My Favorite Notions: The Chaco Liner

I learned a lot of my sewing through osmosis.  Watching my mother and grandmother work their magic was part of my childhood landscape.  So the tools that I used when I began to sew myself were largely the tools that I had seen around our home for years and years.

When I got to college and worked in the costume shop of the School of Theater, I became acquainted with new tools, and (finally) purchased my own “starter kit” of sewing supplies.  I bought tailor’s chalk, because that’s what my mom used, and that’s what you did.  It works, and it’s a great tool, but on occasion tailor’s chalk can drag across the fabric and I hate it when I get weird skips and lumps on my fabric.

A few years ago, I discovered this little toy:

Chaco liner pink

The Clover chaco liner comes in a bunch of different colors, but that’s not the best part: it’s the WHEEL that makes me love it.

chaco liner blue powder

This is a loose-chalk liner with a toothed wheel that deposits the chalk in a line as you draw, just like a ball point pen deposits ink as the ball rolls across the paper.

chaco liner teeth

The teeth in the wheel are the really, really best part, because they allow you to mark on fabrics that I have had so. much. trouble. marking in the past: stuff with pile or nap, like fleece or boucle, where a traditional tailor’s chalk or even an erasable fabric pen would have trouble.

marking fabrics with pile

I still really like my disappearing marking pen and use my Frixion when I need really thin lines for absolute accuracy–but on the storage tray on my sewing table, the Chaco liner is always the first marking tool I reach for.

fabric marking tools

I had a recent conversation about pin preferences that led to some heated comments and was totally surprised–folks feel VERY dedicated to their tools of choice.  Do you have a marking tool you’d go to the mat to defend?  What do you use for most of your marking?  And is it a different tool for transferring pattern markings versus tracing a cutting line or marking quilting lines?  I’d love to hear about it!

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