Transferring Your Pattern—3 Methods to Try!

Whether you are gearing up for your first stitching project, or even if you’re an embroidery veteran, you may not realize that there are countless transfer methods out there to experiment with. Here are three techniques you can explore:

1. Pilot Frixion Pen Method

Transfer Pen - Abide Embroidery Co.

 While there are many “pen” methods (water soluble pens, hot iron transfer pens, and so on), the first method I want to talk about is probably one of the most popular methods to date and is what I include inside all of my kits: the Pilot Frixion Pen method. 

This erasable pen has been hijacked by the crafting community because of its ease of use and amazing vanishing skills when in contact with heat. To use, simply open up the pen and trace your pattern using a light table, a window or an ipad. These lines will stay visible until you have finished stitching and decide to remove your pen marks using heat (e.g.,  an iron, a hairdryer, or even a heat gun). 

Pros: Easy to use and can be found at most department/office stores.

Cons: Tricky for those with unsteady hands. Leaves the faintest mark after you have removed the pen lines. It’s not a big deal if you stitch over all of your pen marks but, if you make the decision to not stitch a specific part you already traced, you will still see that line after you have used heat to remove the pen marks. 

2. Water Soluble Paper

6" High Quality Embroidery Hoop - Abide Embroidery Co.

The second method I’d like to talk about is using a water soluble paper such as Sulky’s Stick and Stitch Paper (or our sample pack). This technique is commonly used for those who struggle with tracing, for a design with a lot of detail, or for those who might be stitching on something like a hat or canvas bag.

This method allows you to print your design directly on a special sticky paper that will remain on your fabric until you remove it with warm water. 

To use this method, add the water soluble paper to your printer and print the design directly onto the paper. Once printed, I like to cut the design out—leaving about 1/2” around any printed design. Next you’ll remove the backing and place it on your prepared hoop. And that’s it! You are ready to stitch! Once you have finished stitching, you will run your design under warm water and use your fingers to gently scrub away any excess sticky paper.

Pro: The perfect printed lines make stitching easier.

Con: If you take too long to stitch the design, the paper will begin to lose its stitch and could come off of your fabric. The sticky material used in the paper leaves a residue on your needle. The washing process can mess up raised stitches (such as a woven wheel), or pull out stitches you might not have tied tightly enough in the back. 

3. Print on Fabric

Here’s the method that I discovered in the last year: printing directly onto your fabric. While this method is often advertised as being perfect for beginners, I’d disagree. 

Due to the permanency of the lines being printed on your fabric, if you are unable to successfully stitch over the lines you will see a “ghosting” behind your stitches that could leave you unhappy with a finished product. That said, this has become one of my favorite methods due to the perfectly printed lines which makes it easier to stitch.

While I have tried a few methods for printing directly on fabric, the method I had the best luck with (and fewest errors) is using Avery Shipping Labels (Avery 8165). This method is more complicated to describe so I’d suggest watching the tutorial video I have here:



Pro: Perfect lines for easy stitching. No washing required.

Con: It can be incredibly difficult to learn how to stitch over printed lines. 

If you’d like to watch a quick recap of all three methods mentioned above, you can watch that in the video here!

Whether you decide to try a new tracing method or have decided to stick with your tried and true method, I hope today's Abide Guide helps you in your embroidery journey! Have any questions? Send me an email!

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