Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How to Trace a Design to Linen

This is my very low tech approach of how I copy my designs and motifs to linen.

These days there are many talented designers with all sorts of patterns available to you. Some are already printed on a foundation cloth, some are printed in books that give you permission to enlarge and copy those designs to a backing of your choice. Some antique patterns are no longer bound by copyright laws and you want to make a personal copy. Perhaps you want to buy an Epattern online or a PDF, but don't know what to do once the printer has printed the pattern on paper. Maybe you have an idea in your head of some motifs that would look great together, but aren't confident about how to transfer them to linen.

Here is how I go about getting my ideas from paper design to linen. I use both unbleached and bleached linen. The bleached linen helps the ink or pen marks show up more easily I think, thus making it easier to hook the motifs.

I hope you can read what the little cards say in each photo. Did I mention I was low tech?!

Step 1 and 2) Prep your linen. Cut and zigzag or serge your linen edges. Linen should be 3-4" wider than the pattern on all four sides.

Step 3) Make a small dash line, marking the measurement for the edges of your design. Do this on all four sides. I like to use an art pencil, the dark lead shows up better on the linen.

Step 4) Now "drag" your pencil from each of the center marks. First to the left of that center mark, then to the right. Do this on all four sides.

Step 5) Push hard so that the pencil lead stays in the "ditch". This will keep it straight on the grain, making your pattern edges "squared".

Step 6) Now adjust your paper design or motifs under the linen and line up the edges of your paper pattern with the edges that are now marked on the linen.

Step 7) Begin to trace the pattern onto your linen using a fabric marker. A bright lamp overhead helps to "read" the lines more easily.

Step 8) Well Done! Your design has been successfully transferred to linen. If you want, you can retrace over the penciled edges of your pattern with your fabric marker.

Please remember to always check copyright laws etc, before you copy a pattern for your own personal use. These days, it is so easy to copy and print just about any image we see on the Internet. However, just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

My ETSY shop now offers bleached linen for your designing needs. The pattern that I demonstrated with above, is called Pansy Home. Please visit my etsy to learn more about the origins of this pattern and to view my other design, wool etc.

Thank you!




  1. What a wonderful tutorial......thank you!

  2. Thank you once again for good information!

  3. Great tutorial! I'm sure the newbies will greatly appreciate it.
    Hugs :)

    1. Thanks! I hope so! Originally, it took me a few tries as a new rug hooker to understand, that first I get the "on the straight if the grain" ink line set up, then I line it up over the pattern edge! mj

  4. Great tutorial...very clear and easy to follow. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for letting me know it was helpful Pat! mj

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