I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really found a satisfactory answer to the problem of drawing stitch designs and marking patterns on fabrics. I’ve got a selection of all kinds of pencils, chalks and pens, some of which do a good job on some fabrics, and some are no good at all…
The biggest problems are smudgy lines and fabrics dragging… I long for the holy grail of a pen that produces a fine line and that glides smoothly over the surface. I really hope there’s a boffin working away on this somewhere…
Fabric pens for light fabrics aren’t so problematic. On the recommendation of various bloggers, for a while I was using a Frixion erasable rollerball pen to mark fabric (it disappears when you iron it), but I soon noticed that on some fabrics (especially on linen it seems), when you iron off the marks, some of the colour sucks out of the fabric too, and I was left with faint pale lines – not good! Now I just keep my Frixions just for drafting patterns (so great to have a pen that rubs out!) or for marking fabric on the wrong side. My current favourite for lighter coloured prints is a Fine Line Air Erasable Fabric Marking Pen – it absolutely does what it says on the pen, and I haven’t had any problems with it not disappearing.
Marking dark fabrics is still a problem though, so I am always looking for something new to try. The other day I was buying just a little bit of fabric from The Cotton Patch, so to make the postage a bit more worth while I put one of these in my basket:
Photo from The Cotton Patch
It arrived today, and although it’s a really odd looking thing, I am really enjoying using it. There’s a reservoir of chalky stuff, that is dispensed onto your fabric in a very fine line via a roller wheel. Although it’s chalky, it doesn’t rub off very easily, so your marks stay where they are until you actively rub them out. Probably the only thing you couldn’t do with it is to mark very tight curves. The other advantage is that it is refillable, which appeals to my cheap eco-friendly sensibilities. I’m currently making a set of monochrome pouches (for a commission) using black linen and some Summersville fabrics, and it’s come in so useful already:
Now I just need to find an answer to my problem of getting fluffy bits of wadding off black linen…. failing that, I’d love to hear what you use for fabric marking.