How to transfer embroidery designs using trace and tear


If you are new to embroidery you will probably be interested to learn about different techniques for transferring those lovely embroidery designs for you to begin stitching. My post ‘10 Ways to Transfer Embroidery Designs‘ provides an overview of several different techniques you can try. But this post will give you step by step instructions for one particular method; using trace and tear. I find it a great method of transfer because it doesn’t involve making any marks directly on your fabric. The downside is it can be a bit fiddly and time consuming to remove the paper, especially if your design is very detailed. But its totally do-able, and one of my preferred methods of transfer to use.

The example below was used with a lovely snowflake design I purchased from Knack Makings on Etsy. The theme for my Creative Sewing Challenge this month was ‘Let it Snow’, so I opted to respond by stitching this beautiful piece of hoop art. If you want to find out more about taking part in the challenge yourself, click here for further details or sign up below – its just a fun way to help inspire us sewists to do more of what we love!

To begin with, I drew around the inside of my embroidery hoop onto the trace and tear.

I then traced out the design – true to form I didn’t have quite the right sized hoop for the pattern! So I adapted it slightly just to fit in a collection of snowflakes from the original design.

I then tacked this design onto my fabric…

…and secured inside my hoop.

I then followed the pattern to stitch each snowflake, sewing through my fabric and the trace and tear paper.

Bit by bit the piece progressed in this way…

…until the whole thing was finished. I also added a whipped back-stitch border, but that was just personal preference as I felt I’d left a bit too much of a gap around the edge of the hoop when tracing out the original design (note to self, always check you have the right sized hoop before you begin!)

And then I gently removed the trace and tear paper. By its very nature, its designed to be torn away leaving your beautiful embroidery behind. However, do go slow and be gentle with those stitches. I find placing my hand on top of my sewing as I pull the paper away safe-guards against my sewing being pulled about. And it can be helpful to have some tweezers to hand to remove tiny bits of paper that can be left between some of the more detailed parts of the design.

And eventually your wonderful piece of embroidery is revealed! Isn’t it lovely 🙂

I hope that’s been a helpful guide to using trace and tear as a method of design transfer. And don’t forget, you can sign up to my Creative Sewing Challenge for free to receive creative prompts each month to inspire your sewing.

And here’s a handy pin for later!