Marking Tools Series: Chalk!

Previous episodes in the Marking Tools Series

Frixion Pens, episode #19 

Wax and Wheels, episode #29

Connect with Naomi P. Johnson on Instagram!

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Hem Skirt Marker with Powder 

Chaco Liner

Bohin Mechanical Pencil

Allary Chalk Cartridge

Dritz Tailor Chalk Pencil

Triangle Clay Tailors Chalk


Acrylic Rulers for Domestic Sewing Machines 

Kalle Shirt Dress by Closet Core 


Read Full Transcript

Stitch Please Podcast

Marking Tools Series: Chalk!

[00:15] Lisa: Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork, I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation so, sit back, relax and get ready to get your stitch together.

[00:56] And welcome, I'm Lisa Woolfork, your host of the Stitch Please Podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where black lives matter. And I'm talking today with you about an occasional series that we've had on marking tools. Today's topic is chalk, but before we jump into that, let me share with you some of the episodes we've already given on this topic of marking tools. Marking tools are really important for those of us who have a lot of experience with garment sewing, you know that it's absolutely essential to transfer those markings from the pattern to your fabric. And once you put those markings on, you want to make sure there's a way to get them off. So, I've done a few episodes on marking tools that you can refer to. So, for those of you who are taking notes, you don't even have to worry about it because I have included this in the show notes, but if you're listening to the podcast on a medium that does not give you access to the show notes, let me go ahead and tell you what they are. So, Episode 19 of The Stitch Please Podcast, a marking tools episode that focused on FriXion pins, there's lots of different FriXion pins, there's markers, there's highlighters, there are stamps, and all of these marks remove with friction; that's why they're called FriXion because the friction of the special eraser that gets included with the FriXion pins, you can rub it on the mark and it'll come off. That's how it works on paper, but on fabric, they are removed very quickly with heat. There are some consequences to that, sometimes it leaves ghosting, sometimes it doesn't come off all the way, I've not had the experience of marks returning with FriXion though many people have. So, always test, that is always the answer to the problem, is to test how you put something on and how you take it off. So, that's Episode 19.

[02:50] Then 10 episodes later, in Episode 29, I did an episode on Wax and Wheels as a form of marking tools and this was using transfer paper, it was using very hard tipped, tracing wheels in order to leave small perforations in your fabric. Again, always testing to make sure that whatever you put in, you can take out or whatever you put on, you can take off. So, today's episode is no exception, and it's a continuation of that larger conversation about marking tools. And today we are talking all about chalk. There are so many ways that you can use chalk in your sewing, and that is today's topic. So, we're going to jump right in.

[03:36] There are three distinct areas that one can use chalk in their sewing. The first one I believe, and this is not in order of importance or of use, but for me, I see that chalk is useful for apparel sewing, it's useful for craft sewing, and it is useful for quilting, and I believe it's important to think carefully about what you are going to use the chalk for. Think about what the outcome you are hoping to produce is, do you want to put something that you can put on your fabric and take off right away? Do you want to use it for top stitching as a guideline for quilting? We can see this as being really helpful for helping to start the tracing of a particular quilt pattern or quilt design when you're doing the actual quilting of your quilt sandwich. So, there's lots of different ways quilt-- that chalk has a lot of utility.

[04:32] So, I'm going to go ahead and begin with apparel sewing. How does one use chalk in their apparel sewing? So, I'm going to kind of begin at the end because one of the ways that I tend to enjoy using chalk and have had experience using it, is the hem marker. Now, I'm not sure how familiar you might be with the hem marker but I'm going to tell you about it. So, if you are making a skirt, and you are, you know, sewing by yourself, you don't have someone who can measure you or measure your hem, there is a tool that you can get, lots of different companies make them, and they're called a hem marker. It is a-- looks like a yardstick that's standing almost perpendicular to the ground, it has three little feet like, three little legs that it stands on. And what you do is, it also has this little pump, almost like a blood pressure cuff, you know those, the bulb that you squeeze that they squeeze at the doctor's office, when they're taking your blood pressure, you squeeze it, and air travels through the tube into the blood pressure monitor? This is similar to how the hem marker works but instead of pumping the air to measure your blood pressure, obviously, this pumps air into a little tank that then squeezes out a little poof of chalk. So, what this teaches us is that, when you're working with chalk, you can work with it in solid forms, like a chalk pencil or a chalk you know, pen or you can work with it in its powdered form.

[06:03] So, I want to begin talking about using it in its powdered form. And so, the way that it works is, you load your-- it's a little small bit of powder that you load into the hem marker and your job is to stand there, holding the squeezing bulb, you hold the squeezing bulb in your hand, and you put on the skirt, you put on your garment, which it could be a dress, or it could be a skirt, but it has to kind of hang away from your body in a way that allows the chalk marker to blow a little bit of chalk right along the hem line that you want for your garment. Now, if you have booty blessings, like me, the skirt, if you don't do this, you know that your skirt will be kind of hiked up in the back, where the back and the front of your skirt don't hang evenly because you got a booty and that booty is saying, "Hey, we need a little bit extra fabric back here.". So, if it's important to you that the front of your skirt and the back of your skirt is level. So, basically you stand in there, you turn a little bit and you squeeze, turn a bit and squeeze, turn a bit and squeeze, and as you are turning a bit to do the squeeze, you'll get this little fine line of misted chalk that will then blow on to the base of your skirt; that gives you a straight line. Then when you remove the skirt and you lay out what your hem is going to look like, you can look at it and say, "Oh, I see. My line is you know, straight from the side, same to the front, and it's also straight from the side, same to the back.", even though it doesn't look that way when it's laid out flat on your design table. And so, it gives you an opportunity to put in a good hem that is even and straight and looks good for your body, and you can do that yourself with this chalk hem marker. And I'll put a link to this stuff in the show notes, if people want to learn more information or to research it for themselves. But I definitely had to mention the hem marker, because I find that a really useful tool, and it does help me to make sure that my skirts are even in the front and the back.

[08:24] Now that I've talked about how you can use this to hem your garment, let's back up a little bit and talk about how you can use chalk in both its solid and powdered forms to construct your garments. It becomes important for fabrics that are nice and sturdy, or even for fabrics that might be very difficult to mark, that chalk can be a really good way to do this. I found most success of marking with chalk on fabrics that are cotton-based woven, but I've also had success of using chalk on even my ITY, the interlocking yarn knit fabrics, that's another great place that I've used them. Essentially, when I go to make my garments and I go to do some markings, I tend to have three pens with me at all times, because I tend to sew with a lot of bright colored fabrics. Sometimes I'll need to have a white for example, because I can't see the colors on anything else. Similarly, if I'm working with something that's light, or even if it's dappled, it has light parts and dark parts, you'll still need to have two different marking things with you so that you can, just in case your dart or your notch or your circle appears on a part of the fabric that is not legible, you want to be able to make sure that your marks are always legible, not too legible because you want them to erase as well, but you don't want to like put something down and then you can't see it when it comes time to sew your buttonhole for example. So, that's why I think it's really important to have a variety of tools in your tool belt and for me, chalk is an important part of that. And I use chalks in all kinds of different colors.

[10:08] But I wanted to start with talking a bit about the chaco liner because, and that's something we're going to have a nice, well not nice, a kind of a sad story of epic battle between blue chaco liner versus white linen, and we'll think about who won in that battle. It's a story from Naomi that she was generous enough to share, Naomi P. Johnson. And she's, you know, a good friend and a charter member of Black Women Stitch, and she was talking about a story about this garment that she loved, and I will let her tell it in her own words later on in the program, but just think about, you want it to be visible, but you don't want it to be visible forever. And so, for me, the chaco liner was one of the first things that I'd used. Now, the way that the chaco liner works is that, it's like a triangular, it looks like a clear cartridge that you can fill with chalk powder. It has a wheel and when you roll it along, a small amount of the chalk gets discharged from the tank onto the wheel and transfers onto your fabric. So, if you imagine this as a pen, for example, a P-E-N, pen, for example, and you know how when you write with a pen, there's ink in the cartridge of the pin, and as you're writing, it gets discharged to the nib, and the nib is what you use to inscribe on your paper; it's pretty much the same thing with a chaco liner, except that a chaco liner is tall. Well, it's not as tall so, mine, the ones that I have are about three or four inches, and it's about maybe one inch across in diameter. And so, that's something that-- or maybe a little bit smaller, I'm trying to like, visualize what my chaco liners look like. But the purpose is that, you can have this fabric, you can have your fabric beneath the wheel of the chaco liner and it transfers marks, it can transfer darts, you can use it to transfer anything you want. But the purpose is that you can see it, but then when you're ready to it for it to go, it can brush away very easily, and that is another form of a powder based chalk that you can use in your sewing. When we transition to think about what solid forms of chalk are, I think that that puts us in really interesting and exciting territory. Exciting to me because I am a sewing nerd so, I love notions, I love all these little tools, I also love stationery pens, pencils, back to school shopping to buy new pens, pencils, papers, notebooks. And so, the idea that I can have pens and pencils and chalk, that are all associated with sewing, just does my little sewing nerd heart quite good.

[13:08] But one of the things that I've started using lately is a bow hit, I think I'm going to start with the beginning of-- going from the finest to the thickest. So, one of the finest and by finest, I mean very kind of lean, small, with a low millimeter count is the Bohin Pen. It looks like a pen and the way that it works is just like a pencil or a pen. It's almost like, the one that I have is the Bohin Mechanical Extra Fine, and this is a chalk lead that looks a lot like a mechanical pencil lead that you can buy at the office supply store. And the reason that I like this is because it is so fine, that you can see the mark you're making, and you could do it in a way that's really precise. And I really like that about the Bohin Pen, and it also has an eraser cap on the top so, you can like just to use that type of friction to get rid of it. Similarly, Dritz makes one as well, and the one about the Dritz one is, it allows for interchangeable leads. So, if you have the Dritz, I haven't seen the Bohin come in colors, any other color than white, and for me, it's useful to have other colors. So, the Dritz, I think comes in red, blue and yellow in addition to white, in terms of what colors you can use to change out the chalk leads for you chalk pencils. And then as we kind of move down the line, it goes from being a you know, I think Chacopel has a fine pencil of chalk and that's easily brushed away. But the thing I've absolutely use the most of, my very first experience with chalk was the Allary Chalk Cartridge Set. And so, and Allary is A-L-L-A-R-Y, again, I'm not sponsoring or recommending these or endorsing these products, I'm just explaining to you my experience with them, I don't have any sponsorships or relationships with these brands. So, I'm not like running ads for them or this is not meant to be an ad, this is meant to be an opportunity to think about how you can use and bring chalk into your sewing life if you want to. And for me, these things have worked well. And so, that's why I'm sharing them.

[15:35] So, my Allary Chalk Cartridge Set, I really like it, I've had it for years. Now, it comes with a pencil sharpener apparently, and I lost that; I lost it so long ago, I don't know if I actually even got a pencil sharpener because it is so long gone that it was like I never even had one. But one of the things I do like about it is that it comes in all the colors that I like. And that is, I think a bit of an orange, purple, green, blue, red, and white, and this is a great chalk pencil, but it is much, much thicker than the mechanical pencil that I was talking about earlier that's made by Dritz and made back made by Bohin. And the reason I like this one is because again, for someone like me who sews with a lot of bright, bright colors, it's really hard sometimes to see the markings that I've made. So, I'm working with a fabric right now that is like black background, beautiful flowers, so many different components and when I move my fabric, or when I move my markings, for example, to set up the dart, I might cross a section of the fabric where the marking tool matches the fabric itself, and I can't see it. And so, I rarely have that problem when I'm using the thick Allary cartridge and something I'm thinking about doing, and I just-- this idea just, just occurred to me because maybe I'm just being extra lazy, I don't know. But I was like, "Gosh, you know Lisa, that'd be nice, instead of having just one pen that you kept the white in, you could have two, and you don't have to worry about changing them.", right? That's a little bit raggedy because it is not at all hard to change the chalk out of your Allary Chalk Cartridge Set, all you do is push down the top where the eraser would be, it doesn't come with an eraser but the top of the pen, you push it down and when you do that, the chalk holder that lives inside the barrel of the cartridge opens up like a claw at the, you know, if you've been to one of those claw machines at like a Chuck E. Cheese or whatever or if you remember the movie Toy Story-- Toy Story 1, where they got trapped in the arcade and like the claw comes down, it opens like that, then the claw closes and that's what locks the chalk cartridge inside the barrel of the pen. And so, it's very easy to change, it takes like two seconds. But I kind of want those two seconds back so, maybe I would just go ahead and buy myself another pen cartridge, so I can have one for colors and one for white. But no, that's just silly. I don't need to do that, I need to just change it out and stop, you know, because otherwise, you could say, Well, you should have a cartridge pen for every different colored chalk that you have, and that would definitely be a silly thing. I certainly don't need that.

[18:43] So, one of the things I just want us to kind of keep in mind as we're thinking about apparel sewing and working with chalk is again, placement of your marks. You really want to be careful about where you're placing your marks, you want to, in my opinion, you want to put them on the seam allowance, within the seam allowance, so just in case they don't come out, you don't have to worry about it. So, say for example, if I wanted to mark pockets for a garment that I was making, and it was patch pockets that went on the outside, what I would do is, I would put down the-- I would lay my fabric together, right sides together, I would poke a hole, not poke a hole, I would use a pin to pierce through the top layer of fabric and the bottom layer of fabric, right? So that both layers of fabric are now kind of impaled on this pin, right? This P-I-N, pin, and when I opened it up, I keep the pin in place then I mark with the chalk. The reason I do it this way is that this allows me to put a chalk mark on both pieces of the fabric at the same time and when I mark pockets, I kind of-- I try to put the dots that they ask you to put within the line of the pocket. So, let me just explain. So, if you imagine a pocket as a U, a U shape, a very blocky U, with two right angles at the bottom. When I get to the right angles at the bottom, rather than putting them where the pattern tells me to put the mark, I'll put it a little bit to the inside of that pocket. And the reason I do that is so that if I manage to get the pocket on, and it's on perfect, which it should be because I've marked the top to bottom, I've marked the left and right pieces at the same time so, I know what's going to be parallel. If I get it on there and I look at my pocket, I don't want to see any of the chalk or if it doesn't come off, I don't want to see it, right? If it doesn't come off, the chalk then, will be concealed within the inside of the pocket. And I can assure you that nobody, not even you, not even me when I make it, I can't speak for everybody, but for myself, I can't imagine a situation where someone is going to want to look down inside your pocket to see if they can tell what your marks are. I mean, I feel like that invasion of privacy is pretty next level. And so, I really feel like if you have someone approaching you, want to look inside your pocket to check your markings, that seems like good grounds for a throat punch, because that's way too close, it's none of their business and weird, it's just a strange thing to want to see. But it does allow you to get perfect placement and to use the chalk and to remove it and if it doesn't remove, it's okay because, you know, it's hidden, and that's something that I really do enjoy doing.

[21:52] Before I transition to talk about how you can use chalk in your quilting, I wanted to talk a bit about the roles that solid chalk can play. We've talked about solid chalk in the pens, but this is another, I think this might even be some of the first chalks that appeared on the market for tailoring, sewing and working with apparel. And these are those, the chalk that you can find that's shaped like round corner triangles, they have lots of different names. I found them, well, one of the ones that I've seen that I have is called triangle clay, a triangle clay tailor's chalk. Similarly, there's another form of tailor's chalk that's more like a square, that might be kind of like maybe two inches across and one and a half inch tall, and it's kind of rounded; these are wax chalks, and these are also things that disappear. Some of them disappear with heat, I see that WAWAK has a wax chalk that disappears with heat, it only seems to be offered in white, and the other tailor's chalks that I've used, I've not used a chalk that removes with heat. So, that's something I'm actually interested in now, maybe getting a couple of those just to see, of a heat disappearing one, I tend to like things that disappear with heat. But those can also be pretty sad when you've done all your markings and then you go to press your seams to make sure that they're good, and you erased the marking that you needed for the next step so, that's no good. But when you want it to be gone, that's something you also want, but the ones that I've used are the Triangles Clay Tailor's chalk and the Jem's Clay Tailor's chalk, and both of those disappear with brushing. And again, I found that those work best on woven fabrics, though I do sometimes use them on ITY knits which I use a lot or cotton lycra, but if I'm unsure I always test, if I know if I can't get it off, I try to put it somewhere where I won't be able to see it again.

[23:51] Similarly, I found that there's wax chalks that are super glide, there's wax chalk that disappear, there's wax chalks that are, what they call a hidden glow, that you can't really see them in regular light, but when you put on a black light, it'll show up. I personally don't have a black light so, that wouldn't be super useful to me, but I can imagine it'd be super useful for someone else. There's also, I think it's also useful, in addition to talking about the woven fabrics and ITY fabrics, that chalk marks are also good for working with leather, and there's other materials that you know, you're not going to be able to heat for example. So, when I made a raincoat, using laminated cotton, one of the things that was a challenge for that project was that I could not apply heat to it, you can't press open your seams, in addition to like working with leather and working with laminated cottons whatever hole you make, whatever you sew, whatever seam you sew, when you go to unsew it, those stitches will still be there, if not the stitches, the thread won't be there, but the little holes will be there; it'll give you a reminder of what you've done. And the same is true for working with some chalks that they don't come away very easily. So, do think about that as you are making your decision.

[25:13] So, we're going to take a very quick break, when we come back, we're going to talk about how chalk shows up for quilting. And then, we'll share our special story. Thanks so much and stay tuned, we'll be back in a bit.

[25:36] Break: The Stitch Please Podcast is really growing. I want to thank you for listening to the podcast and ask a favor, if you are listening to this podcast on a medium that allows you to rate it or review it. For example, Apple podcasts or iTunes, please do so if you're enjoying the podcast. If you could drop me a five star rating, if you have something to say about the podcast and you wanted to include that a couple sentences in the review box of Apple makes a really big difference in how the podcast is evaluated by Apple, how it becomes more visible. It really is a way to kind of lean into the algorithm that helps to rate podcasts. So, if you had time to do that, to drop a little line in the review feature of the podcast, that would be really appreciated it would help us to grow even further and faster.

[26:45] Lisa: Welcome Back to the Stitch Please Podcast, the official podcast of Black women stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We are talking today about making tools and our focus is chalk. And I talked in the previous segment about how chalk works for apparel sewing, I think it also can work for craft sewing in the same way. And I wanted to transition to think about quilting. And the reason I'm concentrating on quilting here is because that was where I first started using chalk in the loose form, as well as found some great benefits for it. And the powder form, I mean the solid form. So, for quilt for apparel, you want to try to hide where your marks are, you want to use the marks as a reference. They're going to help you construct the thing that you are building, the garment that you are making.

[27:38] In quilting, after you've placed your quilt together and you've created the quilt sandwich which is the top of your batting and your quilt backing, you got it all pinned or you've got it basted, hand basted or pin basted, you want to do the actual work of quilting. And if you are not going to do it in a free motion way, which is where you just kind of quilt in a more organic way, you're trying to fill with a stipple pattern or something like that, if you want to do a straight line quilt design, you want to mark what those lines are. Especially if you want it to be very architectural, and you want it to, at least, this is my interpretation of how I approach my quilt designs. If I want it to have an echo effect or ripple effect, you can trace, when one line follows another line. If you are doing something like an all over design, you want to kind of follow that design and having a quilt pattern be visible on the top of your quilt sandwich is really important for that. For me, I need a line to follow and a quilt pattern or a quilt design and transferring that is really important.

[28:51] So, one of the things that I've done is that you can purchase a stencil from a quilt shop or from anywhere that's, you know, but mostly I've gotten them in the quilt shop They also sell them at regular large fabric stores like Joann's and other places. But the reason that you buy that stencil is so that you can transfer your quilt pattern to the top of your quilt. That means you want to be able to see it, but you don't want it to be there forever. And so, what I've used is something called a pounce. And imagine like, I'm trying to find a good analogy. So, imagine like a little teeny, tiny pillowcase, and instead of a pillow, it is full of powder, chalk powder, and what you do is you take that little tiny pillowcase, and I'm thinking like teeny tiny, baby doll house size pillowcase like I think the penance that I have is, it might be the pounds that I have.

[29:54] Well there's two ways that I've done it. One, you can have an actual bag, like a bag that is like the pillowcase and you put the chalk in it and you tap it right along the top of your stencil. And then when the chalk sits out of that little pillowcase, it floats down on top of the stencil. The part of the stencil that's solid does not transfer any chalk to your fabric. But the part that's open, of course if it's a stencil, that's what remains. I also had this really cool thing that's called, I think it's also called a pounce, but it's looks more like an eraser, like an old-school, old-fashioned eraser where you write chalk on the board and you would erase it. This one is really cool because it's all nicely contained and it looks kind of like a travel plastic soap dish and on the bottom it is textured almost like a sponge or almost like, I guess like an eraser. And then in the back there's a hole that you can open up. You can pour your chalk powder inside this little rectangle shape, you put the lid back on, and inside, that's where your chalk lay out is.

[31:07] And let me tell you, I love that pounce thing. Because rather than getting chalk all over your hands, you don't have to worry about it because all of it lives really nicely in that little pounds shaped device. This is useful because what you're going to do is you're going to pounce and tap up and down, all around that stencil. And when you lift that stencil off, you have a nice chalk outline of the path you need to travel in order to do your quilt design. And so, that's something that I've had good success with. In addition, I've also have used the solid chalk stuff for, actually I use the solid and I use the powder when I started doing some things that's called quilting with rulers. Now quilting with rulers is something that people who do a lot of long arm quilting have known about for many, many years. It seems to me that this is a new intervention for small home machines that they sell.

[32:13] Basically, they sell acrylic rulers that you can use to guide your free motion sewing, your free motion quilting, and it does these really beautiful designs. I'm going to look to see if maybe I can find one. I've done a couple classes, and once I got over the terror of sewing with rulers, and I'm not usually a person, I know I try to be very encouraging to people. And it’s usually women I hear say this, like I'm afraid to do blank in sewing. There's a lot of fear in sewing overall, and I think in the maker community more generally. And I don't know if people are really actually physically or emotionally afraid, or if they're just uncertain. But have you ever heard someone say something like, oh, I'm afraid to put on an invisible zipper, or I'm afraid to make my own chocolate because it involves a double boiler or I'm afraid to I mean, it's always something that's like, I'm, like, I'm afraid to make my own bra, you know? And I'm like, what's there to be afraid of? I mean, it's not like you're learning how to juggle with fire, you know, and you drive a car.

[33:28] You know, a car is a pretty dangerous weapon. And, you know, it's a really big thing that many people do drive, and many people don't get in the car saying, oh, my gosh, I'm really terrified to drive. And we've learned to do it with practice, and we learned to do it safely. And we've learned to do it in a way that sometimes we don't even think about it, which can also be a problem when you're being distracted. But I don't have a lot of sewing fears. Right? Maybe I should episode on sewing fears. Find out what people's sewing fears are and talk about them. But one of my fears is getting a needle, like a broken needle, like where that might end up. And, I have broken of course about 1000 needles, and none of them have ended up in my actual eyeball, which is where I'm always afraid they're going to end up.

[34:18] So, I'm with the acrylic rulers because you are running your sewing machine needle alongside an acrylic ruler, and there's a special sewing machine foot that you can buy that protects you from getting a broken needle and all of that. That was my main thing that I was really worried about. But it does these really beautiful designs that you can do right in your own home machine. And I really enjoyed that process and I made a couple of quilts a few summers ago that use that technique for the quilting, but you needed to have some marks to follow. So, you can make sure you are moving in the right direction. The way that quilting with rulers worked for me was similar to how the spiral graph works. I'm not sure if you all are familiar with the spirograph. It's a process that involves an inner wheel and an outer wheel. And you put your pencil in one of the holes of the wheel and you, maybe I can figure out how to find like a demonstration or something of how to do it. Oh, maybe I can make a demonstration of it and put it, anyway I don't have a website. So, I don't know where I will put it, I don't know, I could put it somewhere, maybe a link, maybe like a video or something, I don't know.

[35:35] Google “spirograph” and they are a lot of fun actually; I really do enjoy them. I find them very relaxing. And to do them with a sewing machine and a needle and thread and design on your fabric is lovely. And working with chalk helps make that happen by giving you targets to follow as you are doing that quilting process. And so, that's another way that quilting uses chalk and just to get you to think as we're moving forward. One thing about apparel you don't want your chalk marks to show when you're finally done. The same is true for quilting. But one of the challenges is when you're marking a quilt, you have to mark it on the top public face of the quilt. As opposed to for apparel sewing, you do your markings on the inside of the garment, or you do them with the intention that they will not be seen.

[36:28] And so, just as you think about what chalk you might want to use and how it might show up, and one of the great advantages of it. Just kind of keep that in mind. I know I've had great success using chalk, marking my quilts and having a brush out with no problem. I've also had the problem where I brushed out too soon, and I totally forgot what I was supposed to be sewing or quilting at the time and had to go back and remark which was irritating. So, you've got to find a balance. And we're going to close this episode out with a story of a chalk liner versus a white linen outfit and we'll be back with that story. Just give me one sec.

[37:11] Naomi was gracious enough to share with us a cautionary tale. I'm going to be corny and call it a chalk, cautionary chalk, chalk-canary tale about her experience with working with a chaco liner or working with chalk and a linen fabric. So, here is what Naomi had to say.

[37:34] Naomi: Hi, Lisa this is Naomi. This is the story of how I ruined precious white linen with a blue chaco liner. I was making a much-desired white linen Kallie shirt dress right after the pattern came out and I decided that I wanted it to be as perfect as I could make it. So, I was diligent about grain lines, I was diligent about marking dots and clipping notches, so that my shirt dress would come out perfectly because I was literally obsessed with that pattern. I took a class at, Three Little Birds, a few years ago with Heather, she was teaching the ginger jeans pattern. And one of the days of the workshops she wore the Kallie dress and let us know that it was an upcoming pattern and I stopped social media, website, email for months looking for that pattern.

[38:52] Naomi: So, I bought it immediately. And when the shirt dress came out I checked the fabric requirements, I went to this little Vietnamese store in Falls Church, Virginia, and got the requisite amount of white linen. And just before I went to cut my fabric, I stabbed myself with a pin and bled profusely, luckily, I didn't bleed on my white linen. That led me to make a muslin of the pattern, which was great because I made a few mistakes and the muslin and figured out how to fix them on the real deal. So, when I went to cut out my real deal, I wanted to make sure that all of my marks and notches and everything were precise, so I used a blue chalk aligner marking pin. I did not do the best job of brushing the chalk away when I sewed my shoulder seams and went to press them. And I pressed them with quite a bit of the blue chalk still in my garment and heat set it onto my white linen.

[40:18] Naomi: Devastated, does not begin to cover the feelings that I had about ruining that linen. I bleached it repeatedly, I tried Oxy clean, I tried Shout, I tried Zout, I tried everything I could find on the internet to get that blue chaco liner out of my white linen Kallie shirt dress and nothing worked, my shirt dress is ruined. I can probably use it for scraps or something, like cut it up and use it for something else. I don't even have the heart to do this. So, it just hangs in my closet as a reminder to fairly, thoroughly remove the chalk from the chaco liner or to use a different marking tool on precious, precious fabric. I bleached that thing so many times that I put a couple holes in it. That's how that's how aggressively I bleached it, trying to get that blue mark off of it.

[41:47] Naomi: I removed the collar because that's where the holes were. And eventually I may dye it, but it's been two or three years and I just kind of keep it as a reminder to be really, really extremely careful with my marking tools because that one was really precious to me, and I never got to wear it. The upside is, because we are abiding stay at home orders, I can probably just buy some more white linen now and make another one and so maybe that's what I'll do soon. Anyway, I hope that story helps somebody who's using chaco liners. Oh, I did learn a tip just this week, like two days ago from the green lines sing along, that the chaco liners are actually really hard to remove and that they do become permanent. So, I feel a little bit less bad than I was feeling. Still, nothing feels as bad as ruining a garment that you were really looking forward to wearing as ruining it with something is easily fixable as using the right marketing tool. I hope that's helpful to you. Talk to you later.

[43:17] Lisa: Thank you Naomi for your willingness to share your cautionary chalk tale with us today. You've been listening to the Stitch Please Podcast and this episode has been about marking tools with attention paid to chalk. I hope it's been helpful to you and we'll see you next time. Thank you.

[43:41] Lisa: You've been listening to the Stitch Please Podcast, the official podcast of Black women stitch, the sewing group where black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at,, if you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, P-A- T- R-E-O-N. And you can find black woman stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month, you can help support the project with things like editing, transcripts and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So, I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews. But for those who do, for those that have like a star rating, or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us at the Stitch Please Podcast, that is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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