The Different Types Of Fabric Marking Tools

No matter what you are creating, tracing a pattern or marking on notches you will need to use something. I have personally always used chalk as that was always what I had available and never needed anything more. Until now I wasn’t aware of all the different marking tools, here are some of them and ways to use them.

Make sure to always read reviews, how the item is to be used and if all else fails as a friend. Remember to always test the item on a scrap piece of material before using it on your project even if you have used it many times before. It is always best to check, better to be safe than sorry.

Clover Chaco Liner Pen

This is a pen I was bought for Christmas just gone and before that, I was using tailor’s chalk triangles. I instantly loved this pen, it meant you didn’t have to sharpen it or store it somewhere that wasn’t going to break it. I found this instantly easier, you didn’t need to have extra pressure onto it for it to leave a mark. This pen comes in a variety of colours and also can get refills if needed to save buying another one.

Amazon Reviews

Disappearing Ink Pen

This pen has 2 ends, one that is the water soluble tip and the other is the disappearing ink tip. The water soluble end means the markings stay on much longer than the other end but would need washing to enable the ink to properly disappear. The disappearing ink end works just as well but doesn’t need to be washed to make the ink disappear, it will fade away on its own.

Choose the ink disappearing end for fabrics that tend to show water damage. Also, make sure your disappearing ink has definitely faded away as if you were to wash this is is said that some washing detergents can set the ink and will never come out.

I have never used one of these pens but they come highly recommended and definitely looking at trying them out.

Amazon Review

Tailor’s Chalk

Before I moved onto the Clover chalk pen I had always used tailor’s chalk. It was what I used from when I started sewing and it was what my grandma had used. It was what I felt comfortable in and liked using it. Tailor’s chalk usually comes in the shape of a triangle or rectangle. The benefit of using tailor’s chalk is that it will rub off easily and runs less risk than using pencil or pen.

The downside to using chalk is that it can be messy with the dust from the chalk and sometimes the lines can be harder to see on lighter fabrics. Remember to keep the chalk sharp edges to get a distinct line. Be careful as some chalks contain wax and this can leave a lasting mark on your fabric, test on a scrap fabric first and use the iron to test for a waxy residue.

Amazon Reviews

Tracing Wheel

Roll the tracing wheel onto the fabric and it will leave small indentations that will leave temporary marks. The tracing paper will transfer markings with applied pressure.

To achieve this sandwich the tracing paper between your fabrics and pattern than using the tracing wheel run over the outlines and markings to leave the indentations. Remember to use a colour of tracing paper that will show up on your fabric and always use on the back/wrong side of the fabric.

Amazon Reviews

Tailor’s Wax

Tailor’s wax is like a crayon used for fabric marking. Due to the item being made from wax you run the risk of staining the fabric and leaving a permanent mark. You can use the iron/heat to remove the wax but doesn’t always work. I have never come across this method and think I would choose other marking tools over this one. It works better on heavier fabrics such as wool but can run the risk of leaving a stain.

Quick And Easy Alternatives 

  • Ball point pen – This type of pen will not wash out of your fabric they way the markers will but great to use in areas that aren’t going to be seen.
  • Normal chalk – you can find chalk in Poundland, schools etc. sharpen one end and you can use it as you would tailor’s chalk.
  • Washable marker – if you have children, raid their pencil case and find yourself a washable marker. Great to use if you struggle to find anything else to use.
  • Needle and Thread – some fabrics are harder to work with and won’t always work well with marking tools, a great way to get around this is using a needle and thread. Use a contrasting colour to mark the lines and notches and once you are finished simply snip the thread and pull out. No marks left.

I would love to know what marking tools you use and what works best. Let me know in the comments what tools you prefer to use and why.

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