There are two standard methods used to mark fabric prior to
construction. Any darts, pleats, gathers, tucks must be marked
before removing the pattern piece from the garment fabric. Since
the seam allowances in costume construction vary from garment to
garment, all seam lines are often marked as well. Commercial
patterns often incorporate circles, stars or squares as specific
points in the construction process. All of these need to be
transferred to the garment.
Some patterns have notches cut into the pattern that will
identify points in a garment (i.e. shoulder points on a sleeve)
however, it is not always possible to cut a notch so these must
also be transferred to the fabric before construction can begin.
TAILOR'S TACKS: This method of marking construction details is
used when the fabric is delicate, sheer, or might be marred when
using another method. The technique is always the same, whether
you are using a single or double layer of fabric.
Use a long strand of embroidery floss (3 strands) in a
contrasting color. DO NOT knot the thread. Take a small stitch
through the pattern and fabric on the mark to be transferred.
Take another stitch at the next appropriate mark, leaving a long,
loose thread between the two mark When you have transferred all
the markings, clip your thread loops and remove the pattern from
the fabric. If you are marking a double layer of fabric,
CAREFULLY separate the two layers and snip the floss in half,
leaving small thread markings in both layers. Check to make sure
that you have left adequate thread in both side of the fabric.
Tailor's tacks are easily removed after the garment has been
constructed and fit using a pair of tweezers.
TRACING METHOD: This method uses the
dressmaker's tracing paper and a tracing wheel. There are several
types of tracing wheels available, check in the TOOLS AND
EQUIPMENT section of the book to determine which type to use for
specific fabrics. Tracing is used to transfer markings on sturdy
fabrics or where you need to transfer several very complex
markings that make tailor's tack unsuitable.
The tracing method of marking is always done on the wrong side of
the fabric, using a color of tracing paper that is just slightly
contrasting. If in doubt, try several colors on a scrap of
fabric. If the tracing paper contrast vividly with the fabric,
the markings will appear on the surface of the garment.
Fold the tracing paper in half so that both sides of the carbon
are on the outside. For large areas, place two sheets back to
back. Slide this between the folded fabric while it is still
pinned to the pattern piece. You may have to remove some pins in
order to position the tracing paper correctly, but these should
be replaced after the tracing paper is in place. NOTE: Remember
that the carbon side of the tracing paper should be facing the
WRONG side of the fabric.
Using your tracing wheel and a ruler or curve trace along all
dart lines, pleat marks, etc. Apply firm pressure at all times.
Remove the tracing paper and check to see if the markings
transferred. If your markings are not dark enough you may need to
apply more pressure or choose a slightly darker carbon paper
color to mark with.