Home > sewing tips > Transferring Pattern Markings to Fabric Part II

Transferring Pattern Markings to Fabric Part II

February 13th, 2011

Last week I wrote about choosing pens and pencils to use when transferring pattern markings to fabric.  After you have chosen a writing instrument, you can decide the best method to transfer pattern markings to your fabric. I have listed several of my favorite techniques below. One of the methods discussed requires scissors rather than pens and pencils.

Tracing Markings

Complicated markings such as a doll face to be colored may need to be traced. I have had success with three tracing methods.

If you don’t have other equipment, hold the pattern and fabric up to a window to trace markings. This method is easier if the pattern and fabric are held to the window with drafting tape. (I think masking tape is too strong.)

A clear plastic box picture frame works fairly well when tracing pattern markings. Light should be behind the pattern that you are tracing. The plastic box can be propped up at an angle rather than resting flat on a table. Another solution is to have a battery powered light under the plastic frame.

My favorite tracing method is a light box or table. I bought a small inexpensive one years ago. Larger ones may be fairly pricey. I use a small amount of drafting tape to hold the pattern and fabric to my light box.

Clipping fabric

Sometimes you can use your scissors to mark fabric.

Cut out the small notches in the seam allowance that are used to help match fabric pieces. You can make a small clip in the middle of each notch if you prefer.

Cutting out Parts of a Paper Pattern

Sometimes you can cut out part of a pattern piece and use it as a stencil to mark you fabric.


Rather than tracing darts you can make a second copy of a pattern piece.

Cut the dart shape out of the pattern.

Place the pattern on the fabric piece to be marked.

Trace the dart where it belongs on the pattern.


Pull a pin with a small metal head through the dot on the paper pattern.

Put the pattern on the fabric to be marked.

Use a pen or pencil to mark the fabric through the hole in the pattern.

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