How to Pick the Best Marking Pencil

Every sewing project requires at least some amount of patterning before sewing your fabric pieces together. You can always draw your measurements out on your fabric with a regular pen, pencil or marker, but if you want the freedom to only temporarily mark on your fabric using a marking pencil made for fabric is your best bet. We’re going to help you pick the best marking tool for your fabric.

How to Pick the Best Marking Tools

When used on the proper materials all of the marking pencils available at Sailrite will wash or rub off when you are done with your lines and notes. The trick is knowing which pencil, chalk or marker will show up and be removable from the particular material you’re working with. We’re going to give on overview of our different types of tools and where they work best.

4 Types of Marking Tools

Soapstone Pencil

How to Pick the Best Marking Pencil

This natural, lightweight marking pencil is great for writing on dark, woven fabrics. The marking can be removed by gently rubbing the fabric or by washing with plain water. Since it writes in white, soapstone pencil will only show up on dark materials. The soapstone comes in a plastic holder that makes it more like a typical pencil. The stone can be sharpened and replacement stones are available.

Marking Chalk

How to Pick the Best Marking Pencil

Marking chalk, also known as tailor’s chalk, is a clay-based chalk that’s easy to rub away and works well on woven fabrics, window material and vinyl. It comes in a box of 12, that contains white, red, yellow and blue chalk for any color of fabric you’re working on. Each piece of chalk is shaped like a triangle for consistent sharp, marking edges. This chalk is soft and does break rather easily, but even small pieces can be used to great effect.

Grease Pencils

How to Pick the Best Marking Pencil

Grease pencils are marking pencils that are best suited for non-porous surfaces like clear vinyl and patterning material. These pencils will write on various surfaces like pottery, glass, plastic metal, rubber, and woven fabrics, wood and paper. However, they are difficult to remove from porous surfaces like Sunbrella or other woven fabrics. Our grease pencils are available in different colors to easily be seen on any color material. Yellow and white pencils can be sharpened in any pencil sharpener, while the black pencil is sharpened by pulling a string to revel more of the point.

Washable Wonder Marker

How to Pick the Best Marking Pencil

A good choice for lighter colored fabrics, the blue Washable Wonder Marker creates bright blue lines that can be removed with plain water. This marker really works best on traditional woven fabrics. However, certain fabrics can be finicky with the marker, so it is best to always test the marker on a spare piece of the fabric before using to be sure it removes to your satisfaction. Also, be sure to rinse off the marker before laundering and to not iron over the marks as these things could discolor the marks and/or set them in permanently.

As you can see there are a variety of options for marking on your fabric where you won’t have to worry about permanent marks peeking out from your stitching. All of these marking tools are available at

What is your preferred marking tool? Which materials do you use it on? Share your experience and opinions in the comments!

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