Friday, April 19, 2013

Transferring with Tacking

Transferring designs by tacking through tissue is my preferred method of transferring designs onto wool blanketing.
All you need is:
Tissue paper and sewing thread in a colour that similar to your fabric or your embroidery threads

1. Use a fine pen or pencil to trace the embroidery design onto the tissue paper. I usually just trace the main outlines, not the finer details.

2. Lay your wool fabric out flat and  position the tracing over it. Pin it in place around the sides. For larger designs you might also need to put pins in a few places across the design so that it doesn't shift while you are tacking.

3. Keep the fabric flat on the table and begin to tack along the design lines. Try and keep the stitches long on the front and shorter on the back, that way you get a clearer design outline. On really thick blanketing, the stitches may not even show on the back - that is ok as long as they catch.
Don't worry about starting and ending your threads neatly. As long as they are on a design line or in an area that will be covered by stitching, it is fine.
Remove the pins as you go.

4. When all the lines are tacked, use the needle to score the tissue paper along the design lines - still with the fabric flat on the table. I find it easiest to place my left hand flat on paper and pull the line I am working along taut between my thumb and index finger (sorry, no-one here to take a picture of that bit), that way the needle runs smoothly to score the paper,
Hint: This process can be made a little easier if you wipe the tissue paper with a damp cloth first.

5. Simply pick out the tissue paper as you go.

 6. The finished outlines are enough to work from and you don't have a lot of lines to cover.

7. When you stitch, the tacking will be covered so there is no need to remove it. Easy.

Cons: This method is not so great if you want to transfer lots of fine details.


  1. This is a very helpful tutorial, Anna! I frequently get myself into knots about how to approach this on heavy fabrics. Sometimes the old ways are best!

  2. tks Anna, I find the solvy makes the stiches stiff when taken out of wet with a
    cotton bud, I like your plan better.

  3. I use this method a lot, but have never thought to dampen the tissue paper before trying to remove it! thanks for this very helpful tip!!