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Marking tools and techniques for quilting

Golden Threads

Golden Threads paper is a fine transparent vellum. It is a very useful product for transferring designs to your quilt.

There are a number of options for how you use it:

(1) Trace your design onto the Golden Threads paper and sew directly through it. It is easy to sew through and tear away.

(2) Trace your design onto the Golden Threads paper.

  • Layer up a number of blank Golden Threads pieces of the same size and place them under your “master template”. Hold them together at the corners using a pin (but place them so they are never close to where you are sewing).

  • Sew through the top traced design using a needle without thread in your sewing machine. Use the largest needle you have. An old needle would be perfect!

  • We suggest using the same settings you would use for Free Motion Quilting (feed dogs down, stitch length of zero and width of zero) and use a darning foot (or your longarm standard FMQ foot).

  • Lay the designs on your quilt and using the needle-punched design as a guide sew through it.

(3) Use the same technique as in (1) and (2) above but this time instead of sewing through the paper use Pounce Chalk (see below) .

To do this place your pre-punched design over the area of the quilt you wish to transfer the design to. Hold or pin it in place. Wipe the Pounce Pad over the needle-punched template - (the technique works best with the template wrong side up, as the sharp edges of the needle holes catch the chalk powder better). When you remove the paper the chalk will have gone through the gaps. Now you can use the chalk as a guide. This way your needle-punched template can be used many times. The chalk lines can be easily removed with a brush. (Or ironed away, or by using a damp cloth).


1 Scale your blocks to fit your quilt and then trace them.

Use a Proportional Scale to calculate your finished design size or calculate yourself.

For example, if your existing block design is 12” and you want it to be 10” you take 12/10 and multiply by 100 to get the % you would need to (in this case) reduce it by ie 83.33%. You can get a print/copy shop to scale it or use a design software package to reduce it and print it out at the right size.

Quilter's Assistant Proportional Scale

2 The Golden Threads paper is translucent so you can audition your blocks on your quilt individually and check it will look good before quilting. Pin the traced blocks onto each block on your quilt. Maybe take a picture for reference.

3 Free motion quilting designs can be more difficult it they are symmetrical. Any small variations will be obvious, Select designs that will be easy particularly when you are starting out so that you build confidence. The easiest way to find this out is to finger trace them first!

4 Big flowing designs without too many small intricate areas will make the paper easier to remove. Using a pair of tweezers can help (anyone who has done a lot of Foundation Piecing will know this).

5 To create a border or sashing design with Golden Threads paper use it like you would if you wanted to create a paper-chain.

Concertina fold a strip of the Golden Threads paper the same width and length as your border or sashing. Decide how big your design is going to be and halve it. Draw it so it will provide sufficient repeats for your border. Now sew through the drawn design. The needle-punch will create a mirror image of your design.

Unfold it and lay it on your border fabric. Use the pounce chalk to mark through the needle-punched holes or pin it in place and stitch through it.

Golden Threads paper is available in a number of widths. If your local quilt shop does not supply it please contact us.

Pounce Chalk

Pounce chalk is a great way to get your design on your quilt after you have layered it. Some marking tools just don’t work when all three layers have been put together. With Pounce you wipe it over the top of your stencil or Golden Threads paper as described above

Once you’ve filled the chalk reservoir with chalk you pat the pad down on a surface with the lid on to get the powder to flow evenly over the pad. More instructions are provided with Pounce Chalk. The powder stays on your quilt and you can iron it off. It is safe for fabrics but as with all marking methods we recommend that you check it works on a spare piece of similar fabrics to your quilt first. After you’ve sewn your quilt lines you can remove using a brush, heated iron or damp cloth.

We also recommend that you clean the foot area of your machine as dust from the pounce can build up.

Preview Paper

Preview paper is actually a clear film. It enables you to see how your quilted designs might look and audition the designs over the top of your quilt.

You can reuse the vinyl by using dry erase pens.

Preview Paper


A spare piece of cotton wadding is very useful to remove the designs and start again.

Edge your Preview Paper with masking tape so that the edges of the clear vinyl are obvious. It is very easy to go over the edges and start drawing on your quilt. (I’ve seen it happen and it isn’t easy to get dry erase off a white quilt :-(

Don't ask how I know this.

There were some very useful tips and techniques in a recent Handi Quilter Live You Tube Video with Sue Patten. To see the Video click this link.

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