What is Swedish Tracing Paper and How Do You Use It?

Swedish Tracing Paper is a type of dressmaking pattern tracing paper that is fairly translucent, drapeable and best of all – it’s pattern paper that is sewable! This makes it an incredible choice for making muslins or toiles whilst dressmaking.

In this guide we’re going to talk you through the product, as well as offer a tutorial on how to use this amazing dressmaking pattern paper & how using it can save you both time AND fabric!

What is Swedish Tracing Paper?

Unlike conventional pattern drafting paper that can tear or crumple easily, Swedish tracing paper can be used to

  • Trace dressmaking patterns
  • Alter patterns
  • Sew pattern pieces traced on to Swedish Tracing Paper together to make a muslin & get an idea of fit
  • Easily mark pattern alterations on to

It’s super useful and will save you time and fabric! You could easily skip making a muslin or toile from Calico fabric and use Swedish Tracing Paper instead.

New to dressmaking? Why not check out our Beginner’s Guide to Reading Dressmaking Patterns Post

What is Swedish Tracing Paper made from?

Swedish tracing paper is made from eco-friendly abaca fibres, making it compostable & environmentally friendly. The tightly packed, jumbled fibres make it more tear-resistant than regular pattern paper yet it’s still translucent enough to see through for tracing . 

You can sew Swedish tracing paper in the same way you would sew regular ‘muslin’ fabrics using a universal needle and thread.

You can baste your traced pattern pieces together with a long stitch on your sewing machine. Once sewn you can easily mark any fit alterations on your pattern pieces in pencil. After that you can unpick the seams to adjust and retrace the pattern pieces!

What is Swedish Tracing Paper

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How to use Swedish Tracing Paper to trace a pattern

You Will Need:

Make it even easier with…

  • A pattern notcher
  • An awl

1. First, lay the pattern pieces you want to trace on a flat surface.

You may wish to dry iron them first so they lay completely flat for the most accurate trace.

Place your Swedish Tracing Paper on top.

You do not need to use a light box or a window to trace through as Swedish Tracing Paper is translucent enough to see even fairly fine lines through. 

2. You can use pattern weights or pins to hold the tracing paper over the pattern pieces as it can have a tendency to curl away slightly.

If you find your tracing paper gets a little crumpled or creased, iron it on a silk or cool setting and a pressing cloth. 

3. To trace off a master copy of any pattern simply trace over your desired sizes, markings & labels on your pattern pieces.

Swedish tracing paper is easy to mark with pencil, pen or even chalk, but pencil is easiest to remark and remove if you make a mistake.


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4. Next, cut around the edge of your pattern with paper scissors and mark with your awl all the markings (eg circle markings for bust points) & a pattern notcher for the notches, if you have one.

5. Either use your traced pattern straight away, or sew together using a basting stitch.

Once basted you can then try on your pattern for size!

Mark any adjustments you need to make & alter the pattern piece as required.

Retrace the pattern piece to try again.  

6. You can use the pattern pieces you create from Swedish tracing paper as you would normal paper pattern pieces

Then, simply pin or use pattern weights when cutting out, but they are much more durable in use. For those of us who find the perfect pattern we want to make a time & time again – no more pin marked and destroyed paper pattern pieces!

Sewing and Handling Tips

  • NeedleUniversal machine needles work well for running a simple tacking stitch
  • Thread – A polyester thread works best for creating muslins, as it does not snap easily and is smooth for easy removal.
  • Sewing – Use a long, basting stitch length.

We hope you found this product guide helpful…. Do let us know what you thought in the comments – we love to hear from you!


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4 thoughts on “What is Swedish Tracing Paper and How Do You Use It?”

  1. Hello. Could Swedish tracing paper be used for paper piecing? I note it isn’t tear away, but Tea Bag paper (widely used in Europe for FPP) is left in as its thin and soft and washable. Many thanks

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