Bake Shop Basics: Tools


Hello!  My name is Amy Harward of Sew in Love Handmade (previously Sew In Love Quilting) and I am excited to be the guest chef of the day!  I am a wife and mother and when I’m not taking care of my family, you can find me at my sewing machine.  I started my business 3 years ago so that I could share my love of quilting with others and enjoy growing and challenging myself at a maker.  If you’d like to come visit me on the web, my blog is and my Instagram handle is @sewinlovehandmade.

So, have you ever wanted to quilt a specific design on a quilt top, but for whatever reason you weren’t able to just dive in and do it?  I mean, you just spent a lot of time and money on a beautiful quilt top and it can be really intimidating to start the quilting process.  Whatever design you choose to quilt, marking tools can be a little quilting roadmap to help your vision come to life.  So, let’s talk about some of the common tools that quilters use to mark their quilts.

*A little disclaimer before you use any marking tool is to read the packaging directions thoroughly before using and ALWAYS test the tool on a fabric swatch before marking on your gorgeous quilt!  There would be nothing worse than to have permanent markings on an otherwise amazing quilt!

**I also need to say a big “thank you” to the folks at Clover for generously donating the tools shown in this post so I could experiment with them and help you learn more about them!

Water Erasable Markers


Water erasable markers/pens are usually blue and come in thicknesses ranging from fine to extra thick.  The great thing about this marking tool is that you can mark on your quilt, quilt over the lines, throw the quilt in the washer when you’re done, and voila!  You have an amazing quilt that is mark free.


If you are like me and don’t wash your quilts when they are done, then you can also use a damp white washcloth or a spray bottle of water to erase the markings.


Also, keep in mind that the markings can become visible again in cold temperatures.

Here is a quilt that I made using a water erasable marker to assist me.  I used a circular ruler as a template, marked each “fan” with the marker, and used a spray bottle to erase the marks.



Air Erasable Markers


Air erasable markers/pens are usually purple and all that is required for them to dissolve is time.  Just like the water erasable markers, these marking tools come in different thicknesses and are great for marking whatever quilt design you have in mind.  A word of caution:  don’t mark an entire quilt with these unless you are planning to finish it within a couple hours.  Their erasing time varies, but it’s usually within 4-14 hours.  Just like the water erasable markers, this one can reappear in extreme cold temperatures.


Friction Erasable Pens


Friction erasable pens/markers come in a variety of colors and thicknesses.  Now, when it says “remove by friction”, what it really means is remove by ironing.


This has honestly been my go-to marking tool for the past couple years because it is so easy and convenient!  As with the water, air, and friction erasable markers, this one may reappear with extreme cold.

Here’s one of my favorite quilts that I used this marking tool on:




Hera Marker


Hera markers are amazing little plastic tools that mark quilts with a creased line.  These are great for straight line quilting and the marks are easily removed with a little starch and a good press with an iron.




White Marking Pens


I was so excited when I found this little tool!  Every quilter needs this heat erasable marking tool to use on dark fabrics!  Simply remove the markings with a hot iron.


As with the water, air, and friction erasable markers, this one may reappear with extreme cold.



I hope you were able to find a new tool that you would like to use and that if you haven’t previously marked on your quilts that you will not be too intimidated to do so now!   I know marking my quilts has increase my confidence and allowed me to try new quilting designs that I wouldn’t have otherwise dreamed I could.  Happy quilting!

Amy Harward

19 comments on “Bake Shop Basics: Tools

  1. Amber says:

    Thank you for the information. I will have to find the white pen.

  2. ellen says:

    i CAN’T wait til I can find the white marker pen! How wonderful for dark fabric. Great article. Thanks

    • Amy Harward says:

      It’s amazing, Ellen! I couldn’t find mine locally, but if you google “clover white marking pen” there are several places you can buy it online 🙂

  3. Debra Rolfe says:

    You have made no mention of chalk. There are a variety of chalk markers out there that work very well, and once the marks are gone, they do not come back like some of these that you have talked about. I know that Clover makes some of the chalk markers, as I have a few in different colours.

    • Amy Harward says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, Debra! You are absolutely right! Tailor’s chalk is another great tool for fabric marking. You only have to make sure not to press/mark too hard or the marks may be permanent or extremely hard to remove.

  4. Lisa says:

    What does “extreme cold” mean? I live in Israel. My sense of cold is most definitely different from someone living in Minnesota. Any chance of getting an actual range of numbers?

    • Amy Harward says:

      Great question, Lisa! I have actually never seen a range of temperatures on any of the products I have researched or used myself and it would be nice if they mentioned this on the product packaging. From what I understand via other quilters, is that the marks can reappear in freezing temperatures, like as cold as an ice box or freezer would be. Hope that helps!

  5. Elisabeth Larsen says:

    I’ve only ever used the air and water erasable pens, so I’m excited to find out about the heat erasable for dark fabric! I have some dark fabric projects coming up where that would be really helpful.

  6. Joy says:

    You did not mention that the Frixion pen has been manufactured for use on paper. The company does NOT recommend it for use on fabric. Should you use it on fabric it is at your own peril. Having said that, I do use it on fabric, and it is one of my favorite marking tools. I do know some people who have used it and PERMANENT marks have been left on their fabric.

    • Amy Harward says:

      Thanks for the info, Joy! I was unaware that the Frixion pen is intended for paper. I’ve always bought my pens from quilt shops and assumed they were made specifically for fabric. Thanks for sharing so we can be aware!

  7. Andrea says:

    I was using frixion pens for months without any problems but then I used a blue one on some red fabric, when I ironed it away it left white lines on the fabric that I have been unable to remove.

    • Amy Harward says:

      Oh, that’s horrible, Andrea! On a positive note, I’m sure you’ll never make the mistake of not testing on a fabric scrap first again! Thanks for commenting. Hopefully it can help someone else not make the same mistake.

  8. Chris Reeske says:

    I use my hera marker on baby quilts, knowing that it doesn’t leave any residue. In fact I don’t even try to get ride of the marks, they just go away on their own. However I will probably have to buy a new marker soon since it is becoming blunt on it’s edge from constant use.

  9. Lori Brame says:

    Thoughtful ideas – I learned a lot from the details – Does anyone know where my assistant can get access to a blank TX TREC No. 38-4 version to fill out ?

  10. heather shinabarger says:

    If the marks reappear due to extreme cold, will they disappear again when the temperature warms up? I’m a bit afraid to mark with anything that has a chance of reappearing.

    • Amy Harward says:

      Dritz says “Marks may reappear on some fabrics, especially quilts. This is because the ink has imbedded in the fibers or moved into the batting. The ink will eventually migrate back to the top and reappear. As long as the marks are the original color, they are not permanent and will require soaking in plain water in order to successfully remove them. You may need to repeat the process or even soak overnight to remove all the residual ink.” They also say that if the original marking color has changed the markings are permanent. You will have to try to remove them with lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide, which are bleaching agents, so you need to be careful with those. The frixion pen is permanent if it reappears and Pilot suggests using either Amodex or Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3 stain removers. Hope that helps!

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