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How to transfer patterns onto fabric


To transfer the embroidery pattern or motif onto the fabric you can use three different methods:

  • The first—and the easiest—is tracing. If the fabric is sheer enough, lay it over the pattern and trace it, using a dressmaker’s fade-away marker pen. Alternatively, tape the pattern to a window with the fabric on top, and draw over the lines of the pattern.


  • The second method is for thick or dark fabrics. Lay dressmaker’s carbon paper on the fabric, carbon side down. Lay the embroidery pattern on top and trace over the motif with a ballpoint pen. You can buy carbon paper in different colors suitable for different fabrics.


  • The final method is for the few fabrics that have a fluffy pile and are difficult to draw on. Trace the motif onto a piece of white tissue paper and pin it onto the fabric. Using cotton sewing thread and a closely spaced running stitch, baste (tack) through the tissue paper and fabric along the pattern lines. Remove the tissue paper, complete the embroidery, and then remove the basting (tacking) stitches. The key to successful machine stitching is to stitch slowly and in a straight line. Learn to control the speed so that the machine doesn’t run away with you!

Straight machine stitch is used for seams; set a stitch length of 10–12 on a scale of 1–20, and a stitch width of 0.

Topstitching is a straight stitch that is stitched from the right side of the fabric. Because it will be visible when the project is completed, it’s important to stitch in a straight line. For the projects in this book, topstitching should be done about 1⁄8 in. (3 mm) from the edge.

Zigzag stitching is used for finishing seam allowances to stop them from fraying and to create a satin-stitch effect in machine embroidery. The stitch width varies depending on the fabric and the desired effect.


Put your new skills to the test with the 35 beautiful embroidery and applique projects in Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clae Youngs.

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