Transferring printable PDF embroidery patterns to fabric using a soluble marking pen for quilters and seamstresses is an important skill for any craftsperson to have. Using a quilters’ soluble marking pen to transfer an embroidery design to fabric is not very difficult and opens up lots of possibilities when it comes to stitching.
A very wide variety of printable PDF embroidery patterns are available for purchase on the internet. Many of them are so beautiful and cute, a crafter just can’t pass up buying them, but it can be daunting for a beginner to know how to get the picture from the computer to the fabric, so they can start stitching away.
Soluble marking pens are special markers made for quilters and seamstresses that mark very clearly on fabric, but are soluble, meaning the wash or wear away to nothing, in air or water. Air soluble pens disappear after a bit of time exposed to the air or can be washed away with water. Water soluble pen marks don’t vanish until they’re dampened. They come a variety of light colors, like pink, purple, and blue. Some are doubled ended, offering water soluble pens on one end, and air soluble on the other. They can be found at any quilt supply store and most general craft stores.
Soluble marking pens are very great tools for a seamstress and crafter to have around. They can mark so many things on fabric worry-free, such as hemlines, placement for pockets or embellishments, and sewing lines for darts and tucks. I feel that the water soluble pens are most useful to the embroiderer because oftentimes, the air soluble pen marks can wear away and disappear before the embroidery stitching is finished. Another important precaution to take when using a soluble marking pen is to be sure that the pen marks aren’t ever ironed, because heat can set the ink and make it permanent.
The process of transferring an embroidery pattern to fabric with a soluble marking pen can be completed using a light box, but it is not necessary to have one in order to use this method. Begin by printing and trimming your desired embroidery design. Then choose a large, bright window in your home and tape the pattern to it. I’ve even used the window on our garage door with the light on inside the garage when I’ve wanted to do this after dark.
After you’ve taped the pattern to the window, position your pre-washed and pressed fabric over the pattern so the design will be centered where you’d like it, and tape it down. I find that it’s helpful to tape it down on at least three sides, and four is better if possible. This will hold it closely to the paper behind it to make the lines more visible and will keep it secure and avoid shifting while you work.
Use the soluble marking pen to trace all the lines and elements in the embroidery pattern onto the fabric. After you’ve traced your design, you can carefully un-tape everything from the window. I like to use painter’s tape so this is easier and nothing tears. That way the same printout can be used again and again.
Hoop the pattern as usual and enjoy your stitching!