Lately, I've been fielding questions for sewing advice, so I thought I would start compiling some of my tips and handy sewing tools here on the blog as a reference. Each type of post like this will highlight one tool I find extremely useful, or it will share a simple technique/tip that will help your work go faster and/or look more professional.
Today I want to say a few words about fabric marking tools. Traditionally, dressmakers have used a special type of chalk, or even chalk paper and a marking rotary tool to draw lines on the fabric that are later erasable. This is handy when you are transferring darts on a garment pattern, but marking tools have come a long way in the years that I have been sewing!
This "Mark-B-Gone" erasable pen is something widely available (all craft and fabric stores, even Walmart will carry this type of pen). I used it successfully for several years, and even can say I used-up 3 or 4. They work pretty well. You mark your fabric, and then when finished and want the line to disappear, you spray it with some water. Sometimes this requires so much water that the fabric is completely saturated and you need to wait for it to dry before moving onto the next step.
One other serious drawback is that the tip is felt. It's just like a magic marker. Which means that after a short period of time and use, the tip will dull. It will still mark and erase perfectly well, but your lines will no longer be as precise.
Enter my current favorite tool: The FriXion Erasable Gel Pen from Pilot.
You won't find these at a fabric store. Mine came from Staples, but maybe other office supply stores also carry them. They are not intended for fabric, and I'm not quite sure who the first person was who tried this in desperation during a sewing project, but I'm forever grateful. You don't even need water to erase the ink--a warm iron makes the marks disappear! No joking. The tip will never dull. I put together a little demo in pictures to show you how I use the pen. Bonus that they come in different colors so the color of your fabric isn't an obstacle.
Use the pens for marking measurements as I have done for the crochet hook roll shown in these photos. Mark dart lines. Transfer other pattern marks to your fabric. Mark where a button or label is to be placed. Mark the insertion point of a magnetic snap. Draw lines to ensure really straight seams, especially if you are just starting out and getting comfortable with sewing. You can even draw your seam allowance right on the fabric, making your work look much more polished with straight seams in the end. No one will know because the marks erase with a quick sweep of the iron! The possibilities are endless.
I hope this has been helpful. If there are other tricks you would like to see, let me know. I have quite a few of these posts in mind in the coming weeks and months.
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.