Making Your Mark

Happy Monday, loves!

I hope that you are all having a good start to the week. I’ve made good progress with my dress – the zip is in and the lining pieces are together. All that’s left is to attach the lining to the shell and get the hem done (plus maybe finish the seams, if I haven’t lost the will to go on by that point).

One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about while making this pattern is methods of transferring markings to fabric. When I worked on the Belle Curve dress, the 30 + side darts meant that I had to take a hard look at the best way to move the process efficiently – and accurately – along. I’ve been through a variety of methods, with chalk pencils and tailor’s chalk seemingly the go-to for most sewers.

But after some discussions with fellow crafters, I decided to give the tracing wheel and carbon paper method a go. I haven’t looked back! It has now guided me through many a dart. I’ve been umming and ahhhing over whether posting on this topic would actually add any value to your lives. But remembering that I originally began this blog with the intention of talking through my progress with the basics of sewing – and hopefully helping out other beginners in the process – I decided that a brief explanation of how to transfer pattern markings might be in order. If you are already well versed in this, please bear with me!

  1. The first step is obviously to identify any markings that need to be transferred onto your fabric. There are the absolute necessities – darts and tucks being essential. However, also consider other markings that might help you in the process of sewing and fitting. I sometimes decide to transfer bustline/waistline/hipline markings, if I’m concerned about the shape and fit of the garment.
  2. Whip out your carbon paper and tracing wheel. I have a pack of yellow carbon paper, bought on Amazon I think. You can get packs containing multiple colours – obviously you want to be sure that you select a colour that will show up on your fabric. Fortunately, yellow shows up on pretty much every fabric colour that I use. Tracing wheels can be bought online and in sewing shops.DSCF1236
  3. Pop your carbon paper against the WRONG SIDE of your fabric. If you’ve cut out a pair of fabric pieces (or have cut on the fold of the fabric), you can insert the carbon paper between the two pieces of fabric. When you use the tracing wheel, it will transfer the markings onto the wrong side of both pieces. Quick and easy! Make sure that your pattern piece is well-secured onto the fabric, with pins or weights (basically, make sure that it can’t move around while you’re using your tracing wheel).
  4. Move the tracing wheel over the marking you want to transfer. I usually do this quite firmly and sometimes go over it a couple of times to make sure that the marking has taken to the fabric.DSCF1238
  5. And voila! All done.

This is by far the quickest and most accurate method I’ve used so far. The only method I’ve not tried is tailor’s tacks – this is one that I will definitely be trying in the near future, for that authentic vintage feel to the sewing process. Any tips are welcome!

What method do you use for transferring markings? I’m always open to advice on anything tried-and-tested!

Laura x


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