Easy Seam allowance Marking With Tracing Wheels

seam allowance Tools Pencils and pen

Marking seam allowances.

Many vintage patterns were made without seam and hem allowances included. This actually really makes it easier when you want to adjust a pattern to fit . You can simply make all the adjustments and then add the final allowance you want, either to the paper pattern or marked directly onto your fabric.

There are several ways of accurately marking your seam allowance directly to your fabric. I like the Prym double tracing wheel. Its easy to use and you can get different chalk fillers. Simply adjust the seam width between 15mm and 40mm and roll the plastic wheel along the pattern edge.  (stocked by all good sewing shops and of course Amazon).

Easy to change chalk refills, if you want other colors than white.

The seam width is easily changed by sliding the wheel along the shaft which is marked with 15mm – 25mm and 40mm marks.

If you are sure the pattern does not need any fitting adjustments making before you cut out, you may want to mark your seam allowance onto the paper pattern. A simple double wheel is best for this job. Adjust the wheels to width and run along ege of paper pattern to leave perforated or embossed line for your seam allowance cutting line.

One of the oldest ways I learned from My Grandmother is to simply tape 2 or 3 fabric marking pencils together to get the width you want. Or fabric marking pens would work as well.  The pencil that would trace the pattern edge would be dipped in glue and dried so it didn´t leave a mark.

This works well for delicate fabrics, stretchy knits and fabrics cut on the bias that the  tracing wheels can snag and pull out of shape. I use this method all the time for hat making. 

transfering pattern markings to fabric

For transferring internal markings such as darts, pleats, fold lines etc, if you don´t want to use traditional tailors tacks then dressmakers tracing paper comes in packs of different colours and is accurate and easy to use. I think I have had a packet over 20 years and it still marks ok!.


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