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Hand Embroidery on Black Fabric

hand embroidery on dark fabric by stitchdoodles

What a dilemma! I have tried many a suggestion for the best way to hand embroider a pattern on to dark or thick fabric and many have ended up with some choice words being thrown around and telling myself it would look better on white anyway!

Simple andStressFree

Basically, if its a lot of work or involves a lot of delay in the actual stitching part then its already on my suspicious list. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not lazy and I like things to be done right but transferring for me has to be 2 things…

I’ve tried Prick and Pounce (don’t get me started on that one!), chalk pens, white gel pens, carbon paper, stitch n tear…. this list could go on! (If you use any of these, like them and are successful then all well and good but for me, they just didn’t hit the spot!)

Many of you will have heard of the wonderful ‘sticky fabri solvy’ (SFS) and the many fabulous reviews from fellow stitchers. I am one of those converts and love this stuff!

It transformed my stitching on to felt as it was just a case of tracing, sticking and stitching, washing off and wohoo – fabulous result every time.

BUT (there is always a but!) I found I still had issues using SFS with dark fabric. You print your wonderful design on to the SFS, stick it on to your black fabric and you can’t see the design even with the best light.

So, I realised I had to draw over the design (boring but necessary), if I wanted to stitch without ruining my eye sight and sanity! This sounds straightforward until you trace over and stitch and then realise the pen you used stains your lovely threads when you wash the SFS off. I did this and was so upset after all my hard work!

So, to save future projects,  I did a little experiment using different pens on SFS using white thread to see which ones stained the least…

Example 1: Triplus Fineliner (3 vertical lines on left) , Gel Pen (3 vertical lines on right), Fine Sharpie (4 horizontal lines top and bottom)…

Of those 3 the Gel Pen was the winner!

Example 2: From Left to right there are 3 vertical rows of each of the following  fine line black pens…       Biro,        Staedler Lumicolour,        Frixion Pen,        Pilot Drawing Pen

From these 4 lines, the photo makes it look like they all came out great but the winner was the Frixion Pen (the biro was the worst, followed by the Staedler and then the Pilot).

My overall opinion and trust from doing that was to go with the Frixion Pen.

So, for me, the best way to transfer a pattern on to a dark fabric is using SFS and a red Frixion Pen- either print the design on and then trace over this with the Frixion Pen or trace directly with the Frixion.

Here’s my design ready to be stitched with this method… Easy to see and stitch – yay!

transferring an embroidery pattern

Take a look at the design finished above (top picture) and you can see there has been no transfer of the red pen to the threads when it was soaked.

Hopefully this will save you some stress and heartache if you want to hand embroider on Black fabric!

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