How to Transfer a Hand Embroidery Design onto Fabric – Method 1

How to Transfer an Embroidery Design onto Fabric Featured

How to Transfer an Embroidery Design onto Fabric - Method 1

I’ve come across a few different methods for how to transfer and embroidery design onto fabric, but today I’m starting with the simplest one. This method is low cost, requires minimal resources and tools and is very similar to the method I first learnt when I was starting out with hand embroidery.

I’ve create a video so you can see exactly how i transfer my images onto fabric. All that you require is a light source, the printed design, your fabric and a water soluble transfer marker. So let’s get started! You can watch the step by step video below or keep scrolling to see the steps in photos.

This post may contain affiliate links and I truly thank you if you choose to make a purchase through one of my links

What You’ll Need for Transferring a Hand Embroidery Design onto Fabric

Recommended Materials

  • Fabric (any really. Even your existing clothing)
  • fusible interfacing (only if you are using a thinner, lightweight fabric)

Recommended Tools

  • water soluble fabric marker
  • iPad or Tablet (You can also tape the design and pattern onto a window during the day for another great light source)

See which 6 Essential Hand Embroidery Supplies I recommend for beginners!

6 essential hand embroidery supplies for beginners featured image

Watch the Video for How to Transfer an Embroidery Design onto Fabric

Or watch the video on YouTube

See the whole Hand Embroidery Playlist or Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Download the FREE embroidery design here to start practising some hand embroidery stitches

See the Step by Step Instructions below

Step 1

Gather your supplies. You can find this in the recommended materials and tools list above.

what you need to transfer a hand embroidery design onto fabric

Step 2

Cut your fabric so you have an inch or two of over hang on the hoop. You may like to add some interfacing to your fabric if it is on the thinner side. I tend to use 100% quilting cotton, as that’s what I have on hand, and the interfacing stops the fabric from being stretched out of shape and it gives you a better result with your stitches.

adding interfacing

Step 3

Download and print the free embroidery design or print off or draw another design you’re interested in hand embroidering.

free hand embroidery design to download

Step 4

Now you need to choose your light source. You can either tape your design onto a window and then tape the fabric over the top, or you can use an iPad or tablet as your light source.

I’m using an iPad and I also like to turn the brightness of the screen up as high as it will go. A blank white screen is best, so any word processing app should work nicely.

Place the paper with the design over the screen, then place the fabric over the top. Dim the lighting in the room if the image is still hard to see through the fabric.

paper and fabric on ipad

Step 5

Use the water soluble fabric marker to trace the design onto the fabric. If the pen colour is getting dim, put the lid back and on and give it a shake.

tracing image onto fabric

This is what your fabric will look like when you are finished with the tracing.


A Little Tip!

You can simply use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove the pen lines once you are done, but if you want to remove a bit of the image because of a tracing mistake then you’ll love this tip.

Use a damp cotton tip or Q tip to remove little bits of detail you no longer want in the design! If you want to go over the same spot to neaten the tracing up then just make sure you wait until the fabric has dried or else the water soluble marker doesn’t work as well!

cotton Q tip tip for removing water soluble marker

I hope you’ve found this tutorial for How to transfer a hand embroidery design onto fabric useful!

I’ll be bringing out videos on how to do the various stitches very soon so be sure to sign up to my email list below to be notified of new videos in the series. or you can keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates as well!

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll see you next time!

Happy stitching,



Posted on

4 May, 2017

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