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Transferring Designs with an Ink Jet Printer

I will start by saying, I'm pretty sure you are not supposed to do things like this.

Some of our embroidery designs are complicated enough that here needs to be a solid chunk of time set aside for transferring the line work onto the fabric for embroidery. We’ve used both the prick and pounce method and the light box and pencil tracing.

 

Recently Fr. P sent us a really beautiful tracing of Blessed Mother and baby Jesus. It has lots of little lines. Lots. Maybe enough little lines to slow down your enthusiasm for beginning something like this, because tracing this will be a project in itself.  Even so, if you’re like us, you want to grab a needle and silk and go at it.

In fact, several of us wanted to grab a needle and silk and go at it, so I made an Illustrator file of the artwork so there would be less fighting in the sewing room - sharp objects and all... The original tracing was probably meant for a pall. If you do want to have a go at it, here is a link to a pdf file based off of this artwork, with a few slight adjustments.

pdf-blessedmom.jpg

But then there is all of that tracing. I thought I remembered seeing a post about using an ink jet printer to transfer line drawings onto fabric. Hmmmmm.

It turns out to be true, and it can be done quite easily.

 

Flip the artwork (I did that for you on page 2 of the PDF above) and send a piece of plastic through the ink jet printer. In my case it was a three ring divider sheet that I pilfered from one of my children’s binders.

The print comes out pretty damp so be careful not to smudge it.

Invert it carefully onto your fabric being sure not to let it shift. Slide firmly over the line work with a credit card. I’ve even been able to do two impressions with one print.

I could totally stitch this. I’m not sure how any watercolor under painting will react with this very soluble ink jet ink. They might not get along. I did find out that running the fabric through your basic warm water wash fades the lines significantly (thus removing any excess ink that might be problematic), but they’re definitely still visible. One bonus is that the remaining ink on the plastic sheet rinses right off so you can reuse it. I am kind of feeling sold on this method.