Tracing wheels are used as their name, for transferring lines from one surface to another, by tracing.

– wheels,
– tracing/ transfer/ dressmakers carbon paper

There are 3 different shapes of wheel.
They can all be used for marking fabric, paper, card.

example from Hemline

example from Clover

example from Clover

Transfer paper, dressmaker’s tracing paper

Modern dressmakers tracing paper has a waxy coating and is clean to use.
The marks should wash or dry clean away when you no longer need them.
Test it on your fabric. You do need to press firmly. I usually can’t see the marks!
Like the tracing wheels, it’s made by several companies.
Check the colours and sheet sizes in the pack.

example from Clover

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In use

For paper and card when pattern making
A spiked wheel makes a dotted line of holes across paper or card.
Use a spiked wheel on a cutting mat, or with a felt pad under what you are tracing. I prefer working on a felt pad, as the holes made are bigger and easier to see.

Don’t use a spiked wheel on a surface that damages easily.
Don’t use a spiked wheel on fabric which gets permanent holes such as leather, vinyl, neoprene.

Check that it makes a mark you can see.
If not, use one of the other wheel shapes with dressmakers tracing paper.

Better for fabric
Blunt spikes – marks a dashed line
Smooth – marks a continuous line

Use tracing paper of a colour that shows clearly : dark on light or light on dark.
Some packs of tracing paper only have light colours, so have limited use.

Slip the tracing paper between what you are tracing over, and what you want the marks transferred to.
Check you’ve got the marking surface the right way round!
Mark fabric on the wrong side if possible.
If you press firmly, you can sometimes mark more than one layer at the same time.

Here are a couple of videos :
Professor Pincushion
Prym video showing other methods and applications

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Many applications.
Main uses :
– transfering marks from a paper pattern onto fabric.
– tracing altered stitching lines from a fitting muslin onto the pattern.
– tracing a finished pattern onto card
– “rubbing off” an already made garment to make a pattern

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