Nifty Notions – Which Marker?

Colourqué Cushion

At the Craft & Quilt Fairs, the INTO CRAFT stand is dedicated to introducing new products and educating visitors how to use them. Judy Hall explains new products to Fair visitors through the Nifty Notions demonstrations at this stand. We hope you enjoy these convenient FREE educational product displays.


This year one of those 30 minute demos is about ‘Which Marker Should Be Used When’? It is quite informative, explaining the differences between lead, chalk, chemical or ceramic markers etc and how to remove markings.

Some of the new products to enter the market are ones which iron off, such as Frixion Pens, ones that wash away completely even after ironing, and permanent markers which are becoming increasingly popular for machine embroidery, labels and appliqué.

I have chosen two only from the vast array on show as these have raised the most questions from visitors and there seems to be a lot of misinformation circulating about their use.



Lead pencils are often difficult to remove from projects, however the new Ceramic Lead pencils are a vast improvement and glide over the fabric so much more easily.


Sewline Ceramic lead pencils are by far the most popular and are available in a range of colours to suit all fabric choices with lead refills being an economical option. They are available in white, black, green and pink leads.


Sewline Fabric Pencil and Trio Colours


What makes them so special? Ceramic leads were especially developed in Japan for use on fabrics having a special ceramic coating allowing the marker to glide smoothly over the fabric without catching the weave. They must be used lightly. If pressed too hard they may make the lines difficult to erase. Just a light touch and you will be left with a clear, fine line with no chalky residue. Lines will not brush off, smudge or disappear with handling. Lines will stay on the fabric until removed with a damp cloth or a polymer eraser. Sewline have even developed a special eraser – Sewline Aqua Eraser. I imagine you’ve had issues in the past with lead breakage which is quite frustrating. Using the Sewline Ceramic Lead Pencils reduces the chance of lead breakage with their unique cushioning mechanism in the pencil barrel.

Try them – I’m sure you will appreciate the brilliance of Ceramic Leads.


Sewline Fabric Pencil being used.



Judy’s Tip – only use a light touch when marking fabrics and always pre-test on the fabric you will be using in your project. If you press hard when marking, lines will be more difficult to remove.

Do not use spray starches when working with ceramic leads as it will make the lines much more difficult to remove. Do not iron markings.

Note: Karisma Ceramic Lead Pencils are extremely good, but beware, lead refills for the Karisma brand and the Sewline brand are not interchangeable.



Imagine! Appliqué without adhering fabric pieces onto another fabric! Yes, it’s back to school using our coloured pencils. Any colouring-in pencils will do, but I highly recommend Derwent Intense or Derwent Studio since the higher quality of pencil will give the best results.

Derwent Studio


Australian Helen Stubbings has developed Faux Appliqué simply using coloured pencils to fill in shapes. Transfer the design to the main fabric for your project, colour in, stitch around the outlines and then make permanent by applying Textile Medium. This secures the colouring in, leaving the fabric pliable and washable.

Faux Appliqué Book

Colourqué Cushion

Whenever I showed this method, students didn’t realize that any coloured pencils could be used, nor did they realize you had to secure the design with Textile Medium, hence the inclusion here.

Step 1 Design traced on to fabric
Step 2 Colour In
Step 3 Stitch the design outline then paint with Textile Medium

Helen gives numerous hints about her technique and her designs in her book Faux Appliqué.

Images kindly provided by Helen Stubbings from Hugs n Kisses; Sewline.

See you at the next NIFTY NOTIONS demonstration at the INTO CRAFT stand at the Craft & Quilt Fair!


Products are available from good haberdashery retail outlets or from Punch with Judy, a regular exhibitor at the Craft & Quilt Fairs and Stitches & Craft Shows. Or visit




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8 thoughts on “Nifty Notions – Which Marker?”

    1. Hi Judith, I will most certainly have some projects on display at the Canberra Craft & Quilt Fair in a couple of weeks. Plus, Helen’s beautiful book. Looking forward to attending.

  1. I use a FriXion ball point pen. As I do not wash a quilt before I give it away, I found all the other makers are very difficult to remove. The Frixion pen removes totally with a bit of steam. Most wonderful invention!!!!!

  2. Is textile medium the same thing as fabric fixative? I tried to use the latter to do colorqué and it spread beyond the stitching borders and turned the fabric an ugly yellow. Also, I was using watercolour Derwents – is that a bad idea? Thank you for the article.

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Have only ever used the Textile Medium for this and have left Fabric Fixative, such as Bubble Jet Rinse, for printing photographs and other images. Sorry to hear of your results, but don’t think it would be the Derwent Pencils as though the Derwent Inktense are the best, any Derwent should work quite well as it is a very reputable brand. Try the Textile Medium and let me know the difference as I always like feed-back in order to help others in the future. Thank you, Judy

  3. I love the frixion pens they work great! I wish they had a white pen though to do on dark materials. The derwent pencils are great too. I never use the textile medium because they are permanent after damp spray and iron. But make sure it’s only damp and not wet.

  4. Hello. To mark dark fabrics with a Friction pen, just use any colour pen and then IRON. The heat of the iron results in a fine white line, which washes out. Love Friction pens!


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