HNW - Getting the pattern right

Chris Laning claning at
Mon Aug 31 17:20:21 PDT 1998

I decided to do a very detailed small piece of embroidery once, on a
background of navy blue pinwale corduroy. (I had a reason at the time, but
will try to avoid this in the future!)

None of the methods of transferring patterns I could think of seemed
suitable, and I didn't think that the "stencil" method of pricking holes in
a pattern and dusting powder through them would work well on a pile fabric,
either. What I ended up doing was printing out the pattern (a computer
drawing) on tissue paper, fastening it lightly to the fabric with
water-soluble gluestick, and doing a small running stitch in a contrasting
color through all the pattern lines into the fabric. Then I tore away most
of the tissue and soaked the piece in warm water to remove the glue and any
remaining tissue bits. That worked pretty well. The drawing wasn't as
detailed as I would have liked, but all the tissue did come off, since it
was only held by a few running stitches, and I could then go on and do the
actual embroidery, pulling out or hiding the running stitches as I went

Also, a few years ago I was teaching a quilting class, and took the
opportunity to test every white pencil and felt-tip pen I could lay my
hands on for washability. The ones that have consistently worked best and
washed out most completely for me are:

For dark colors: Schwann Stabilo "Aquarellable" pencils, white only (color

For light colors: Pilot Fineliners with a *white* top (the ones with yellow
tops are permanent), green or blue *only*. These, however, are getting hard
to find; I still have a stash in my desk drawer.

For dark colors, I can also recommend a moderately fine technical pen point
and a white watercolor ink such as "Pen-Opake." But while this produces a
finer line than a white pencil, it's a whole lot more hassle.

O   Chris Laning
|   <claning at>
+    Davis, California


To be removed from the Historic Needlework mailing list, please send a
message to Majordomo at Ansteorra.ORG with the message body of "unsubscribe

More information about the H-needlework mailing list