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February 08, 2012


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I like white and blue tailors' chalk, the kind that comes in the block about the size of a rectangular eraser (but a bit thinner). Both it and the pencils work best if you use a hard surface under them when you make your markings.


I do it one of 2 ways (though I've tried them all, including clipping the fabric on side markings - not darts, natch): mark in chalk - I use the kind of "pencil" that contains chalk powder OR mark in pen. Not erasable pen (which never works, IMO) but regular old pen. Occasionally, if the marks aren't serged off, you can see the markings after the sewing. I'm ok with that. They fade with time and they're not visible from the front. Of course, if I'm working with a fine fabric I only use chalk. BTW, sometimes chalk can stain - like on silk charmeuse.


In my quest for the perfect marking method, I acquired an arsenal of marking tools – and I use them all in different situations. I like the chalk wheel type of marker if I need to mark on the right side because the chalk usually brushes off. I also use thread tracing when I want the marks to be visible on the right side. I use tracing paper for marks that are on the wrong side. I never use the air or water soluble markers. Too many bad experiences.


Chalk pencils. Didyoumakethat blogged about the same set I have recently. It's a life saver, and lasts ages. Money well spent.


I really love my Clover Chalk Pen. It's super easy to use and shows up really well on most fabric. For lighter fabrics, I use a disappearing pen.


I use a variety depeding on what's needed. Charcoliner, disappearing pen and tracing paper to name a few.

Tips on tracing paper. Saral washes out easiest. Use heavy clear plastic over the pattern when tracing. You do have to use a bit more pressure but it's not as brutal as the serrated wheel directly against the tissue and fabric.


I am a dedicated tracing paper user! But only old tracing paper. I've yet to find a new one that I like. Needless to say, my tracing paper is in quite a sad shape, but I bought some vintage patterns on ebay, and imagine my delight when there was an old pack of tracing paper!! Of course, I'm limited to marking on the inside, but I rarely use any other method.


I try and mark as little as possible, as I haven't found a satisfactory method. I clip notches as much as possible, cut things out with an accurate (ish!) seam allowance and mark the ends of darts and stuff with pins. Generally if I have to mark I use a chalk wheel but it annoys me when I am drafting on my bodyform as it doesn't work upside down!

Miriam Martins

neddle and thread?????


I use a combo of tailor's chalk, a non serrated tracing wheel with paper, a disappearing ink pen, sometimes thread tracing, and notching the side seams. Okay, I do all of them. For dots and such, I have a Tack it tool that I do use if I am tracing darts and other markings. When the markings are minimal, I usually just pin through the pattern pieces at dots and such, and mark where the pin travels through with the disappearing ink pen. What color paper did you use for tracing? I have some old Dritz and Singer tracing papers that work better than the new- keep an eye out at yard sales. I bet white with the non serrated wheel would show up well enough to mark your fabric.


I like tailors tacks -- but not the way my mother taught me to make them!

I use up thread from old bobbin spools (that doesn't quite match, natch', and reel off long stretches that I fold in half so that I double thread the needle. This gives me four strands for each tailor's tack (making it much harder to have them all pull out and leaving a clear hole if they do!).

The downside is that you have to be very careful with your backstitch at the end of the dart to not catch the tack in such a way that you can't remove it, but the double benefit is that you've got durable, easy-to-make marks that also free-up bobbins for your next project!

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