Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tutorial: Transferring patterns to material

Hello! Caitlin from Real Swanky here. Ever wonder how to neatly, precisely transfer a pattern to your material? Follow this quick and easy tutorial! (and click any images to enlarge!)

Start by choosing your text and/or image in your favourite image editing program. I used Adobe Photoshop and ensured my canvas size was 8.5x11", the size of a letter size piece of paper. There are plenty of free downloadable programs available online, and Adobe even offers a free trial for most of their programs. I will use a simple "Hello!"

Be sure your text/image is exactly the size you're after, now is your chance to resize it!

Next, choose to flip your canvas. If you're using Photoshop, select Image > Rotate Canvas > Flip Canvas Horizontally.

Your canvas should now be flipped.

Print your image, and ensure it's the correct size for your project.

Time to use your Heat Transfer Pencil!! This is unlike other stationery products, and guess what? It won't cost you an arm and a leg! This pencil in particular is from Fabricland: it was $3.49 and made by Gutterman, distributed by H.A.Kidd/Unique. (seen in package here)

Ensure your transfer pencil is nice and sharp, and press firmly! The pencil is what will be transferred onto your fabric in a few shakes, and transfers slightly lighter than as seen on your tracing paper. I used a bit of tape to prevent my papers from slipping about. Create fine outlines (don't fill in with solid colour) and be extra sure your pencil is always sharp!

With your fabric right side up and your tracing paper right side down (as in, the pencil's product will be facing your fabric), find your perfect placement and get ready to iron!

Iron down on a cotton-friendly setting with no steam! Iron for about 5 seconds. Take a peek to ensure your piece has transferred.

Your pattern is now transferred! You can now begin embroidering by hand, painting, adhering-- whatever your project calls for. 

Oh! and the transfer fades over time, though most of your project ought to cover the fine lines you've just transferred. Still not sure? Do a test run on some old cotton and see how you like it.


  1. Great tutorial Caitlin. It seems like there is always some new gadget (if you can call a pencil a gadget) to make things so much easier!


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