Marking an Pattern on Fabric

4 Methods for Marking Patterns on Fabric

One of the many methods for marking or transferring an embroidery pattern to cloth will likely become your favorite. Even if you have a preferred strategy, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of the available alternatives. The weight and color of the fabric might also play a role in determining the optimal approach.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with all of these transfer methods and keep the necessary supplies on hand.

4 easy steps for transferring patterns:


Using a light box or a window and a chalk-based marking pencil or a water-soluble transfer pen or pencil, you may transfer the drawings directly onto thin fabrics. A finely sharpened regular pencil can also be used in a pinch.

Tape the pattern to the glass and cover the pattern with the cloth to transfer the design. The design should be visible through the cloth, so use a marking pencil or pen to sketch the lines.

Heat Transfer via Transfer Pencils

You can use a heat transfer pencil or a pen to mark the outline of your embroidered design on any type of cloth, from lightweight to thicker.

Transfer pens and pencils come in a variety of colors and thicknesses, and the ink is activated by ironing.

However, these marks are indelibly etched into the surface. Because the pattern lines cannot be removed by washing, they must be embroidered over fully to hide them. For the greatest results, use a fine-tipped transfer pen.

Use a heat transfer pen or pencil to trace the pattern in reverse on a piece of paper that is lightweight (the design is traced in reverse because the pressing process creates a mirror image of the design marked on the paper). Print your pattern, then turn it over and trace the design on the reverse side of the paper with the heat transfer pencil. This is the quickest and easiest method.

Use an extremely sharp pencil if you’re tracing with one. The pattern lines that are copied to the cloth should be as thin as possible in order to not show through your lovely needlework.

Using an iron, press the paper on the cloth, pulling the iron off of the paper before moving it to the next location to transfer the design. The image will be distorted if you move your iron back and forth across the paper while ironing.


Using a water-soluble stabilizer when dealing with dark fabrics or intricate patterns is a smart idea. When you use this stabilizer, you can print your embroidered design straight onto the stabilizer and then transfer it to your embroidery fabric.

Stabilizer can be removed by soaking the needlework in warm water after it has been stitched through the fabric and stabilizer.

As soaking is required for this process, ensure sure your fabric and embroidery floss are both washable.

Transfer Paper

Dressmakers’ carbon paper, a carbon- or wax-based transfer paper, can also be used to transfer designs to thick or dark textiles. An ink designed specifically for use on fabrics coats one side of this thin transfer paper; the ink will wash out of the finished item.

To mark designs on dark fabrics, use a light-colored piece of carbon paper; for lighter fabrics, use a darker-colored piece of carbon paper. In the event that the ink is a little tenacious when washed, always choose the lightest color feasible. When embroidering on wood, this method is a fantastic fit.

Lay the cloth face-up on a hard surface, such as a kitchen counter, and transfer a design using transfer paper. You’ll want to position your design directly on top of transfer paper, which has its waxy ink facing outward. Use a stylus or an empty ballpoint marking pen to transfer the design to the fabric. To get the design to stick to the fabric, you’ll need to apply enough pressure with the stylus to the paper.


Transferring patterns or designs can be tricky, but with just a little practice you’ll see just how easy it really is. The next time you want to bring a design or pattern from paper to fabric, keep these three easy steps in mind.

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