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Construction Pattern Marking of fabric

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After cutting, there are several pattern markings that help us put the project together accurately. Not all markings will be found on every project, as some are specific to a particular construction technique. Some construction markings need to be transferred to the fabric so they will be visible for placement and sewing; others, like seamlines, small arrows, etc. do not need to be transferred, only heeded during assembly. Check the pattern directions for more specific marking needs.

Construction Marking

Name Description

This broken line, usually 5/8″ (or desired seam allowance) from the cutting line indicates where to join the pieces. Many patterns, especially multi-size ones, do not have seamlines drawn on the patterns.

Small Arrows are on some seamlines to indicate stitching direction. For example, on a side seamline the arrow would point toward the hem.


These diamond or trapezoid shaped symbols were used to layout pieces when pattern matching is an issue , but they are also used to help position adjoining project pieces for seaming.
Dots (sometimes squares and triangles)
These indicate special construction (clipping, gathering, stay stitching) or precise matching needs. They are usually found near the seamline and in dart markings.
Broken lines and dots indicate exact stitching location and make it easy to match up the two sides for stitching.
Buttons and Buttonholes
Buttons and Button holes
A solid line with dash marks at each end is used to mark buttonholes and large x’s mark button locations.

: The hemline is a solid line near the lower edge (often 3″ above the cutting line) and it indicates where to fold the hem so the garment is the length indicated on the pattern envelope. The hemline is not always drawn in, but the depth may be written along the lower edge cutting line.
Zipper Placement

Zipper placements
An illustration of zipper teeth indicates where to insert the zipper.
Pleat Symbols

Pleat Symbols
Two vertical lines with an arrow between them indicate how wide to fold the pleat and in which direction.

Construction and Detail Placement Lines

Some of the various types of construction detail placement line are as follows:-

  • Solid or broken lines within the body of the pattern piece indicate construction details and placements.
  • Foldline without brackets indicates where the fabric will fold,such as in the center of the waistband.
  • Roll Line shows where the fabric will crease to make a soft fold, as along a lapel.
  • Center Front or Center Back lines show where the garment will fall on the center of the body.
  • Placement Lines show where to place details such as patch pockets, flaps, casings, and decorative trim.
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