Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Vanishing Fabric Marker

You would think I might have figured this out sooner, but until recently I was going about working with patterns all wrong. I guess I was recalling watching my mom work with Simplicity patterns to make our Halloween costumes growing up. You see, I thought that pretty much in any given pattern situation, you would just pin the pattern pieces to your fabric and cut away.

Which I do think is how you do it if you are using tissue paper pattern pieces. For the record.

The thing is, I can count on 1 finger how many times I have used a traditional pattern as such. Much more often, I have been inspired by patterns I find around the internet. Patterns that are written by people and doled out in PDF format. Patterns that you print out of your printer.

Pinning actual paper paper (I meant to say that twice) onto fabric and cutting around it is challenging. And annoying. I am embarrassed to admit that I did this A LOT before I discovered the Vanishing Fabric Marker. If you are experienced in the sewing realm, you are probably thinking, "I am going to stop reading this blog right now. This girl is an idiot." Well. You'd be right about that. At least when it comes to my familiarity with the notions wall at Jo-Ann. In fact, often when I go to that store to use my plethora of 40% off coupons on things like thread and interfacing, I find myself lingering over that wall . . . just staring and thinking things like, "I probably could use that. I'm not sure how that works, but I bet it would make sewing easier for me somehow." Most of the time, I don't purchase any of the stuff I see. Have you ever noticed that so many of those notions lack a good explanation on what they're for or how they really work? I had to make bias tape for the first time back when I was working on an apron for my sister-in-law. There were instructions on how to make bias tape in the pattern, but I saw a bias tape maker on that notions wall and went and bought it.

I still haven't figured out how it works really. I ended up making the bias tape by hand per the instructions.

Anyway, one of my more recent projects (the fleecy monkey maybe? I don't recall.) called for tracing the pattern pieces on the fabric before cutting them out. I went back to the old wall and looked and looked. I came away with the vanishing marker and have not looked back since. Call me a genius, but here was something that I could figure out how to use. I know. It's a marker. I'll say it again: CALL ME A GENIUS.

I do have a question though. I only have seen these pens in purple. What happens when you have to trace your pattern piece on black? Or purple for that matter? What do you use then? I have a white fabric pencil that may as well go light itself on fire for all the use it's ever been. I'm not sure when I even acquired it, but even on dark fabrics, the thing sucks.

Oh. And it needs to work on felt. Pencils don't work on felt.

Experienced sewists, inquiring minds want to know.


i am not December 5, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

Marissa (am I allowed to refer to you by name, or must I call you Skooks, which I do enjoy), I have absolutely no knowledge of sewing and even less of an idea of what you are writing about in these posts, BUT I LOVE to read them because they are so you. I love you!

Can I add a project to your list? I want a new christmas tree skirt, but I don't want to pay a million dollars for it and even less so do I desire a santa clause, a reindeer, or anything else of the cheese variety. Not for this year - next year?

And by the way, your snow on this template is really screwing up my typing. Thisis how it looks when i don't go back to correct what it is doing whilei'm typing andof course it isn' as bad rght now as t was during the last two pragaphs.

Skooks December 5, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

Yes! You may certainly add a "project" to my list. Especially if it's for next year. :) My problem with this year is that I keep piling projects on top of the few things I thought I could actually make and I fear that I'm running out of time before Christmas actually gets here. Mental note - start Christmas project making in August.

And I didn't realize the snow would be so crazy to work with. LOL. I'll get rid of it. It's so faint it hardly seems noticeable enough to be worth it.

kfro December 5, 2009 at 3:05 PM  

1. i feel you should be familiar with the notions wall offerings... hello, we worked at the LOB!!!! i realize when i say 'worked at' i use the term loosely, but still... :)
2. have you tried either tracing paper (pretty old school, but does the trick) or dressmakers chalk? i think the chalk would work esp. well on felt.

Skooks December 5, 2009 at 4:01 PM  

Good call on the chalk, Big Frosty. I'll give that a whirl.

Ronni and Sean December 5, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

i also read just recently a tip about using those slivers of bar soap that are too small to actually use...they mark well on darker fabrics especially and wash right off!

Unknown December 6, 2009 at 7:40 PM  

You definitely need to check the notions wall next time you're at a fabric store -- TONS of good stuff - even after all this time, I still find new stuff out there. They do make markers for dark fabrics, some disappear on their own, others disappear with a splash of water. All wonderful products. Also tracing paper, there is the old-fashioned wax type paper (which is what you are remembering) - which I rarely use since it's not that good. For projects where a marker isn't the right fit, check out Dritz Mark-B-Gone tracing paper- I love it!!! Way better than the waxy type paper, its a purple material which you need to keep in the airtight plastic wrap it comes in. It leaves a way better mark than the waxy paper, and disappears in 24-72 hours, or can be removed instantly with a damp cloth. Also lasts lots longer than the other papers, if stored properly in the plastic bag. Hope this helps. BTW, I LOVE you new blog!!!

Lilith's mommy December 7, 2009 at 10:56 PM  

i have something like this: I love it. Expecially for darker fabrics or felt. And it just rubs off.

Skooks December 7, 2009 at 11:31 PM  

I've never seen that before. I'll have to look into those! Thanks for the tip. :)

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