Product of the Month: Freezer paper
A sewist's best friend is Freezer Paper. Found in your grocery store or local big box store over by the plastic wrap and aluminum foil, freezer paper is just that-paper that has a wax-like plastic coating on one side. This plastic coating is the goodness of freezer paper because when ironed onto fabric it sticks temporarily, can be easily removed and leaves no residue. This means you can use it for templates, stencils or to avoid pinning (though I only recommend this for small applications and not when cutting on the fold as the underside can shift without your knowledge). Needless to say I love freezer paper.
There are tons of projects out there that use freezer paper and all you need do is Google "Freezer Paper tutorial" or check it out on Craftster. My favorite tutorials are the stencils. You can print your picture on to the freezer paper and then cut it out. Then press your freezer paper stencil onto your fabric then paint the exposed areas. Peel up your stencil and done. You can also easily layer your stencils to make a more detailed or complex design since the freezer paper is gentle and won't pull up paint as long as it is dry and prepped according to directions.
Freezer paper can also help you to print onto your fabric (inkjet not laser, please). Cut your fabric to fit your printer (you can use standard printer paper sizes as a guide) then press your freezer paper onto the fabric and trim if needed. Insert into your printer with fabric side oriented to the print side (see your printer for the orientation) and print your design onto your fabric. The freezer paper temporarily stiffens your fabric so it slides through the printer easily. This is a great project for silhouettes, inspirational or witty quotations or intricate designs.
I also recommend using freezer paper for tracing your patterns. Freezer paper is a great width to accommodate most sizes of patterns. The paper is stiffer than tissue so it will last longer but is lighter than poster board so you can manipulate it more (fold darts or pin it on a dress form). It is semi-transparent making it easy to trace. I love to trace mine with a sharpie marker because it is easier to handle and cut out over a pen and it doesn't bleed through. I don't have to cut my original patterns when I trace them and I can store the tracings rolled up and don't have to treat them with delicacy.
Check out our many other uses of freezer paper here on the blog