FABRIC MARKING {How to Mark Fabric 3 Easy Ways}

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There are lots of methods for fabric marking including using tailor`s tacks and tracing paper and a wheel, but this is the method my Mum taught me and the one I normally use. Transferring markings from your sewing pattern to fabric with chalk and pins requires a minimum of tools and is easy enough for sewers of all levels.

Fabric Marking, How to Mark FabricPinFabric Marking, How to Mark Fabric


Fabric Marking Tutorial for BeginnersHow to Mark Fabric Using Pins Step by StepStep 1 – Match patternStep 2 – Insert PinStep 3 – Lift and MarkAlternative Fabric Marking MethodsFabric Marking with Carbon PaperFabric Marking with BastingFabric Marking with Tailors TacksFabric Marking – In ConclusionMore Cutting and Marking Articles

Fabric Marking Tutorial for Beginners

For fabric marking, you need:

PinsTailors Chalk or other marking pens or tools.

Marking tools include:

Chalk pencilsTailors` chalks – These are normally rectangles or triangles and come in different colors. Removeable pens – These pens disappear either with heat, water or time.

You will generally just need one fabric marking tool per project but you may find that different projects and fabrics suit different kinds.

Always test that the chalk or marking tool you use on your quilts or sewing projects can be removed and won`t leave a stain or residue. Dark fabrics can be marked using a white or yellow color.

Further Reading: Fabric Marking Tools.

How to Mark Fabric Using Pins Step by Step

Step 1 – Match pattern

Place the paper pattern back on top of your cut fabric piece. Try and match up the edges as closely as possible.

Step 2 – Insert Pin

Stick a pin through the pattern where you need to transfer the mark. In this case, I was marking the point of the dart in a bodice.

Further Reading: How to read sewing pattern symbols

fabric markingfabric markingPinFabric Marking with Pins

Step 3 – Lift and Mark

Lift up the pattern slightly and mark where the pin goes through. If the pin goes through 2 layers then just lift up the back and mark that too. You can mark the spot either with another pin or a chalk pencil.

I always prefer to stick a pin in first and then completely remove the paper pattern before marking where the pin`s position. I find this easiest where I have to transfer several marks in the same area.

How to Mark Fabric with PinsHow to Mark Fabric with PinsPinHow to Mark Fabric with Pins

If you are transferring dart markings, join the dot to where the dart starts at the edges.

Alternative Fabric Marking Methods

Fabric Marking with Carbon Paper

Dressmaker`s carbon paper is specially designed for fabric and comes in many colors to suit different fabrics. Yellow is great for darker fabrics, while blue and orange can be used on lighter fabrics. Don`t use regular paper carbon paper as it will mark the fabric and not come off and may even smudge.

Carbon paper is used in conjunction with a tracing wheel to draw the lines.

Place your fabric on the table wrong side up and put the carbon between the fabric and the paper pattern. Use the tracing wheel to draw over the lines you need to transfer. This is very easy and will result in a line made up of fine dots where the spokes of the wheel have pressed against the carbon.

The carbon will, of course, be smaller than the pattern so shift it along as you trace.

Further Reading:How to Use a Tracing Wheel

Fabric Marking with Carbon PaperFabric Marking with Carbon PaperPinFabric Marking with Carbon Paper

Fabric Marking with Basting

Simple up and down running stitch can be used for fabric marking. Use long stitches in a contrasting color so you can remove them easily when the item is finished. The advantage of using this method is that there is no danger of you rubbing off the markings.

When the stitches are really large this is a surprisingly quick method. I like to use basting as my fabric marking method for marking pleats and long lines.

Fabric Marking with BastingFabric Marking with BastingPinFabric Marking with Basting

Fabric Marking with Tailors Tacks

Tailor`s tacks are an old-school method of marking delicate and expensive fabrics with thread. It is a common fabric marking technique used in suitmaking and couture.

Tailors Tacks for Fabric MarkingTailors Tacks for Fabric MarkingPinTailors Tacks for Fabric Marking

Fabric Marking – In Conclusion

So now you know three easy methods of fabric marking. My most commonly used method is the simple pins and chalk.

That’s it! Easy wasn’t it? If you have any extra tips please share them below.

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