Friday, January 20, 2017

Transferring Embroidery Design onto Felt

I have been experimenting with techniques on how to transfer a design onto wool felt. The first one I did was on white craft felt and since it was not quite so dense and a light color, I was able to hold it up to a window and trace the design onto it. 
Last month I made this dog ornament on blended wool felt and since it was small, I poked holes into the paper design, laid it on the felt, and then colored in the holes with a marker so I ended up with a dotted design. It worked pretty good, actually, but thought it would be too time consuming to do with my current design.
So I decided to try something new and trace the design onto tissue paper, pin it to my felt, and then embroider right through both tissue and felt. Two things I learned from this technique: One, I really enjoy the tactile experience of embroidering through felt. It's soft and soothing and peaceful even. The added tissue paper takes that feeling away. It's not smooth stitching and it's crinkly sounding! As subtle as it is, it takes away from my enjoyment.
The second thing I learned is this technique is much better suited to a simple design, not one with lots of stitching close together. Tearing the paper away was tricky, especially in tight spaces. In fact, there is some tissue that will live in this piece forever because I simply couldn't get it out! Even with my trusty tweezers and dental pick.
It does look nice though after all that effort, but I won't be doing it again this way. I just purchased some water soluble stabilizer that I will experiment with on my next project. Since I am using wool felt, I may need to pre-soak the felt to ensure it won't shrink later. I will do a couple of test runs first - perhaps the stabilizer will only need a little water spritzing to get it off. I do like the idea of printing the design onto the stabilizer rather than tracing the design. Such a time saver.
Any experienced embroiderists have any pearls of wisdom to share?!

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