How Do You Mark Notches?

how do you mark notches1 How Do You Mark Notches?

How do you mark notches? This question came up when I was cutting fabric for a mock-up at work. I, like I always do, marked the notches by cutting a slit halfway into the seam allowance. My coworker, however, suggested that I cut exterior triangles (the triangle would point away from the pattern) on the perimeter of the pattern that would be trimmed off after sewing. Her reasoning was legit – marking notches her way prevents from cutting too far into the seam allowance and sometimes into the actual garment. Even though it is a better way to work, I have stuck to marking notches with slits for no other reason than habit but maybe I should consider a change. How do you mark your notches? Do you cut exterior or interior triangles or do you cut slits? Maybe you have a completely different method of cutting notches that I’ve never heard of. Please do share…

tags: Construction, Fashon, Pattern Making Comments: 29

29 Comments
  1. Inna

    In most cases I mark notches with the chalk/invisible markers. I saw my grandmother doing this when I was little and I unconsciously use it as well. In my sewing school, we are taught to do the same as you – clip the halfway into the seam allowance. But working with silks or other delicate fabrics, I am afraid of cutting too deep into the garment. So chalk works best for me. Another way of marking notches – leaving pins as marking points.

    Reply
    • maddie

      Invisible marker is a good idea. I use it for various other things but wouldn’t have thought to use it for marking notches. Thanks!

      Reply
  2. Kat

    I do the same as you and cut into the seam allowance. Sometimes I just mark them with pins but then when I start sewing they can get in the way.

    Reply
    • maddie

      I feel your frustration – pins get in the way.

      Reply
  3. Novita

    I always cut slits too to mark notches, it’s the most practical way! Sometimes I mark with pins too when I forgot to mark the notches when cutting the pieces. With more fragile fabric, I use washable fabric marker. Pattern pieces for underwear are very small and has lots of notches, so invisible marker is the best way :)

    Reply
    • maddie

      My next sewing project is lingerie so your tip on using invisible marker for marking notches on these type of patterns/garment is a great tip. Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Elaray

    I’ve clipped into the seam allowance for decades. I’m careful not to clip too far and I’m never had a problem. I use a rotary cutter and I can’t even imagine trying to cut outside Vs with a rotary cutter. Another reason, I trace all my patterns and I’d have to take the time to trace the outside Vs first. Way too much effort.

    Reply
    • maddie

      When my coworker suggested making outside/exterior V notches, that’s exactly what I thought – that it would take way too much time and effort. If I’m careful while marking, clipping into the seam allowances is just as effective and so much easier.

      Reply
    • maddie

      That thing looks awesome! Thanks for the link.

      Reply
  5. sallie

    I used to cut out little “v”s into the seam allowance for my notches – or – because I was lazy, chalk mark them. But I recently started cutting my “v”s out, like your coworker suggested. I actually like it much better! I feel like it takes much less time and somehow is more accurate ?

    Reply
    • maddie

      How do you cut out the outside V’s? I would do it but it seems likes more work

      Reply
  6. Ginger

    Oh, I just cut slits into the seam allowance. I didn’t really know how to freehand cut notches outside the pattern– it always seemed like it would be inaccurate to me.

    Reply
    • maddie

      That’s exactly my problem, I don’t know how to go about cutting exterior/outside V notches. Interior/inside V notches I can do, they’re self explanatory, but i hesitate with exterior/outside V notches.

      Reply
  7. Qui

    I have used slits, but sometimes they blend in too well and I have a hard time locating them. So lately I’ve cut a small v notch into the seam allowance. It’s easy to spot and easy to make even after I’ve cut all the pieces out.

    Reply
  8. Michelle

    I need to take up sewing…

    Reply
  9. indigorchid

    I use a pattern notcher to notch my paper patterns, and then I trace, usually using chalk or soap (I prefer soap, it goes away easily when you need it to, plus it’s a nice way to use up that last sliver of the soap bar!). I’ve never had a problem with fragile fabrics fraying, but I guess I’d just snip a very small notch.

    I think outwards triangles would really slow me as I’m cutting – right now I cut, and after each continous line, I go back and make sure I snip the notches on that side. There is a rythm to is I guess!

    Reply
    • maddie

      I’ve never heard of using a bar of soap as chalk. What a great idea.

      Reply
    • Nethwen

      I tried using soap, but it didn’t mark clearly. Either the fabric wouldn’t take the color, or I couldn’t get enough of an edge on the soap and the lines were broad and inaccurate.

      I used a chalk/washable pencil (or a real pencil if I don’t care about leaving marks). I was taught to do the outside triangles, but it took too long and, therefore I was inaccurate with it.

      Reply
  10. Seraphinalina

    I’m another chalk marker. I just add some lines where it’s needed. It’s pretty easy, but that hole puncher seam marker sure looks cool.

    Reply
  11. Rochelle New

    I draw the triangles to the inside with chalk. No cutting involved, and it takes the same amount of time to do if you’re tracing your patterns anyways. :)

    Reply
  12. Amy

    I cut little slits, even in tiny seam allowances. (I the outside triangles for years, though, as that’s how older commercial patterns used to look before they were multi-sized, but ha, the less corners I have to cut, the better!) If the sa is small or fabric super ravel-y I’ll mark a chalk dot near the edge. I love those pattern notchers!

    Hope you had a great trip!

    Reply
  13. Amanda

    I draw them outwards as I’m tracing and then cut them that way as well; better safe than sorry ;)

    Reply
  14. dixie

    Chalk or pins. Usually pins ’cause they’re most likely to be on hand when I’m already pinning pattern pieces to fabric. For some reason I dislike having to clip with scissors. Maybe I’m just too lazy to go find my scissors. I think laziness dictates most of choices when I’m sewing.

    Reply
  15. Sewing Princess

    I never marked notches because they are hardly there in Burda patterns and I was not taught in my sewing course. I find notches are more present in US/UK patterns. So…I can happily do without actually although I find them useful. When there are notches I snip into the seam allowance.
    Ah, and I also use soap instead of chalk…it’s much more flexible.

    Reply
  16. Izabelle

    I’m pretty snip-happy when it comes to notches. In school they always taught knits have the outward triangle ones but they’re a PITA to cut around.

    Reply
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