3 easy ways to transfer embroidery designs

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery. I’ve spent years doing the basic stitches like back stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch and French knots on my wool applique pieces but I never tried anything more complicated until Sue Spargo had a 90-day stitch along on her Instagram page last summer. Every day she showed us more and more stitches and the amazing ways that you can put them together, and it really helped me to deal with the stress I was feeling from the pandemic. Here’s a picture of my finished ‘Toned Down Sampler’ and as you can see, there are way more than the basic stitches in this one.

Christine’s finished Toned-Down Circle Embroidery Sampler

I’ve since done a second stitch along with Sue and am currently working away on the project from her Cuppa book. Here’s a close-up of one of the blocks.

One of Christine’s blocks from the Cuppa wall hanging by Sue Spargo

When I started doing all of this embroidery, I made myself a needle book because all of a sudden, I had many, many different needles than what I had always used for my wool applique, and I was having trouble keeping track of which needle was which.

A needle book made with felted wool

Unfortunately, now that I’ve been using this needle book, I find that the pages get stuck on the needles and I’d rather be able to see all of the different needles at once instead of having to flip through the pages to find the one needle that I need.

The inside of the wool needle book

So, this week on QUILTsocial we’re making a needle roll! We’ll work on the embroidery on the outside of the roll and then during my week in November we’ll sew the needle roll together.

Here are the amazing embroidery supplies that we will use to make the outside embroidered side of the needle roll. I’ve got a SURELight M4M LED 3-in-1 Lamp, lots of DMC embroidery floss and perle cottons, UNIQUE notions, CLOVER notions, DMC Magic Paper, DMC Charles Craft Monaco Needlework Fabric and many other products to try out.

A selection of indispensable embroidery tools

The first step in starting our embroidery project is deciding on the fabric to use. For the outside of the needle roll, we’re going to embroider on this lovely Charles Craft Monaco Needlework Fabric. Up until now, I’ve done all my embroidery on wool, but I’ve heard that there’s nothing that can compare to stitching on evenweave fabric. The package contains a piece of cotton evenweave fabric that is 20″ x 24″ so I’ve cut my piece 8″ x 20″. Because it’s a looser weave than other types of fabrics, I’ve zigzagged the edges with my Brother NQ-900 sewing machine to prevent fraying.

Zig-zagging the edge of the evenweave fabric prevents it from fraying

Next, we decide on an embroidery design. I’ve designed this cute flower garden for us to use on the outside of the needle roll. Download it to your computer and then print it out. If the square on the design doesn’t measure 1”, you’ll need to adjust your printer settings.

Flower Garden embroidery pattern

Since the design is on two pages, fold over the edge of page 2 along the left side of the rectangle and tape it to page 1 so that the edges of the rectangles line up.

Tape the two pages together to make the complete design.

Now we need to transfer our design to the evenweave fabric. There are many, many ways to transfer embroidery designs, but I’ll focus on just a few easy ones today.

Method 1 – Tracing

Probably the easiest method of all, tracing is simple and easy if you can see through the fabric. This evenweave fabric isn’t the easiest to see through, but when you use a light box (or your kitchen window), tracing is quite simple! First tape your paper design to the window, then tape your Charles Craft Monaco Needlework Fabric over top.

Use a sunny window to trace an embroidery design easily.

Now, what kind of tool should we use to trace the design? I chose the blue end of a UNIQUE Sewing 2-in-1 Dual-Tip Wash-out/Air Erasable Fine Tip Marking Pen. Although both ends can be used to transfer pattern markings for needlecraft, quilting, crafting and sewing, the blue ink can be removed with a damp cloth while the purple disappearing ink should only be used on projects that will be completed within 24 hours since the ink normally disappears in 48 to 72 hours. The blue wash-out pen is best only used on washable fabric. To remove the blue markings, rub gently with a clean damp cloth well moistened with plain water.

The design is drawn with the blue end of a UNIQUE Sewing 2-in-1 Dual-Tip Wash-out/Air Erasable Fine Tip Marking Pen.

Method 2 – DMC Magic Paper

The second technique I tried was using DMC Magic Paper. This neat product is super easy to use and to stitch through. First you place one paper backed sheet of the Magic Paper on top of your embroidery design and trace it with any type of pencil or marker (make sure that the paper side is down). I wouldn’t use a ball point pen because the ink might transfer to your threads as you’re stitching.

Place the DMC Magic Paper on top of your embroidery design with the paper side down.

Next, cut your design out, leaving a border around the drawn lines and remove the paper backing of the DMC Magic Paper to expose the sticky side of the transfer ‘fabric’. Be careful that the design doesn’t fold in on itself and stick!

Peel off the paper backing of the DMC Magic Paper.

Now all we have to do is position the DMC Magic Paper on the DMC Charles Craft Monaco Needlework Fabric and then stick it down! You can see that one tiny corner of the Magic Paper did fold over on me before I was able to position it, but I won’t worry about it because it isn’t anywhere near the embroidery design.

Stick the DMC Magic Paper in place on the Charles Craft Monaco Needlework Fabric.

This paper would be amazing for transferring designs to fabrics that you can’t see through such as wool! I can’t wait to try it for my wool applique embroidery because I’ve really been struggling with transferring designs to my wool backgrounds. When your embroidery is done, rinse it all off; the magic paper will dissolve in a few seconds, and you’ll be left with your wonderful embroidery piece.

Method 3 – Drawing directly on the fabric

For today’s last transfer method, I wanted to try out the Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner to draw some straight lines directly onto my fabric. I have the silver Chaco Liner but it also comes in blue, pink, white and yellow. The great thing about this product is that the Pen Style Chaco Liner’s fine point permits accurate drawing of both straight lines and free hand curves. The fine point makes lines and marks more visible and is easy to use with a straight edge ruler. There are also ‘easy’ replacement refills available for all of the colors. You simply just remove the tip of the liner and screw it onto the replacement cartridge. Easy and mess free!!

Marking a straight line with a ruler and Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner

The chalk washes or brushes away easily, so it’s ideal for use in needlecraft, quilting and sewing projects. The only thing to keep in mind though is that you wouldn’t want to mark your whole embroidery piece first and then start stitching because your hand will brush away your marks before you get to them all. So just mark a small section at a time with this type of product.

The Clover Chaco Liner Pen Style is another product that is great for use with fabrics like wool. See how easy it is to see the marks! And easy to remove too without having to soak in water!!

A Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner can also be used to mark lines on felted wool.

Now that the embroidery design has been transferred to the DMC Charles Craft Monaco Needlework Fabric, tomorrow we start stitching!! I sure can’t wait to try out some of these fun DMC threads – see you tomorrow!

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: 5 simple embroidery stitches to sew by hand on evenweave fabric

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