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Tips & Techniques > Marking Pattern Dots with pins

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Posted by: KarmenG

About KarmenG starstar
MA United States
Member since: 1/3/03
Reviews: 62 (tips: 8)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 5/25/09 10:25 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 6 people   Very Helpful by 23 people   
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I wonder if transferring dot marks from a pattern to fabric is a mystery for you as it used to be for me. It's really important to accurately mark the pattern dots, but when sewing with a busy print it's frustrating to later see the markings. Finally I learned from teachers how to mark with chalk and pins so now I can be a success at this. The essential tip is "where the pin ENTERS the fabric is where your mark resides". For the Sandy Betzina Vogue pattern 2945 it was important to mark the pattern dots along the neckline.
First I push a pin through the pattern piece,
Step 1 Mark DOT
then fold back the pattern and with chalk make a small mark or dot on the wrong side of the fabric......placing mark exactly where the pin enters the fabric. Do this on both layers of fabric (assuming you have two layers).
Next remove pin and pattern, but don't move your fabric yet. Go back and make and X with the center of the X being your chalk mark.
Step 2 - Mark X with Chalk
Step 2 - another view

Last, I insert a pin through that X center so I can see the location from right side or wrong side of fabric.
Step 3 Insert Pin through center of X

To avoid having pins fall out as you move your project during construction, you can insert the pin going in and out of the fabric twice, each time taking a very small pinch of fabric. Going in and out twice will make that pin more secure. But it's critical that first stick of the pin be in the spot you want to mark.

A dressmaker who taught me this technique said "Be careful where you INSERT your pins and then TRUST your pins". It's not important where the pin exits the fabric. But where it goes into the fabric should be accurate as that exact spot is your marking point. These photos show you the sequence. I hope you find these tips handy.

End result - when you are sewing your garment you can easily match up the location where pins are inserted into the fabric (location of the dots) and will have accurate match-ups. I hope this tips helps you as much as it has helped me.

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MJADAA said... (5/26/09 12:35 PM) Reply
i still use tailors tacks in bright coloured thread for dots.
KarmenG said... (5/26/09 8:35 AM) Reply
Craftgamma - I went back and edited the Tip to answer your question. Thanks for asking that - I hadn't clarified that, first time through.
craftygamma said... (5/26/09 7:50 AM) Reply
I like your tip for this, and it will be very helpful to me. Just wondering when you stick the pin through the pattern tissue to mark the exact spot, how do you remove the tissue from the pin head?
Rebecca Szetela said... (5/26/09 7:46 AM) Reply
This is helpful. I have tried many methods with mixed success. when I am sewing my own projects, I mark with pins. With my students, sometimes the pins fall out between classes so the X is a good idea. In dressmaker/tailoring books a piece of thread is used which is more time consuming but probably the longest lasting solution. You just thread a needle, run a piece of thread through the center of the dot and clip it and it seems to stay in. It is however, more time consuming and I have yet to take he time to do it. Thanks for your tip and the clear photos.
brissie71 said... (5/26/09 3:31 AM) Reply
Fantastic tip! I love the bit about trusting your pins. That's what I need to work on. I guess it's all in the consistency.
Elaine Dougan said... (5/25/09 11:51 PM) Reply
It is the little things that help us to be more accurate. Thanks for the reminder.
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