How to use iron on transfers for Kew book

Hello everyone

I hope you are all doing well and coping with the new “norm”?

This week I want to discuss the best method to use for the iron on transfers for the Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers and also Trish Burr Embroidery Transfers. As mentioned before these iron on transfers are printed by the book printers and differ slightly from my own iron on transfers which I sell in the shop. So I have done rigorous testing on the book transfers to come up with the best way to use them and here are my suggestions.


The first and most important thing to do before using any iron on transfer is to remove the chemical sizing from your fabric. Fabric is coated in chemical sizing during the manufacturing process to prevent the thread from breaking while they weave the fabric together. This is something that I became aware of recently and now know that Sizing can cause two problems:

  1. It will burn and scorch your fabric when heated
  2. It can act as a resist to dyes so may cause the transfer to come out faded.

So it is important that you wash and iron your fabric to remove the chemical sizing before you apply your iron on transfer, if not you may get scorch marks and or faded transfers. Depending on the source of your fabric it may have more or less sizing – you can often smell it, it smells like formaldehyde, and may require more than one wash to remove. The linen I sell in my shop has very little sizing as it is manufactured by a company that are Eco friendly, so one wash will suffice.


Here are the instructions for using the iron on transfers for the book. This method will work well for both my iron on transfers and the book iron on transfers. The instructions shown here are for smaller transfers, you can also find instructions for larger transfers.


Before you start here are some helpful hints:

  • Do a test print first
  • For some reason the transfer works better on linen than cotton. The cotton print will work fine but slightly more faded then linen.
  • Ensure there is no moisture present – the surface (towel or ironing board cover or other) you use to put your fabric on should be completely dry, your fabric should be dry and you should set your iron to DRY not steam. If there is moisture present it can also cause scorching and or a faded print.
  • Scrap Fabric – it helps if the scrap fabric is not slippery – so the iron does not move or slip on it while setting the transfer.

Step One

Wash and iron your fabric to remove the chemical sizing.  Set the iron to the hottest dry setting and press the linen/cotton to remove creases and pre-heat the fabric.

Step two

Cut out the transfer and place face down on top of the fabric.

Step Three

Ensure that the transfer is centered on the fabric. Place two pins on either side to hold in place whilst ironing. You can also tape in place with heat sensitive tape.

Step Four

Place a piece of scrap fabric on top of the ground fabric to prevent scorching. I use a piece of cotton muslin/calico on top – you could also use baking paper but I find the muslin works well.

Step Five

Place the hot iron on top of the fabric and transfer. Hold in place for about 40 seconds. This will vary depending on the heat of your iron, so maybe do a test print first. Do not move the iron around keep it still to prevent bleeding.

Step Six

Remove the iron on transfer, outline will be visible on the fabric. Press outline one last time to set the transfer. The print is indelible and cannot be washed out. If you are storing it for any length of time, it is best to store it in a dark place as it can react to light over time and fade slightly.

So there you have it, if you follow these instructions you should get a perfect print.


You may find it a bit challenging to line up every part of this sampler by transferring each outline individually so I have provided a complete print on linen fabric with a nice overlocked edge ready for you to stitch. You can purchase this here.

Till next time, wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.


8 thoughts on “How to use iron on transfers for Kew book”

  1. Can your DVD still be purchased? If so, how? I don’t see it offered on your site. How much and also question about your manual. If I download it, can I print it? Just purchased 3 of your books……beautiful and such incredible projects. Can’t wait to get started on one. Thanks fo a reply.

  2. Trish. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I just finished your embroidery journal but similar to the flower sampler layout and it turned out very nice. I bought your Kew Gardens book months ago and have read it over and over and I’m ready to dive in. Your transfer instructions couldn’t be more timely.

  3. Thank you for explaining about the sizing. I did not know that fabric was sized. I am familiar with it in watercolour paper, so it does make sense. I will be washing all fabric in future before impatiently starting to stitch. 🙂

  4. Thanks Trish for the really good instructions. It probably saved me some wonky (my word) transfers! I have some Irish linen placemats and napkins that my Father brought me back from Ireland many years ago. They have some beautiful cut work around the edges, but I have wanted to do some embroidery in the center. They are unused and never been washed. Do you think these would be eligible to wash and transfer? As soon as I received the Kew book, I thought of the napkins. Thank you.

  5. A while back I purchased a pre printed elephant from you. Can you tell me where I can find a stitch guide for it?

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