In this tutorial, I will show you how to make DIY Tailor’s Chalk with a simple and safe ingredient you already have.
If you use a fabric marking pencil to transfer your patterns to fabric, you know that they don’t always leave a clear line to work with. So how do you trace patterns onto fabric CLEARLY without leaving a permanent mark? Tailor’s chalk is a good choice. But you have something just as good hiding in your kitchen cupboard right now! To make DIY Tailor’s chalk, all you need is a little cornstarch! (also sometimes called corn flour for those not in the States. :))
How to use DIY Tailor’s Chalk
You don’t have to do anything special – simply put some cornstarch in a bowl and dip the tip of your dry finger in it. A little bit of cornstarch powder will stick to your finger. Make sure your pattern piece is secured on your fabric with something like fabric weights or a temporary spray fabric adhesive. Then use your cornstarch-covered finger to trace around the edge. This natural fabric marking “chalk” leaves a line that is SO satisfyingly clear. It is so easy to do and the result is a breeze to cut.
Need a more precise line for measuring hems and other things? Instead of your finger, use a foam craft brush with a chiseled edge. Dip lightly into the cornstarch and then touch your fabric with the edge to make a perfect line.
BTW…If you are a crafty person and you don’t have cornstarch in your cupboard, you should definitely go grab some! This versatile ingredient can be used for all kinds of crafts from playdough recipes, to sidewalk chalk and slime, and even in dusting powders and other body care products. (Not to mention for thickening sauces in your cooking!)
My favorite things about using cornstarch as a DIY tailor’s chalk:
- It is SO fast to trace the lines. Of all the fabric marking method’s I’ve tried, this is the fastest.
- It is a talc-free powder that is safe to ingest. I’m not sure what is in store bought tailor’s chalk and fabric marking powders. My guess is it might not be something safe enough to eat.
- It disappears easily when you are done. To get DIY tailor’s chalk out of your fabric, Just shake it! Any residue can be removed with a lint roller or will disappear completely when the garment is washed.
- It is so convenient…I always have cornstarch on hand.
One thing to know about this DIY Tailor’s Chalk method. For obvious reasons, it works best on fabrics that are not white. Fabric tracing paper and dressmakers carbon are still the best choices if you have to trace patterns on light fabrics. Another thing to mention is this method works best for pieces you will be cutting right away. If you trace them and can’t cut right away, the line will still be there but won’t be as crisp. But that is true of most pattern marking methods that don’t leave a permanent mark.
Have you tried this sewing trick? Leave a comment and let me know how it works for you!