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Needlework Tips & Tricks: Transferring Patterns & More

These tips were initially published on their own pages and moved here to make one handy reference sheet. You’ll find info for cleaning & care of needlework, transferring patterns, a clever idea for a thread organizer and more. Enjoy!

How To Transfer Designs

Picture of Iron Transfer - Tipnut.com
How to Apply a Multi-Transfer Design

Transfers may be used up to 6 times.

Tracing Your Own Design

If you have created your own design, you have to trace it onto the fabric. There are three different methods of doing this:

First Method:

Second Method:

Third Method:

Source: Coats & Clark’s Book No. 144; Learn How to Embroider (1963)

Update: Transfer Patterns With Press ‘n Seal [1]: Here’s a nifty technique that is ideal for transferring the vintage patterns found here on Tipnut. A square of plastic wrap is placed over design, trace pattern with a Sharpie then place over fabric. After completing needlework, carefully pull plastic away.

Quick Tips

Care of Work

Wrap up your work between times in a clean old towel or apron. This habit will often save your piece from having to be washed after finishing, and will help preserve its new look for some time.

Washing and Ironing:

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Coats & Clark’s Book No. 144
Learn How to Embroider (1963)

Tipnut’s Notes:

I’ve had good success with washing embroidered tablecloths and dishtowels with a good splash of color safe bleach in the washing machine. I wash them separately from the rest of the laundry and use regular laundry detergent. I wouldn’t be brave enough to try machine washing precious embroidered work or using color safe bleach, but for dishtowels and everyday tablecloths, I’ll chance it to clean the towels from germs and bacteria picked up in the kitchen.

Beginnings & Finishings

Picture of Embroidery Work - Tipnut.comWhen starting embroidery, make a few small running stitches along the line to be embroidered, then make one back stitch. (No knots should appear on the wrong side of work.)

When the thread becomes too short, acquires a fuzz or untwists, finish it off as follows:

The wrong side of work should be as neat as the right side, therefore do not carry thread from one design to another.

Coats & Clark’s Book No. 144
Learn How to Embroider (1963)

How To Clean & Block Needlework

Picture of Needlework - Tipnut.comIf you love to display cross stitch, embroidery and crewel work, here are step-by-step instructions for cleaning pieces that are in dire need of freshening up. No matter how carefully we display our needlework, they can get grungy with smoke, grease and handling stains.

As always, first test a small area before trying a cleaning method. Watch for dye transfer. Some reds are notorious for bleeding when washing, using a cooler temperature of water can help.

Also, don’t be alarmed if the water used in cleaning turns quite murky, you’ll be rinsing until water is clear.

How To Clean:

How To Block:


Crafty Idea: Thread Organizer

Here is a good idea to keep embroidery thread organized while also preventing it from tangling when working on a project:

Picture of Thread Organizer Project - Tipnut.com

Thread Organizer

Source: The WorkBasket (1952)

Free Video Library: Hand Embroidery Stitches

Picture of Woman Embroidering - Tipnut.comHere’s a fantastic resource for those who do hand embroidery or wish to learn how – Video Library of Hand-Embroidery Stitches [2]:

Hand embroidery is easier if you have someone around to show you how to do it. You can certainly find just about any embroidery stitch illustrated in a book, but it’s not quite the same as sitting down next to a friend who can walk you through the stitches. There are quite a few videos available on embroidery stitches, but what I’ve noticed about them is that they go into techniques that are either specialized or beyond what the beginning embroiderer wants to know. So I thought I’d see if I could manage a video stitch library…

…and if I could put it online! I’ve arranged the stitches according to type, and have begun with the most basic stitches, useful for embroidery for all levels of needleworkers.

There are nearly 50 videos available so far and the ones I watched have good lighting, clear audio and offer good visual direction–that’s hard to find sometimes with how to / craft videos. Good quality stuff!

A sampling of the stitch videos available:

There are dozens more so make sure to check them out, these are great reference resources!