10 Marking Tools In Sewing You Should Know

Marking tools are necessary for any sewer and you need to be aware of their best uses. We enlist 10 of the best marking tools used in sewing for your ease.

The importance of measurements and designing can’t be overstated in the sewing process. Appropriate measurements mean that your stitched cloth fits the person or object perfectly for whom you are sewing. Designing, on the other hand, requires you to have symmetry and precision and a consistent pattern to follow. Both of these functions require doing some sort of marking on the cloth. Therefore, marking tools in sewing are of utmost importance.

Selecting marking tools presents an interesting dilemma. You can’t go for a method that would be too strong to leave a permanent mark. On the other hand, you can’t go for the one which is too weak and gets removed too easily. Fortunately, there is a variety of good marking tools for sewing available in the market.

Below we will take a look at the marking tool name list. So, let’s get into it.

Marking Tools For Sewing


Marking with loose stitches using the thread of contrasting color is one of the oldest methods for marking on cloth. The stitching done for marking is usually done by hands using a hand needle. Some people also prefer using thick thread instead of the regular ones we use for stitching clothes.

Using stitching for marking has certain pros and cons. The most significant and definite benefit is that it does not fade away quickly. However, one the downside, it is labor extensive. Moreover, it takes time and effort to mark the design and then remove the marks manually.

Tailor’s Chalk

Tailor’s chalk is one of the initial tools used for marking the fabric for stitching. The tailor’s chalk is different from those used for writing on the blackboard. The tailor’s chalk is thin, easy to hold, and leaves a good enough mark on fabric without much effort as it is washed or treated with a wet wipe. These tailor’s chalk comes in a variety of colors, but the most in-demand are red, blue, and yellow chalks.

The markings with the tailor’s chalk easily fade away with a slight touch. This point can be an asset but also has its downside. Along with this, the tailor’s chalk is very fragile. They break into smaller pieces when stored inappropriately or applied a little pressure. Always purchase good-quality tailor’s chalk.

Tailor Tacks

Tailor’s tacks are one of the popular marking tools in making couture and dress suits. The tacks are hand sewn using a silk thread and a thin hand needle to sketch design over the fabric. Professionals often treat the silk thread with beeswax to make the process easier and tacks more durable. Tailor’s tacks are good for thick and delicate fabric. It is a sustainable method for marking fabrics that need dry cleaning or where water leaves a mark.

Making the tailor tacks and removing them from the fabric after stitching requires more time. As it is also a tedious process, so tailors usually avoid making tailor tacks until there is no other option.

Chalk Pencil

Chalking pencil is a modified form of tailor’s chalk, or you can say it is a tailor’s chalk in an advanced form. This chalk is in pencil shape. You need to blend it with wax to create a fine and deeper line. You can easily sharpen the tip by sharpening the pencil with regular sharpeners we use for writing pencils.

Chalk pencils have a lot of use nowadays at household and professional levels. On the plus side, they offer fine marking and ease, and they have a good stay. With that, these marks leave easily after a wash or on rubbing with wet tissue paper. Chalk pencils are more practical than using traditional triangular chalks. Chalk cartridge pens are also now easily available.

Marking Pens

Marking pens are an advancement introduced in the marking tools. Some marking pens are really good. They make a good mark that fades away on their own or leaves the fabric after the first wash. Some marking pens have wash-away ink, and they require a quick wash after stitching is complete. As they are pens, they do not need a sharpener, are easy to use, and produce sharp lines.

Marking pens come in a wide variety. Some marking pens leave a permanent stain on the fabric so. It is better to test your marking pen before using it on the actual material.


Clipping also gets around as snipping. In this, you need to make small snips or cuts on fabric using scissor tips. Sewer uses these cuts as a roadmap to track the design while stitching. Frankly, clipping is not as great at marking as some of the other tools, but they are still in use and a great alternative when other tools are not available. 

Tracing Wheel

A tracing wheel is one of the popular marking tools in sewing. It creates a mark by running it over the design pattern. The fabric is covered by colored carbon paper and then topped by a paper with a design tracing wheel runs to make the design. In this way, the sewer traces small dotted lines with the color of carbon paper on the fabric.

The marks created this way are more sustainable, that is, they do not rub away on their own but are easily removed by a wet rub. However, carbon may not go away from some types of fabric, so testing the rough fabric with carbon paper is a good catch.

Soft Lead Pencil

They say a tool in hand is the right tool. Lead pencils are easily available at every house. They create a fine mark on the fabric and fade away with one wash. This marking tool is a readily available tool, and every sewer uses it at any time in their journey. Moreover, the kid’s washable marker also makes excellent marking tools.

Bar Soap Sliver

This sounds unrealistic, but many people use bar soap sliver as a marking tool. This is a good emergency tool to grab when you can’t get hold of any other marking tool. A bar soap sliver is always available at home.

The bar soap sliver makes a very light mark on the fabric, so it makes it useless to make on light-colored fabric. This tool has very limited applications and should not be used on fabrics that require dry cleaning.


Pouncers have their use at the industrial level or for embroidery when printing the stencil on a large area. Pouncers are commercially available, but you can also make them at home. You can make them by filling chalk powder in a muslin bag. Pouncers are also readily available in the market and do not cost much. This marking tool is handy and creates a good design without any mess. As the pouncer contains chalk, it quickly fades away on its own or after the first wash.

Final Words

Every marking tool for sewing has its pros and cons. For example, a usual tailor’s chalk is great for dark fabrics but vanishes easily when ironed on and crumbles easily. Similarly, tracing wheels are great for marking long lines, but because carbon covers the fabrics it provides less visibility. So, just keep the positives and negatives of each in mind and get on with it.