Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Custom Iron-ons for Embroidery & Fair Trade Kits


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When it comes to embroidery design transfers, you’ve got to admit that the easiest possible way of getting a design – a perfectly crisp, clear design – onto fabric is a good iron-on transfer.

But iron-on transfers aren’t always made to our particular tastes and needs. Sure, we can find iron-ons of pin-up girls, of day-of-the-dead skulls, of cute vintage kittens and cupcakes and space ships; we can even find iron-ons of complex, lovely cutwork designs; and we can find iron-ons of state birds and bottles of wine and cups of cappuccino.

And while all of the above have their place and their audience, what if those aren’t what we’re looking for?

What if we’ve got our own design and it’s exactly what we want to iron on, and it doesn’t fit into any of those categories?

Often, I have my own design that I want to embroider three or four times. Gosh, I’d just love to be able to iron that thing on and just get on with the stitching, rather than getting stuck into four design transfers by hand.

Custom Iron-On Transfers for Embroidery

Well, lo and behold! There are people out there who can fill the need for a custom iron-on embroidery pattern for you!

I know! I was surprised, too! I always thought you’d have to be a massive commercial enterprise, to be able to finagle your own iron-on transfer from any printing company that handles them. After all, for just the average you-and-me, a custom iron-on embroidery transfer would pretty much be a one-off, right?

The last time I wrote about iron-on transfers for embroidery, Jenn at Stitcharama left a comment that enticed me to get in touch with her, and voilรก! now I have, in my hands, some samples of her custom-made iron-on embroidery transfer sheets.

Custom Iron-On Transfers for Embroidery

And therein, upon those sheets, are my own designs!

When Jenn contacted me, I have to admit, I was intrigued. How well would these transfers come out? How fine a line could I get away with? How complicated a pattern?

So, I made up a few pages of tests. They included complex and not-so-complex patterns. They included various line sizes, from .25 pixel lines to 1.0 pixel lines. And I saved them all into a high resolution PDF and emailed them to her.

A little while later, there in the mail, was my collection of iron-on transfers!

It was like magic!

Custom Iron-On Transfers for Embroidery

You can get about 3 or 4 transfers from each iron-on, depending on how long you hold the iron on for each transfer. The longer you hold the iron on, the first time you transfer, the more reduced the life of the transfer. So the trick, for repeated transfers, is to use the iron only as much as needed to get a visible line.

Interestingly enough, these transfers wash out of cotton (and I’m assuming linen). They are permanent on synthetic fabrics, but they can be washed out of natural fabrics like cotton and linen.

I haven’t tried the washing part yet. Normally, I don’t need to wash out lines from a transfer like this, if the lines are precise enough and I’ve covered them. But down the road, for curiosity’s sake, I’ll see how well they wash out of linen.

Custom Iron-On Transfers for Embroidery

There is virtually no spread with the iron-on. It creates a crisp, clean line, perfect for fine surface embroidery. The line is a kind of grayish-blue, almost. On the actually paper sheets, it prints black, but it transfers gray.

Needless to say, this thrills me silly! So easy! So fast! So sharp and clear! I’m just… all agog with delight!

You can find Jenn’s custom iron-on service listed in the Stitcharama Craft Etsy Shop.

The service is not inexpensive, but if you are working small motifs, you can fit many motifs on one page of iron-ons, so in essence, you’re getting as many patterns as will fit on the 8.5 x 11″ page, for the cost, times the number of transfers you can make from each motif (up to about 4, depending on fabric type, conditions like humidity, and the length of time the iron is held on each pattern).

I could see this service being very useful if you are planning to embroider repeated small motifs – say, for Christmas gifts or wedding favors or something like that.

Jenn also offers wholesale pricing, so if you need a lot printed, you can always contact her.

Stitcharama Craft Kits

Stitcharama, in collaboration with textile artists around the globe, also markets stitching kits of a folkish nature, and not just for embroidery, but for other needlework pursuits as well.

I have the Polish tote bag kit from Stitcharama – it’s nice! The supplies include everything you need to complete the project (a blank cotton tote, DMC floss, a hoop, a couple needles, the iron-on pattern, and thorough instructions). The instructions are very clear and professional.

If you don’t want the whole kit, you can purchase just the iron-on transfer and the instructional booklet, and source your own tote and floss locally.

You’ll also find kits (or, in some cases, the option for digital patterns & instructions) for Japanese Kogin embroidery, for Ukrainian cross stitch, for Russian embroidery, and for Lithuanian knitting with beads. I suspect there will be more offerings in the future – it’s definitely a shop to keep an eye on, especially if you like folk needlework from around the globe!

I hope you stop by Stitcharama Craft on Etsy to see what Jenn offers in her shop. You can also stop by the website – Stitcharama.com – to read more about Jenn’s collaborative business project. I’m impressed with what she’s doing, and I hope to see her kit and design offerings grow!

No affiliation – Jenn did send me the samples mentioned above, but as always, my reviews are governed by my review policy, which you’ll find stated here.


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(14) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    A great idea and no messing around with prick & pounce or light boxes and it’s great to know that they specialise and support fair-trade that preserve craft traditions. I really like your monograms especially the A on the second row of the photograph above is that a future monogram series or were you just doodling? Anyway great to know that you can get custom made patterns how wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us the information of personnalised iron-on transfers from Stitcharama.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. How fabulous! And it’s a lot more affordable than I was expecting. I think I might have to try this… when I get nearer the bottom of my WIP pile.

    1. Hi, Jeanine – the .25 pixel line – although, really, I don’t see a lot of difference between it and the .50 – but if I were doing a slew of ’em, and I were working on white, I’d go with the .25.

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