Gentle reader – a few weeks ago someone asked me how the beautiful muslin patterns that Ackermann’s Repository of Fashions offered in its magazines could be transferred. This 19th century Enclyclopedia from Project Gutenberg offers practical suggestions. Among them are:
Tracing patterns against a window pane.—In order to copy a pattern in this way, the first step is to tack or pin the piece of stuff or paper on which the copy is to be made upon the pattern. In the case of a small pattern, the tacking or pinning may be dispensed with and the two sheets held firmly pressed against the window pane with the left hand, whilst the right hand does the tracing, but even then it is safer to pin or gum the four corners of the two sheets together, in case of interruption, as it is difficult to fit them together again exactly.
The tracing may be done with a pencil, or better still, with a brush dipped in Indian ink or water-colour paint.
The process of tracing is easy enough, so long as the hand does not get tired but as this generally comes to pass very soon it is best, if the pattern be a large and complicated one, to stick the sheets to the pane with strong gum or suspend them on a string, fastened across the pane by pins stuck into the window frame on either side.
To copy with oiled paper.—Another rather expeditious mode of transferring patterns on to thin and more especially smooth glossy stuffs, is by means of a special kind of tinted paper, called autographic paper, which is impregnated with a coloured oily substance and is to be had at any stationer’s shop. This you place between the pattern and the stuff, having previously fastened the stuff, perfectly straight by the line of the thread, to a board, with drawing-pins. When you have fitted the two papers likewise exactly together, you go over all the lines of the pattern with a blunt pencil, or with, what is better still, the point of a bone crochet needle or the edge of a folder. You must be careful not to press so heavily upon the pattern paper as to tear it; by the pressure exercised on the two sheets of paper, the oily substance of the blue paper discharges itself on to the stuff, so that when it is removed all the lines you have traced are imprinted upon the stuff.
This blue tracing paper is however only available for the reproduction of patterns on washing stuffs, as satin and all other silky textures are discoloured by it.
To pounce patterns upon stuffs.—The modes of copying, hitherto described, cannot be indiscriminately used for all kinds of stuff; for cloth, velvet and plush, for instance, they are not available and pouncing is the only way that answers.
The patterns, after having been transferred to straw or parchment paper, have to be pricked through. To do this you lay the paper upon cloth or felt and prick out all the lines of the drawing, making the holes, which should be clear and round, all exactly the same distance apart.
The closer and more complicated the pattern is, the finer and closer the holes should be. Every line of the outline must be carefully pricked out.
If the paper be sufficiently thin, several pouncings can be pricked at the same time, and a symmetrical design can be folded together into four and all pricked at once.
- Click here for more detailed instructions from the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NEEDLEWORK BY THÉRÈSE DE DILLMONT, first published in 1884
- Ackermanns Repository of Fashion, 1829