Lets talk about Tracing Paper

There comes a time in everyones sewing adventures when things get a little more complex, usually starting with the patterns you are using. As you become more proficient at sewing you will experiment more and probably one of the first things you will do is alter a commercial pattern. This might mean a simple size adjustment, full bust adjustment or a complete re-work. Well at this stage you really need some tracing paper.

Tracing paper to the rescue

You will soon realise how important tracing paper is when you sew. When I started sewing I would cut up a paper pattern to the size I wanted, pin to the fabric and cut it out. It soon became apparent that if you trace your paper patterns first, you don’t have to chop them up! Instead you can fold them back up (I know it’s nearly impossible) and use them again. Yes, simple I know but if you have a pattern with 5 different sizes you can use some tracing paper and trace just the size you need. It also allows you to grade patterns for fit directly onto the tracing; rework, remark and generally get things right without damaging the original pattern.

I have used all sorts of tracing paper over the years including the big brands ‘Sewing Tracing paper’, tissue and cheap ‘n’ cheerful baking/greaseproof paper. The big brand papers are always expensive for what you get (normally a few large sheets that have been folded up). Tissue paper, whilst being easy to mark and see through is just too thin and delicate. The baking/greaseproof route is full of problem such as difficulty actually marking on it or being hard to actually see what you are tracing. So what is the best tracing paper?


Introducing Swedish Tracing Paper

tracing paper
Photo: Creative Industry

Note I am not affiliated with the product in any way. This review is based on my own experiences.

Swedish Tracing paper by Creative Industry is absolutely brilliant. You may have heard of them as they gave us the Makers Workbook and interestingly are based about 5 miles from my home. So what makes this product so good? Well actually there are a lot of things.

First up is the actual feel of the paper. It feels more like fabric than paper. No really it does! In fact it drapes quite well which allows you to work with it like you would fabric. This is important because it is strong enough to be sewn together. You could actually make a toile with it and avoid wasting toile fabric. This method also allows you to easily mark, recut and adjust the toile before taking scissors to your fabric.


The paper has a good opacity which allows you to see what you are tracing easily. Here is a comparison: Left is a sewing brand paper, centre is baking paper and right Swedish Tracing paper (All held firmly to a pattern).

Again due to the strength and construction the paper is really easy to mark and inks bleed less.

Whilst you may initially think the paper is expensive at £15 a roll (or £48 for 4 rolls) you end up with far less waste than with the sheet variety from the big brands. You can unroll just the right amount you need rather than end up with large scraps. Yes I know baking paper is cheap but lets be honest, it is rubbish!


I have been using this paper for a long time having tried various other brands/types and can honestly say that it is the best tracing paper available. You can draft patterns on it directly, again due to the strength of the paper. I have patterns on Swedish Tracing Paper that have been reused countless times and are just as stable as when first made.


If you have not yet tried it why not pop over to Creative Industry and give it a go. In fact I have a discount code giving you a saving of 10% on your order. Just enter DEVON at checkout.

I would like to thank Clare from Creative Industry who gifted me 2 rolls and set up a discount for all my readers. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram. Also why not go and check out their other products.

I can honestly say you will never use another brand of paper again!


Until next time……Happy Sewing


3 thoughts on “Lets talk about Tracing Paper”

  1. I like this paper but find it expensive over time. I have also used a pellon product which is easy to trace onto and you can sew it and use it like a muslin when doing fitting. I have finally settled on using medical examination paper, it is sturdy and you can see thru it. I find it easy to trace onto. I use a tracing wheel with sharp point and follow the outline of the multi-sized pattern i am using. The tracing wheels leaves dotted impressions on the paper. I then use my pencil (art supply kind) and my design rulers to mark it and all the notches etc. I use this as a master and make adjustments as I make a muslin. I try very hard to do all adjustments on the pattern, until I have a finished pattern specific for the person I am sewing for, or for myself. At this point, I sometimes transfer the pattern to heavy gauge paper that I hang on hooks so that I can use it over and over again for multiply garments. I never use to do any of this with my sewing, but I have come to realize, proper fit is everything when you make a garment at home. My goal with my sewing was always to produce garments with high end rtw manufacturing techniques.

  2. I trace al my pattern with polythene sheets from the hardware store and mark with a whitebord marker. Its cheap and work great.

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