Pattern Tracing and Composting

Do you trace your patterns?

I do, and figured most other people do, but I’ve seen some anti-tracing chatter lately on discussion boards and wondered…  I trace primarily to preserve vintage patterns and also to preserve a “master” pattern. That said, I use original paper patterns for one-size patterns, craft stuff, and occasionally because I’m too damn lazy to trace it off.

I’ve spent the past several months awash in a sea of polytrace pattern drafting medium.  Sometimes scraps of polytrace collect in drifts on the floor while I’m working.   I use it as frugally as possible, but I still work through a large amount of it.

This is not my compost bin, but mine looks almost identical. It cut our trash output almost in half and sweetens the garden.

I feel guilty.  Green-guilty.  To me, it’s a glaring example of a simple way to reduce waste in my life.  I can’t compost or recycle polytrace- it’s like a very very thin polyester felt.  So I throw it away.  Piles of it.  That gets it off my floor, but it’s still my waste and still “out there.”  I tend not to waste time feeling guilty about these things.  Instead, I look for ways to change my habits.  I’ve spent the past several weeks looking for a more compostable alternative, but so far I’m coming up with very little indeed.

The best alternative I’ve been able to find is something called WhiteTrace, which is a translucent, durable type of tissue paper used by architects, artists, and other drafters.  The widest roll is 36″ wide, and I’m accustomed to 56″ wide.  I suppose it isn’t a huge problem, but it does give me pause.  I also pause because I can only buy it in 50 yd rolls.  It works out cheaper than the polytrace in the long run, but it’s more than I *want* to pay all at once.

Of course, the most “sustainable” option would be to learn to draft electronically, but I don’t have a clue where to start with that.  Besides, I enjoy using paper, pens, ruler and templates.

So I’d like to know- what do you use to make patterns or trace vintage patterns or designs from Burda? Is it translucent?  Is it wide?  Is it cheap?  Where can I get some?

(By the way, until I posted yesterday I had no idea the Lorax movie was coming out so soon.  I had heard about the change.org petition to include the words “I speak for the trees!”  Hooray for being clueless!  Also, it occurs to me now that I should have painted him orange.  Of course.  Right now the fifth layer of lime paint is curing well. )

(Also- I know I promised the Bow Tie Tee Hack today, but class ran a little longer than I expected, I’m exhausted and behind schedule.  I’ll have the hack up tomorrow for sure, and I’ll be looking for a few pattern testers, too.  And I should have time for the lilac-and-pale-blue-dress version tomorrow.  Whee!)


75 comments

  1. I use greaseproof paper to trace with – its extremely cheap (I get the homebrand for around $1 a roll) and because its paper I can put the scraps in the recycling bin. It is very narrow though (about 12″) so I have sticky tape it together for the wider pattern pieces.

  2. Hey Steph, I also trace most of my patterns for the same reasons you do, and yes, I also cut up a pattern (though rarely) because I’m also feeling like a lazy so-and-so! I use kwik sew tracing paper which is like a paper in that you can write all over it but almost as strong and flexible as fabric. I guess the idea is that you can also use it for fitting but I rarely do that. It’s expensive mind – a tenner for just under 5 metres! If anyone has any suggestions for cheaper alternatives I’ll happily try them out. http://www.sewbox.co.uk/pattern-tracing-paper-toile-kwik-sew.html

  3. At the moment I am using an A2 size ‘bank layout pad’ which is thin, translucent paper. I bought it from an art supplies shop as a much cheaper alternative to their pads of actual tracing paper. The size means I sometimes need to tape pieces together. In fact I also tape together the scraps for tracing smaller pattern pieces so there’s less waste. A pad of 50 pages is going a long way. If you use paper tape (I have some brown paper tape that you moisten like a stamp) or cellulose tape then the whole thing would be biodegradable.
    Hmm, interesting topic. I also wonder what people do with muslins once they’re done fitting?

    • Interesting! I’ll look into that…

      With muslins, it depends. In the summer, when the compost is cranking over well, I tend to compost shredded cotton (and other natural fibers) once it’s past “rags” stage. I can’t add too much, though, or The Caretaker of the Compost gets cranky.

      Some muslins can be used again for smaller projects… I tend to make “wearable” muslins using a cheaper or less than ideal fabric to test an idea… I usually wear them at least as casuals for a while before I consign them to rags, though sometimes my “wearable muslins” end up as favorite garments…. Really interesting question- I’d like to know how others approach muslining…

      • One of the reasons why I stopped making muslins from actual muslin is that I didn’t know what to do with them afterward. Then I got to more complicated stuff and definitely had to make muslins, but then I used them as lining for the actual garment so as to reduce waste.

  4. I’ve used Swedish Tracing Paper, which is similar to polytrace. I like it as I often reuse by patterns a lot (kids clothes), but I also use Burda tracing paper for my patterns and I don’t reuse then as much – think tissue paper but in huge big sheets. The last lot I picked up at spotlight (mt gravatt store) for less than $4 a pack – and you get 5 or 6 huge sheets per pack.

  5. I buy grease-proof paper in rolls from the grocery store. It’s cheap and readily available. Also, if you shred it, you can add it to the compost bin. They say a little shredded paper is good for the mix.

    • Yes, definitely… And the paper we put in seems to melt away as soon as it is added… This time of year, our compost bin would probably break down almost anything… When I lift the lid, I can *hear* the stuff being broken down and see it seething with insects… I would be disgusted if I wasn’t so impressed..

  6. I’m guilty of rarely tracing patterns. I do trace old ones and ones that I plan on making a lot of variation from. But not the ones I purchase at the .99 sales. I don’t actually use a tracing paper. I have a giant roll of brown postal paper and I have some transfer paper for drawing (it’s like the old carbon copy paper). I put the commercial pattern on top with the transfer paper sandwiched in between, brown paper on bottom. Then I use a tracing wheel to transfer the pattern to the brown paper. I find that the heavy brown paper can take a beating, which I tend to do to my patterns, and it’s great for tracing pieces directly on to the fabric.

  7. I never used to trace patterns, and then I went and changed sizes, and cursed myself for not tracing! Now I always trace. I just ordered swedish tracing paper from Nancy’s Notions, and paid $16 for shipping (I am in Canada), it never occurred to me to look at drafting supplies to get a similar product. Oh well, next time.

  8. I usually trace vintage patterns only but I have gotten into drafting lately. I’ve only used regular old tracing paper so far, but I’ve been considering trying this: http://www.amazon.com/Graham-Table-Smooth-Texture-Carton/dp/B001ASBGHM/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1ZDPQKLL0DOJE&colid=2I4SEANSWU8QW

    It’s medical exam table paper like they have a the doctor’s office.The only thing is you have to buy 12 rolls at a time and I don’t know where I’d put the things!

    • You’d send them to me. For storage. :D

      Good idea though, I’m loving all the great tips on this thread! I should have asked sooner!

  9. I also use brown paper to transfer my sewing patterns onto, mostly to save the original. I store them in a plastic wallet folder with the original pattern & envelope, and I have a bullet point list with notes/sketches on what I made and any points to watch out for, which is the same approach as I use for my knitting patterns.
    This way I can re-use the pattern many times, then make another copy if I need to. Any bits of scrap paper go into our garden compost bin too. I dont make muslins (!) but then I don’t use expensive fabric either. Any little bits of fabric are also composted if cotton etc, as the compost works better if layered with dry/dead organic material, but larger pieces are used as dusters or cleaning rags.

    • Come and organize my patterns, please. I’ll take you to Byron Bay and cook you delicious meals! Really. :D You’re so on top of it!

      What do you mean by “layered?” I think I should look into this. For a while, I was just throwing shredded biodegradable fabric into the bin until the husband bade me cease…

      • I alternate the ‘wet’ (veg peeling, egg shells, tea leaves etc) with a layer of dry ) shredded paper, paper egg boxes, dead dry leaves, little bits of fabric). It stops the compost going all icky by providing a more aerated layer. I learnt this from putting too many grass clippings in in one go and it tuning into a disgusting mess! X

  10. I use Pattern-Ease which is probably the same as Polytrace. I usually trace because I often have to grade between sizes and I also like to preserve my patterns. I always tell myself that I’ll lose weight or something and I’ll want the smaller size in the future. Or if I end up hating the pattern I can sell it as uncut (but I never do!)

    I agree about the scraps. Have you considered saving them up and using them as stuffing for things like cushions, pillows, etc? I know a store that collects their little scraps, selvages, batting scraps, etc. for some customers who collect them and use them for stuffing for dog beds that they donate to local shelters and rescue groups.

    • A fair amount of them went into stuffing a big floor pillow/ottoman I made recently… But it’s kind of “scrunchy” and not really suitable for it… I know some people who use it as interfacing, but it doesn’t feel right to me and don’t get me started about the way it washes… :-/ I can’t seem to find any way to reasonably re-use it, so I need to break the habit….

  11. I’m a hard-core tracer, too—either because I want to preserve the pattern or because I’m making so many damn alterations anyway. Occasionally I weaken on large, simple pieces like the skirt of a dress.

    I usually use tissue paper. Burda makes a variety that comes in packages of large sheets, that are sold at my local fabric store. They’re not extremely cheap, but they’re handy, large, and translucent.

    For drafting (and sometimes tracing, but it requires setting up a light under the glass-topped coffee table and pissing off my husband by tracing in the living-room) I use the big rolls of kids’ art paper they sell for easels. The rolls aren’t always quite as wide as I’d like (around 18″) but adequate for most things. Newsprint (which you could maybe source leftover rolls from the local paper) would also work great.

    I *really* like that I can toss the scraps and extras in the recycling. I would find it much harder to justify all the tracing in something non-biodegradable.

    Electronic drafting (give it a try in Inkscape, you can set up guidelines and label them fairly easily, then use the bezier tool to mark out the basic shapes and tweak the lines after to get the curves just right) might save a bit on paper, but you’ll still need to print it out to test the pattern, and you’ll be using up better quality paper (not to mention plenty of tape or glue).

    • Thanks for the tips!

      You’re right about electronic drafting… Completely slipped my mind how much printing out is involved in that process…

  12. I also use easel paper, with a tracing wheel (the spiky kind) and a length of doubled denim under. That allows me to see easily but still use regular (compostable) paper that’s fairly hefty and also cheap. :) The denim is just the right weight to provide sponginess for the tracing wheel while not being too soft and making tears or inaccuracies. I’ve also used and liked a single layer of corduroy, face down.

    Warning about the easel paper though, it does tend to tear directionally along the roll, which is a little irritating as you must be much more careful about snags and such in that direction.

    I cut my patterns out with a small exacto knife, too, which saves a ton of time over scissors.

  13. I’m generally too eager/lazy to trace patterns. If I make any alterations, I use regular tracing paper, which can be recycled. I have started buying vintage patterns though and those, I do want to trace so I was planning to buy that Swedish Tracing Pattern. The kind you draw on and sew it as a muslin. We can throw fabric bits in our recycling bin (they send it somewhere to become insulation) so, I’d forgotten to consider whether the Swedish paper could as well. Hmm…

    I’ll be very interested to see if you find an economical and biodegradable solution.

    • Wait wait– you throw fabrics scraps in the recycling to be made into insulation?? Wow. Where do you live? Sounds like a great city program. I wonder if they could possibly do something similar with plastic bags? Even when I’m being super careful, I find that maybe 80% of what I throw away these days is plastic bags and it irks me to no end.

    • Wow – I have always wondered about what to do with fabric cut offs that is ecologically sounder than just putting them into land fill (you can only do so much with scraps!). Where do you live Jennifer?

  14. I tend to use the “lift the paper and mirror your cut to the proper fit line” method of cutting out, rather than trace. But when I do draft patterns, I like to use end rolls of newsprint, available at little cost from my local newspaper. Have been out of paper for some years now, though, which speaks to how many patterns I own rather than to how often I need to draft.

  15. I mostly use cheap tissue paper from the dollar store for patterns that will only be used once or twice. It’s not ideal but definitely cheaper than the Burda paper and I don’t feel bad if I have to retrace. Scraps compost quickly. I also use large sheets of regular bond paper (rescued from a defunct graphics firm) for pattern blocks that will be used often. You can trace around the heavier paper easily. Scraps can go in the paper recycling.

    If I need to attach pieces together (either tissue or paper) I use a glue stick instead of tape. It’s cheap and fast and you can iron it without shrinkage. It does tend to occasionally peel apart at the seams though. I watch for this and apply more glue before it disintegrates!

    I would love to get some medical examination paper but need to find someone to go in on an order with me. They won’t sell a single roll at a time, darn it. I’d have to make an awful lot of patterns to use up a whole box.

  16. I don’t think I’ve ever traced a pattern (*blushes and hides*), not even vintage ones. That said, I aside from being cut out, I keep the vintage paper pattern in its original form, and make my modifications on the fabric itself. It’s mostly laziness, but also because I don’t know where to get large tracing paper, so I’m glad to see all these suggestions for when I do actually get around to tracing. For the times when I make my own pattern pieces, I normally use wrapping paper ($1 rolls after Christmas!) or brown paper for wrapping packages. That way, I can recycle them afterwards.

    • Everyone works differently… :) You know, I eyed some clearance christmas paper at Lincraft the other day, wondered if it would make good pattern paper… Except I really need it to be translucent…

  17. Well as I mostly have sewn for others from commercial patterns, preserving the grading has been important to me. But I still don’t trace! I snip into the smaller sizes and fold the grading back. I draft my own patterns a lot more however and it never has occurred to me to buy something special to do it with (I am old enough to have grown up when you couldn’t get modern new fangled things in NZ and never lost the improvisation habits) so I too have used mostly newsprint and brown paper. The former I used to get end rolls of for a few dollars with 30odd m on them and they last for ages. The latter I get 36″ wide by the m. (now there’s a mangled measurements sentence!)
    Since discovering the world of sewists Who Do Things The Right Way, I am quite enchanted by these efficient new materials and processes. So I think it’s awesome, AWESOME to trace a pattern off, and a respectful way to treat vintage patterns too.

    • Thanks, Mrs C… Really interesting. I’m a big fan of making do with whatever I can find, too.. There’s an industrial recycling center a few neighborhoods away, I keep thinking I should go dig around and see if I turn up some drafting medium…

  18. I’m a tracer. It just seems likely I’ll want to alter something about it (FBA comes to mind) and if I screw that up I’d like to be able to go back to the starting point.

    I generally use parchment paper for tracing. My one issue is that it doesn’t tape together well, that can be frustrating when the pattern pieces are wider than the parchment paper.

    I was pretty thrilled when our region set up composting as part of our regular pick up. Between the recycling and green bin, it is a pretty small bag of garbage that goes out.

    • How cool you do composting that way! We have a clean, odorless standalone bin in the backyard…

      I was so amazed when we started composting a while ago- it easily cut our rubbish output in half. We find it’s the same, once we recycle and compost there’s very little garbage to go out…

  19. Ah interesting question Steph! I trace most of my patterns now to make it easier to grade between sizes and in case I need another size for someone else in the future. I’m still learning to fit and adjust well so it seems a safer option. I use polytrace too – for my last batch I used a 20% off voucher to buy 20 metres because I was aware of just how much I was going through. I like polytrace for how it sits on the fabric and doesn’t crease and buckle the way paper does. This makes cutting out a lot easier for me. I have to fold my patterns for practical storage so paper patterns means lots of ironing to flatten them out. Years ago I used newsprint but found it tore and creased lots with repeated use.

    Smaller things (eg tops or underwear) that will have a gazillion adjustments before I get it ‘just right’ get traced onto greaseproof paper. It’s easy to work with for smaller pieces rather than dragging out a wide roll on the dining table, or if I have useful sized scraps I use poly trace.

    Over the last fortnight I’ve been working on basic slopers and wondering about using paper for patterns-in-development and using the polytrace mainly for finished versions and hacks from finished versions. I want to play with some experimental drafting and hacks and, not knowing if I’ll even sew them up, the polytrace could just end up in the bin. Paper can go through the chickens/worms/compost cycle. I used to have a roll of stiffish brown paper at work that would be ideal for that ‘thinking on paper” process.

    • Yes– that’s just it. Thinking on paper. I’ve learned to streamline the drafting process a little, but I’m still uncomfortable with the amount of polytrace I’m going through…

      Maybe I’ll use some paper for smaller pieces, and keep some extra wide polytrace on hand to draft big things like skirts…

  20. Baking paper. After buying a non-brand one time and finding that it just wasn’t as non-stick as the branded one we usually used (in fact, the one I bought was decidedly not non-stick at all. I lost 5 trays of cookies that wouldn’t come off the darn stuff), I had to find another use for it, and tracing patterns so I could easily alter them seemed the msot logical option. It does need to be taped together because its so narrow, but Ive got so used to doing it that I don’t even notice anymore. My biggest problem with patterns is the flimsy though, so once I’ve got my pattern well and truly sorted, I transfer it to thin cardboard. Much less tearable, won’t rip if the toddler decides to practice drawing on it, and once its cut, I can trace around it easily onto my fabric.

  21. I buy rolls of Canson paper from an art supply store. It’s paper that draughtspeople use and comes in various weights. The heaviest I’ve used is 110gsm which is lovely to work with but a real pain to fold up and put away. Only yesterday I went and ordered a roll of 70gsm. It’s about 1.5m wide and I order a 20m roll which costs $42. It works out more expensive than the polytrace I sometimes buy at spotlight but it’s way, way easier to use. When I trace with polytrace, the pencil stretches the fabric and I have to go back and check the pattern isn’t distorted. The Canson paper doesn’t move and is much easier to see through. Also, with polytrace if you alter patterns you can’t stick bits on with tape, but the paper works really well with removable sticky tape. I have used the small Burda sheets in packs that someone above mentioned, but I find I have less waste with a roll because I just unroll it and position the pattern in the best spot to make the best use of all the odd shapes (does that sentence make sense??). I chuck all the offcuts in a box and regularly rummage through that when I need to trace small bits (I sometimes tape bits together, too). Another alternative I use when I want to copy commercial patterns (doesn’t work for Burdas) is to use a roll of old newsprint. I used to buy rolls of newsprint from a stationer in Mullumbimby for a whole $12 and I’m sure you can get them anywhere. There are hundreds of metres on these rolls but you have to use carbon. I bought a pack of pencil carbon paper (some of your readers are too young to know what that is) and put them between the newsprint and the pattern and trace over all the details on the pattern with a knitting needle. I’m with you on the waste. After years of living on a rural property where I had no garbage collection, I have about two small bins full a fortnight. It’s easier than people think.

    • Wow, thanks for all that Carol!

      Sounds like a great solution for you, though I’m not sure if it would work for what I do… Hmmm!

      And you’re right, I’m amazed at how simple it is to reduce waste… I remember reading a blog post a few years ago about a family of five who only throw out one garbage bag a week… I thought it was nuts, but I’m pretty sure we throw away less than that… Though we’re a smaller family…

      It’s kind of a game now… “How else can I reduce waste?”

  22. I use your medical table paper as well. My husband is a doctor so I order the widest they have from our medical supplier. It came as huge case of rolls so I just took two and sent the rest back to the office. Maybe yo could ask to buy a roll of your physician’s office.

    • I can edit if you want, but I get it. The number of times I’ve hit “reply” on other blogs and then realized my comment was nearly indecipherable… ;)

  23. I use Burda paper from a sewing shop that imports it here. It has two recycled signs on it so my guess is it is both recycled and recyclable. It is NZ $7 (Aussie $6) for 5 sheets 150cm x 110 cm. That is enough to trace about 7-8 patterns as one sheet can be stretched to 2 patterns if they are a skirt or shirt, for example.

    It is transparent and strong, and is by far the best product for tracing that I have come across – lunch paper is annoyingly narrow for me, as it requires too much piecing and heavier waxy papers are bulkier to store and harder to tissue fit.

    • Thanks for the tip, Mary Nanna… I might pick up a pack and see how it works… The last tissue I used was Palmer Pletsch and it was awful. Just awful, so thin and prone to tearing…

  24. Regular gift-wrap type tissue paper. I’ve found that the name brands are more durable than the discount store stuff. I iron out the sheets and, if necessary, tape them together. I’ve been thinking about eliminating the tape and using glue-stick instead. Anyway, it is similar to pattern tissue and works for tissue-fitting.
    ~Jen

  25. I found out about tracing patterns when I bought my first Burda mag. Plus when sewing for growing children meant multiple purchases of the same favourite envelope etc or something more efficient.

    So now I trace all pattern pieces with a tracing wheel onto plain newsprint. I get end of rolls for $10 each from the local newspaper. One roll lasts me six months and the kids love to make really LONG pictures with it too! Its not very durable but its cheap and I don’t mind re-tracing from time to time. I should also look at getting some card to make more long term copies of TNTs etc.

    The roll is about 1.5m wide though I assume that’s because the local rag is small (2 x A3 pages size), unlike like the big dailies. You could compost it too probably!

  26. Pingback: Bow Tie Tee Hack and Call for Pattern Testers « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  27. I like to trace off the pattern, some people find it time consuming but am not one of those people who can sew a pattern in a few hours am quite lazy and get distracted. So one day would be tracing and cutting out, then that’s me for the day. So I don’t mind doing it. A lot of people as aforementioned use the garden fleece you can get about 120 meters for £1. Didn’t work for me but am quite impatient and found it quite fiddly. I like Burda tracing tissue paper.

  28. I trace patterns too because I’m usually dealing with patterns from the 40s/50s. I use this pattern paper that comes in a roll with the dots on it (not sure what it’s called?) pattern paper? that I get at the garment district.

  29. I never used to trace, but now I do. Always. I hate the time suck, but I do it. I’m currently using a roll of regular tracing paper left over from art school, either mine or my husband’s. It’s paper, so it can go in the recycling or compost. Unfortunately, it’s not very wide, only 2′. I also have a stock of butcher’s paper that was going to be tossed at my old job. More annoying, though, as I have to lay the pattern on top of it, instead of the other way round. Honestly, I don’t even know what Polytrace is… is it the fabric-type stuff with the red dots or lines in inch increments?

  30. I trace patterns ever since I totally screwed up a wrap dress pattern trying to do a FBA. I ordered tracing paper by the roll from Dick Blick (I have no interest in the company, that’s just the place I know that carries it). If I remember correctly, it comes in 18″, 24″, and 26″ rolls. I have been using the 36″ roll for a couple of years now. The paper is sturdy enough to last through multiple uses of the pattern, is quite translucent, and tapes together well. I can lay most pattern pieces crosswise on the 36″ width. OK, I just looked it up and a 20 yd roll is $3.99 for 12″, $4.39 for 18″, and $5.99 for 24″ wide. A 50 yd roll is $7.59 for 12″, $9.75 for 18″, $12.99 for 24″, and $17.99 for 36″. Of course, if you ordered from the States the shipping charges might get pretty pricy, but you might be able to find a source closer to home.

    I save any scraps that are bigger than a sliver to fill in openings caused by alterations. The slivers go to the compost pile. Since so much of our compost materials are “green” yard, garden, and kitchen waste, the paper bits are a welcome addition.

    My sewing room is an attic space with walls only 36″ high before the ceiling starts to slant up, so I have had to improvise on storage. I store the patterns clipped to clippy-type skirt hangers on a clothes rack, with the original pattern and envelope. I usually can store 2 patterns to a hanger, and I can push them closer together than you would want to if they held clothes..

    BTW, what is greaseproof paper? That’s a term I’m not familiar with. Is it what we call waxed paper in the States?

  31. I trace as I am still learning which adjustments I require for a good fit. I have used brown wrapping paper for parcels and am currently using greaseproof paper. We have a weekly recycling service that takes paper etc so any waste goes in the recyling bin. Anything that needs to be shredded goes into our compost bin in layers, especially in the summer between the grass cuttings. I have a bag for mini scraps which get used for stuffing and another for more usable pieces – comes in handy for DD GCSE Art projects. I make flowers by cutting out circles,ironing them into quarters and running stitch across the ends, sew on a button to cover the ends and attach them to a brooch back or directly on to a bag etc. I have just bought freezer paper(waxed on one side) to use as a more permanent option once I’m happy with the pattern, apparantly you can iron it on to fabric and peel it off once cut. I think quilters use it.

  32. I trace mostly everything, but then rarely sew something that wouldn’t require tracing. And then it’s a simple matter to cut and tape to make adjustments.
    I’ve been using a box of medical exam table paper. $30 for 12 rolls has lasted me three+ years (hundreds of garments).

  33. Steph, get yourself into ALDI and buy some of their Baking Paper. It’s 38cm wide and 20m on the roll. Can’t remember what I paid for it, but at Aldi it wouldn’t have been too much. Their’s is wider than the normal baking paper from Coles/woolies etc and it’s here in Brisvegas.

  34. Well you’re probably not looking at comments on such an old post, but are you aware that tissue paper is *not* recyclable, as the fibers are just too short? Obviously it comes from trees rather than oil and scraps that make it into the world will not pollute permanently, but unless your municipality burns its trash, the best delicate papers can hope for is the landfill (possibly by way of expensive transport to a recycling facility and water use through preliminary processing).

    • I do read old comments… :) They come right to my inbox. I would think that tissue paper, or really any kind of light semi-transparent paper would compost down, that’s where I’d put it. I didn’t know they couldn’t be properly recycled, that’s really interesting…But like I said, most of our paper goes into compost anyway… It helps balance out the “wetter” stuff we put in. :)

  35. Hey Steph, where do you buy your poly trace from? I’m in Brisbane and finding it hard to find in a decent width – Spotlight only sell a 36 inch width, and I’m used to something much wider. I’d love to buy 10m at a time too. I don’t mind if I have to get it online…
    Thanks for your help!

    • Hey Zoe- I buy my polytrace at Sewco Sewing and Patchwork Centre, 1290 Logan Rd, Mt Gravatt. It’s pretty wide, I still haven’t found a good alternative so that’s what I use for now!

  36. I’ve started tracing my patterns recently. I got a stiletto wheel, not knowing what I’d use it for, then realized that I could put the pattern on top and “trace” onto any kind of paper below. It doesn’t have to be translucent. I do all this on top of a large flattened cardboard box on the floor. The stiletto wheel pricks holes through the pattern but doesn’t do much damage. No need for carbon paper. If I had to source paper, I’d go to the local newspaper; they sell roll ends for 50 cents. At the moment I’m using a roll of kids’ drawing paper from ikea.


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