Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Transferring Hand Embroidery Designs Tutorial with Sticky Fabri-Solvy from Sulky

I've been working on a new project which isn't knitting-centric but is embroidery-centric. It has been such fun taking a turn and going back to hand-stitching with a needle and thread. I learned to embroider many years before I learned to knit and it is a craft I return to again and again. Embroidery is so free and easy - once you learn the stitches. As a decorative artist, I love seeing the pattern build up before my eyes.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks with embroidery is transferring the design to the fabric. Most stitchers begin with a design that is on paper - either from a pdf or from a book. For years, I used my light table and a blue auto fade marker to add my drawings to my fabric. It is a great method  - really quick and easy. No light table? Use a sunny window. The always frustrating part was that the light blue marker doesn't often show up on certain colors of fabric. For darker fabrics, I often use a black permanent marker like a Sharpie.

If you are using a fabric that isn't see-through (like felt), the light table method doesn't work. My second choice was always using dressmaker transfer paper - sort of like old-fashioned carbon paper. This sort of worked but the lines were always very faint and had to be traced over. Wool felt isn't the easiest fabric to draw on because the marker kind of squishes onto the fibers and there isn't a hard line to stitch over. 

Enter a great new product by Sulky called Sticky Fabri-Solvy. I have used other products by Sulky (their heat transfer pens and their Tear-Easy tearaway stabilizer) and always have been happy. I read about this new product and called them to see if I could get some samples to try out. This product comes in 8 1/2 x 11" sheets (12 per pack). And the sheets can be run through your printer! What a revelation. Now I can take my computer illustrated line drawings and print them out on the Sticky Fabri-Solvy. 

Note - the Sticky Fabri-Solvy also comes in rolls 8", 12" and 20" wide but they won't run through a typical home printer.

The Sticky Fabri-Solvy is composed of two layers - a paper layer (which helps it feed through the printer) and a fabric-ish layer with an adhesive. The fabric layer is the side that you print on. You can also draw easily on the fabric layer with pens or markers. I drew on it for my project because I wasn't quite at the point where my design had been transferred to Adobe Illustrator. The fabric is similar in texture to non-woven interfacing but has a nice soft hand to it.

The design being stitched on a piece of felt with embroidery floss

After transferring the design to the Sticky Fabri-Solvy, undo the paper from the "fabric layer" releasing the adhesive. Attach your design to your fabric and stitch away. The "fabric layer" isn't very thick although it is like stitching through 2 layers of fabric. Sulky claims that there is no oozy adhesive residue on your needle while you are stitching. I had a teeny bit but only once in a while. It was easily wiped off my needle with my fingers and didn't impede my progress at all.

The finished stitched design - you can see the Sticky Fabri-Solvy - it is white
After you finish stitching, fill up a bowl with warm water. Immerse your stitched piece in the bowl and like magic, the "Sticky Fabri-Solvy" layer disappears. 

The felt piece in the warm water with no soap
Very cool - IT WORKED! The Sticky Fabri-Solvy disappeared in less than 30 seconds. No residue at all. I let my felt piece dry on a paper towel. 

The finished stitchery - no residue at all. AMAZING!
I'm loving this new product and I can see using it in all kinds of applications - quilting, machine sewing and embroidery, and hand embroidery. Give it a go! 

(Disclosure Note - I was given the product to try but not compensated for this post. I just had to share it with all of you. You can buy the products from Amazon also - my affiliate links below. Or try your local sewing and quilting store if you are lucky enough to have one to shop at.)
Heat Transfer Pens here
Sticky Fabri-Solvy here
Tear-Easy Stabilizer here


Frances said...

This really does look like a useful product. I am making a note its name, and putting that note in a box where I keep my embroidery threads.

Many thanks! (I have also used the light through a window method for tracing. I first used that technique when I used to "make" clothes for my paper dolls as a child.


cockney blonde said...

What a fab product. Off to buy some, x

Lines of Beauty said...

Coolio! Thanks sweet pea.

Maureen O'Doogan said...

Kristin, Thanks for this post! I have a sweater idea in mind and have been pondering how to get the embroidery and applique design transferred. This is perfect!

Have a great day, stay warm. All the best,

Maureen O'Doogan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this product. I have a light box, but I find all that tracing to be tedious and to be honest, I can never do a very good job. This will make embroidery projects more pleasant to do.