How to Transfer a Design to Fabric
When doing hand embroidery on any piece of fabric, designs have to be transferred onto the material to produce a clean finished piece. Because it often involves time-consuming, intricate stitching on sheer or delicate fabrics, the clearer the design, the easier it is to follow tight lines. Even heavier fabrics, including denims, are easier to embroider if the transfer is legible. If you're not skilled at freehand drawing, there are a variety of transfer methods available for all types and weights of fabric.
Things You'll Need
- Printer paper
- Light box
- Masking tape
- Water soluble fabric pens or pencils
- Heavy paper or cardboard
- Heavy tracing paper
- Transfer pencil
- Dressmaker's carbon sheets
- Tracing wheel
- Tissue paper
- Sewing pins
- Sewing machine
Transfer a printed design onto transparent or semi-transparent fabric by placing your design underneath the fabric on a light box. Secure the fabric to the glass with masking tape and trace along the design lines with a water-soluble pen or pencil.
Transfer a design onto fabric by taping your design evenly to a sunny window. Center the fabric over the design and tape it into place. Light shining through the window will allow you to see the design clearly. Gently trace the design onto the fabric with a water-soluble pen or pencil.
Transfer a large, simple design to fabric by making a template or pattern out of heavy paper or cardboard. Place the template onto the fabric and trace around it with a water-soluble pen or pencil.
Use heavy tracing paper to transfer a design onto fabric by first tracing the design on the back of the paper with a transfer pencil. Place the marked side of the paper onto the fabric and press it with a dry iron set at low. Do not move the iron back and forth -- press in one spot for a few seconds, then move to a different part of the design until you have covered the entire area.
Use dressmaker's carbon paper to transfer a design onto fabric. Place the paper carbon side down between the fabric and the design on a flat, even surface. Trace over the design with a tracing wheel or a pencil.
Transfer a design onto dark fabric by first tracing the design onto tissue paper. Pin the paper to the fabric and sew small running stitches along the design lines. Secure the thread and carefully tear away the tissue paper. Mark the fabric along the stitching lines with a water-soluble pen or pencil.
- Trace designs on heavy fabrics with a black marker or felt-tipped pen for better visibility. Make sure the ink is dry before it contacts the fabric.
- Keep your fabric in place by pinning or taping it.
- Make sure the design is positioned exactly where you want it before you begin your transfer.
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