tracing paper supplies in Sydney

Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Someone asked me in comments ages ago what I use to trace out the Burda magazine patterns - so if that was you this post is especially for you! I used to use a roll of brown paper I bought from Officeworks because that was super cheap and the paper was a suitable thickness (although not see through), and when that ran out a few weeks ago I tried the roll of white paper from the kids section in Ikea. Well that was way too thick to be useful, so I finally caved in and paid the money for proper tracing paper.

Now some clever people suggested getting hold of the roll of paper that doctors use on their examination tables (it's called barrier bench rolls), and while that was cheaper all the websites I found only served wholesale customers or charged exorbitant handling fees to retail customers.

I found a few on-line suppliers that had good prices (eg but with postage there was no savings there. I also checked out the student supplies store on campus out at the University of NSW but unless you're a student there was no significant price discount. So, after all that research I found the best price at Eckersley's art supply store in the city: $36 for 46m roll at 46cm wide or $47 for a 46m roll at 61cm. They also sell big sheets of 'butter paper' for only 45c each that would also be suitable for pattern tracing. Plus if you sign up for their newsletter you get 10% off your next purchase.

Sorry this post is so unhelpful to non-Sydneysiders, but hopefully it will be of use to whoever asked me!

And in other sorry news, my black dress wasn't selected to be a finalist in the Tessuti Awards. No surprise really, because the eight that were selected were very impressive and in fact alot of the entries were really fantastic. This entry by Jane Gelder is my favourite:

Whilst I still love my dress, I think it was a bit simple and plain (which reflects my personal style) compared to the others especially those done by the fashion college students. Anyway I still came out a winner because I finally conquered that pattern and have now got a usable pattern for myself to make another dress in the near future.

Thanks for all your lovely comments on the jacket - I love it too so I'm glad it struck a chord with you all. In fact I like it so much I'm in the process of making another one in lightweight white wool, hopefully I can get it done as quick as the other even without a motivating deadline!

P.S favourite 'punny' blog title for today: All Toile and No Reward -that's how I feel about making fitting toiles......


  1. I use non fusable interfacing to trace patterns I need. What I like about this is that because of the nature of it, you generally don't need pins when lying it on your fabric. It tends to grip the fabric quite well, and certainly well enough to whip a rotary cutter around it. Saves the time of putting in pins, and potentially getting fabric off grain.

  2. Hi! I´m from Germany and I use folie (that you use to cover your things when painting the room) from a home improvement market to trace my patterns. It´s great because you can see the pattern through it and you can fold it and store it in envelopes to use the patterns later again. (Hope you understood what I mean...)
    Geetz from Germany!

  3. I've tried all kinds of different papers to trace patterns, but wasn't really happy with any of them. Finally I discovered that plain PVC foil works great, it's tranparent and the patterns don't wrinkle like paper, once I use them and put them away they last forever. You can find this foil in many different thicknesses in a gardening dpt in store, on big reels, they will cut a few meters for you and the price is ridiculously fair.

  4. I hope you don't mind me commenting frankly on your lovely entry to the little black dress competition. I am a landscape architect and spend a lot of time in studio with students - clever, talented, original people - just like you.

    I had a good look at all the entries and agree that some are full of design originality AND yours is too.

    What often happens to students is that they are so committed to creation that they flag a little at the presentation stage. So I think that if you ramped up the retro aspect of your design in the photos - really sharp hairstyle, punchy make-up, all photos with the gorgeous drape and brooch, the Mad Men inspiration that you would be in the final 3.

    I think you are a natural for these type of competitions and I really encourage you to keep throwing your hat in the ring, finding that confidence to sell your great work as well as make it.

    Congratulations are still in order!

  5. I use the non fusible interfacing to trace as well. I was battling with carbon paper sticky taped together until I remembered that I had 5 rolls of the stuff! It is very lightweight, easy to see through, doesn't rip and crumple like paper and I store the traced patterns on a hook so they don't get folded.

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  7. Blogger did something funky with the link I put in my comment so I'm going to try again:

    I use this paper I found on Amazon and it'll last me for quite a while since its got so much paper on the roll! -

    It's currently unavailable, but I paid less than $20 for the roll.

  8. I use Woolworth home brand Greaseproof paper taped together. It's around $2 a roll and while it's terrible as greaseproof paper for cooking it's great as tracing paper!

  9. I use Burda tracing paper that you buy at Spotlight or Lincraft. It is pretty cheap and you can see through it. Bad luck about the dress. I think Susan's comment is right. Needed to arty farty it up a bit more. Next time!

  10. I use cheap plastic tablecloths (from the dollar store) to trace patterns, I like it because it is easy to see through, doesn't tear, doesn't crease and if you want you can buy nice colours like pink, lavender etc. I got a huge roll for $15 (Canadian $$)

  11. I use a roll of white paper I found at a "garage' sale of garment factory closing down sale. Fotunately it wwas a huge roll and has lasted me a long long time. How does that help you all? Well it's actually plotter paper from a computer plotter - and that's where I would look next time I need to purchase more paper.
    Try this in Australia:-
    or in the US try

    I imagine that the costs per metre and convenience should come up trumps? Hopefully those of you form other countries should be able to find some key words from those sites for your local searches.


  12. I found the doctors' paper too expensive here too, but I I got a 250ft (~76m) roll of the doctors' office paper from ebay for less than $10 shipped. Granted, I'm in the US, but perhaps you can find something similar from an AU ebay vendor.

    I'm sorry to see your dress wasn't in the final running, but you're right to be proud of it nonetheless. It is gorgeous!

  13. I'm no dressmaker but I use baking paper - the roll from ALDI is 40cms wide which almost gets each pattern piece. I'm not sure of the merits of expensive paper, but I don't think my sewing skills warrant that type of expense!

  14. I voted for your Tessuti LBD entry. It is elegant, stylish and it appears very well executed.

  15. The Remnant Warehouse has rolls of tracing paper very cheaply.

  16. Thank you for posting your tracing paper research. Research can be very time consuming so I appreciate the fact that you've made your findings public!

    I use Woolies/Coles greaseproof paper. I do have to stick the sheets together (esp for pants). It worked fine for the old BWOF pattern sheets: I haven't tried it on the compressed newer Burda patterns.

    I think your LBD is simply wonderful. The fact that you sewed it up and entered it makes you a winner in my book :-)! - Cat1

  17. HI Kristy,
    Im from Melbourne and have a pattern paper solution which I think youll find the most economical and practical. I ordered a carton of tissue paper from
    Its AU$27.50 for 480 sheets, which works out to be about .05 cents per sheet! On top of that, its see through enough to trace Burda patterns and also soft enough to tissue fit if you do that. Cant remember how much postage is, perhaps $15, or else they are in Marrickville, Sydney, you can pick up.
    Love your blog. Apart from the sewing, we have alot in common... asian husband, I have a 2 year old daughter and a 4 week old.

    Hope this paper sourse helps.

  18. Loved your dress and sorry to hear it didnt win... :( It was my favorite.

    I use table paper from the dr's office for tracing too. not my favorite but it works. I have heard great things about this sewable Swedish tracing paper from Birch Street Clothing. That I want to order when mine runs out.

    I have heard that you can sew this paper together and use it as a muslin. Here is the link


  19. Kristy, thank you for the shoutout! I am so glad you like my blog title .... I hate making toiles too.

  20. i loved your dress too. good one you for actually doing it!
    i also use interfacing, whatever is cheapest at the time, fusable or non fusable.

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