Marking Quilting Designs on Dark Fabrics with a Lightbox

Paisley Pavane, detail by Nadine Ruggles

Marking quilting designs to dark fabric got you down? Don’t despair! Check out this tutorial for instructions and tips to use a light box to trace designs on your fabric, even if your fabric is black.

Transferring quilting designs is quite possibly the bane of my existence. It’s not my least-favorite part of quilting (that would have to be basting!), but it runs a very close second. It’s a different combination of issues and tools for every quilt you make. During my classes, I hear a lot of questions about the best way to mark quilt designs, what marker to use, how to do it, and the list goes on. Everybody wants a quick answer, but there really isn’t one. There is no “one true way” that works best for every quilt or every design when it comes to quilt marking. I’ve tried a few different methods to mark designs on black or dark fabrics when I didn’t have a stencil or the designs were too complex to make one, and so far, I like this one best.

The step-by-step process: Continue reading “Marking Quilting Designs on Dark Fabrics with a Lightbox”

Marking Border Quilting Designs

Since Joyce asked, here’s a short tutorial about fitting border quilting designs when marking a quilt. This is the Swanky quilt, which is about 24″ x 29″ and the border stencil is 2″ wide. For a first try at this method of border marking, use a small-ish quilt, so that the borders aren’t really long. Here’s my slap-dash method for border marking: Continue reading “Marking Border Quilting Designs”

Clover White Marking Pen Love

Clover White Marking Pen review: Keep It or Bin It? I’ve blathered on about the Clover White Marking Pen before, but it bears repeating, especially after my “A-Ha” moment” the other day. This is why the White Marking Pen (Fine) from Clover rocks:

White marking pen mistakes

No, you’re not seeing double, I marked the first set of lines through the stencil on the border of this quilt, and it was in the wrong place, so I marked over it, figuring I’d be able to remember which lines were the right ones later. Yeah, right. And there were other parts of the marking on this quilt that were much worse, with so many lines and marks that it was likely to be impossible to figure out where to machine quilt when the time came.

But wait! I’d temporarily forgotten that you can use the iron to make the marks disappear:

White marking pen mistakes

Ah-la-peanutbuttersandwiches and A-Ha! A quick pass with the iron, and the marks were gone, and I could re-mark the lines in the proper place. This makes fitting continuous line borders easier too, since you can start at the corners and mark your way along, guestimating as you go how it will all fit together in the middle, and if you need to, you can erase a bit of it and remark it to make it fit better in the end.

And while the Clover White Marking Pen is ideal for really dark fabrics like this black Bali batik, I’ve used it successfully on even medium value printed fabrics, when nothing else would do. The ink is delivered via a roller ball like a Gelly Roll pen, and marking lightly is best. Also note that the ink is virtually invisible until it starts to dry, and will become fully white and opaque when completely dry. The white ink sits on top of the fabric a bit, so that it’s easier to see under the sewing machine lamp. It’s become my go-to marker when I’m faced with a difficult marking task.

It is a bit expensive, selling for around $6.50 per pen in shops, and to be honest, I sometimes marvel at how fast the ink in the pen disappears, but it’s so worth it when no other marker in the arsenal is up to snuff. You can find it cheaper if you scout the Internet a bit, and buy in multiples so that the shipping costs per pen are cut down.

Definitely a Keep It notion in my book! If you’ve used it, share your experiences, good or bad, here!