A note about the “right” or “face” side of fabric
The “right” side of fabric refers to the side you will want to display. If you are using a printed fabric for instance, the “right” or “face” side of the fabric will generally be darker (and the design more obvious). If you are using a solid fabric and can’t tell which is the “right” side, just choose which side you will work on and call this your “right” or “face” side of your fabric.
There are a variety of ways for you to transfer your SkipStone Creative™ sewing, applique pattern and/or embroidery designs onto fabric. Read through the options listed here to see what might work best for you. All of the supplies listed are readily available at most local craft stores. Always follow manufacturer’s directions and do sample tests on fabric scraps prior to doing your actual project. It’s fun to experiment with different techniques to find out which ones work best for you!
1. Pigma Micron Pen (or fine tip permanent pen): Use on lightweight fabric with a lightbox or sunny window.Use this transfer method for lightweight fabric like muslin or quilting fabric. Micron pens come in several assorted colors and sizes (005 is the finest and 08 is the largest). Simply place the (non-reversed) line art on a light box (face up) or tape it to a sunny window. Place your fabric (right side up) on top of the line art and trace away. Micron pens are permanent and will not wash out, but the lines are very thin (especially 005 and 05) which will cover easily with embroidery thread. You can also choose a pen color that is close to the color of thread you are using. Brown seems to work well regardless of embroidery thread color. Drawing with “dots” makes it a cinch to cover with embroidery stitches! Micron permanent pens are also great for tracing onto vellum or tracing paper.
2. Trace and Cut a Paper Template: Use this transfer method for any kind of fabric … especially heavyweight fabric like wool or felt. Simply cut out your pattern piece (template), pin or hold the pattern piece to your fabric and trace around the outside edge. Draw with dots instead of a solid line so the lines are less noticeable. You can also flip the pattern piece over and trace onto the back side of your fabric or felt, to ensure you won’t see any pen marks after sewing.
3. Disappearing Ink Fabric Pen: Use on light and medium weight fabric with a lightbox or sunny window. There are 2 kinds of disappearing fabric ink pens. The first type will wash out (usually purple ink). The second type of disappearing ink pen will fade away over time when exposed to air (usually blue ink). The advantage of using the purple disappearing ink is you will be able to finish your embroidery work (the lines will only disappear after it’s washed). The advantage of using the blue disappearing ink is you won’t have to wash your embroidery work. You do however run the risk of having to redraw the lines unless you are a super speedy stitcher! The process for using one of these pens to transfer your design is just like the Pigma Micron pen (see #1 above).
Another fun tool to try is the Pilot “Friction” erasable pen. It writes on fabric and disappears soon as you iron it! Like magic!
4. Transfer Paper: Use on light, medium or heavyweight fabric or felt. Also called “dress makers carbon”, transfer paper comes in several colors – graphite, blue and red for lighter fabrics and white or yellow for darker fabrics. Make a transfer sandwich: place your fabric face up on a table. Position your transfer paper face down on top of your fabric (carbon part next to the fabric). Place your pattern or embroidery design on top of the transfer paper and trace over the design using a ballpoint pen. You may want to add an additional piece of tracing paper over the embroidery art page in order to preserve the original art for later use.
5. Tissue Paper Basting: Use this technique on medium and heavyweight fabric or felt.
Trace your applique pattern and/or embroidery design onto tracing paper. Pin the tracing to the front side of your ground fabric. Hand sew running stitches around the pattern (and/or) embroidery art. Carefully tear away the tracing paper without removing the stitches. For applique, cut along the basting lines you stitched. For embroidery, “dot trace” with a fine tip “Micron Pen” over the basting lines you stitched. Then, carefully remove the basting stitches and embroider over the “dot tracing”.
6. Freezer Paper (for Applique): Trace your applique pieces onto the dull (paper) side of your freezer paper. Note weather the design is reversed or not (which will determine if you can iron the shapes to the front or back of your fabric. Cut out the freezer paper shapes and iron them onto your fabric. Cut out the fabric shapes and adhere the applique fabric applique pieces to your ground fabric. Making a “placement guide” (see #7) will help make placing your fabric applique even easier.
7. Tracing Paper or Plastic Mylar “Placement Guide”: Use this technique to assist with positioning applique pieces. Simply trace your applique art onto “tracing” paper or a sheet of plastic mylar (include all the applique shapes and also embroidery art if that is part of the design). Then, tape it (on one side only) to your ground fabric. Lift your tracing up as needed to place and glue baste your applique pieces into position and stitch. Plastic mylar is more expensive than tracing paper, but will hold up for a long time if you are planning to use it more than once.
Using Glue and Adhesive for Applique:
There are a variety of ways for you to adhere or glue baste your SkipStone Creative™ applique design into place. Read through the options listed here to see what might work best for you. All of the supplies listed are readily available at most local craft stores. Always follow manufacturer’s directions and do sample tests on fabric scraps prior to doing your actual project. It’s fun to experiment with different techniques to find out which ones work best for you!
The humble glue stick is inexpensive and often non-toxic. It is a great tool to have in your stash regardless of what other gluing or adhesive supplies you might design to use. For “turned edge applique”, simply apply a tiny amount to the edge that has been turned under and then place it onto your ground fabric. For “raw edge applique”, flip your fabric applique pieces over (back side facing up) and apply a tiny amount of glue stick to the outer edges of your fabric. Flip the applique piece over and adhere it to your ground fabric. Easy peasy!
Liquid Applique Glue:
There are a number of liquid “basting” glues on the market, however our brand of choice is “Roxanne: Glue-Baste-It”. It comes with a long metal tip which makes application a breeze. For “turned edge applique”, position the applique where you want it on your ground fabric. Lift the edge and on the back side, apply tiny dots of glue around the the edge that has been turned under. Use just enough to keep your applique shapes securely in place until you are able to stitch them down.
Do the same thing for a “raw edge applique”.
Iron-on Adhesives for Raw Edge Applique:
There are pros and cons to using iron-on adhesive. On the pro side; raw applique edges will not fray as easily and depending on what kind of adhesive you use … sometimes they won’t fray at all. Iron-on adhesive is quick, easy to use (in general) and most of all “neat” (unlike glue or spray adhesive which can get messy if not handled correctly). On the con side, many iron-on adhesives can make appliques stiff and can be quite difficult to sew through or do hand embroidered work. There is however a “Lite” sewable iron-on adhesive called “Lite Steam-A-Seam”. It is especially made for multi-layered appliques and quilting and works well for most fabric (including felted wool and flannel). When you are using quilting weight cotton that tends to show the layered fabric, using p paper backed fusible web (Pellon 805 Wonder-Under or similar) can help make the fabric more opaque and is still light weight enough to sew through.
Spray adhesive is a nice alternative to using heavier iron-on fusible web (which can make your applique harder to
sew through). A light coat of (light tack) spray adhesive creates a nice smooth bond without the stiffness and you don’t have to prewash your fabric. Spray adhesives, however, can be messy and need to be sprayed in a super well ventilated area (preferably outdoors). Start with a stiff piece of over sized cardboard and add a clean piece of paper on top of it. Using some cardboard as your base makes it easy to move your fabric around and helps prevent “over spray” from getting onto other things. Take your board to a well ventilated area (preferably outside), and place your fabric pieces face down on the paper. Lightly spray the backs of the fabric and bring them back to your sewing table. There are a number of spray adhesives on the market, just make sure to use a light tack variety which is “repositionable” and follow the manufacturers instructions carefully. Always, keep craft tools out of reach of children.
There is always the tried and true way to adhere one piece of fabric to another, which is of coarse stitch basting with a needle and thread. Take your applique piece – hold it to your ground fabric and stitch it together with a wide running stitch. No need to knot the thread of course, this will be removed as soon as the applique is officially sewn down.