Patterns from books

I got a question the other day about how I created a pattern from a photo in David Wilson’s book. One concern was tracing a pattern from a place in the book where the picture goes over the center binding.

Today I’ll share with you how I traced the pattern from the book and the tricks I used to end up with something I could use as a pattern for my stitching project.


The most important thing about tracing a pattern from a photo is to focus on the outlines not the details. Outlines, not details! That’s one of the things that made tracing this pattern so easy: the Bayeux Tapestry isn’t a really intricate design. The outlines are clear so tracing it is easy.

Using paperweights and a heavy metal ruler helped to hold the tracing paper in place. When it came to tracing the area near to the crease in the page I just did the best I could and then drew over it later freehand with a pencil. It was more a matter of joining the lines that I did trace accurately. Having confidence in my ability to draw what I see helps a lot. I haven’t always had that confidence but after not very many attempts at drawing I found that I could do a pretty good job if I had something good to begin with – like a tracing or partial tracing.


First I trace in pencil and then went over the pencil with a fine black marker so I could see it more easily when I transferred it to the fabric. When I transferred it to the fabric I also checked the drawing. I didn’t simply copy the design to the fabric without looking at the original – I almost never do that. My eye is more accurate than a traced design and I have learnt to trust it.

The trick to tracing a pattern from a photo is to do the best you can and use your eye. And remember, outlines, not details!

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