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Marking wedding fabrics

Virginia Mom | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Greetings! I am new to this forum, but have trusted Threads for years. I am starting to work on a wedding dress for my daughter. A book I am using said not to use tailor chalk to do my markings. I have used disappearing ink in the past, but am concerned about doing so on such a huge project. Are tacks the only way to go? Other recommendations? I haven’t yet selected my fabrics but it will need to be fairly lightweight for a summer wedding. Thanks!


  1. user-51823 | | #1

    i would be nervous about using disappearing markers too, although they'd prbably be fine. on difficult fabric, i have used tape. you could use acid free scrapbooking tape.
    what are the fabrics?

    1. Virginia Mom | | #2

      At first glance, tape sounds like it might be a really good idea. Any techniques to share? At this point, I haven't selected the fabric; I'm still in the fitting stage. It may be silk or some kind of crepe.

      1. user-51823 | | #4

        i have used plain masking tape and drawn arrows and made notes on it, then placed so arrow shows exact spot. worked great for me, but is not ideal for certain delicate fabrics as pulling off might stretch threads. also, archival perfection was not an issue for me, as it would be with keeping a wedding dress, so that's whyi'd suggest archival acid-free tape if you want to try this. but as jcsews says, the disappearing marked should be absolutely fine.

  2. jcsews | | #3

    I made a designer wedding gown for a client and used the purple disappearing pen and it was silk organza. It worked great. I also used it on my daughter's dupioni silk dress.

  3. Teaf5 | | #5

    I have used masking tape with good results, too. Painter's masking tape is not a tacky as others; it stays on but doesn't pull threads when you take it off. However, some cheap masking tape starts leaving residue after only a week or so, so you might not to use it on a long project. The archival tape is available in art supply and scrapbooking stores and would be a safer choice.Whatever you choose, be sure to do some test samples and find out how well they work. Despite their delicate looks, most formal wear fabrics (silks and polys) are surprisingly strong and washable, so your normal marking methods may not present any problems.

    1. Virginia Mom | | #6

      You folks are great, thanks! The tape idea might also work for fitting notes on the mock-up I'm doing for fit. Also, how was the dupioni silk to work with? It has a rep for wrinkles, but it is certainly lovely and is high up on my list of possible choices.

  4. HeartFire2 | | #7

    I would not use the blue or purple disapearing pens, as I have several white bits of fabric that have been permanently marked by them.depending on the fabric, you can use a very fine (mechanical) pencil - yes it will leave a permanent mark, but very faint. If you are using an underlining, mark only the underlining with pencil and baste it to the fashion fabric.The best thing really is to thread trace the markings with white cotton embroidery thread - this is a very fine lightweight thread that will pull out without disturbing the fabric and other stitches.Tape can leave a sticky residue on fabric.

    1. Virginia Mom | | #8

      That takes me back to tacks -- the machine basting is a good idea too. When I first wrote this, I was primarily thinking about the typical pattern markings -- but what about embroidery? I'm coming up with a design on the bodice that will require a number of lines to be marked -- I'm terrible at gaging by eye!

      1. HeartFire2 | | #9

        Thread trace all markings

      2. FitnessNut | | #10

        Having made a number of wedding gowns, I'm with the person who suggested marking with thread tracing, preferably with white thread (occasionally coloured will crock onto your white fabric). I know that its a royal pain, but this is a special garment and you would hate yourself if you ruined anything by trying to save a few moments.Silk doupionni is a wonderful fabric to work with - one of my very favourites. I do suggest underlining it for stability and to help keep wrinkles to a minimum. A gown I made with doupionni was underlined with a fine cotton batiste and it turned out beautifully.

        1. wench34 | | #11

          As a professional bridal designer, I would recommend silk organza for satin, taffeta and dupioni.....and china silk and lightweight flannel I underline for charmuese and softer silks.  I would mark with silk thread, as it leaves no imprint...or marks......


          To be absolutely sure, always test though on a mock up of the fabric on a swatch..........

  5. quiltingsteph | | #12

    Hi, I recommend doing a test on some of the fabic first.  I love the blue disappearing ink when I work.  It tends to come out easily with water.  The new pink disappearing inks don't come out as easily as the blue ones.  One thing important to remember.  DO NOT iron the disappearing markings until after you erase them with water.  It may set the ink.   A grey quilting pencil will come out easily also, without the fear of it being permenant.  Have fun! 

    1. Virginia Mom | | #13

      I've gone with a low-tack tape. I started with tailor tacks, but just couldn't see well enough to stitch the lines in really deep pleats. As it turns out, most of the hand-work is in removing beading from the seam lines; initially, I thought I'd be using a fairly plain fabric and then doing a fair amount of embroidery.

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