Embroidery School: Lesson 3

So, you have your pattern, your fabric, hoop, and floss...now what? You might be wondering what sort of magic you are to use to transfer that picture from the paper you printed out to your fabric. Fear not, there are a few ways to do it... 

Transfer Paper
If any of you are old enough to remember typing in duplicate with a piece of carbon paper...well, this is sort of the same thing. Transfer paper for this purpose is a wax-free product so it erases like pencil and a hot iron won't set any marks accidentally left behind. I am sort of partial to the brand Saral. Their product is awesome. You simply take your fabric and lay it out right side up. Then you put your transfer paper on top of it, "inky" side down. Set your design on top of that and using something like a pen, bamboo skewer, etc., go over the outline of the design. Your design will magically appear on the fabric.

Saral Transfer (Tracing) Paper 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. sheets transfer paper sampler pack of 5

A word of warning though. I advise against lotioning your hands before working on your embroidery project. From my experience, the lotion will start to erase your design if your hand rubs across the fabric when stitching.

Light Source
This was a technique that I stayed away from until recently. I loved the transfer paper so much that I never really needed to try this method. It wasn't until some of my design had rubbed off (see above warning regarding lotion!) and I needed to re-transfer in just one spot that I discovered the easiest way to "spot transfer" was to use this method. Honestly, it kinda rocked. What you do is, tape your design on a light source (window works great) and then tape your fabric (right side facing you) on top of that. The light source behind your fabric should give you a clear view of the design below it. Use a fabric marker that is water soluble and then trace the pattern. This works great and there is less chance of your design rubbing off as you stitch.
Clover Water Soluble Fine Marker


With your design transferred on to your fabric, you're now ready for your hoop. Place the inner ring of your hoop behind your fabric where you would like to start stitching. Place the outside ring on the front of the fabric and put the two rings back together with the fabric caught in the middle. The fabric should be taught, but you don't need to be ridiculous. And as you work, the fabric will loosen in the hoop. Don't worry, just unscrew the hoop and redo the sandwich again.

A design transferred and begun.
See, it's not that hard. Go get yourself some tools and start stitching!! And, don't forget, our Free Downloads page has some fun embroidery designs. More are added all the time so keep checking back. There are many, many sources for stitch help out on the web. My favorite has to be youtube though. If you pop over there and search "embroidery stem stitch" (or something similar) you will get some great video how-to. Oh my gosh...your reasons for not trying this craft are just fading away here!

As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments on this content.



  1. This has been a great lesson, thank you! Are you going to be showing examples of different stitches, (not necessarily a tutorial on how to do them) so that we can see the different techniques that can be used?

  2. Sure can! I will be happy to do that in the near future. In the meantime, if you check out our patterns in the Free Downloads tab above there are a few stitches explained in the directions portion of the patterns.Thanks for the feedback!