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Marking It With Sewline

Marking It With Sewline

Written by: 
Carrie Nelson

Making quilts and garments often requires us to make marks on our fabrics.  Every one of us has heard the "horror stories" of marks that couldn't be removed, or returned.  Some of the stories are based on personal experience.  (Don't ask.)

What I will say is that my experiences with marks that remained after doing everything I was supposed to do left me very wary of using markers of any kind.  I would draw lines for half-triangle squares using a micro-fine permanent pen or chalk marker, only because I rationalized that the line would be "cut-in-half" when I cut the HTSs apart.  I learned to love Hera markers.

And then I found Sewline's mechanical pencils.

Sewline Marking Pencils

I use the pink-and-white pen that is second from the bottom - the Fabric Mechanical Pencil.  What I have loved is that the point is fine, but not so fine that it's always breaking.  The line is drawn with a "ceramic lead".  What is a ceramic lead?  Nobody seems to know, or explain it.  After researching it and not finding a good answer, I decided that the only thing that mattered was that these mechanical pencils drew a fine, clear line.  The variety of colors - Black, White, Yellow, Pink and Green - meant that I could choose a color that could be seen on my fabric. 

The Mechanical Pencils are sold by color, and refill packages of lead are also available.  Just so you know, if you buy a Green pencil and decide you don't like using that color, you can refill it with a different color lead. 

So what's in the picture?  Starting at the top:

  • Fabric Pencil Eraser.  This is a polymer eraser that removes the ceramic lead lines.  This isn't like erasing a pencil line from a piece of paper, the lines erase with light strokes.  The polymer composition doesn't catch on the fabric - unless you're pressing too hard.  Eraser Refills are available.
  • Tailors Pencil - second and fifth pens.  This mechanical pencil has a thicker lead than the Mechanical pencil.  It comes in White, Blue and Pink, and the lines are sharper than the traditional tailor's chalk.  There is also no residue, and the lines can be removed using the Fabric Eraser.
  • Trio Multi-Color Pencil - this is a three-fer.  One pen with Black, Pink and White leads.  It also includes an eraser in the top.  This is a great "sewing kit" pen as it's a single unit with multiple colors. 
  • Mechanical Pencil - fourth pen.  The five colors and there is a Limited Edition pencil in Blue.

Sewline Trio Multifunction

This is another favorite multi-purpose pencil-pen - the Trio Multi-Function.  Like the Trio Pencil, this has the 9mm White and Black ceramic leads, but the third point is a polished, rounded point for tracing patterns or "indent marking" - when you need a mark but don't want a pencil line.  E.g., machine-quilting, making the placement for a ribbon or trim, etc. 

If we're going to talk about Sewline products, we can't forget about their amazing Glue Pen.  Yes, you can use less expensive glue sticks, and there are times when they're a good choice.  But when you're using your best fabrics to make a project that won't be washed for quite some time, I'm going with the best glue I can get.  The Sewline glue pen is acid-free and water-soluble, and the glue refills come in three colors - Blue, Pink, Yellow and Multi.  All three colors dry clear.  The benefit of the colors is how they show on different fabrics.  The glue in the pen and refills also lasts a long time, meaning I can't remember ever having one dry out.

Sewline Glue Pen

I use these glue pens for English Paper Piecing, for holding labels on small bags in place so I can stitch them in place, for holding zippers in place, glue-basting bindings and so on.  Since I wash everything when it's finished, I use it in place of pins when possible.

Just so you know, when you get a Sewline Glue Pen, the glue is Blue.  For refills, I seem to buy mostly Yellow.    

Sewline Duo Marker and Eraser

This is a marker - it is an ink that doesn't bleed on cotton and cotton-blend fabrics.  It marks clearly with an even line, and it comes in two widths - the Duo Fine and the Duo Medium.  The lines are black, and the Duo Fine is similar to a roller ball pen while the Duo Med is more like a felt pen.  Both can be erased with the Duo Eraser - light strokes, please.  

There are two related markers - the Air Erasing Roller Pen and the Styla Water Erasing Roller. 

The Air Erasing Roller Pen has purple ink in a roller point that leaves a sharp, fine line.  The ink gradually fades after a few days, then disappears completely and doesn't return.  The ink can also be eraed by dabbing it with water.

Sewline Styla Water Erasing Roller

The Styla Water Erasing Roller is also a fine point, roller ball pen that leaves a light blue line that gets darker as it dries.  It is easily removed with water.  Be sure not to iron lines made with this pen as they may set permanently.  I use this pen for marking placement of trims, darts, box corners on bags, and stitch-to-this-point lines.  Because some of the lines might be in a spot where they would be visible later, I use the Aqua Eraser Pen - shown at the bottom.  I admit it - I think this is pretty clever.  It's a refillable water pen - fill with water or a mild water-detergent mix.  Refills for this pen are available, both the liquid refill and replacement nibs.   

Sewline makes several other terrific products but I'm only used the mechanical pencils, markers and glue pens.  So far.  A friend swears by their Sure Guide Needle Threader - she does hand appliqué and piecing with ridiculously fine needles.  The Sure Guide is designed for needles that are sizes 9 through 12.  The case also holds needles and there's a magnet in the top to pick up any strays.  (Because with needles that size, who is going to be able to see them on the floor without using a bare foot?) (Replacement cartridges are also available.)

Scissors?  Of course. 

Sewline Scissors

The 8" Sewing Scissors can be used right- or left-handed.  (Someone will need to explain to me how that works.)  The 5.5" Sewline Snippet scissors are also ambidexterous.  Both pairs come with a well-fitting, clear plastic blade guard - always a plus.  While I haven't used these for cutting fabric or threads, they have a very nice weight to them, a comfortable grip and they move easily. 

Because we're such fans of Sewline products, we're going to share.  There's a Sewline Starter Kit for Sewing, a Sewline Assortment Gift Box, and some Moda goodies.  Because you need some fabric to mark and stitch, right?   

Sewline Giveaway

To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment by Midnight CST on Sunday, May 10.  Tell us about what kind of markings you make on fabric for sewing and quilting.

Have a safe, happy Tuesday... we hope you're making something today.

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