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Message Board > Patterns and Notions > Soil Separator or other mediums? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Soil Separator or other mediums?
tracing options
rfsews
rfsews
Beginner
CA USA
Member since 11/21/06
Posts: 164
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Date: 4/13/12 2:51 PM

Iím more than halfway done with my roll of Soil Separator (I trace every pattern) so Iím debating if I should try something new. It is the only tracing material Iíve used so I donít really have a comparison. Soil Separator isnít the top used tracing material on PR (based on my search) and Iím wondering if people who have used them can offer their opinion on why they prefer other medium.

Common tracing medium used by PR members:
- Soil Separator
- Swedish tracing paper
- Medical exam room paper
- Tissue (for gift wrap)
- Freezer paper
- Plastic tablecloths
- Tracing paper from sewing stores (e.g., PatternEase, etc)
- Tracing paper from art stores (regular tracing paper like this)

Iím thinking of trying STP because it is the best reviewed even though most expensive. Iím a little hesitant about using actual paper material because I donít want to have to iron them if I want to reuse the pattern. I actually havenít had to iron soil separator when I reuse a pattern (after unfolding, it lays flat so I just never ironed them).

Thanks,
Steph

Sauvage
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Sauvage  Friend of PR
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MA USA
Member since 7/22/09
Posts: 682
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Date: 4/13/12 3:36 PM

Dear Steph,

I've used three different kinds--I'm torn between regular tracing paper and the soil separator. Regular tracing paper is easier to mark--the soil separator stuff smears and bleeds through more. But soil separator stores very nicely, and being more cloth-like is easier to pin for fitting. So I'll probably continue to use it for any pattern that needs fitting (as opposed to accessories, some kid costumes, and crafts).

The other type I've used was inexpensive paper on a roll, a close relative of the medical exam stuff. Not see-through and not easy to store but it was easy to handle.

If I had a good way of storing patterns rolled up, that might tip the balance towards tracing paper.

To your list I'd add thin clear plastic drop cloths (maybe that's the same as tablecloths) and oak tag (for often used patterns, with a grommet for hanging). I haven't used them but have seen them mentioned.

Where did you get get your soil separator paper, by the way? I have only seen it at Lowe's (it's a product called "Sediment Shield") and had to insist on someone checking on it, because they didn't know it by the name I knew. (They had it, though, in three widths.) There seem to be a couple of online sources. (Some time ago, I bought "landscape fabric" also known as "weed barrier" and it's not the same thing--black plastic--which I mention to prevent others making the same mistake.)

------
Jeanne
2014 yards in inventory: (to be counted)
Yards cut/sewn: 24.5
Yards purchased: 26.5

"People....so much bigger on the inside." Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife," 6.04, by Neil Gaiman.

hazelnut
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hazelnut  Friend of PR
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USA
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In reply to rfsews <<


Date: 4/13/12 3:50 PM

I've traced far more patterns than I have sewn and I'm 1/2 way through a large roll of soil paper too. I like it for the reasons you do, but dislike it for writing on and making alterations with (like FBA's etc) . I haven't tried everything on your list, but my favorite is the Swedish tracing paper. It's wonderful to write on and very easy to work with for alterations, but it *does* wrinkle when folded, unlike the soil stuff. It sticks nicely to your fabric much the same as the SS. It's expensive, so what I do when I think there's going to be a lot of alterations, is rough-trace & cut out in the less expensive soil paper first, to get an idea of fit, and then go with the STP for the workable or finished tracing.

I have tried freezer paper (nice to iron to the back of tissue patterns, but difficult to see through and fit), plastic (awesome to see through and write on, but more difficult to cut up and make alterations on) and tissue, which I don't really care for. If you don't make many alterations that require cutting up the pattern, probably any of the ones you mention will work. The STP is awesome for someone like me who is constantly chopping up and re-working her pattern tracings. Like the soil paper, it too can be sewn, which is nice, and it holds pins when fitting much better than SS too. MHO of course.

hazelnut
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hazelnut  Friend of PR
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In reply to Sauvage <<


Date: 4/13/12 3:57 PM

Sauvage, I've purchased mine at either Home Depot or Lowes and we asked for the thin fibered "Septic" soil separator paper". It's must be commonly used here around our septic systems 'cause that's what lit the light bulb for the guy in the store.

ETA Just looked at the plastic sleeve it came in - there's no brand name on mine but the sticker says "Septic fabric" 36" x 300', and it's from the "Plumbing" section. HTH's :)
-- Edited on 4/13/12 4:10 PM --

ShantiSeamstressing
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ShantiSeamstressing
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 4/13/12 3:59 PM

I'm one who uses Swedish tracing paper (from Nancy's Notions or Clotilde) and I do love it.

The first tracing material I'd purchased many years ago was a roll of a smooth actual paper from Nancy's, but aside from not being as easy to see through as the STP is, it's...well...paper. It performs like a large sheet of paper, (albeit it was silkier and obviously designed for the job, but still...).

STP otoh is drapeable, like muslin; yet traceable; and it can even be sewn, if one wanted to take it to that step. (I haven't...just pinned sometimes when I think I need to.) As you mention, it doesn't get all wrinkled. I also prefer using it with the actual fabric - whether pinning it to my fabric, or using pattern weights. Paper seemed to slide around more...the STP behaves more like fabric, in that respect. It's also more durable than, obviously, the onion-thin Big 4 pattern paper; but also more durable than other sewing tracing papers. It's just not going to be flimsy and fussy and tear and crease easily.

It's also simply more pleasant for me to work with the soft material than the paper-y materials...that's just a subjective experience. But from a tactile, sensory perspective, the STP is more pleasing.

BJ1400
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BJ1400
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WV USA
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In reply to rfsews <<


Date: 4/13/12 4:03 PM

I've used the soil separator -don't really care for it mostly due to the issue with trying to write on it & it's so lightweight & thin. I really like the medical exam table paper because it was easy to write on, could see thru it ok, easy to work with & I got it for free. I haven't been able to get anymore of it, so haven't used it for a while. What I use most of the time & like the best is the rolls of clear plastic. It comes in different thickness; I think mine is 3 mil thick. You can find it at Lowe's, Walmart, etc., but I usually get it at Big Lots because it's cheaper there. I like that it's see thru & easy to write on with permanent markers & can be folded up or rolled for storage.

------
Beverly.

Sewing Makes Me Happy

http://bjsewmuchmore.blogspot.com

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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BC CANADA
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Posts: 6093
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In reply to BJ1400 <<


Date: 4/13/12 5:42 PM

The STP has the red dots, right? I got some at a thrift store and I didn't not like the dots. I can't remember why as it was a while ago, but I decided not to buy any more, even if it is cheap.

Gift wrap tissue is too thin for me. I am not gentle enough with it and often need huge pieces, so the taping was an issue.

Plastic table cloths are great because they drape and when staticky, they stick to the fabric. Downside, sometimes they get staticky and stick to the fabric.

------
http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

ShantiSeamstressing
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ShantiSeamstressing
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In reply to tourist <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 4/13/12 5:50 PM

Quote: tourist
The STP has the red dots, right?

No, no dots.....drapeable and pure white, more like muslin.....


Here's a link to nancy's Notions. (It doesn't show close up. . .so you can't really tell. But it's nothing like paper - - it has a fiber quality.)
-- Edited on 4/13/12 5:52 PM --
stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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KS USA
Member since 12/13/08
Posts: 3064
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Date: 4/13/12 7:15 PM

Why not try just a pattern's worth of whatever things you're interested in experimenting with? That way you'll be able to see what you like without investing in a huge amount of just one thing.

You didn't mention TruGrid, which is another good option; it's like an interfacing with a 1" grid. It marks well with a Chaco-liner for tracing, and you can sew it together like a muslin. You can buy it by the bolt or by the yard at JoAnn.

My own go-to product is wrapping paper--not tissue--from Hobby Lobby, which comes on very thick rolls and has 1" grids on the back. I think the main points in its favor are the price and availability--and it's also good if you're doing a lot of drafting from scratch, not just tracing. It's not transparent, drapable, or sewable, and you need to iron it or it will always want to roll back up on itself, but it's there and it works!

------
~Gem in the prairie

Amy-may
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Amy-may
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IL USA
Member since 6/7/05
Posts: 1214
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Date: 4/13/12 7:30 PM

My very favorite - wedding aisle runner. Going to a wedding tomorrow, hoping they use and then throw away an aisle runner. If I use up my current roll, I'd definitely buy one from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. It's a little heavier than the soil separator but still drapable and easier to write on.

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