paper can be challenging
Tracing paper can be challenging to remove at the end
Let’s have a quick look at this simple, old-school method. It’s suitable for dark or thick fabrics which you can’t see through to trace. It’s also effective on textured or delicate fabrics that don’t allow you to draw, iron or stick a template to them.
IN A NUTSHELL: Trace your pattern onto lightweight tracing paper, attach that to your fabric, stitch through both layers, and then tear away the tracing paper at the end.
You will need
Printed design template
Loose fabric or dressed hoop (e.g. fabric mounted tightly in the hoop and excess fabric trimmed off)
Transfer template to paper:Lay your tracing paper over the top of your design template (could be digital if not printed), and trace the design onto the tracing paper.
Cut out paper patch: Now cut out your design into a patch or circle, leaving a margin of at least 1⁄2 an inch (10mm).
Attach paper:Place the patch of transfer paper on the top-side of your dressed hoop, and secure it to place. The usual way is to use a basting stitch (e.g. work a simple Running Stitch around the clear border area of the design, to hold it in place on the fabric).
Now your template has been transferred to your pattern and you can move to the next step of making your pattern, well done!
Removing the tear-away tracing paper at the end
After completing your stitching, you will need to tear away the tracing paper. The paper should come off relatively easily along the lines of stitching, because your stitches will have perforated it along the outlines. However, be careful not to pull or disrupt your stitches, and you might need tweezers to remove any stubborn bits.
This method doesn’t seem to be commonly used these days for hand embroidery. But one of our members Cath used it with success for stitching her Bunny Blooms on a woollen cape. See the images right for the before and after – it turned out so great!
I hope that this blog has made it easy and fun for you to transfer your patterns onto your material, without being overwhelmed.
I encourage you to practice transferring your pattern on with different techniques, and you’ll find a favourite method that you can easily whip out each time you start a new project.