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I found this great set of McCall’s embroidery transfers during one of my thrifting hauls last month. Dated 1946, this animal set is heat activated. Realizing I could get only one transfer for each design due to the age, I started to think of ways to preserve the images so I could use them again in the future by tracing them with tracing paper or a light box. Here’s what I did, but I’ll defer to any embroidery diehards out there for there own tips, too!


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Take your used transfer and place it transfer side down on a copy machine. Use a scrap piece of plain white paper and place on top. I did this because sometimes copy machines have a hard time recognizing a small piece of paper on the glass – my kitten transfer was fairly small, so this was important. Make sure the transfer is flat on the glass as you close the top. Copy.
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You should be set! This ink was blue, so I used a color copy to preserve it in its original form. I can use this again and again and not worry about losing the transfer.


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Comments

  1. MiMi says:

    Have you thought about scanning the image and then printing it on fabric? I’ve considered doing that with old patterns and other delicate vintage paper craft items.

  2. MiMi says:

    Have you thought about scanning the image and then printing it on fabric? I’ve considered doing that with old patterns and other delicate vintage paper craft items.

  3. ReNae says:

    I use sulky Iron on Transfer Pen comes in colors. I can get great detail using the copies and tracing paper.

  4. stacey says:

    my fabric store carries a wonderful item called “trace-a-pattern”. it is cut to length, sturdy like heavyweight interfacing but you can see designs through it clearly. it is for exactly what it’s name says. i use it to trace the different sizes on my multisize patterns and that way i don’t actually have to cut the original if i don’t want to. unlike tracing paper or tissue paper, it is fibrous and withstands repeated pinnings without disintegrating. an additional selling point for me is that it also withstands having a large coffee spilled on it without it being destroyed. i simply hung it up on a rod until it dried and it is as good as new – and the ink i used for tracing didn’t even bleed! great thing when you have 3 young kids!
    i would use this for capturing the patterns myself :)

  5. Ella says:

    I have a 4 drawer file cabinet full of vintage embroidery patterns. Most came from my grandmothers, others I have found at antique stores and yard sales.
    I scan them into my computer and print them on paper to be traced onto my fabric.

  6. Melody says:

    Just this week I purchased an old Simplicity pattern with Embroidery Transfers. It was originally 25 cents, but I paid a lot more for it now. All of the instructions are printed on the back of the envelope, unlike today’s patterns that have a folded instruction sheet inside. I have no idea how old it is, but as a child I had items with these same designs embroideried on my pillowcases and dresser scarves, tea towels, etc. I think my mom went a little crazy with her “hand embroidery” back then. I am going to preserve these like this post outlines, plus scan them into my PC. Who knows, I might even embroidery some myself someday!

  7. Mary G says:

    I like the idea of scanning them – I would think you probably could store them on a CD or whatever – and maybe also able to “resize” it easily for your next project.

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