How to transfer appliqué design to dark fabric

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I've done this a million times on light fabric, but suddenly I want to
mark some dark forest green fabric with a complicated (celtic knot-like)
appliqué design. The fabric's too dark to see through it on a light box
and the design area is quite large (about A3 size). I thought this would
be easy, but I find myself stumped!

Can anyone offer some ideas please?

I have some dressmaker's chalk pencils, but no idea how to actually
trace the design. I thought of pricking and pouncing, but it won't work
for me (lines too indistinct and they rub off as I handle the fabric).

Helppppp meeeeeeeee!!!!

Trish Brown

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Re: How to transfer appliqué design to dark fabric
Years ago when I used to make my own clothes I used to use "dressmaker's
carbon" to mark onto dark material.
Worked very well too. It came in about 4 colours including white. I was
always able to get it off because I never pressed really hard.
I haven't tried it with appliqué patterns but I imagine it should work.


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Re: How to transfer appliqué design to dark fabric
I have laid designs down using the dressmaker chalk, then do a running
outline of the design in a contrasting thread [say red on black] by
hand. That way if the design is rubbed off, no big deal, and you can
still see where you are heading. It worked for me, YMMV

Ginger in CA

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Re: How to transfer appliqué design to darkfabric

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Carbon paper - it does come in various colors in the art supply section
here.  I can get it in white and yellow (and red and blue too I believe)  
Some stores also sell dressmakers carbon.

If the design is simple and pouncing doesn't work you could always turn
it into a stencil and mark that way.

Tissue paper - trace the design on tissue paper.  Using a contrasting
thread baste along the design lines.  Carefully remove the tissue paper.  
Now you can stitch - removing the basting as you go.

Tissue paper - I've also seen people just place the design on the tissue
and baste around the design to hold it to the fabric and then embroider
through the tissue and when all the embroidery is done carefully remove
the tissue paper.

I also saw some special (wash away maybe?) interfacing type stuff used
the same way.  It was at a not a local quilt shop I was visiting and I
don't see it listed on their website.  But you traced your design,
stitched through it and washed away the design paper.

Iron on transfer pencil - these pencils let you trace the design onto
paper and then place the paper drawing side down on the dark fabric and
iron the paper.  This will melt the pencil lines and transfer them to
your fabric.  It will reverse the image unless you make a reverse which
you trace and then transfer so be careful with words, etc where
direction matters.

I used to sometimes transfer a quilt stencil by drawing it on nylon
netting fabric with a permanent marker.  Then I could pin that onto my
top, trace it with a white colored pencil, remove the netting and see
the design fairly well.  I should think that might work with embroidery
designs as well.

Hope you get it figured out.


Re: How to transfer appliqué design to darkfabric
Marcella's just hit on a brilliant idea.  There's some Floriani 'wet & gone'
here that's intended for the embroidery machine.  However (!) I'm betting it
could be used for a celtic design.  The 'wet & gone' really does go away and
it would be very easy to trace the design onto it, attach it to your dark
fabric, do your appliquéing and rinse it away.  500 points and a gold star
to Marcella.  For sure, the Floriani isn't the only 'wash away'.  There are
some other brands.  Do try that idea and report back.  Polly

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Re: How to transfer appliqué design to dark fabric
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--Glue or pin the pattern to the back of the fabric; FMQ or straight stitch the
design on with a sewing machine with water soluble thread in the bobbin.  Soak
the completed design to remove paper and basting thread when you're done.

--Baste the design through paper or water soluble stabilizer by hand.

--See if a fine metallic silver thread will transfer (like a heat pencil

--See if you can see the design through the fabric on a window on a sunny day
(sunlight is MUCH stronger than a light box)

--Draw the design on water soluble stabilizer with a silver pen and
baste or glue that directly to the fabric.

Re: How to transfer appliqué design to da rk fabric
Trish Brown wrote:
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Dear everyone!

Thanks so much for all the excellent suggestions! I'm still not
completely sure which method I'll be using, but I went to shop in
Spotlight today in the hope of finding dressmaker's carbon paper and
light-coloured transfer pencils. Hah! Fat chance! So, it's looking as
though I might be needing to baste through tissue paper. I'll give it a
go and let you know how it worked out.

Thanks again to everyone who posted and emailed. It makes me feel so
much more confident to have moral support! ;D

Trish Brown

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Re: How to transfer appliqué design to dark fabric
That might be just as well, Trish.  Dressmaker's carbon sometimes is
seriously permanent and if you had an oops, you may have had to live with
it.  One more suggestion - when I was transferring a celtic, I grew weary of
basting both lines and finally decided I would just baste the middle of the
road.  That worked well but it was for a crib quilt that was hoping to have
a rough and tumble life.  Polly

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