Chapt 6 - Marking The Fabric
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Table of Contents ] Chapt 1 - Fabric ] Chapt 2 - Tools and Equipment ] Chapt 3 - The Sewing Machine ] Chapt 4 - Patterns ] Chapt 5 - Pressing ] [ Chapt 6 - Marking The Fabric ] Chapt 7 - Preparing to Begin ] Chapt 8 - Seams ] Chapt 9 - Seam Finishes ] Chapt 10 - Stabilization ] Chapt 11 - Control of Fullness ] Chapt 12 - Finishing Edges ] Chapt 13 - Hand Sewing ] Chapt 14 - Closures ] Chapt 15 - Body Measurements ] Chapt 16 - Ease In Clothing ] Chapt 17 - Pattern Alterations ] Chapt 18 - Finished Dimensions ] Chapt 19 - Common Terms ] Chapt 20 - Common Costume Fabrics ] Index of Sewing Exercises ]


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.

Tailor tack marking

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.

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