Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tattoo Techniques in Quilting? (Say what...?!)

A little known fact about myself - I had an apprenticeship with a tattoo artist for a while in college and a bit afterwards but never anything too serious.  I love tattoos.  I think they are a beautiful art form and can be just as unique as the person wearing them.  But it just wasn't meant as a career path for me.

While cleaning the other day I came across a bunch of my old tattoo supplies, including a giant stack of transfer papers!  How handy!!  Especially considering my favorite type of applique requires a lot of tracing!  (A looooooooot of tracing!) And this little trick just made my life so much easier, I had to share it with all you lovelies!

Tattoo transfer paper, or tattoo stencil paper as some prefer to call it, comes in various sizes and consists of 4 sheets.   Underneath a sheet or 2 of tracing paper is a sheet of carbon that will transfer patterns onto a sheet via heat or pressure to the bottom layers.  Some parlors use a heat machine but I use the simple art of a ball point pen and trace designs myself.

For applique, I pulled the carbon sheet right out of the packet and taped it on 2 sides to the top of my drafting table.  Be careful to get the correct side facing down. Meaning put the grainy, non-shiny side down.  That is the carbon that will be transferred to the back of your fabric.

Another way to tell what side of the carbon to put facing down is to scratch it with your finger nail.  If it leaves a mark similar to the one above and you have a purple, grainy substance under your nail, that is the back side.
 Next I taped my stencil over the top of my carbon sheet to prevent slippage.  (These are my own stencils, so please excuse how messy they look!) 

Be steady and careful when lining up edges.
In this particular project, I am working with the Positive/Negative Applique.  I have heard this method called "Give & Take" or "Continuous Line Applique."  Same thing.  All my blocks have a paper back that's been fused on and it is onto this paper that I want to transfer my design.  With the paper side/back up, slide the fabric underneath both the stencil and the carbon paper.  Line up your edges and seam allowances to ensure a centered design.

Again be sure to line up your edges before starting to trace.  I put my stencil edges to the very edge of the carbon so that I can easily see my fabric edges.

Then trace!  Ball point pens or semi-dull pencils work best.  Felt tips are not a good idea.  Not only are the tips not firm enough, but the ink often soaks into the tracing paper and can be smeared or absorbed into your fabric. 

When you're finished, your design will be transferred onto your fabric...

...and your carbon paper will looking something like your design!

You can reuse the same sheet of carbon many, many times.  I'm working on a pretty big project so I'm trying to get a lot of mileage out of every sheet possible.  But after a while, they end up looking like this and are ready to die :-)

My only other suggestion would be to make sure you're not too involved with your music and singing along so much that you don't notice that you put your fabric in upside down.  Yeah.  I did that.   And this is what happens:
Oops, but still usable! 
 I am a huge fan of Positive/Negative Applique and I am sure will have many more posts with it in the future.  But if you have any questions about it at all, please email or comment!  It is my current favorite style of quilting - there are TONS of possibilities for it and it has such a neat effect! 
These are prototype blocks for my new pattern, "Twirling through the Pumpkin Patch."  The completed quilt top is coming soon!  Stay tuned...!
 As for tattoo transfer paper, I got mine from my old parlor.  But a quick search online proved that you can get it just about anywhere!  (Amazon had some nice deals!)

So keep on quiltin' and I'll catch you all soon!  Thanks for stopping by :-)

Mood: Cozy
Music:  "Freedom" by Anthony Hamilton, Django Unchained Soundtrack

1 comment:

  1. love the owls and pumpkins.

    Nancy Lannom