How to Transfer Embroidery Patterns to Fabric

 You have your embroidery design you want to stitch, so now, what’s the easiest way to get that beautiful image to your fabric? I have a few methods of going about doing this.

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I get questions a lot about what kind of markers I use to draw my design onto fabric. The first kind of marker I use the most frequently is this water soluble marker.   It’s great for when you’ve made a mistake. Just dab with water and it’s gone! I’ve also had great luck with this marker staying put for when I’m embroidering. I was concerned when I first started using them that the moisture of my hand would make the marker disappear, but it actually takes a bit of effort to erase the design. Sometimes it takes me two times to completely get the stencil to disappear! 

Here are a couple of fail proof methods of transferring your embroidery pattern to your fabric using the marker:

 water soluble marker stencil

water soluble marker stencil

1. Trace your pattern onto thin paper (ie printer paper) with a black marker and find a sunny window. Tape the paper to the window and hold your embroidery fabric secured in a hoop up to the design. As long as there is enough light shining through the window you should be able to trace your design!!

2. Similar to the first method, trace your pattern onto paper with a black marker and use a light box or an iPad.

 Find a sunny window and transfer your pattern.

Find a sunny window and transfer your pattern.


The second transfer pen is Aunt Martha’s iron on pencil. This pencil is great if you don’t have a light box or window to work with because you can draw your design onto a piece of tracing paper and then iron the pattern directly onto the fabric!  Just remember that your image will be a mirror image when doing this so make sure any text is backwards on your stencil! Also, this stencil will not come off so if you’re looking to erase it afterwards I’d go with the water soluble marker! 


The third method of transferring your pattern is using a water soluble Solvy sheet. This is a little bit more expensive, but this is what I use the most for more detailed pieces such as pet portraits. I just trace my design with a fine tip marker onto the solvy and then place the stencil on top of my fabric and into the hoop. This stencil is transparent, lightweight, but surprisingly durable. Most of the time it tears away when you’re finished but it also dissolves very well too! 


Solvy stencil on a hat.


i hope these tips and methods helped! Do you have another way you transfer your patterns? Let me know!!