Transferring Patterns for Embroidery

What is your go-to method for transferring embroidery patterns to fabric? I usually use my light box and either a fine tip marker or disappearing marker, but I have a couple projects in mind that will use less transparent materials (i.e. darker color/canvas). I’ve read about heat transfer pens/pencils and transfer paper and am currently leaning towards these. But I wanted to pick some brains here before making a purchase.

I use the Sublime Stitching fine point transfer pen and tracing paper. Nothing fancy. In the past I used a pencil but wasn’t impressed. I also use sulky. Draw right on the “paper” and then once done, wash it off.

I’ve used this a couple of times but not really a fan. It is very thick and your needle gets gunky.

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Thank you! These ones?

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I’ve never liked using Sulky.

I’ve always used a transfer pen/paper or drew directly on the fabric with a pencil, especially with projects that were going to take a while to complete. I have had issues with designs using the transfer paper. The chalk (?, Whatever that substance is… ) rubbing off of my fabric

Yep! I love them!

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I’ve never yet found a method I really love above all others - I tend to use what I think will work best with a particular fabric. Often just a HB or harder pencil.

I have a bohin mechanical chalk pencil which makes a very fine line on dark fabric, which I like for delicate work in a hoop, but the marks do come off quite easily - I wouldn’t recommend it for something that will be handled a lot.

I’ve also drawn designs with a fine sharpie on Glad press’n’seal, and pressed that onto fabric. You can then stitch through it for the outlines. Tear or snip away the press’n’seal carefully before filling in shapes. I don’t particularly love using disposable plastic much, so it’s not my usual go to, but it’s a useful solution if your fabric is difficult (dark or rough textured). It doesn’t gunk your needle, as it sticks without adhesive, so I prefer it over dissolving stabilisers.


The iron-on kind? Or carbon?

Oooo…good to know!

Thanks, guys! I have no idea what I’m doing, ha! :laughing:

That is brilliant! I will definitely keep this in mind for the future, as I’ve just recently expanded my embroidery to darker fabrics. :smiley:

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@Abbeeroad Mostly the carbon

I usually stitch over paper.

I tape dissolvable fabric to my computer screen and use a washable embroidery pen to trace the image. Then I pin it to the fabric I’m stitching on. I stitch through the dissolvable & regular fabric and then wash it away when I’m done.

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My general go-to is the printable, dissolvable sulky. Personal game-changer.

But I will still do all the old school methods if I need to, like

  • Stitch through paper, and tear away.
  • Draw on fabric, then stitch. (Sometimes with a pencil. I don’t have much luck with the blue pen.)
  • Trace by holding up against the glass or screen.
  • Also, graphite all over the back, then press down and trace over shape from the front, and lift off. Just did this the other night.

I don’t see the iron on transfer as often, but I’m very interested in kitty’s recommendation. It’s always nice to have multiple options available, depending upon materials, and urgency.

(Of course there are urgent stitching situations!)


OF COURSE! :smile:

Thank you all for the input!!

I’ve been eyeing the pattern transfer kit from sublime since yesterday…lol!

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I’ve used graphite paper before too. It’s okay. I’m telling ya, the fine point transfer pens are my life.

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Hey kitty. So, how do you use them? I checked, and it seems like you can trace onto regular paper. Then heat the fabric, then flip over paper, amd press down, and iron over top? So have to keep in mind it will reverse image?

I use plain old tracing paper and I use it exactly like you said. Draw it up, iron it on. Yeah, just remember that it will be reversed. I have messed up a few words that way. LOL!


I think I need to try these! They sound much better than my old iron transfer pencil

So glad I’m not the only one confused by this whole business…that’s why I asked here!

I’m so ordering a set. And I never realized how much I need a tools case. :heart_eyes:

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