How to Transfer Pattern Markings to Your Fabric

Hey, you!

After you’ve prepped your fabric and laid out, pinned and cut out your pattern pieces, you’re finally ready for the final step before the real fun begins.

In this article, you will learn how to mark or transfer pattern markings to your fabric for precision sewing!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of marking, we need to set some ground rules…

NOTE: If you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies, please click HERE!

Marking: The Rules

Rule #1: If you don’t have time to mark, you don’t have time to cut! You must transfer all pattern markings IMMEDIATELY after cutting your pattern pieces out!

Rule #2: ALWAYS test whatever method you choose on a piece of scrap project fabric. Make sure it can be easily removed.

Rule #3: With the exception of pockets and buttonholes, ALWAYS make your markings on the wrong side (WS) of the fabric.

Rule #4: Whichever marking method you choose, you want to mark as lightly as you can on the WS. NO dark, heavy marks, please.

Rule #5: Do NOT press over marks. Heat can set some dyes PERMANENTLY!

Rule #6: Never launder a garment before you remove your marks. Because some detergents may contain chemicals that make those markings PERMANENT!

Rule #7: Use PLAIN water to remove marks.

Choosing Your Marking Tools

collection of marking tools

A good marking tool has three qualities:

  • It marks precisely!
  • It is easily removed!
  • It does not leave marks of any kind behind!

You will probably need two marking tools: one for exterior markings and one for internal markings.

I love using my 4-inch Gingher embroidery scissors for exterior markings and Clover’s Chacopel Dressmaker’s pencils or Clover’s Chaco Liner Wheels for internal markings.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred marking tools, it is time get busy marking…

What to Mark

You’ll need to mark both layers of your fabric.

Here’s a list of everything you need to transfer from the tissue pattern pieces to your fabric:

Interior Markings

  • Button & buttonholes
  • Dart point
  • Pocket placement
  • Positioning lines for trim or decorative stitching
  • Stitching lines for curves and corners
  • Start and end of gathered or eased areas
  • Hemlines
  • Wrong side (WS)

Exterior Markings

  • Center back (CB) at neckline and hem if not marked by a seam
  • Center front (CF) at neckline and hem if not marked by a seam
  • Dart legs
  • Notches (these are really important!)

Okay, now that you know what to mark, you’re ready to learn the how…

How to Mark Fabric

Pin Marking

Pin marking is easy as 1-2-3…

pin marking

For example, to mark internal dart point, pocket placement, button placement, or dots…

  1. Place a pin in the tissue pattern at the dot or circle.
  2. Now, peel apart the fabric layers until you get to the pins.
  3. And then mark both sides at the point where the pin pierces the fabric with a chalk pencil.


And if you laid out your fabric with wrong sides together (WST), you can easily mark both sides in one go!

Snip Marking

Snip marking is super easy too!

snip marking example

To snip mark, I use my 4-inch Gingher Embroidery Scissors.

For example, if it is a notch, clip just shy of the center of the notch!

For a single notch, clip once. For a double notch, clip each notch. And for a triple notch, well, you get the idea.

And if it is the dart legs, just snip in from the cutting line. (See image above.)

DO make sure that you snips are shallow — no more than ¼ inch deep! It is important not to snip too deeply as this will weaken the seam!

You’re done!

Isn’t snip marking too easy?!

Sew easy tip: Snip marking is only recommended for seam allowances of at least 5/8 inch.

Marking with Chalk or Chalk Pencil

You could also mark notches and dart legs with a chalk pencil…

  • Simply draw a short line for single notches, a two short lines for double notches, or three short lines for triple notches with chalk or a chalk pencil.
  • And draw a short line for each dart leg.

And done!

Tracing Wheel & Dressmaker’s Carbon Paper

fabric, tracing wheel, and dressmaker's carbon

  1. Place a cardboard on your working surface.
  2. Make sure you are tracing to the WS of your fabric. Because the markings made with dressmaker’s carbon is
    often PERMANENT!
  3. Then, hold your tracing wheel by placing your index finger along the top edge of the handle, and trace.

To mark both layers at the same time, fold the tracing paper in half.

For dart points, you can draw a straight line across the dart point.

For dots and squares, you can just mark with an X.

Now, how simple is that?!

The End

So there you have it. After you’ve prepped your fabric and laid out, pinned and cut out your pattern pieces, all that’s left is marking!

And as you now know, you have choices and transferring pattern markings is as simple as 1-2-3.

Okay, it is time for us to get ready to get busy sewing. Because we have a lot of dreams to catch up on!

So I’ll see you over at our sewing machines.

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn everything you need to know about marking tools!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn everything else you need to know about sewing pattern!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn everything you need to know about fabric to sew insanely pretty garments!

RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies!


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