Easy Ways to Transfer Patterns to Fabric

By Kendall Olsen
Part of the process of completing needlework involves transferring the pattern to fabric.

When sewing or embroidering, transferring patterns is a necessary part of the process. In order to complete a design with needlework or other materials, you must first transfer the design so you can embroider or sew it. Whether a design is an original or a pattern, the outlines of the image on the fabric must appear. A variety of methods to transfer patterns to fabric exist; many of these methods are easy and require little time.

Light and a Transfer Pencil

An easy way to transfer a design to light-colored fabric is to tape the design to a window and place the fabric over it. Use a transfer pencil or washable fabric marker to lightly trace the design onto the fabric. Or, opt to use a light table for this purpose.

Tracing Wheel and Transfer Paper

Another simple way to transfer a pattern is to use transfer paper and a tracing wheel. Place fabric flat on the table with special transfer paper on top. Place the pattern on top of the paper and use the tracing wheel to trace the pattern, which leaves a faint outline on the fabric.

Ink Jet Printer

New technology allows crafters to print directly onto fabric. First check your printer's manual for warnings and restrictions. If the printer can handle fabric inserted into the paper space, you can print a design directly from a computer screen onto fabric. Or, opt to use special transfer paper manufactured for printers and sold at craft stores. This paper allows users to print a design onto the paper that can then be ironed onto fabric.

Pressure Transfer

Some companies sell pressure-transfer tools at craft or fabric stores that make transferring patterns easy. You place special pressure paper on top of the fabric and use a transfer tool to place the design on the surface.

Iron-On Transfers

Utilizing a simple two-step process, use a photocopier and iron to transfer designs. Photocopy designs onto special iron-on paper found at craft or fabric stores. Then use an iron to transfer the pattern to the fabric.

About the Author

Kendall Olsen has been writing for more than 20 years She is a University of Missouri-St. Louis Gateway Writing Project Fellow and has published instructional materials with the McDonald Publishing Company. Olsen holds an Ed.S. in educational technology, an M.Ed. in secondary English curriculum and instruction, a B.S. in elementary education and a B.A. in art history.