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Tracing An Embroidery Pattern With Just An iPad & Pen

If you want to trace an embroidery pattern onto your fabric without the fuss of printing it off and using a window or light pad - then good news! If you have an iPad, there's a really easy way. If it's a small design, you could also use your iPhone.

iPads and iPhones have a feature called Guided Access, which is designed to temporarily restrict your use to a single app, and allowing you to control which app features are available - I guess either as a tool to help you focus or to lock kids out of everything but a game!

BUT, embroidery pals, we can use it to freeze an image on our screens and trace it without it zooming or moving or being annoying! How did I not know this sooner?


Video tutorial:


Written tutorial:

First of all, make sure the design you want to trace is saved to the device you're going to use. If you need a new embroidery pattern, then all of my designs are available as instant downloads here.


On an iPad/iPhone, you want to use Guided Access which locks your iPad apart from the app that is open when you turn it on.

Setting up Guided Access on an iPad:

  • Go to Settings

  • Scroll down to Accessibility

  • Scroll to Guided Access

  • Toggle the switch next to 'Guided Access' so it is on

  • Toggle the switch next to 'Accessibility Shortcut' so it is on

  • Toggle the switch next to 'Touch ID' so it is on (not essential but useful)

  • Choose 'Passcode Settings'

  • Choose 'Set Guided Access Passcode' - I just chose 111111 as this is only used to turn Guided Access on or off and doesn't replace your usual passcode for security

  • Re-enter your passcode as prompted

  • Choose ' < Guided Access' to go back to the main Guided Access screen

  • Toggle the switch next to 'Accessibility Shortcut' so it is on (this enables you to hit the home button 3 times in succession to use Guided Access)

Using Guided Access to Trace With an iPad:

  • Turn your screen brightness all the way up

  • Open the image you want to trace (either in your photos or PDF viewer like Adobe Acrobat)

  • Zoom in/out until it's the right size to be traced to your fabric

  • When you're ready press the Home button 3 times in quick succession to start Guided Access

  • Hit 'Options' at the bottom left and make sure 'Touch' is toggled to off (I have everything set to off other than 'Software Keyboards')

  • Hit 'Start' or 'Resume' at the top right

  • Trace!


Tracing tips:

  • I use a M&G iErase II heat erasable pen, so when I'm done I can just blow away the lines with a hair dryer.

  • I trace with my fabric in the hoop, but back to front so the design is in the recess and the hoop can sit flat to my iPad - hard to explain what I mean so here is a photo:

The fabric is the right way up in this view, but it's in the hoop backwards

  • If it's an intricate design and you want to avoid sliding around and things becoming misaligned, consider using some washi tape to stick your fabric down - don't use stronger tape though, you might ruin your iPad!

I'm not sure if you can do something similar on Android/other devices, let me know if you know!

Hope this helps! x

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