Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tracing Your Design

                   All I Want for Christmas is
             Magic Sizing, Extra Crisp!

     Well, it took a trip across the country, but look what I got for Christmas!  I like sizing much better than starch - it doesn't seem to flake as much for me, and Magic Sizing - Extra Crisp is my favorite.  The unfortunate part (for me) is that NO ONE around here seems to carry it.  I can find Magic Sizing - light Body (blue can) everywhere - Target, Von's (our local grocery store), Ralph's, Albertson's, even Wal-Mart, but no one carries Extra Crisp (sounds like fried chicken, doesn't it?!).  I have even asked to order a case of it and no luck - not on their order inventory sheet.  At my last smocking class, I was talking about this and the problem I was having finding it locally and one of they students whipped out her iPad and ordered a whole case (12 cans) from Agelong.  For those of you who are not familiar with Agelong, they sell all kinds of things, especially those things that you remember from your childhood (like Beechnut gum and real girdles), as well as Magic Sizing Extra Crisp.
     The order came in and I am happy as a clam (especially as I have about 1/4 of a can of my last can from my last case left - very timely).  I  can now block and starch (or size, as the case may be) to my heart's content!

     Speaking of sizing...........and the focus of this post, I am going to talk about tracing your designs on to your fabric.  Today I am going to be worling an example on a fabric that you can 'see through' when you lay a design under it.  (I will be talking about denser fabrics at a later time).  I know I mentioned that in Madeira, they run the design through a machine that is essentially an unthreaded sewing machine, and then use a pounce ball to mark the fabric.  That would work with this, but is usually more involved than I want to do.  When I am going to trace a design, the 'tools' that I use are:

Smocking Board
Clover Extra Fine Water Soluble Marking Pen
Glass Head Pins
Magic Sizing Extra Crisp

( I am going to go through each item and tell you what/why.  That way, if you want to substitute, you can figure out what will work instead)

Smocking Board - I like to really stabilize my design and my fabric so that they don't shift.  If you use a lace shaping board, it usually has foam underneath the cover and so has more 'give'.  

Remember - your finished design is only as accurate as your tracing, so
                                  GET IT RIGHT!!!!   

Clover Extra Fine Water Soluble Marking Pen - again, your finished design will only be as accurate as your tracing, so make sure your lines are thin, smooth, and clean.  If you use the regular marking pen, the felt tip is wide and there is so much ink that comes out when you place the tip on the fabric, that it often 'bleeds' into the fabric and spreads, distorting the design line.  I don;t have that problem with the fine tip.  The reason that I use the Clover brand is that they last - they don't dry out.  Most of mine last a year or two, where as with the other brands, I am lucky if they last me a month or 2. 

Clover Glass Head Pins - the Smocking Board actually comes with these cute little pins, but the shaft is larger than the glass head pins, and I son;t want big holes in my fabric, so I use my Glass Head Silk pins.

Design (pretty obvious), but remember, if the design is on something that you do not want to be marked, make a copy first!  If you have to have mirror images, make a copy in a clear sheet and then turn it backwards to get the mirror image. 

Magic Sizing Extra Crisp - talked about this above. When I am going to trace a design on fabric, I use sizing on the fabric first - that puts a layer of sizing between the fabric and the ink, so there is less of a chance that the ink will embed itself in the fabric.

Fabric - talked about this a bit at the beginning - my sample is on linen, but typically I am using a fabric that I can see through when I lay it on top of the design.

     To start, put the design on the Smocking Board.  (if the design is on light paper, I will often put a piece of plain white paper underneath to make the design stand out).  Put the fabric on top of the design, making sure the grainline of the fabric is oriented as the same as the design.  You can see where I am starting to mark the fabric.


When you are tracing a design if you follow the design with your pen to the fabric, chances are your will shift your fabric and then your design will not be accurate, and remember:  

     Your finished design will only be as accurate as your tracing!!!

     So instead of 'drawing' the design, 'dot' it instead!  Pick your pen up off of the fabric after each dot.  This way, your fabric doesn't shift and your design will be more accurate.


     If you look carefully, you can see the dots.

     Remove the pins and I have my accurately traced design.  Now, if I can only find the time to stitch it!!! 

I hope you found this helpful!  Let me know if you have any questions!  

Happy Stitching,



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