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How to Use Carbon Paper to Transfer Embroidery Patterns

The short beginners' tutorial video below will show you how to use white or yellow carbon paper to transfer a pattern from paper on to a dark coloured fabric. You can also use the same method for lighter coloured fabric, but you need to use blue/red carbon paper so that your pattern shows up clearly on the fabric. The colour of the carbon paper is the colour your pattern will be on the fabric.
Instructions (given in video):
  1. Find a hard, flat surface - then take your fabric, a ballpoint pen, your stencil, and a sheet of carbon paper. Lay the fabric down, and make sure it's flat.
  2. Carbon paper has two different sides - one side feels more like paper; and the other has a waxy or chalky coating (on coloured carbon paper, the colourful side is the waxy side). Place the carbon paper on your fabric, waxy side down.
  3. Take your design/stencil, and place it over the carbon paper - make sure the design fits within the size of the carbon paper.
  4. With your pen, firmly draw over your stencil. Be careful not to move the fabric or paper while you're tracing - or the design will be jumbled and imprint in different places!
  5. Check that you've traced over each piece of the stencil - then lift off the paper. Transfer done!
  6. Take your inner hoop, and lay your fabric over the top. Re-position the outer hoop; screw it tight; make sure the fabric is taut; and trim the corners (if you want!). You're ready to get stitching!

After you've finished stitching, provided you've stitched directly through the transferred pattern, you shouldn't be able to see your transferred pattern. But if you do see any of it, you can easily clean it off - just take a cotton bud, slightly dampen it and rub the pattern off!
If you've got any questions, add them below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!
Sammy Bishop

Sammy Bishop

Sammy is the Founder and owner of Paraffle. She set Paraffle up as a side-venture whilst she was completing her PHD. After finishing her PHD, running Paraffle is now her full time hobby and job!

4 Responses

Sammy Bishop

Sammy Bishop

November 27, 2020

@Petra – I totally understand! I’m planning to release iron on transfers as an option in the new year – some people (me included!) enjoy the stencilling, so I’ll still offer that too.

I’m sure you’ll have seen and maybe tried other embroidery kits that do come supplied with pre-printed fabric – I’m avoiding this, because it generally means needing to use a synthetic fabric or blended fabric instead of a pure cotton fabric. So iron on transfers will let me continue to use good quality cotton in my kits, and mean there’s less faff for you!
Sammy Bishop

Sammy Bishop

November 27, 2020

@Irene – I tend to use Klona cotton or some cottons labelled as ‘craft cotton’. It needs to not be stretchy and also be a good medium weight so it doesn’t buckle under the stitches – generally around 160gsm is good!

Irene lomas

Irene lomas

November 24, 2020

What is the best fabric to learn on

Petra Owen-Moore

Petra Owen-Moore

November 24, 2020

Can you please sell kits which are already stencilled -it’s a real faff !
I enjoyed the embroidery but not the stencilling – would love to buy another kit but won’t as the stencilling is not enjoyable .

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