My favorite fabric marking tools – Frixion pens

Change your (sewing) life with the Frixion pen for marking on fabric. Marks well and then disappears with heat.

There are few tools in the sewing room that could be called life-changing, but Hallelujah for the Frixion Pen!  OK so maybe that’s a little over the top but I love these pens so much I just can’t stop talking about them.  Whenever I recommend a fabric marker for one of my projects, I’ll always link out the these sweeties.

Alternative Fabric Markers


What do you use to mark fabric?  There are a number of different ways, some more modern (and some more effective) than others:

Tailors chalk?  In a variety of colors, doesn’t make a very sharp line, can be a bugger to then try to remove it without washing.  Drop it in the floor and it can break.  Tends to drag the fabric as you mark I find.  But its been used for years in all the best tailoring establishments and many still love it.  It might even come as standard in your beginner sewing kits.

Some kind of chalk marker?  I still use my very fine white CHACO chalk marker on black fabrics sometimes, but only on the back, because again it doesn’t usually all come off fully without washing. This has a loose chalk and a tiny wheel that distributes it as you draw a line.  Can be refillable.  Clear and accurate on dark fabrics.

One of those Hera fabric markers?  Basically this is just a way to make a temporary mark on fabric by pressing a small crease into it.  Not really a marker.  I don’t have one of these but it probably has a lot of other applications in the sewing room too as a pokey tool or for a quick finger press.

A traditional disappearing ink fabric marker?  Forget it.  These darned things are hopeless – supposed to fade slowly over 24 hours?  Nonsense.  I used to think it was me, but no, others say the same thing.  Go over and over the same place multiple times to create a faint purple line you can just barely see.  Turn your back for 30 seconds – the mark has already managed to disappear.  In fairness, it works better on some fabrics than others and it did stay longer when the pen was new.  Fades over time or can be removed with a damp cloth or washing.

I also fell for it and bought what was supposed to be a disappearing marker in white for marking black fabric.  Don’t make me laugh!  This was hopeless!

A pencil or regular writing pen? Yes you can use regular pens and pencils to mark fabrics too, but only on the edges or within seam allowances, sometimes on the back if you are sure it’s not going to show through to the front. Keep a Sharpie out of your sewing room.  Yes I picked up one by mistake and marked my fabric for a bag thinking it was a disappearing marker.

Or the world’s best fabric marker, the Frixion Pen !


More about the Frixion Pen

I’m sure it was never intended to be marketed to sewers, but now you’ll be seeing these popping up in sewing rooms all over the world.  Maybe you remember the original erasable writing pens from the 80’s called Erasermate.  It felt like magic at the time, ink that you can rub away, but in all all honesty they were pretty rubbish.  They never did write very well to begin with so no wonder they were so easy to rub off.

frixion pen for sewing

Now the erasable pen has new technology and is perfect for the sewing room.  The Frixion gel pen comes in a wide range of colors, writes beautifully just like a regular roller-ball pen and can be used on fabrics as well as all the other usual surfaces.

It has a fine nib and is easy to use, meaning you can mark accurately for better results when sewing.

To erase

The Frixion Pen uses a heat sensitive ink which means a quick blast with steam or an iron and its disappears.  Although one word of caution here – if you use your pen in a light color on a very dark background and go over it several times to make a clear line, it may leave a slight chalky residue when you erase it.  That will wash out though.

Change your (sewing) life with the Frixion pen for marking on fabric.  Marks well and then disappears with heat.

Ta dah – it’s like magic.  Now you can mark all over your fabric with abandon.

Where to get these miracles

I got mine from Amazon and got the multipack you see in the picture above, just because they are pretty and now I have lots of colors.

Amazon USA  or Amazon UK

You can also get them right off the shelf in good stationary stores.  Look out for Frixion Erasable Gel Pens.

For those with cold weather

I’d heard it said that because the ink is heat sensitive, in below freezing conditions it can come back again.  That’s not something I’ll ever have to worry about here in Cayman unless we have another Ice Age, so I popped my piece of fabric in the freezer over night to make sure it was good and cold.


Sure enough, the writing DID come back in the freezing conditions.  So if you plan to use your pens on projects that will be exposed to very cold conditions, left in a cold car overnight etc, then do make sure that you only mark on the reverse side, in seam allowances etc or places where the marks won’t suddenly show up on the face of your nice bag!


I couldn’t be bothered to get my iron out for a scrap of fabric so I carried out another kitchen experiment and popped it in the microwave for a few seconds.  That did the trick, the fabric warmed up and the ink disappeared again.  It’s a miracle I tell you.  You need one!

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21 Responses to My favorite fabric marking tools – Frixion pens

  1. Laura says:

    Tailor’s tacks for me; I have yet to find a washable pen or pencil that completely washes out.

  2. Kriss says:

    I’ve been using these Frixion pens for garment sewing for about a year, and so far, I love them. They also make them with a chisel point, which I prefer for heavier or looser weave fabrics. I have found these in neon and pastel shades, usually in an office supply store. Since I live in Vermont, I’ve been careful to only use them in markings that won’t be visible in the finished garment, just in case!

  3. Anne H. Izard says:

    I first saw these pens demonstrated by Beverly Johnson in her Craftsy bra-making class. With what I’ve learned since, I now limit them to seam allowances. I do have a funny store about the pens though. I downloaded Debby’s Wrap-Front Top Pattern & since the PDF prints out on copier-weight paper, I decided to trace it off in all of the sizes on medical exam paper, using a different color of my new Frixion Pens for each size. I loved being about to erase the ink when I would make the occasional mistake. I finished & got ready to put my pattern away, but wanted to flatten it before folding. I ironed the right side front (with all those pleat lines drawn in) & ALL the lines I had worked so hard to trace completely disappeared. Oops!

  4. CatheeB says:

    I love these pens. I have used them for several years. I do not quilt, so that isn’t an issue for me. I make lots of bags and purses. I like to use them for my placement lines. I just do a little tap, and do not draw the complete line. I have drawn a line on satin; and the ink disappeared but the line still showed meaning I could see in the fabric where I drew the line after the ink disappeared. I like to draw my sewing lines, and these pens are perfect. I would say, be careful where you mark, I, too, hated chalk. But I read somewhere that if you take a piece of the material that you used it on and rub it over the chalk like it would come off. That technique has worked for me, especially on black material!

  5. Kerry O'Meara says:

    Hi Deby, please have a good look around at others opinions on these pens. They are not recommended for use on fabric at all., There are 2 main chemicals in them which do not come out at all- after heating or washing. They are there forever. After all the work in a quilt, I wouldn’t use these pens to have the marks reappear, or worse in time to come, the fabric rots from the chemicals.

  6. farmquilter says:

    Just don’t send any quilt to a show if you use Frixion to mark where you want to quilt…the cold in the belly of the plane will bring those marks back…even can happen if you have washed the quilt. Someone had a quilt accepted into the show at Paduccah and when it got there, all the Frixion markings she had used were front and center – they refused to hang the quilt. I use Frixion to mark sewing lines for HSTs, but never, ever on the top of a quilt. Since I do lots of longarm quilting for others, I do lots of marking – usually the blue markers that come out with water or chalk.

  7. penster47 says:

    I keep a small sliver of hand soap in misc. basket on my machine. It’s perfect for marking. Even shows up on light colors, (not white) and totally washes out.

  8. These pens are amazing! The work fabulously for marking applique placement and for hand embroidery patterns. Thank you for sharing your information. Have a wonderful creative day!

  9. Jo R says:

    You definitely should try the Hera marker I especially love it for marking straight lines on quilts. The Frixion pens are amazing and so fun to erase with the iron – however, just make doubly sure to try it on a scrap piece of fabric first as it doesn’t always disappear completely from some fabrics! 🙁

  10. Marlene says:

    I,too, fell in love with the Frixon pens. Who wouldn’t? They seem to answer all our fabric marking needs. But, I noticed that even when I removed them with heat, sometimes the markings came back. I decided to NOT use them to make marks on quilts. Then, I read about the freezing and also the maker of the pens do not recommend them for fabric and do not market them to be used on fabric. They say the ONLY way to actually remove the ink is using some strange chemicals I’ve never heard of. Sadly, I have set what seemed to be little miracles aside for other uses. I will not use them on my precious fabrics and projects.

  11. Jennifer Wright says:

    I adore these ones and use then extensively. The only criticism is the fact that you cannot buy ‘bright’ ‘light’ colours. A clear yellow or a white even. I am sure the manufacturer can figure out how to make them. We ought to send them a letter of complaint lol

  12. Debbie says:

    I am going to buy a set of these. I noticed you using these in a tutorial video and they caught my attention.

  13. Fooniks says:

    Great post. I have heard many good things about Frixion pens. However I remember reading a post by someone on Instagram where she shared her story about a quilt that got ruined by Frixion pens. She had used the pens for a while now and after she finished a quilt, she noticed that the markings were coming back even after ironing and in above freezing temperatures. So she steamed the heck out of the quilt, the marks disappeared and she went to a convention. And when she got there, the markings came back, and the quilt was ruined.

    So I’d suggest testing the pen on the fabric you’re working on before making any markings in the middle of the fabric.

  14. emma says:

    sounds amazing. thanks for doing all the research for us. now i’m gonna go get me one of those friction pens 🙂

  15. STH says:

    I’ve had the best results with the water erasable pens, though the tips aren’t as fine as I would like. HATE using chalk, but it’s either that or tailor’s tacks if you’re working with dark fabrics.

  16. Dee says:

    I’ve had trouble with the Frixion pens bleaching some fabrics. Have you had this problem ?

    • I have seen on black fabric that if I go over and over a few times and then erase it can leave a white residue. I’m not sure it bleaches the actual fabric though. I hear the residues can be washed out with an ink removing stain treatment. But still best to use them to mark on the reverse or within seam allowances to be sure. They are a new product so as yet no one knows what the long term results might be.

  17. Tori says:

    I love these! I use them for my Bible marking but I never thought about using them for sewing, genius!

  18. Leila says:

    I tried Frixion pens on fabric, but since I iron as I sew, I’ve accidentally erased marks before I could use them! I do like using these pens for pattern drafting or making muslins, though, since you can mark various revisions in different colors, then erase everything with an iron once you establish the final lines. I mainly sew washable garments, and I’ve recently discovered Crayola Ultra-Clean washable markers for use on fabric. They work very well for most fabric and wash out completely, but I still have to use chalk or a chalk wheel on very dark fabric.

  19. Simka says:

    I have these and LOVE them.
    With back to school shopping, I was able to get some additional colors on sale as well.

  20. Donna says:

    What about if you wash it? does it still come back in freezing conditions?

What do you think?