One of the things that is most likely to put me off stitching is having to transfer the pattern. You’re with me, right? When I was a beginner I always stitched projects that came with the pattern printed on the fabric already. Easy! All you had to do was the actual stitching. Yes, sometimes you could still see the lines at the end but that was just part of the deal.
Now I mostly find patterns online but I ALWAYS hesitate in starting. It has taken me a while to work out why I don’t just get on with it but I’ve got it nailed: it is the pattern transfer! I’m never sure of the best way to transfer a pattern – or the easiest way or the way that will stay there long enough to complete the stitching.
But then I decided to take on the Winter Stitching Club and they were so small and cute that I just jumped in.
So how did I transfer the patterns?
With a water-soluble pen. This one: Ultra Fine Blue Washable Marker I love it!
This marker washes away with a little bit of water so it is perfect for small stitcheries where you don’t want to have to wash it properly during the project. I just ran a little cold water over my finished stitchery and gave it a gentle rub with my fingers and the pen was all gone. It is a really fine tip pen too so it was easy to draw the details of the pattern. I found I could see the pattern through my fabric to just trace it at the kitchen table.
Transfer with a Lightbox
One way to transfer patterns is to use a lightbox. This is a box of some kind with a light behind a piece of glass. You put your pattern on the glass with the light behind it then your fabric on top. The light means you can see the pattern through the fabric and easily trace it.
The craft group I attend has a lightbox stashed in the cupboard. It is a wooden box about the size of a baking tray with a clear piece of perspex instead of glass on the top and a lightbulb inside. I noticed a friend on Facebook the other day got a lightbox that is actually an old x-ray viewer – very cool but kind of big to store too.
You could make your own with a glass casserole dish turned upside down over a torch. I have done this!
Transfer without a Lightbox
Sometimes you don’t need a lightbox though – especially if you have a nice clear black and white pattern to trace. Tape your pattern to a window and put your fabric over the top and you will create the same effect as a lightbox with the sun behind your pattern.
Sometimes just sitting in a nice bright sunny room will mean that you can see your pattern through your fabric anyway – especially light-weight linen fabric like I’m using for these stitcheries.
Other transfer pens
There are a number of other fabric pens out there in various colours including white for marking on dark fabrics. You can also use chalk dressmaking pencils that wash away.
Here are a couple more pens that I found on Amazon – click on the names to see more information: (Affiliate links)
- the pen I use: Ultra Fine Blue Washable Marker
- Clover White Marking Fine Pen
- Dritz Mark B Gone Marking Pen for Sewing, Blue
- Dritz Disappearing Ink Marking Pen, Pink
Always make sure you test your pen before you get started by drawing on a scrap of your fabric and then washing it off. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of your beautiful stitching and finding that the pen didn’t come off properly!
How do you transfer patterns to fabric? Do you use a particular pen?
New Craftsy Class: Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery, by Jessica Marquez (Affiliate Link)