How To Transfer Embroidery Patterns To Fabric

Written by Scarlett

Embroidery Design To Fabric

Transferring Your Embroidery Pattern to fabric can be a bit of a pig but here are some techniques that don’t involve printing onto a stabilizer.


Transfer Embroidery Using A Light Box, Glass Table or Window

Using a light source, place your fabric over your embroidery design and carefully trace using a sharp chalk, embroidery pencil, erasable pen or similar. The success of this method will depend on the thickness of your fabric. (See images below)

If you don’t have a light box you can use a window by first taping the design then the fabric to the window pane. A glass table with a light source underneath can also be used. So can an iPad, computer screen or phone with the design on the screen. 

Transfer Paper For Embroidery

Another method you can use is dressmakers transfer/carbon paper in a color that will show up on your fabric.

Lay your fabric down first with the carbon paper face down on top of it.

Then place your design on top and trace over the lines making sure to press hard enough for the color from the embroidery transfer paper to mark the fabric.

Pin-Prick or ‘Prick And Pounce’ Embroidery Transfer  

To transfer an embroidery pattern to fabric using this pin-prick and chalk method, you’ll need a large needle and some talc, baby powder or chalk powder

Take your printed design and with a wide pin or needle, prick holes along the lines of the design.

Next place the design on your fabric, hold it in place with one hand and sprinkle the powder over the holes.

Now traditionally you’d use a ‘pounce’ for this. Which is a felt pad or powder puff type fabric usually backed with something hard like wood or plastic. You press your pounce into the chalk powder to load up, then press it all over your design in a pouncing motion to fill the holes.

Some people make a pouch from the fabric of a pair of old tights with some powder in the middle. You could also use a piece of old crafting felt. 

If you don’t have a pounce you can just use your fingers to rub the powder into the holes. Then lift the paper carefully to reveal a dotted copy of your design. Embroidery transfer works best when you push the powder into the holes from different directions.



If you wish to, you can take a chalk embroidery pencil or dressmakers pencil and join up the dots.

TIP: For light fabric use colored chalk powder.

TIP: If you don’t have any powder you can take a stick of white or colored chalk and crush a little with the back of a spoon.

It’s not the best method to transfer embroidery patterns with little intricate details but if you have a large embroidery design or one with simpler lines its great!


Hopefully you now have lots of options for transferring your embroidery design to fabric. Experiment with them to figure out what works best for you.

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