Quilt Marking ! What to use, what to steer clear of… Purple Chako Pen

Recently I had to decide what tool I could use to mark my Textile Art Quilts effectively.
I had used a light blue fade away pen, which kept drying out, was costly to replace and needed wetting to remove. After binning “another” one I looked around for an alternative….

I found a purple Chako pen. Great I thought, no need to wet. The pen marks just fade away. And fade away it did, too quickly in some spots. So quickly in fact, that by the time I had marked a design about 40cm’s wide, it had begun fading where I started. Very frustrating!
In cooler temperatures the fade rate would slow to days.. which sometimes became a problem as I would have to wait for it to fade before I could progress my art piece if I required the iron and couldn’t wet the piece.


Then I discovered that some areas would get really feint and nearly disappear, while other spots, where I’d started and ended a line for example, would fade – but stay. Luring me into thinking that they had faded and I could touch the piece with the iron. But alas, the marks were now permanent.
Trying to get a piece finished with a looming deadline I didn’t need a marker that I had to be careful of! It went in the bin.

So what to use to mark my fabric? Opening up a discussion on a Forum, asking what people recommended was the next move.
And it offered up some very interesting insights…

One responder, who was doing quilted works in a hot tempered climate with the locals as a business/charity venture used the Chako pen. In the hot temperatures, it became permanent and the delicate fabric and projects were ruined and unsellable.

Others more diligent at letting the pen fade, and even washing the quilt or fabric item before ironing have much better results with the pen. The pen itself does not dry out, so is good value for money.
But discussions on the pen concluded that it’s success depended on the project and the climate paid a big part in how quickly it would fade…or not!

I was unaware until I looked up the pen on the Adger website, that an eraser would take the marks off! Something to remember for next time.

The Adger website states..

“For dressmaking, handicraft, embroidery, artificial flowers, temporary line marking etc. Markings disappear spontaneously when left to stand for 1-14 days. Erasable easily and quickly by water and Eraser. Pink or Violet pens can write on paper, cloth, wool, wood, plastics etc.
Pink ink disappears faster than Violet ink. Disappearing time is 1-7 days for Pink ink and 2-14 days for Violet ink.
This may vary with material and size of the fabric and surroundings such as temperature, humidity and air circulation

4 thoughts on “Quilt Marking ! What to use, what to steer clear of… Purple Chako Pen

  1. I haven’t used this pen, but have seen the results of using a variety of pens. Consequently we stopped selling ANY sort of marking pen several years ago. Sometimes even those that fade or ‘wash out’ well are actually still there in residue and this becomes visible as the fabric rots. A quilt with a hole is not a pretty sight….

    Good post, thank you.


  2. Never liked the purple fade away pens – they do fade rather quickly in humid weather especially…. I prefer to use a chalk wheel or the wash out pen – some of these are better than others, but will also fade in humidity….


  3. Thanks for your marking posts. Very helpful. Especially the article about the pen showing up with flash photography. I never would have thought to check that!


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