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Submitted on
September 27, 2013
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Pro Tip - #21 by SnowBunnyStudios Pro Tip - #21 by SnowBunnyStudios
Before I learned about this trick, there were any number of projects that were ruined because of chalk or pen that says it’s easily cleaned or brushed off but never fully comes out of the fabric I’m working with. When I was working on my Desmond Miles hoodie, I had to mark the front with tailor’s chalk for all the extra seams and top stitching. That hoodie has been washed several times, I’ve had the costume piece for a couple years now, and the chalk is still clearly visible on the front of the hoodie. At a point, I’ll need to remake the hoodie to fix this problem. I’ve also seen this happen with mark-be-gone and disappearing ink pens. It’s a huge frustration that seriously mucks up a project.

Now, whenever possible, I use soap as a marking tool. You simply wait until you have a thin sliver of soap left from a bar and use it like you would a piece of chalk. When you wash your piece, you are guaranteed to have the soap come out, unlike with the other marking tools I mentioned. The only problem I ever have with this method is with light colored fabrics. If I could find a darker colored soap, I’d probably be set.
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Kombayn Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014
Pity to hear about ruined projects. I myself used chalk only, until recent times. I joined tailoring courses, and our teacher couldn't stop talking about soap. She had a piece designed to be a marking tool: shaped pretty much like a piece of chalk. We did try to find them in shops, but only one or two succeeded. The teacher said that usual soap for kids is fine too, we are only left to shape it for our convenience.
I'd mention another lovely and very possible advantage of soap: pleasant smell (chamomile, e.g). Another drawback is being easily and totally removed by steam from iron. And yes, working with light-coloured fabrics can become...problematic. I wanted to sew a white blouse, but the aforementioned teacher demanded using white soap for all marks. Pretty soon I switched to dark blue fabric, even though it cost me hours of efforts.   
SnowBunnyStudios Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
As much as I like using soap as a marking tool, I will be the first to admit that it does have its drawbacks.  However, I primarily use it when tracing patterns onto fabric and early in the process of creating my projects since I'm not fond of pinning pattern pieces down to cut them out.  Marks for darts and similar items, I will usually pin so when ironing i don't lose those all important marks.
Neko3hiki Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
I make soap so this caught my attention. Most colored soaps use so little pigment in a bar it probably won't show on white. Hmmm.. something with more pigment.. Oh! Soap crayons come in denser colors. But soap pigments are the same as makeup pigments, so I'd avoid the red. Test to be sure.

You have me wondering about crayola washable markers. I too have lost garmets to dissappearing markers and blue chalk. But I've been using crayolas for fake tattoos and decorating a plastic bust because they come back off without staining. I haven't left it on either material over 8 hours so far. I forsee some experiments on old white socks in my future. :)

I'm definately using soap on my next dark fabric project!
SnowBunnyStudios Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
This is all amazing info!  Thank you so much for the comment. :la:

As a general rule, I try to avoid markers, simply because 1. It's not guaranteed that I'll be washing the costume (if it's got any leather or PVC parts or is Dry Clean Only, etc.) and 2. As mentioned in the description, I've had markers run, stain, and permanently mark the fabric I'm working with in the past.  Call it paranoia, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I think I will look for soap crayons.  I do really like the idea of this, since they're made with a higher concentration of pigments than regular soap, but still has all the other benefits of using soap.
LooneyLune Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
someone might of already mentioned it, but I know of these special pens for this exact purpose. They come in an array of dark colours, and the inks comes of when you iron it. It's something to look into.
SnowBunnyStudios Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Some of those items are exactly why I made this Pro tip - they can be expensive, and in my experience they don't always come out.  While I haven't tried that specific product, I'm a bit hesitant since products like that have ruined past projects.  I may try it out just the same to see if there is a problem.  Needless to say, I would much prefer to work with soap or something I know will most certainly come out and not damage the fabrics.

Thank you just the same for the suggestion.
waterfish5678901 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Black soap sold at the Vitamin Shoppe, I think the full name is Egyptian black soap? Either way it is not joking when it say's it's a BLACK soap!
SnowBunnyStudios Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
I'm not sure I want to shell out for something like that, but I I've been curious if I can find some inexpensive decorative soaps that come in some dark colors.  I'll keep that in mind as a last resort.  Thanks. :)
waterfish5678901 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
No prob!
MaddiganRose Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Student Photographer
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