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Which Marking Tool Should You Use For Your Sewing Projects?

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As much as my sewing machine occupies what I term as the most sacred room in my place, it indeed isn’t the only sewing tool that I use.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d throw a tantrum if anybody dared mess with it, but as you will come to learn as I have, other sewing tools are worth guarding as well, such as marking tools.

A marking tool is a small but very critical sewing tool. Without it, your measurements will be all over, and that doesn’t bode well with your creativity.

A marking tool comes in handy when you’re either transferring pattern markings or tracing a template.

Getting the right one to match the fabric and purpose creates a warm fuzzy feeling (at least in me).

Given that I have had my fair share of trial and error with said marking tools, I saw it fit to engage you in my journey with some of the tools I have used and continue using…

I hope my experience will give you some much-needed insight.

So which marking tool should you use for your sewing projects? If I had to choose only one, it would be Dritz 677-60 Marking Pen.

The markings disappear after a while (when I’m done with measurements), and it resembles a regular ballpoint pen.

Moreover, it comes in a variety of colors, seven to be precise!

If and when the markings linger on after I’m done taking measurements, I can erase them easily by holding a steam iron a little over 3 inches over the fabric.

Also because I can refill the marker, I count myself among the lucky!

But this is just one of the several marking tools in my sewing room. I will give you some of the ones I have had the privilege of using and mention what I like and don’t like about them.

There’s a very useful video at the end of this article, so be sure to check that out.


Fabric Pencil

Fabric pencils are used by seamstresses to make quilting designs or cutting lines. The marks are temporary and can be washed away.

There are, however, permanent fabric pencils that we use for labeling heirloom quilts, creating a sign or in art quilts.

Top Pick: Dritz 677-60 Marking Pen, Disappearing Ink Purple

I picked this as my top choice thanks to its reliability. It comes as a water-soluble disappearing ink that only keeps marks visible whenever I need them to be.

I use it to mark where I need to cut and at the exact inches! The purple color makes it the right tool to cut whites, yellows, and assorted colors.

For me, it works stupendously compared to fabric chalk. As for copying a pattern on the fabric, you will love this ink.

Your markings will appear crystal clear, and it will be a breeze, cutting, following them. The Dritz 677-60 pen helps me make precise lines, not only that, I can make circles, and small dots.

I mean what’s not to like about this magical disappearing ink pen ( I sound like a cartoon character, I know) but I kid you not, once I’m done with the markings, I make them poof and disappear without a trace!

The marker is perfect for your quilting, sewing, crafts and art projects.

Another great thing about this ink pen is, when you want to get rid of the markings you wipe it away with plain water or place a hot iron 3 inches from the surface and it dries off completely.

However, not every buyer shares the same enthusiasm about this marking tool as I do. Some users suggest that the ink disappears fast before they’re done the marking.

Others suggest that after replacing the ink, it started disappearing fast. I’m yet to experience either of the two issues…

Check it out here.


Dritz 7757 Fons and Porter Mechanical Fabric Pencil, White

If you are working on dark fabrics and need a marker that will appear as bright as it’s possible, look no further than the Dritz 7757 fabric pencil.

The water-soluble dyes come in dark and white colors. The package contains one pencil and 10 leads in the reusable storage tube.

I only apply a little pressure to achieve a great line on my dark fabric projects.

The thing about this pencil is, it leaves behind a fantastic file-line that washes off easily when you remove it with a little water and some light brushing.

Bear in mind that this isn’t a marker that disappears; on the contrary, the markings you make will be constant and fine.

The trick is to have a pencil that you refill with white or dark dyes depending on the project you’re undertaking.

If you use a primary sewing machine (don’t worry, we all started there and still hold onto the machines) you are better off having the Fons & Porter pencil for marking buttonhole lines on garments.

The lines will remain in place until it’s time to take them off.

I guess it’s either I’ve been lucky to get the right products because I don’t find it hard to remove the markings, unlike some users that blow their lids off saying how the pencil leaves behind a permanent mark. See more here.

Tailor’s Wax

Tailor’s wax is a marking tool that is used for sewing, paper, and other crafts. The marking chalk is developed from non-toxic wax.

It comes with high adhesion making it ideal for marking upholstery and woolen fabrics. Professional tailors use this wax because its markings stick well even on coarse weaves.

They also use it for marking buttonholes albeit at the back of the fabric since it proves difficult to remove.

MAGGIFT Sewing Chalk, Triangle Chalk for Sewing 10 Pack

This hard to break non-sticky special soft wax powder comes in handy for your sewing projects. I love the triangularly shaped fabric chalk that I hold with ease when doing my markings.

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, amateur or professional seamstress, this chalk is great for your projects.

Also, the package comes with 10 pieces of 4 colored chalk (Yellow, Red, White, Blue) that are high-quality and made to last.

The yellow chalk works wonderfully on blue fabrics as does the red on whites. I find it easy to remove the markings on wool, whenever I’m done with the marking. All I do is rub the marked part, and it comes off quickly.

The fact that it comes with three sides is also a huge plus for me. I find that the chalk is comfortable to hold, I can use any of the three sides to mark, and I think it makes it look swanky ( I don’t maybe, I’m too taken by it).

I want to say that my set of MAGGIFT arrived unbroken, but some individuals complain that the chalks come almost half broken and there’s lots of dust inside the packaging.

I guess this is attributed to some sellers and how they handle their products.

Other than that, I believe if you are looking for a marker that lasts and you’re not afraid of rubbing it off, then this is the product to go for!


Tailor’s Chalk

This is hard chalk that usually comes shaped like a triangle that tailors use. You utilize any of the three sides to make temporary markings on the fabric. It comes in handy when taking precise measurements.

Ogrmar Professional Tailor’s Chalk Triangle Tailor’s Chalk Sewing 10PC (4 Color)

Selling for under $10 the professional tailor’s package comes with 10 chalk pieces in four (red, yellow, white, blue) colors.

The chalk comes with three sides (It’s triangular) and works perfectly for home or professional tailoring.

Since it’s hard chalk, it doesn’t leave chalk dust on your fingers, it leaves behind a precise mark on the fabric, however.

After I’m finished with the marking process, I only brush it off, and it comes out with ease.

I risked using this chalk on stretch fabric, and I was surprised that it worked.

I tried more stretch fabrics, and the results were the same, hold the material in place and voila! The chalk glides through leaving behind a perfect mark.

The size is, and you can hold it comfortably in your hand. They have been built to serve you for a long while before they run out.

As for knitting fabrics, I had to apply more pressure which created a drag on my first fabric that later bunched, wrinkled and produced crooked lines.

However, I later learned the amount of pressure I needed to apply (not too much, not too little) and I was able to make good markings. I never get an issue with the woven fabrics when using this chalk.


Alternative: Bohin Extra-Fine Chalk Pencil (91473)

The thing that drew me to this chalk is its ability to outline stencils and how well it marks all sorts of fabric bulk or otherwise.

The package comes with six white chalk leads and a mechanical chalk pencil. Quilters will love this tool for the fine white line it makes and how easily they brush it off whence they finish.

I have also used it without fault for marking spines on free-motion feathers.

Since I am also called to help with wedding cards (mostly by my friends), I always use it for making wedding cards, guest cards and signs.

I find the extra fine tip markings easy to erase.

By the way, this doubles up as my second alternative tool due to its versatility and ease of use. Do you know you can use it for writing on black labels?

The fine tip ensures that the labels come out neat and attractive at the same time.

It comes in handy when tracing embroidery patterns on light and also dark fabrics. The detail it leaves behind is fine and rubs off easily whence you are done with the project.

All the marking tools I have listed above I own and have been using for a long while (Some for years, others for several months).

What I have written is the experience I have had with each of the tools. Before you jump the gun and get one from my recommendation above, be sure to read this buyer’s guide I’ve prepared to gain more insight…


Tracing Wheel

This marking sewing tool comes with multiple teeth that are attached to a wheel. A handle guides the wheel. Most marking tools comes with serrated teeth while others are smooth.

We use it on tracing paper to make sewing patterns on fabric.

At times, a tracing wheel comes in handy when making slotted perforations, and it remains a favorite tailor’s tool for marking buttonholes, darts, pleats, and pockets.

Double tracing wheel: it comes with two parallel wheels that are placed apart. The tool’s purpose is to transfer parallel pattern lines on fabric such as the sewing line and cutting line where the distance between the two acts as the seam allowance.

Dritz 5113 Tracing Wheel, Serrated with Ergonomic Design

I own this tool because of its curved handle and that it doesn’t strain both my hand and wrist when I’m using it. Moreover, I love how it creates precise markings on my heavy fabrics.

The serrated wheels come in handy when working on woolen fabrics.

In my experience, my Dritz tracing wheel makes beautiful pinpricked lines; it eliminates my need to use pins on the fabric; I only use a marker on some fabrics after tracing.

I did a card project over the holidays, and I decided to use this tracing wheel. I was happy with the consistent dots it made, thus proving its versatility.

The sharply serrated wheel runs smoothly on a curved or straight edge. A firm grip puts downward pressure on the points making it a breeze to trace.

Just keep your fingers crossed you don’t get one with a wobbly wheel when you make an order, other than this, you will not be disappointed with how well it works. Get it here.


Tracing Paper

A paper that is made to let light pass through it. We use the paper by placing it on the fabric and marking where we need to make cuts, foldings, and edges.

Swedish Tracing Paper – Sewing Transfer Paper, 29″ x 10 Yards (White)

The Swedish Tracing paper is one of the two optional marking tools I have included in this list.

First things first; the tool is both sewable and washable. It comes as a soft, flexible, robust and durable product that is 30 ft x 29-inches long.

Instead of cutting patterns, I use this sewable tracing paper to trace them out.

It’s a robust, see-through and drape tool that I keep and roll out when I want to make patterns on my most expensive fabrics that I’m too scared to cut lest I make mistakes.

The paper is the best alternative for test fitting new patterns.

I forego using pins and use either binder clips or weights to hold down the fabric without perforating the tracing paper and the material. It lasts longer this way.

The tracing tool bastes together allowing me to make minor adjustments without so much as a fuss. To make marking easy, you’re better of using a fine point pen or a pencil.

Recently, I decided to test the Swedish Tracing Paper limits and used it for pinning strips on clothes and basting quickly, and it worked like a charm.

An important issue I’d raise about this product is that it’s a bit stiff and doesn’t drape as the fabric would. You’ll have to make a muslin mockup to see and test how your pattern will wrap.

The bottom line is, using this tool buys you more time to sew as it takes less time to make or fit pattern alterations.


Alternative: Medical Pattern Paper: 21″ x 225′ Single Roll of Pattern Making, Drafting, and Tracing Paper by Diagnostics Direct

The high-quality white paper with a smooth finish is fixed with a doctor’s exam table paper for precise pattern making.

Quilters love this paper because they quickly draw the design on it, secure it wherever they wish to do their quilting without as much as a fuss.

It serves as a tracing paper that I tear with ease after I’m done with my stitching.

This paper is durable and lasts for long being continuously used; its thinness makes it transparent enough to draw on any fabric and make the right measurements and cuts.

The medical pattern paper comes in handy when using it for other crafts such as draping patterns for dolls.

Its sturdy texture makes it possible to pin it on dolls, and you can trace without worrying that it will tear off.

Tip: for more accessible storage, hand your medical paper on a clothes hanger and pin in place using a clothespin.


YEQIN 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge Measuring Sewing Tool

If your sewing requires that you make buttonholes, then the YEQIN 5-in-1 sliding gauge measuring sewing tool is the perfect option.

It’s versatile and will help you with your papercrafts, scrapbooking, sewing, quilting, card making and loads more.

The tool works well for my hem gauge, seam allowance gauge, T gauge activities. It gives me a working allowance of 0 to 5-inch measuring points.

Given it’s built, it slides and locks into the bottom of the fabric smoothly. It helps to line up the top where you will start your marking.

The lettering and markings are not only accurate but more comfortable to read. The swivel (compass) makes it possible to draw a perfect circle on some projects.

I love using this tool for my hem projects as it keeps them straight opposed to using a ruler that needs to be moved and aligned every time.

I find this tool to be sturdy and it comes with a sizeable width. I alternate between hem clips, a marking pen, chalk, and pencil according to the fabric or project I’m attending to at a particular time.

All this time I’ve had it, it continues to function like brand new, it has never once disappointed me.

The only complaint I’ve heard about the YEQIN sliding gauge is that it comes loose after using it for a couple of months (this is from a fellow seamstress friend).

Well, 18 months in, mine is still sturdy as it was when I got it, so I guess it all boils down to handling, don’t you reckon?  See more here.


My Thoughts

The above marking tools for sewing are some of the best that will not leave you disappointed.

These tools are well priced, and I love how they last for ages before you need to replace them. I use mine for different crafts to work out their full potential.

I particularly favor the Dritz 677-60 Marking Pen, Disappearing Ink Purple thanks to its reliability and how soon after I’m done the ink dissipates in the air most of the time.

The purple color makes it easy to mark on light fabrics. It takes a while before you have to replenish the ink.

I’d pick this ink pen any day over the various types of marking chalks. I find that it makes finer and more pronounced markings that disappear without a trace when they’ve done their job.

Why not try one or two and share your experience with me?

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