Embroidery Patterns

Transferring Designs

The technique to transfer a design onto fabric depends on the color and thickness or weight of the fabric. DMC offers a number of different tools to enable you to transfer your designs. If you are not using DMC products, test your method first to avoid the disappointment of lines that won’t go away or, worse, bleed when washed. Always read and follow the manufacturer's directions.There are numerous methods for transferring designs. The most common and easiest are listed below:


Draw the embroidery design onto white paper using a black marker. Place the design under the fabric and using your preferred transfer tool (DMC Soluble Pen or Chalk Pencil), copy the design by tracing it directly onto the fabric. To see the design more easily, tape the paper and fabric onto a sunny window or use a light box. This method is appropriate for light-colored and lightweight fabrics. If you are using a DMC Pen, the blue ink is completely water soluble so that once the embroidery has been completed, the markings can be removed with a lightly dampened cloth. For darker fabrics use DMC Transfer Pencils, which are chalk-based. The white pencil markings are removed with a damp cloth, just like the transfer pen, or by gently rubbing the fabric.

DMC Tracing Paper/Dressmakers Carbon

Place a piece of the DMC Tracing Paper, also known as transfer paper, color-side down on your fabric and place the pattern on top of the paper. Transfer the design to the fabric by tracing the pattern using a stylus or empty ball-point pen. DMC Tracing Paper includes four 8½” x 11? sheets of wax-free tracing paper – two yellow and two blue. Use the yellow for dark fabrics for and the blue for light-colored fabrics.

Create Your Own Computer Transfer

Scan your own design or one that’s copyright free and print it onto specialty transfer printer paper following manufactures directions. Transfer papers can be found in most office supply stores and at some needlework and quilt shops.

Iron-on Designs

Paperbacked iron-on transfer designs are available in a variety of colors and styles. Be sure to follow the manufactures directions before using.


Stencils are great for repeat patterns, mixing and matching for a unique style. Or you can use a few elements of a stencil design to create a distinctive individualized look. Tracing stencils works best on medium-weight fabrics such as cotton, lightweight denim, silk, linen, rayon and various synthetic blends.

1. Select the stencil design.
2. Position stencil on right side of fabric and secure in place (tape works well). Use the DMC Transfer Pen or Pencil to trace the design following the cut-out areas of the stencil.
3. If the fabric has any stretch to it, you may find it easier to make small dots with the DMC Transfer Pen or Pencil along the cutout lines, rather than drawing a solid line.
4. Use the Transfer Pen lightly when tracing and keep moving along the cut-outs without pausing. Holding the marker in one spot for too long could create a thicker line than needed.
5. If a textured fabric is used, more pressure may need to be applied when tracing the stencil.
6. If you need to make any corrections to your design placement, simply dab the traced lines with a damp cloth to remove markings.
7. Stitch over the traced lines with a line embroidery stitch of your choice or fill in the open areas with a filling stitch.

TIP: For best results when using any of these transfer methods, your needlework fabric should be clean and free of any starch or protective coatings, as these coatings can interfere with the ink or chalk transferring to the fabric.

Note: These transfer methods are removable and should not be confused with hot iron transfer ink pens, pencils or patterns. Heat transfer methods create a permanent image that must be completely covered by stitching to be invisible. When using a hot iron transfer pencil, also remember that a reverse image of the design will be created. This means that your pattern needs to be traced in reverse before transferring the design to the fabric.