Friday, March 16, 2012

Tutorial: Pattern transfer with transfer paper

&Stitches tutorials
Here's another installment of our 'basics' series: transferring your pattern using transfer paper.

Don't forget, if there's anything you'd like help with, please let us know and it may just be coming to a blog post near you in the near future!

Transfer paper tutorial
This method is really good for transferring to darker fabrics where the water soluble pen method might not be ideal.

What you need:
• a printed pattern or drawing that you want to transfer
• fabric
• a pen (ball point is best, it won't rip the paper) or crochet hook or other sharp-ish instrument
• transfer paper
- the brand I use is Saral, there are other ones. What I like about Saral is that it comes in several colours (red, white, yellow, blue and black) so there's bound to be a colour that will show up on your fabric. Nicole recommends the yellow one as a good all-rounder.

The other good thing about Saral is that there's no wax in the paper, so it's easier to wash out of your fabric. Saral comes both in a set with a sheet of each colour and as rolls. Rolls are a good investment if you do a lot of embroidery! The paper can be used multiple times which makes it even more affordable.

Transfer paper tutorial
Here's how you use it: put your fabric on a surface that isn't too hard. I get good results if I use a magazine or catalogue or something like that. Don't use newspaper because the ink will rub off on your fabric!

Then place a piece of transfer paper on your fabric. Make sure you put the transfer side facing onto the fabric. With most of the colours there is a slight difference in colour between the two sides, but the white type you may have to look extra carefully to see which is which. You should be able to tell the difference by touch, the transfer side feels a bit smoother than the non-transfer side.

Place your pattern on top of the transfer paper and trace it. It's a good idea to use a pen that's a different colour than the lines of the pattern so it's easier to see if you've missed anything.

Transfer paper tutorial
Here's the transferred pattern. If your transfer is a bit uneven, don't worry you can straighten lines as you go with your embroidery. And the transfer can be rinsed out with water. If some stubborn spots remain, try using a tiny bit of mild hand soap as well. Don't iron the transfer as it may set it into the fabric.

Search online for: transfer paper, saral paper, wax-free transfer paper.


  1. thats so funny! i was just today complaining (to myself) that i needed a better pattern transfer method. i have been getting annoyed with dissolving ink pens that dont dissolve, and ther such mishaps. thanks so much for this!

  2. Saral is good, however I had a bit of a disaster using the black - it smudged black all over my fabric I think because it was a new sheet and was heavily impregnated with the transfer substance. I would recommend giving the printing side a wipe with a tissue first to remove excess powder.

    I must admit I have been a bit shy of using it since and tend to stick with dressmakers carbon paper. this is fine as long as you cover the whole lot with stitching because it doesn't wash out easily.

    1. Sorry to hear you had an unfortunate experience! Definitely worth keeping in mind.


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