Transferring patterns from Point A to Point B

In addition to pondering corsetry, I have also been thinking about how I am going to transfer the design of the fabric in the portrait onto the fabric I will be doing the punch needlework on. 

Having done quilting before I am familiar with the wax paper method, the transfer paper and pen method, pressure transferring, “prick and pounce“, by use of template or stencil (similar to the prick and pounce method), the grid method, light box transferring, basting through tissue paper and the free-hand method.  And to be honest, a lot of these methods are similar in their execution, but just use different tools. 

If I was to transfer the pattern in a more historically accurate way I would use the “prick and pounce” method.  However, I do need the design on the back of the fabric to stay there, even after being wound around a quilting frame or put in an embroidery hoop.  I am afraid that the “pounced” chalk would not last and would likely rub off the fabric. 

Light boxes are of course out due to the fabric being rather thick and the pieces being rather large.  Basting would also be difficult for the skirt unless I wanted to hand baste every line of the design and frankly, I think I would get so frustrated by it that I would end up hating the project.

The grid method seems to be overkill and I think it has already been established that my artistic talent is nil, so free-hand is out.

I am interested by several ideas, though. My plan is to go to Kinkos and blow up the pattern to the correct size, and/or send the pattern to them in a file and they can print it out in black and white on large paper.  I can then use said paper to do the transfer pen method, or the iron-on method.  Or I could then put a layer of tulle over the enlarged design, transfer the design to the tulle via marker, and then transfer it to fabric.  I have never done the tulle method of transfer, but it sounds very doable, particularly if you get a tiny weave of tulle so it won’t stretch out of shape.  Tulle is also very inexpensive and wouldn’t be quite as much money as a very large roll of iron-on paper, or multiple rolls of wax paper all taped together. 

I am planning on doing a sample of the pattern in punch needlework using the quilting frame to see how well that will work in terms of holding the fabric tight and to get the correct density of stitches and the correct length of boucle loops.  It might be worthwhile to try a couple of different transfer methods at the same time. 

Has anyone used a particular method before that worked really well?  Or one that failed miserably?  I would love to hear your suggestions.

4 thoughts on “Transferring patterns from Point A to Point B

  1. Kimiko says:

    Just an fyi, the prick & pounce method is followed up with retracing the pounce dots in watercolor, which will last much longer than the chalk/pounce alone.

    And iron-on marking lines can be thicker than expected. You might want to check out this site, which just yesterday discussed the Sulky iron-on pens.
    Go through the site a bit, and you might find more info on various transfer methods used in embroidery.

    • Laura says:

      I love those pens. I like the idea of being able to draw the design in the color you want it to be and then transferring it. Luckily I have a very large ironing board that my father made me, so ironing on the larger pieces of velvet should be ok. I am not sure how this will work on the velvet with the pile facing down. I usually put a Velvaboard under my smaller velvet items, although I have read that a terry cloth towel will work with larger velvet items in helping to prevent the pile from being crushed. I am not sure it the transfer would take as well if I can’t press down as hard.

      I don’t think thicker marks will be an issue since it will be on the back, and the fabric is fairly dense anyway. Good to note though.

  2. Kate Dicey says:

    If you have the light box and can see the pattern through it, just trace it directly onto the reverse of the fabric with a fine point HB pencil. It’s never going to be seen from the other side, after all.

    If you can’t, I’d be tempted to cut the complete element of the pattern out of card and just use that as a template to draw round.

    • Laura says:

      The fabric is set to arrive today or tomorrow, so I can check the light box possibility, but I am fairly certain it is too dense. Otherwise the only issue with the design is that there isn’t just the one element, but multiple ones. Thus my thinking it would be better to do the iron-on or tulle method.

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