Transferring an Embroidery Pattern to Fabric

Monday, March 7, 2011

Using transfer penspencils and paper are terrific products to use when transferring designs from your pattern to the fabric.

These pens and pencils allow you to make markings that can be removed after the stitching has been completed.

There are many brands available, and each is used in the same manner.

Here are some tips for using these marking products.

Transfer pens contain a non-permanent, blue ink pen that allows for easy transfer of designs onto fabric.

The DMC Transfer Pen works well on light and medium colored fabrics.

The ink is removed by using a damp cloth or cold water.

Here I’ve shown a design traced onto the fabric, ready for embroidery.

The blue ink is completely water-soluble – once the embroidery has been completed, the project can be blotted to remove the markings as shown here, or laundered normally.

Transfer pencils are chalk-based and allows designs to be easily transferred onto dark colored fabrics.

The white pencil markings are removed by using a damp cloth or cold water, just like the transfer pen, or can be removed by gently using a clean eraser on the fabric.

Transfer paper can also be used. To use this transfer method, place a piece of the transfer paper color-side down on your fabric and place the pattern on top of the paper.

Transfer to the design to the fabric by tracing the pattern using a stylus or empty ball-point pen.

This package of DMC Transfer Paper includes four 8½” x 11″ sheets of wax-free tracing paper – two yellow and two blue.  Use the yellow for dark fabrics for and the blue for light-colored fabrics.

Any visible markings can be carefully erased around the stitching using a soft pencil eraser or a damp cloth.  Use the eraser on the fabric only – don’t rub the eraser along the embroidery threads, as this could damage the stitching.

For best results when using any of these transfer methods, your needlework fabric should be clean and free of any starch or protective coatings, as these coatings can interfere with the ink or chalk transferring to the fabric.

While many have tested the washability of these pens and pencils, some have experienced mixed results.

I have found that as long as the finished item is laundered with a mild soap after completion, there is little or no chance of the ink reappearing, and these products are safe to use.

If in doubt, test a small, inconspicuous area before transferring the design.

Note: These three transfer methods are removable and should not be confused with hot iron transfer ink pens, pencils or patterns.

Heat transfer methods create a permanent image that must be completely covered by stitching to be invisible.

Ink colors for these items can be red, black or blue, depending on the manufacturer.

When using a hot iron transfer pencil, also remember that a reverse image of the design will be created.  This means that your pattern needs to be traced in reverse before transferring the design to the fabric.



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