Notes on Marking

Grainline Studio | Notes on Marking

After yesterday’s post about cutting out your Archer I got a lot of questions regarding the fact that I use a #2 pencil to do the majority of my marking. I thought I’d talk a little more about my marking methods really quickly. Above are my favorite marking tools, and they’re pretty much the only ones I use. Pencil for everything it will show up on (even white silk wedding dresses at work) and the lighter chalk pencil and chalk wheels for darker fabrics where the pencil wouldn’t show up.

Grainline Studio | Notes on Marking

Grainline Studio | Notes on Marking

As to how I mark things like dart ends pocket placement, etc. this is how it goes. I use this screw punch on my patterns to mark such things.

Grainline Studio | Notes on Marking

Grainline Studio | Notes on Marking

When laying out my pattern pieces I can then stick a pin through the little hole I punched out to mark whatever I’m trying to mark. I use a thin pin so I’m not worried about any permanent holes or anything like that, even on silks. In ready to wear the darts etc. are actually marked by the cutter drilling a tiny hole into the garment piece just inside of the dart point. I don’t have a drill, but this is what works for me! *Also, pay no attention to the actual placement of the pocket line or the shape of this “pattern” I’m using here. I just cut it out of an old pant leg pattern for these photos, it’s not real!

11 replies on “Notes on Marking

  • ann at thevelvetaubergine

    This is so interesting to me! Fabric marking seems like this mysterious process that I know nothing about. I do like a blue disappearing marker because it shows up on a lot and doesn’t catch the fabric. (Now I really want a screw punch.) And, by the way, your bag lining tutorial was also hugely helpful!

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  • Marie

    Pencil is my favourite way to mark my lighter fabrics too! Aaaand, I also use pins to make holes at the ends of darts etc, so I can mark the fabric. I thought it up all by myself, but I’m so glad that someone as talented and knowledgeable as you does the same thing…it gives me a tad more confidence in myself ;o)

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  • Alaundra

    I worked with a lady who was an avid quilter and needleworker who always used pencil to mark things. I even started using pencil myself being that they were always handy. I’m glad to know that others do as well.

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  • Carolyn

    It’s always useful to see different techniques- no matter how simple. I’m a rotary cutter gal so I tend to avoid alot of marking that way – but I’ll definitely have to give 2b pencils a whirl. I can’t stand chalk pencils – they leave too faint a mark for me but maybe I’m just buying cheap brands? Also – you mentioned in the comments yesterday that you used soap sometimes. I can see how that would work, only how do you sharpen it?

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  • Sewing Princess

    I love 2B pencils! I use them to draw my patterns and mark my muslins. Recently I discovered Burda Carbon paper…it’s an excellent European resource (you don’t find easily waxed paper). I want a puncher too!

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  • sallie

    So fascinating! I really like the idea of just tracing the pattern with something simple like a graphite pencil. For interior markings I always go the old school route of tailor’s tacks. Definitely way more time consuming than your methods, but I feel like it’s accurate (and I don’t have that nifty punch… yet…)

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  • Kelly

    I began using pencil after having terrible luck with chalk pencils, and feel rather validated now knowing that you do too! I also use tailors tacks for anything that could show on the finished garment and on fabric that pencil won’t show up on. I really don’t think they take much more time to make than other marking systems (though disposing of all those little threads while sewing is a different story) and they are accurate.

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  • Eleanna

    I also use 2B pencil occasionally, but it can be a pain to remove afterwards. Any tips on removing stubborn pencil marks?

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  • Judith

    I too use a pencil to mark, and if something will be getting a lot of handling, I have even used a fine point sharpie to mark my drill marks 🙂 I also use a pencil, pen, or sharpie to trace and cut my patterns, rather than pinning and cutting around my pieces. WAY faster.

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