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How to Transfer a Design to Fabric Using the Tracing Paper Method
The tracing paper transfer method of marking an embroidery design on fabric (sometimes referred to as thread tracing) uses lightweight tissue or tracing paper that you have marked with your pattern. It's a great way to transfer a design to fabric without actually marking the fabric.
This makes this technique well-suited for use on delicate or non-washable fabrics, because you will not have to mark the fabric permanently, or wash out any markings later like you would with the other five common... embroidery transfer methods. The marked lines stay on the paper and are not transferred to the fabric.
This method works well on fabrics such as silk, fine wool, leather, angora or dry-clean only fabrics. Because the tissue also acts as a stabilizer, it also works well on delicate or gauzy fabrics and netting (but use caution when removing the tissue, so you don't tear the delicate fabric).
It's also helpful for working on dark or thick fabrics that are difficult to trace through, such as denim or canvas.
Materials needed for this method of transferring an embroidery design include a sheet of tracing paper or tissue, a pencil, thread to baste the tissue in place on the fabric and your pattern.
The pattern shown here is one of 12 mini designs that make great patches.
Updated by Mollie JohansonContinue to 2 of 6 below.
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Make the Paper Transfer
When choosing tracing paper, look for a thin paper that isn't very stiff. Typically this will be the cheapest tracing paper a store offers, and often you'll find it with kids' art supplies.
To make the paper transfer, trace the design from the pattern directly onto the tracing paper with a regular pencil. Then, cut the design from the tracing paper about an inch from the edges.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
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Stitch the Design Through the Paper
Embroider the design directly through the tracing paper transfer and the fabric, following the pattern markings. The example show uses back stitch to outline the design, but tightly-worked stem stitch, closely-spaced running stitch or other stitches also work.
For example, the top of the strawberry suggests using detached chain stitches. These will stitch easily, while requiring extra care when removing the paper.
Keep the stitching simple as you trace the pattern with thread for best results. If... you want to fill in a design, use the tracing paper method for the outline, then remove the paper before starting the fill stitching.
Tip: Whichever stitch you choose to use, remember to work them closely spaced. This gives you a better finished line and makes it easier to remove the paper after the stitching has been completed.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Remove the Basting and the Paper Pattern
Once the embroidery has been completed, carefully remove the basting threads used to secure the tracing paper pattern to the embroidery fabric.
Remove the tracing paper, being careful not to tug the embroidery stitches.
Start by tearing away the paper from around the edge of your design. The stitches perforated the paper, which should make it easier to tear it away. From there, you can pull out the paper from the inside of an area of stitching.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
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Clear Away All the Tiny Paper Bits
It's usually helpful to remove the paper in small bits rather than trying to remove larger sections. You can perforate the paper more with a needle if you're struggling to tear it away.
Any stubborn bits of paper that remain under the stitching can be removed with tweezers.