From fabric pens to soap bars, there's so many options for marking fabric that it's hard to decide which to use.
Making marks on fabric is an essential part of any sewing project. I've seen people use a regular pencil to mark, but it's not a good idea. Having so many tools available I can't imagine why anyone would do it.
If you can't get your hands on fancy marking tools, you can use basic sewing equipment to carry out this important task. Here are their pros and cons so you always use the best one, please don't use a pencil!
They're like regular pens, except they disappear! Some need water, and others disappear when they're in contact with air. They're very accurate, which makes them great for precise marking and drawing fine lines.
You can use them on most fabrics, but it doesn't hurt to pre test to be sure they don't stain. Be careful not to iron over the ink, this can permanently set it in.
One of the best fabric pens I've tried is the one by Singer. It has a regular and a fine point, which makes it perfect for marking bold lines or very fine details.
It's practicality makes it the preferred choice for sewers and quilters. It's cheap, easy to use and to remove. It's like a regular piece of chalk, except it's specially manufactured for fabric. The only downside is that it may fall off when you iron or handle it too much. It also tends to be messy.
It comes in different colors and presentations. There are simple triangular pieces and more fancy tailor chalk pencils which keep your projects clean.
A roll of masking tape can do wonders when you're sewing. Use it to mark right/wrong sides of fabric when you can't tell the difference between them.
It's also great for marking similar pieces and the direction in satin and napped fabrics. Masking tape is safe to use on most fabrics, but it's still a good idea to test.
Use this tool for marking darts, curves and other lines. Place the carbon paper between the fabric and the pattern. The carbon goes towards the wrong side of fabric. Go over the marks with a straight edge (for straight lines) or a tracing wheel (for curves).
This is one of my favorite marking tools. It's easy to use, very clean and smells good! Collect the thin pieces left over from soap bars and use them as if they were a crayon.
They work well on most fabrics but they don't show on white or very light colors. The only inconvenience is that you have to wait until the soap runs out to get them.
These are cuts you make on the seam allowance of your fabric. They are used to mark things on the edge of the patterns. They should be made with care. If they go past the seam they'll show on the outside after sewing. Avoid them for fabrics that fray a lot.
Use them to mark things on the pattern's edge like centers of waistbands and sleeves. They are also useful to indicate where two pieces should be matched.
Some people forget that pins can also be used to mark. They are fast, simple to use and don't damage fabric. Make small stitches with the pins so they don't fall out so easily.
Tailor's tacks are little pieces of thread used to mark pocket placements, zipper ends, dart points, and dots found on the pattern.
They're especially useful to accurately mark two layers of fabric. Making them is really easy and they come in handy when you don't have other marking tools available. You can use them on any type of fabric and it won't get damaged.
They are more time consuming than other methods and may come undone if the patterns aren't handled with care.
How to make them:
Do you prefer fabric pens, tailors chalk or soap? Let us know how you mark your fabrics in the comments.Top of page