Sewing & Pattern making Terms


In the world of sewing, marking is a crucial step that ensures accuracy and precision in garment construction. Marking involves transferring pattern symbols and important references onto fabric, guiding you during the sewing process and ensuring proper alignment of pattern pieces.

Transferring Pattern Symbols and Markings

When working with patterns, it is essential to transfer markings onto the fabric to achieve professional results. These markings indicate vital information such as darts, notches, pleats, buttonholes, and seam lines. By accurately transferring these symbols, you can follow the pattern instructions and achieve the intended design.

Different Methods for Marking

There are several methods available for transferring pattern symbols and markings onto fabric. Here are some commonly used techniques:

  • Dressmakers Carbon Paper and Tracing Wheel: This method involves placing carbon paper between the pattern and fabric, and using a tracing wheel to transfer the markings onto the fabric. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific carbon paper, as some may not allow ironing.
  • Tailors Tacks: Tailors tacks are made by stitching thread through the pattern and fabric layers, creating temporary markings. This method is especially useful for delicate fabrics where other marking tools may leave permanent traces.
  • Chalk: Chalk is a popular marking tool that can be used on a wide range of fabrics. It comes in various forms such as tailor’s chalk or chalk pencils. Simply mark the fabric by lightly drawing or tracing along the pattern lines.
  • Water-Soluble Fabric Markers: These markers are designed to disappear with water or through the application of steam or heat. They provide clear, temporary markings that can be easily removed once they are no longer needed.
  • Pins: For simple markings such as notches or pleats, you can use pins to indicate the placement on the fabric. Ensure that the pins are secure and easily visible during the sewing process.
  • Small Clip in the Seam Allowance: Creating a small clip or cut in the seam allowance is another effective marking technique. By making angled cuts or tiny triangles, you can easily identify important reference points while sewing.

Tips for Effective Marking

To ensure accurate and visible markings, consider the following tips:

  • Test Marking Methods: Before applying any marking technique to your fabric, it is essential to conduct a test on a scrap piece to determine its visibility and ease of removal.
  • Choose the Right Tool: Different fabrics may require specific marking tools. Consider the fabric type and its compatibility with various marking methods to avoid any damage or stains.
  • Accuracy and Precision: Take your time when marking the fabric to ensure precise placement of symbols and markings. Use a steady hand and good lighting to achieve accurate results.
  • Check and Double-Check: Always review your marked fabric before proceeding with cutting or sewing to ensure that all necessary markings are present and visible.
  • Proper Maintenance: Keep your marking tools in good condition by sharpening chalk pencils with an Exacto knife or ensuring that water-soluble markers are capped tightly to prevent drying out.


Mastering the art of marking is essential for seamstresses and pattern makers. By employing the right techniques and tools, you can accurately transfer pattern symbols and markings onto fabric, guiding you throughout the sewing process and ensuring precise construction. Experiment with different methods and find the ones that work best for your fabric and personal preferences.

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Melissa Villegas
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