Stitch School: Lesson 2


{Click here for lesson 1}

Embroidery Patterns
Now that you've got all of your supplies, you are going to need an embroidery pattern. Patterns can be purchased through Etsy, Red Velvet Art, Sublime Stitching, Urban Threads, and a few other places online. You might also find patterns at your local craft store but the selection will likely be limited. I have several patterns for sale in my own Etsy shop. If you have any pattern requests, please leave me a comment — I'm always looking for new ideas!

I posted some free patterns awhile back, so you can always practice using those! And if you like to draw then you can always try drawing your own.

Transfer Methods
There are a few different ways that you can get your design onto your fabric. All of the supplies can be purchased at your local sewing or craft store.

Carbon paper, fabric transfer paper, dress-maker's carbon: These all work essentially the same way. Spread out your fabric on a hard surface, lay the transfer paper face-down on top of the fabric, where you'd like your design to be, then place the printed design on top of the transfer paper and trace with a pencil. You may want to pin both papers to your fabric to avoid movement. These papers often come in a variety of colors so choose a color that will show up well on the fabric you are using. For instance, you'll want to use white if working on dark colored fabric.



Trace directly onto fabric: If you are using a fairly thin and light colored fabric, you can trace the design directly onto the fabric with a fabric pencil. Place your design on top of a light-box (or tape to a window). Place your fabric on top of the design and trace.


Transfer pen or pencil: You can trace your image directly onto the printed pattern or tracing paper using a special transfer pen or pencil. You'll want to make sure that the markings will wash out of your fabric so check the label first. Remember, you'll be ironing the design onto your fabric when it's face-down so the image will be reversed. If the image has lettering, make sure that you flip it over before tracing so that the letters will be readable once ironed onto the fabric. Follow the directions on the pen or pencil for ironing – usually you'll need to set your iron on a low setting and run your iron over the design for a short amount of time.


{Flip the pattern sheet over and trace the backside with an iron-on pen or pencil. You can cut the image out for easier placement.}

{Place your image on top of the fabric, with ink/ pencil side down.}

{Hold the image in place and iron, following the instructions that came with the pen or pencil. Carefully check to make sure the image is transferring without moving the paper.}

Tracing paper: Trace your design onto a piece of tracing paper. Pin the traced design in place on your fabric. Embroider through both the paper and fabric until you are done with your design. Carefully tear away the tracing paper to leave only the fabric and your embroidered design. **You can also try this method using a light-weight fabric stabilizer. This method works the best if using felt.




I created a little embroidery pattern cheat sheet for download here. If you prefer an image file to PDF, I also uploaded it to my Flickr.

embroidery cheat sheet

After transferring your image onto fabric, you'll want to place your fabric inside your embroidery hoop. Begin by loosening the screw at the top of the hoop and separate the two hoops.


Center your design over the bottom hoop (the bottom hoop is the one without the screw on top).


Now fit the top hoop onto the bottom hoop, with the fabric sandwiched in between. You'll want the fabric nice and tight.


Tighten the screw at the top and you are almost ready to begin!


Stay tuned for a lesson on embroidery floss and stitching!


SweetPeaknits said...

Your so talented! Im bookmarking this as I've STILL not attempted embroidery. Its definately on my to do list.

Lu said...

Great tutorial, thank you so much for providing it, it helps a lot! :)
Love, Lu

LollyChops said...

Awesome tutorials and ideas! Possibly one of the best all in one transfer posts ever!!!!

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [07 Apr 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Tea Potty said...

Hello! Just found your blog through feeling stitchy. Fab tutorial and really handy pdf! Looking forward to what comes next...

Rebeca said...

Super helpful--thanks!

The WoodLand School said...

Wow -- what a generous tutorial! How I wish you had been around when I was trying to teach myself ... :-)

Cori Crooks said...


suzy crancer said...

This is so helpful and generous!

Nani said...

Great Work!lovely!

Britt Bravo said...

Just found your blog through feeling stitchy and am psyched to follow your tutorials.

Another way I've transferred patterns is to trace them onto wax paper with a sharpie. Then I pin the wax paper onto the fabric and sew over it. When I'm done, I tear the wax paper away.

Is this a good, or bad idea . . . it has worked for me so far . . .

Peptogirl said...

Britt - It sounds like you have a good method! It's similar to the tracing paper/ stabilizer method but wax paper might be a cheaper and more available option for some.

I don't think there's any right or wrong way with embroidery, it's just finding what's right for you ;)

My preferred method has been carbon paper - except if I'm stitching on felt and then I use a light weight stabilizer. Again, tracing paper or wax paper work just as well.

P.S.) Thanks for all the sweet comments, everyone! I'm glad people are finding this useful!

Emma! said...

Wow I have been wanting to try embroidery forever, and even bought supplies, but was looking for some basic direction - this is awesome! So glad I found your blog.


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