Tips and Tricks: Tracing Patterns Perfectly

Tracing a pattern onto your backing can be quite the tedious project. Aligning the pattern so that it’s on the straight of the grain is key to avoiding headaches while hooking, but it’s tough to do while tracing! I’ve developed a process to make it easier for myself. There’s always a stretch on the bias of the fabric in the backing you use. That is a fact true to all fabrics. Most people use Red Dot to trace their patterns, but I prefer to use a one inch grid interfacing to trace patterns, but it’s essentially the same thing.

When I draw and transfer my own patterns onto backing, I always make sure to do so on the straight of the grain. I’ve outlined the steps below:

The materials needed to trace a pattern.

Step 1: Take your piece of foundation fabric, and make sure it’s square. I start by taping two corners of the backing down onto my table with masking tape. Then, I set out to find the center point. I take my yard stick and measure the width of the backing through the center of the fabric. I find the half way point between the two sides and mark it with a soft graphite pencil in the ditch in the fabric. Then I measure the halfway point along the length of the backing, once again through the center of the fabric, and draw a line there as well. The end result is an x in the center of your backing.

Use the yard stick to find the center of your backing material.

Step 2: From the x I’ve marked, I measure out the boundaries of the pattern I’m tracing. I measure out half of the width in one direction from the x, and the other half in the other direction, and mark both ends. I do the same to mark the length of the pattern.

From the central mark you’ve made, measure out the boundaries of the pattern you’re tracing.

Step 3: I connect all of the lines I’ve marked to create the boundaries of my pattern.

Connect each of the four marks you’ve made to create an outline of your pattern.

Step 4: I now tape down the final two edges, making sure not to stretch out the fabric too much.

Step 5: Then I align two corners of my pattern to the corresponding corners of the outline I’ve created. Usually, it’s the top two corners, but I might shift depending on what makes the most sense for the pattern itself. I try to get them as closely and evenly aligned as possible. Sometimes they’ll be a little off, and that’s ok.

Step 6: Now I tape the corners of my pattern onto the foundation.

Step 7: Now it’s time to trace – I start from the middle of my pattern (essentially, where the x is) and work my way out.

The pattern can be perfectly traced once it’s been taped to the backing.

Step 8: Once the pattern is completely transferred onto the foundation, I remove the interfacing, and trace over the pencil lines in sharpie. Now, I’m done!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!


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