How-To: Dark Fabrics Part 1
How do you get a design onto dark fabric? This is one of the most
often-asked questions that comes my way. Do you really wear that much
black? It seems like I'm asked oh...about once a day. Getting a design
on dark fabric poses some challenges, for sure. There are numerous ways
to do it, some that involve pin-pricking your design and pouncing it
with chalk dust...but who wants to bother with all that? Not me. I'm
going to show you what I think are the two easiest methods. This is the first one!
Level of Difficulty: Medium to Easy
the usual tools for embroidery:
Let's get started!
Step 1: Here we have a dark shirt. You want to stitch on it, but don't know how to make a pattern show up.
Step 2: You will need this carbon transfer paper.
Step 3: When you take the paper out, be sure to separate them (they are superthin). The lighter side of the sheet is the transferable side that will go against your fabric. (It's the opposite for the gray sheets: the darker side goes against your fabric.)
Step 4: Pick a design to trace. I'm using the heart from Vital Organs! Place the carbon paper with the whiter side down to the fabric. Now place your pattern on top.
HINT: If you want to tape or pin your pattern to the fabric, do it in this step. I'll talk more about doing that in a bit...I'm just going to be really careful and hold the pattern in place with my fingers.
Step 5: Say, do you have a big craft book around here I could
use? Because I'm stitching on a shirt (instead of just a single-layer of
fabric) I'm going to stick a hard-cover book inside so that I have a
nice, smooth surface to trace against. You could also open the shirt up
and lay it flat against your surface, just don't try to trace against it
with two layers of fabric underneath. Why?
IMPORTANT: When you are tracing a design with the carbon transfer papers, it's extra important that you have a smooth, hard
surface underneath your fabric to trace against. If the surface is too
soft, uneven or spongey, your pen or stylus will just tear through the
carbon transfer paper. (I show you how to deal with soft, spongey
fabrics in this tutorial.)
- Tape (or pin) the pattern in place to your fabric, but not the carbon transfer paper. The carbon paper is so thin, it will just tear when you try to remove the tape and you'll be bummed. It's fine if the carbon paper shifts when tracing, but not your pattern. Tape the pattern where you want it, and slip the carbon transfer paper underneath it.
- If not using a tracing stylus (used when you don't want to leave a trail of ink over the design you're tracing), a pen of a different color will let you know where you have and haven't traced.
- Be careful not to get ink stains on your fabric from the side of your hand. I speak from experience. This is why a stylus is a pro move.
NOW ~ LOOKY :
Step 7: YESSS! Can you believe it? It's a clearly visible pattern in white!
Let's move on to the best part:
Step 9: Show it off. See? That wasn't so hard.
Wait, more questions for me?
What about white transfer pens? They exist -but with mixed results. To be perfectly honest, what I've found and tried I opt not to use. But hey- you might have better luck than I did with it.
Wait! What about stitching on dark jeans, knits or dark t-shirts? Check out Part 2 of White Patterns on Dark Fabrics
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Text, photos and instructions by Jenny Hart ♥ © 2011 - 2012 Sublime Stitching®. No part of this tutorial may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from its author. Man, I hate having to say that. Published on 03/03/11