(ETA 2016: Every time I trace a smaller pattern piece on my ironing board, I wince at the thought of this tutorial. Guys, don't trace your patterns by sliding them under magnets. It's a TERRIFICALLY bad idea. I'm leaving it up here for posterity. But hopefully the red warning label will catch your eye. Read on, if you like.)
i realize that many of you come here for the sewing. (some of you come here through do the math. it's confusing, i know. shhhhh.) and yet i bombard you with exorcist christmases and sweaty ballerinas. so i thought i'd share a little tracing tip i came up with the other day. it involves the power of MAGNETS. ooooooooh.
my beloved ikea ironing board is made of metal (or the ikea version of metal), and it's fairly wide. i've traced many small pattern pieces on it using my pin catchers as weights, the magnets inside creating a slight attraction between paper and board. my ah hah! moment came yesterday when i realized removing the middle man (plastic case) would up the force field.
if your ironing board is metal and flat (not too much padding), you're good to go. grab an invisible ruler, tissue paper, flat magnets (you can find these in packs of 10 at any arts & crafts store), and a very fine pen that writes easily without requiring much pressure.
this method is easy when the pattern piece is small, like a facing, but i'll show you how to trace sections that won't fit on your board. have a swig of coffee (or tea, whatever, but by all means put some bailey's in it). repeat. now, align the pattern edge with the edge of the board. let the excess hang off towards you. then align a sheet of tissue paper to the edge. all edges of pattern, tissue and board should meet.
yes, that's better homes and gardens in the background. it was the booby prize when readymade got canceled. i am NOT happy.
place several magnets around your sandwich, enough to keep the pieces in place. one near the grainline is especially nice. mais, not too close to each other as they will flock to their mates! (yeah, DUH, but i did it twice.) the love affair between magnet and metal board will keep your pattern nice and secure. trace away!
(but oona, i hear you cry, what if i break through the paper to the board and mark up my cover? okay, one: that's what washing machines are for, and two: use a light touch, meathooks.)
when you've traced all you can, move each magnet one by one to the edge of the board closest to you, making sure you're not moving your papers. don't slide the magnets. I SAID DON'T SLIDE THEM.
then lean ever so gracefully over and grasp BOTH paper edges delicately, and with an even pressure pull the sandwich away from you. hey! you must pull both paper edges at the same time and equally! go ahead, pull...
until you've reached the point where you can begin tracing again! you can see my turquoise tracing lines match up perfectly. spread your magnets out, and you're ready to start again.
so. did you know this already? was this completely pointless? how do you trace your patterns?