Transferring Patterns


Light Box

Using a water-soluble pen trace your pattern onto fabric.

Print out your pattern and tape it to your lightbox (or window!). Then cut a piece of fabric and tape it stretched tight over the pattern. Draw your pattern as carefully as you can onto the fabric. Remove from the lightbox and put into a hoop to begin stitching.

After you’ve finished the embroidery, run cold water over the embroidery piece to remove the marks. I hang it to dry and then press it carefully with an iron and press cloth.


Water-Soluble Stabilizer

There are several different brands of water-soluble stabilizer, Pellon and Sulky are the biggest brands.

Some types you can even print directly on, otherwise use the lightbox method above to draw on the stabilizer instead of the fabric.

If your stabilizer has a sticky backing, press it directly to the cloth. If it doesn’t, baste it to the fabric before stitching.

Stitch through both the stabilizer and the fabric to create your embroidery. When you’re done, cut away as much of the stabilizer as you can without endangering your stitching. Then soak in a bowl of cold water (tap water is fine). Gently rub the fabric to remove any residue as the stabilizer dissolves. I find that I need to work to get the stabilizer to fully out of satin stitches so it doesn’t gum up the stitches as they dry. But if it dries and you realize there’s still a residue, just put it back in water for a little more scrubbing!

Dry and press to complete.


Thermal Transfer Pencil

Print out the mirror-image version of the pattern. Draw directly on the paper pattern with the transfer pencil. Be sure to draw carefully these marks will be permanent. 

Place the pattern face-down on top of the right-side of the fabric and iron over it. Use the heat setting suggested with your pen or pencil instructions.

Stitch directly over the marks on your fabric. Make sure to cover them completely.