Accurate marking throughout garment construction is extremely important.This process begins with marking pattern symbols.How and where to mark the garment will aid in putting the garment together.Marking should be done as soon as the garment sections have been cut and before the pattern pieces have been removed.Pattern symbols to be marked include darts, pleats,tucks, and matching circles.Beginners should also mark seam lines. In some situations, marking a seamline is important to even the most


In this page

  1. Marking Standards
  2. How is done?

Marking Standards

Standards A well-marked item:

  • will have markings appropriate for the fabric. Select a type and substance that will not damage the fabric and can be removed easily after construction.
  • shows only on the wrong side of fabric, or does not damage or compromise the appearance on the right side after construction is complete.
  • has distinctive, accurate marks to aid in the sewing process.



How is done?

Accurate marking throughout garment construction is extremely important.This process begins with marking pattern symbols.How and where you mark the garment will aid in putting the garment together.Marking should be done as soon as the garment sections have been cut and before the pattern pieces have been removed.Pattern symbols to be marked include darts, pleats,tucks, and matching circles.Beginners should also mark seam lines. In some situations, marking a seamline is important to even the most experienced sewer.

Figure 16There are several methods of marking fabric.The method selected depends on the fabric,your skill, and the construction situation. No one method is suitable for all fabrics. It is not uncommon to use more than one method in a single garment. Always test the marking method on a fabric scrap before using it. Some methods can damage delicate fabrics. Other may encourage layers of fabric to shift so you will not have the same markings on all layers. With some methods, you may Also lose the marking before you have the garment assembled. Consider the following as you select a marking method.

Tracing wheel and dressmakers tracing paper is suitable only for firmly woven fabrics. It is especially good for woven linings and interfacing. (Figure 16) Figure 16 It is not appropriate for:

  • Sheers or light colors as marking may show through to the right side.
  • Knits or stretch fabrics as marking will not be accurate because of the stretchiness of the fabric.
  • Woolens may be too thick for tracing to transfer well.
  • Silk/silk-like or napped fabrics because the Ateeth@ from the wheel may pick or mar the fabric. You may be able to use a smooth wheel. Always test before using.
  • Tailor's tacks take a lot of time but are the best choice for delicate fabrics. Tailor's tacks are used to mark circles on high qualityFigure 17 fabrics and fabrics that are loosely constructed. To make:
    • Use a hand needle with double thread (unknotted).
    • At each circle (dot on pattern) take a stitch through both fabric layers forming a 1-inch loop, leaving about 2 inches of thread at the beginning and at the end. (Figure 17)
    • Gently pull off the pattern piece, being careful not to disturb loops.
    • Pull the two fabric layers apart.
    • Clip the thread between the two layers of fabric, so each layer has a marking.(Figure 18)   Tailor's tacks are NOT a suitable marking method for fabrics that are damaged by pin holes.
    • Figure 18Pin marking is faster, but you must be very accurate and careful not to "lose" the pins. On some fabrics the pins will pull through or cause damage to the fabric.Pins can be used for marking provided they are accurately inserted. This method is usually for the more accomplished sewer. However, it is not a suitable method for some fabrics. This method is not appropriate when:
      • The fabric shows pin holes or markings.
      • The fabric is delicate and easily damaged.
      • The fabric is loosely woven or knitted. Pins can slip "through" it easily.
      • The pattern requires lines to be marked.

      Directions for how to pin mark:

      • Figure 19Insert pins into all circle markings on the pattern. (Figure 19)
      • Turn garment piece over and insert another pin where the first pin is. This marks both garment pieces when pattern has been cut on double-thickness.
      • Unpin pattern pieces from the fabric and gently pull pin heads through the paper
      • Figure 21Pull garment sections apart. (Figure 21) Insert pins into fabric while stay stitching,or immediately fold to form dart, matching pins.

    • Tailor's Chalk, Dressmaker=s Pencils, Soap Slivers
      Tailor's chalk, dressmaker's pencils, and soap slivers are primarily used for marking widths, such as hems and seams since they only mark one layer at a time. Each of these easily rubs off, so be careful. Some individuals combine one or more of these methods with pins, marking at the pin marking and then removing the pin. Soap slivers can be used in place of tailor's chalk or dressmaker's pencil.
    • Marking pens should be washable. Read the package directions carefully since some markings disappear after a few hours. Pens are used the same way as tailor's chalk,marking pencils and soap slivers. Fabric marking pens may or may not wash out and are only as accurate as you are. Soap slivers are ideal, especially for washable fabrics.

    Careful attention to your pattern layout,cutting, and marking will ensure

    • a garment that is on grain,
    • the "same" color or shading for all garment pieces,
    • and a balanced design throughout.
    General Rules for Success:
    • Always test on a scrap of the fabric you plan to use.
    • Select dressmaker's tracing paper as close to the color of your fabric as possible.
    • Be sure to mark only on the wrong side of the fabric.
    • Mark only the underlining material,when underlining a garment.

    Remember: No one method is suitable for all fabrics. Select the one most suited for your fabric, skill and construction situation.