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Cross stitch ... life ... art

Dritz Tailor’s Marking Set
April 21st, 2015

A couple of people recommended the Dritz tailor’s marking set to me. I got one and have been using it for a while, and wanted to share my thoughts.

First, it’s a really nice product. It’s essentially a mechanical pencil with a soft grip. It uses ceramic leads (I don’t quite know what that means) and comes with 9, 3 each in white, green, and hot pink. They make very fine marks so it’s great for gridding. It has an eraser that removes the marks, but you can also remove them easily with a damp cloth. I have not had any trouble with the lines rubbing out before I’m finished with them. It will certainly last me the rest of my life, though lead refills are available. There’s plenty of eraser. It winds out when you twist the barrel of the pencil, and it’s about 1″ long. The refill package includes a new eraser.

The big disadvantage is that it’s pretty expensive for a marking pencil — you’ll pay $12-15, probably. However, when you consider what standard fabric markers are like, it’s probably worth it. Felt tip pen markers always seem to have dried up by the second time I use them. Fabric marking pencils (in my experience) somehow acquire numerous breaks in the lead, so that when you go to use them, you just have a jagged pencil end. You sharpen the pencil and then the next little segment falls out. Even if the lead isn’t broken, you can never get as fine a line as is possible with this pencil.

I looked at the reviews on Amazon. The people who didn’t like it said that little bits broke off every time they marked with it (I haven’t had that happen), or that it doesn’t leave a good mark on delicate fabric. I can imagine that since it’s a pretty hard lead, but on cross stitch fabric, it works fine.

Is it worth the money? Probably, depending on your finances. As you can tell, I had pretty much given up on fabric markers, but now that I am using it for my horizontal grid lines, instead of sewing them, it is saving me a lot of time. It’s true that conventional pencils cost a lot less, but you don’t have to use up very many of them sharpening them before you have spent as much as this one costs. And it’s worth pointing out that it is not expensive compared to a decent mechanical pencil, only compared to crummy fabric pencils.

Here’s what the lines look like on 22-count aida:



8 Responses to “Dritz Tailor’s Marking Set”
  1. From Paula Doss
    2 years, 7 months ago

    This is very interesting. I’ve been sewing the boxes and it takes an entire day to get the whole piece marked. This would save a ton of time. It’s is kind of expensive but worth the time it saves. Where do I get one?

    You can get them at JoAnn Fabric, Amazon, etc.


  2. From Nancy Garcia
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I discovered the Dritz Tailor’s Marking set several months ago and I must say I really like the pencil to mark lines on a cross stitch project. I also use the traditional blue water soluble pen, but it is a real pain to remove if you make a mistake in marking because the damp q-tip or the Aqua Eraser used to “erase” the blue line invariably runs to anther line! (I do admit the Aqua Eraser is much, much better than the Q-tip method and worth the investment if you use the blue water soluble pen!)

    The Dritz pencil, however, does not run or fade away, but are easy to remove. I would love to see more colors of “lead” available because in addition to marking the vertical and horizontal lines on my fabric, I also like to mark areas for stitching. I create a lot of original patterns and it is very helpful to see how the design looks when drawn on the fabric rather than depend on how it looks on paper! Sometimes it is necessary to “tweak” the design after seeing it drawn on the actual fabric rather than seeing a problem after it is stitched…and having to take the stitches out! Yes, I am a bit of a “picky stitcher” and even if I know no one else will notice, I cannot leave something if I don’t think it looks right. Anyway, I do recommend adding the Dritz Marking set and the Aqua Eraser to your cross stitch tool box! Both can frequently be found in JoAnn’s stores and online…and with their coupons, can be reasonable in price!


  3. From J. Robb Wilson
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I, too, use the blue water soluble pen. Since I wash my projects when I’m done (using cool water and no soap as directed to remove the blue lines, then using warm water and a gentle dishwashing soap to get our the inevitable dirt and oils) I don’t understand needing the Q-tip method. NB: I only use the blue marker to quickly (relatively) establish grid lines and it save a lot of time compared to using a running stitch to mark 10×10 grids (very time consuming.) So given my cross stitching methodology, I can’t see any reason to change. Am I missing something?


  4. From Craig Mason
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I’ve been gridding with fishing line, which has been very satisfactory, but takes FOREVER. I’ve wished for a pen or pencil, and can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the suggestion.


  5. From Terry g Robinson
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I ‘never’ grid my SQ work.. however, I do stitch a tiny (4 squares)dash at the bottom of each page/sheet on the outsides of the piece. I can see how I can also use the pen when stitching a ‘new page/row’ as getting those first stitches properly placed is so crucial


  6. From Barbara Kent
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I have been using an erasable gel pen made by Pilot purchased from Nordic Needle. This pen can be erased by using heat such as a hair dryer or dry iron but you have to be careful not to let the heat clear out more than you want it too! Works great on lower count fabrics not too bad on 25 ct. I was really surprised when I started to use it – sure beats stitching! One pen is $3.99 it also comes in a pack of 8. The tip of the pen is .7mm.


  7. From Janet Bingham
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I tried this marking pencil about a year ago and did not like it. Most of my stitching is 1 over 1 and I find the usual water soluble pens make a line that is too wide for over 1 on the 28 and 32 count fabric I prefer. So this pencil with its very fine line looked ideal. However, when I tried it on Jazlyn, the eraser did not remove the marks. Next I tried the damp cloth. Didn’t work. Only after scrubbing with Orvus and a wet cloth would the lines come out. And I do mean scrubbing. I related this problem on a message board and several others reported similar difficulty in removing the lines. One person used the pencil to mark a shirt and the lines were still in the shirt after several machine washings. Sorry to be a wet blanket here, but the usual wisdom of test first seems in order for this product. Of course, if a project is going to be completely stitched, it doesn’t matter if the lines erase.

    It must depend on the fabric. It wipes off easily on my aida. So good point, always test first.


  8. From Karen Hughes
    2 years, 7 months ago

    I’ve used the blue fabric pens for years and then suddenly had two instances of problems, so I will look in to this. I’ll test it on the corner of a larger project someplace it won’t show in the finished picture. On one project the grid lines turned an ugly yellow/brown over time and when I tried to wash them out they wouldn’t come out but looked like old pencil marks. Since it was a black and white piece it showed, and does to this day. I chalked it up to its being an almost two year project. The second was a quick stitch little kit, and I “washed” the lines out as I went. Months later they came back, with the same pencil colored markings. So for me a test will involve a lot of time. Meanwhile it might be handy in the sewing room.





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