Bohon, Sewline and Quilters Pencils in various colours

Quilting markers

The quilting design needs to be marked onto the top fabric so that you can see where to stitch. This can be done in several ways:

The ideal marker is one which shows a clear line until you have quilted along it, but then completely disappears! Inevitably, this is not always simple to achieve, so it is a good idea to test out possible markers on your chosen fabric, to make sure they can be removed afterwards.

Suitable markers to try include:

Hera marker

Hera marker

This is a kind of plastic knife which leaves a crease mark on most fabrics. It’s my favourite marker as it doesn’t need washing out afterwards. It’s particularly suitable for straight lines and gentle curves.

Can you see the crease mark it leaves?

Marked using a hera marker

An old-fashioned, but effective forerunner of this is to use a large blunt needle. Hold it vertically, and “scratch” a line. Again, it leaves a surprisingly good crease mark – it’s easier to mark tight curves this way.

Needle being used to leave scratch mark
Scratch marking around a tightly curved paper template

Quilter’s Pencils

These come in various colours so that you can pick one which shows up best; silver, yellow or white are good on darker fabrics

Quilters pencils
Various colours of refills are available

Some markers are like a propelling pencil, with fine ceramic leads. I like Bohin (white) and Sewline (various colours).

Can you see how I have sharpened the ends of these Quilter’s Pencils into a wedge?

The chalky filling is quite soft, and breaks easily if sharpened with a pencil sharpener to the usual point.

Using a craft knife instead means that you can leave more width to give it strength, but still draw an accurate, narrow line.

These markers can also be used for patchwork – drawing lines down the diagonal for quick piecing half square triangles, or marking seam allowance lines for hand piecing.

Other markers

Other methods that you might like to try are thin slivers of soap, chalk pencils or roller markers

I don’t like any of the so-called disappearing pens (the purple “air erasable”, the bright blue “water erasable” or Frixion pens) – they have a nasty tendency to reappear (permanently) with temperature changes. So, I would NOT recommend these.

Other useful pages

This page is part of a set about Quilting.

To discover various methods for transferring quilting designs, go to the next page in the sequence.