How to Transfer Embroidery Patterns to Fabric

image of hand embroidery

One process that often stumps new hands to embroidery is how to mark the pattern on the fabric before you stitch.

Today I have a small tutorial on two of the many ways you can do it.

Method 1

I use a product called Transdoodle but you can also use dress makers carbon. Transdoodle is a chalk based transfer paper that produces very clear and fine outlines. It is described as being non-waxy non staining, and reusable. Another big advantage is that the lines will not set even if you accidently iron it! Also, should you ever want to, you can use it on other materials such as metal or ceramics, you can.

Usually with hand embroidery your stitchery covers any marking lines, but should you need to remove the marks you simply wipe with a cloth or wash the project. If your project will not take kindly to water simply rub out the chalky line with a scrap of fabric. Transdoodle comes in a number of colours including white so you can transfer designs on to dark fabrics with ease.

You use Transdoodle as you would dressmakers carbon (which you can also use to transfer embroidery designs)

Place the sheet of Transdoodle chalky colour side down on the fabric. Then line up your pattern on top.

Trace over the pattern so that pressure from the pen transfers the design. Make sure you do not shift the design as you work.

When you lift off the Transdoodle sheet you have a design transferred to the fabric ready to stitch

Method 2

This is the second method I use. It is quick and simple but this trick will only work for light coloured fabrics that have a smooth weave.

I tape the design to a window.

Over the top I tape the fabric

As you can see this allows me to see the design well enough to trace it.

finished embroidery

With a quilters pencil or a marking pen I trace the design.

If you use a marking pen make sure it is one of those that will fade or disappear with moisture or time. Also some of the blue marking pens can leave their mark so I steer clear of them .

Don’t iron your work as you will set the transfer marks.

These small images are the finished samples.   I hope you find this small tutorial useful.

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Tutorials, patterns and freebies for the holiday season

With December fast approaching and there are tutorials, patterns and freebie downloads all over the net.

Over on A Print a Day there are some free Stickers and Tags to download and print off.

My to do lists are not very fancy, in fact they are usually on a scrap of recycled paper and I don’t think that this festive list pad, also from A Print a Day will not make the list shrink faster but it is cheery.

Papirklip of Æsker is a blog which houses many patterns for paper printables. There are patterns for Christmas tree decorations, gift wrap and delightful paper folded hearts.  Don’t miss them as they are really delightful.

I discovered Papirklip of Æsker  via Meggiecat who has a few goodies of interest such as is these Vintage cookie Ornaments and this pattern for a Felt bird ornament. Just simplify them a smidge and you have a  contemporary take on an old pattern

This little button Advent calendar by Diane Gilleland made me smile but the idea could adapted for all sorts of shapes.  I immediately thought of door wreath but there are lots of other adaptions so that the idea could be used on different types of decorations.

Mary Ray of Craft Stylish has a tutorial on how to make a very quick table runner for the holidays.

Also via Craft Stylish are these small festive wreaths that would be an ideal project to make with children.


Free Vintage Patterns for Hand Embroiderers

hand embroidery pattern detail

There are a complete set of scans from the J. F. Ingalls embroidery pattern catalogue available online for personal use. To be honest I am not sure if I have pointed to this site before but it is such a good site for anyone interested in vintage embroidery patterns or those who enjoy doing redwork or crazy quilting that the collection is worth featuring.

The J. F. Ingalls embroidery pattern catalogue dates from 1886 which lands it right in the middle of an interesting needlework era.

We have John Governale to thank for scanning 255 pages and hosting them online. The patterns are in the public domain so stitchers are free to use them. John Governale states that people can “Use them to your heart’s delight. No permission is necessary”.

In this collection of free hand embroidery patterns here alphabets, loads of floral motifs and since the patterns are over 120 years old many are highly suitable for use in Victorian styled crazy quilting.

All the traditional motifs found on crazy quilts are in this collection. There are flowers, fruit, vegetables, wheat, birds, including storks and owls, spiders, knives, forks, spoons, crockery, vases of flowers, baskets of flowers, fans, hands, musical instruments, cats, kittens, dogs, horses, boots, anchors, horseshoes, mice, roosters, spiders, spider webs, butterflies, bugs, dragonflies, peacock feathers, oriental motifs, and Kate Greenway figures. As you can see (in the image at the bottom of the post) there are even designs for crazy quilt seams!

There are also two tutorials on the site 

How to turn illustrations from the catalogue into usable designs has a step by step tutorial which uses gimp which is a free graphic program.

A second tutorial How to enlarge a design without getting the fuzzies  shows you how to turn your image into a vector image. Why would you want to do this? If an image is a vector it means the graphic can be scaled without becoming pixilated, blocky or fuzzy.

I downloaded the images the other day and am still marvelling at the collection and playing spot the traditional crazy quilting motif.

I hope people enjoy these as much as I have done.

Free Embroidery pattern from me

Yesterday I promised a few free patterns, so today I will make good my promise.

I have a couple of patterns that can be downloaded and used for either for Christmas decorations or on projects such as bags. Crazy Quilters could also use them as motifs too. I hope people like them and find they are useful. I have kept them simple so that they can be used in many ways and applied to different projects and decorated in different ways.

Here is the first free pattern in an ad hoc series. If you click on the image you will be taken to a larger version from there the magnify glass icon in the right hand corner will take you to a larger version again. I have left the patterns reasonably large so that people can scale them to suit their needs.


I stitched up a couple of samples.



The first will become a Christmas tree decoration. The design is simply worked in a couched thread. I could have hand embroidered the lines in stem stitch or chain stitch just as easily. There a simply endless possibilities for further embellishment with this design but I kept it very simple adding a few sequins. (In our house you can’t have Christmas without sequins)

The second was worked in a thick cream cotton thread (that is actually a crochet cotton thread) on a light weight denim that actually came from a recycled shirt. Influenced by the traditon of candlewicking embroidery  I embellished it with french knots  and finished it off with wooden buttons.

It would be ideal to work on a tote or a bag as a gift.

With that in mind I worked out a few repeats. The first is simply 3 motifs in a row. (These designs are also available just click on them.)

The second a block of 4 could be interesting to take further on a Tote bag.

The second design I have been playing with is this one. It would be equally interesting to place in repeat.

The sample I will make into a Christmas decoration but it would lend itself to other interpretations too.

This type of post is a bit of an experiment, I hope people like them or it provokes a few ideas.

These patterns are released  under a Creative Commons License. You are free to use them but please attribute them to me, and link back here. Thanks.

Please note: 

For those who are beginners in hand embroidery I am writing a step by step guide on how I transfered these designs to fabric and then how I stitched them. So swing back here soon as they should be up by the end of the week.