What is The Best Dressmakers Carbon Paper? (Helpful Guide)

Making your mark in the sewing world can take on many forms. One of the best ways to make your mark on your fabric is to use a good dressmaker’s carbon paper. It comes in a variety of colors and allows you to see what you need to do.

What is the best dressmakers carbon paper? There seem to be quite a few different brands to choose from and which one is the best is the one that is made from top-quality ingredients. That may sound like the coward’s way out but to be the best, you have to be made of the best construction ingredients.

To learn which brand is the best dressmaker’s carbon paper, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you need to make your own decision on this issue. After all the best is the one you get the best results.

Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Reviews


Different people will have different results using different brands. The results you get from one brand may disagree with what others claim. Also, your results may come from a bad batch, one bad set of carbon paper or some other influential factor that ruins the quality of the product you bought.

With that said, you may agree or disagree with the following reviews.

1. Hemline

This is supposed to be a top dressmaker carbon paper and it comes in a variety of colors. The package we are referring to today comes with 2 white sheets and one blue colored sheet.

The paper’s large size allows you to work on larger sized fabrics and should transfer the color easily. Most people have given it a top Amazon review with 46% liking it and saying it performs as it should. 37% gave the paper 3 stars or less and felt that they were ripped off as the carbon paper did not perform to expectations.

2 Prym

Amazon isn’t selling this brand at the moment but the one we looked at was even larger than the hemline option above. It is supposed to transfer the color nice and easily giving you a clear design on your fabric.

Plus it works well with a tracing wheel quite well and any marks you make can be washed out easily. There was a Prym product at Amazon and 50% of the reviews gave it 4 stars.

It doesn’t seem to be a popular brand right now.

3. Burda

The majority of people who reviewed this brand dressmaker carbon paper gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. It comes in a very large size, more than double the size of #1 and it transfers its color without hassle.

Inside the pack, we looked at there was one white and one yellow piece of paper. Sometimes it might be the only carbon paper in your area and if it is, it is not a bad one to be forced to use.

Just don’t use it on transparent or rough fabrics.

4. Clover

This also is not seen at Amazon but the package we saw has 5 different colors inside, giving you lots of options. You will be prepared to mark any fabric you want to work with as there should be a contrasting color inside the package.

The sheets are a smaller size than the other selections on this list but that is okay. That size gives you some flexibility and may make tracing your design a lot better to do. You stay in control better as well.

There may be more options but these are the top 4 that sprang up.

Best Dressmakers Carbon Paper

From what we have been able to discover, it seems that there is a clear winner in the best of competition. That brand would be Burda’s and we have not seen one negative word about it. Of course, we may have missed those words.

The sowers that use this brand report no issues and that it works for their projects quite well. The one negative comment we eventually saw said that Burda may have been too small in size but they were not using the one we reviewed above.

You can get Burda dressmaker carbon paper in a variety of sizes and it looks like amazon carries a majority of them. Also, we saw that it was on sale at different locations as well which helps define this brand as one of the best around.

What is Dressmaker's Carbon Paper Used For


The basic function of the dressmaker carbon paper is to preserve your patterns for use at another time. The carbon paper transfers a wax-like color to your fabric so you can make any alterations without ruining your pattern.

Normally, the carbon paper is tough enough to work with a tracing pen or stylus or a tracing wheel. Just make sure to secure the paper in place securely before you begin tracing your pattern.

In other words, the dressmaker carbon paper acts in the same manner as writing carbon paper does but without the ink mess. You get to keep your patterns intact and ready for use when you need to make a similar outfit at a later date.

Also, this option is very good in letting you know where your seams and darts are supposed to go it is not just for tracing patterns.

Carbon Paper for Sewing Patterns

You will find a lot of brand names that sell dressmaker carbon paper. That makes finding it a lot easier. CRE is a brand not mentioned above but it produces a black and white color tracing paper so you can mark light or dark fabrics with ease.

Its sheet size 18 by 26 inches and the paper is supposed to be reusable. The thing about using a dressmaker carbon paper is that it may not work for all fabrics. This one seems to be limited to cotton fabrics.

You can go internationally and use carbon paper from Japan. Its packages contain 3 colors, blue, white and yellow. Those colors make sure you never miss the pattern and allows you to make great cuts.

This last option is supposed to be waxless, greaseless and goes on without any chalky residue.

How to Use Dressmaker's Carbon Paper


Before you run out and buy your dressmaker’s carbon paper, you can use interfacing to do the same chore. But that option may take up more time than it is worth and only save you a few dollars.

Once you go with the carbon paper option, you need to decide if you are going to copy your pattern directly on to your fabric or if you will use some brown wrapping paper. Either way preserves your original pattern and is still easy to work with.

The first step in using carbon paper is to iron your pattern to get it as flat as possible. Just make sure not to iron the carbon paper or you will have wasted a sheet. The second step is to highlight any lines you want to use.

That step is usually used on those patterns that have lots of lines crisscrossing the pattern. The next step is to lay out your paper or fabric, making sure it is flat and then place your carbon paper on top with the wax side down.

When that is done you need to place your pattern on top of the carbon paper and then place any weights you are using to hold everything still and in place. After you have done that the next step is to trace around the pattern making sure to include all notches and grain lines.

Once your tracing is complete, remove the pattern and tracing paper and fill in any sewing details you need to remind yourself to follow. Then when that is done, cut your pattern out and you are ready to work.

Does Dressmaker's Carbon Wash Out?

It may not wash out. It will all depend on what type of carbon paper you are using. One sewer found out that her brand did not wash out so she was stuck and needed to find an alternative removal system.

Some brands do wash out especially if they are made for cotton fabrics. CRE is one brand that does make washable carbon paper color. But it may be a better idea to use brown paper to trace your pattern instead of going directly onto your fabric.

By going to brown paper, you can always toss it out if it is not reusable. Your fabrics are protected and you have one less cleaning task to do.

How to Remove Dressmaker's Carbon From Fabric


One option is to try and use a stain remover. Something like a Tide pen may do the trick but for most sewers, it is almost impossible to remove the carbon tracing from the fabric.

Depending on how the carbon paper is made, the carbon can bind with the fabric fibers and remain inside ruining the look of your clothing item. The best thing to do is to avoid putting the carbon wax color directly onto your fabric.

A good replacement would be to use tailor’s chalk instead. You can outline your pattern and still remove the chalk once you are done. Chalk can come off in the wash or by brushing it off.

Also, it would be wise to use brown paper to make your pattern copy. That way you can avoid transferring any of the colored wax to your fabric.

Where to Buy Dressmakers Carbon Paper


The standard go-to option is Amazon. That company seems to carry different brands but their selection is not always that good. Often you will find that the website will say that the product is unavailable.

You can try other online outlets that carry patterns and fabrics to see what brands they have for sale. A brief internet search should be all you need to find some good alternatives to Amazon.

Then you can go with the other standard locations for your sewing needs. Joann, Michaels, and other national chain stores have been known to carry the dressmaker carbon paper.

If you have no luck there try your local independent sewing and fabric shops that populate your city. If they don’t have it they may have a good idea who does. Your local department stores are another option for you to check.

Their prices may be a little cheaper than some of the other options. Finally, you can go to the different sewing discussion forums and see what suggestions the members can give you to try.

Tips for Using Dressmaker Carbon Paper

You may not be familiar with the use of dressmaker carbon paper. That is okay as some sewers like to use tailor’s chalk over the wax colors those packages have inside. But if you want to try to use it, here are some tips to guide you:

  • 1. Pick the pack in the size that you can work with comfortably. You do not want to go too small and you do not want to go too large. Use the Goldilocks principle and get the size that is just right for your project.
  • 2. Get as many different colors as possible. You are not always going to be sewing with the same color of fabric so you need a color that will should up clearly.
  • 3. Lay the paper, pattern, and fabric or brown paper on a flat surface. You do not want any ridges, lumps or bumps as you trace so make sure all the obstructions are out of the way and the surface you are working on is completely flat.
  • 4. Iron your pattern and brown paper before tracing. You want both to be as flat as possible t get the best transfer for you to follow.
  • 5. Use a solid tracing wheel and not a sprocket designed one. The sprockets can ruin your original pattern if you press too hard or are not careful.
  • 6. Dressmaker carbon paper is not restricted to dressmaking. You can use it for other hobbies and projects as well. It may be better than using writing carbon paper.
  • 7. Use weights not pins to hold your pattern, fabric and carbon paper in place. Pins will be an obstruction and can make the paper lie unevenly. Weights keep everything nice and flat.
  • 8. Patterns with no seam allowance tend to make the transfer easier to do. A double wheeled tracing wheel can create the seam allowance for you as you trace.
  • 9. If you can get the pattern on sale and very cheap forget tracing it. Just pick up the same pattern for the same low price and save yourself some headaches.

How to Cut Fabric Without Cutting Your Pattern

If you don’t know this then it is a good trick to learn. The trick comes in handy when you do not want to cut your pattern to pieces. The benefits of this trick are as follows:

  • All the pieces of your pattern in all sizes are left intact.
  • You don’t dull your fabric scissors by cutting through fabric and paper at the same time.
  • You get more accurate pieces to work with.

Here is how you do it:

  • Step 1- Make a rough cut around your pattern about 1 inch outside the largest lines leaving all sizes intact.
  • Step 2- Lay out the fabric and pattern pieces on a cutting make securing them with weights or pins. Align grain lines as normal and place on fold lines like you would do normally. If you are going to pin, put the pins about 1/2 inside your size lines.
  • Step 3 - Now place your dressmaker carbon paper under your pattern, making sure the color side is down. Roll the tracing wheel over the size lines you are working with until you have copied all the lines. Move the carbon paper as needed and include darts, etc. As you work.
  • Step 4 - Remove the pattern pieces and underneath you should see neat lines that you can follow and cut. Your pattern pieces remain their normal size ready to be used at another time.

Some Final Words

Dressmaker carbon paper may save you some time and some money as you do not have to run out and buy a new pattern every time you want to make the same dress, etc.

A little tracing skill is all you need and a little patience. Once you have the pieces copied you can put the pattern away until you need it again. Just be careful as a lot of the carbon paper color does not washout.

There are lots of good brands to buy and Burda may be your best choice with CRE coming in a close second.

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