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The ultimate guide to pattern markings!

Hello Makers!

I've been reading a lot lately about technical things in quilting and sewing. Since I'm a sewing beginner I've found myself lost when it comes to reading pattern markings. One good thing about it is that you don't have to worry about learning everything by heart. Most patterns  have a standardize markings which makes it easier for us to remember them.  After doing all my research I thought it would be very cool to make a graphic for you guys to save or print. This graphic contains the pattern markings you should know when working with a pattern.  

Pattern markings

Well, I know it still looks a little confusing but let me explain you more about each marking!

Grainline Mark

  • Is a horizontal line with arrows pointing out on either end. Line this up with the grain of your fabric as you position your pattern pieces. 

 Fold Line

  • The Fold Line indicates which edge of the pattern piece is aligned with the fabric fold. You should place the solid line running underneath the arrow onto the fold.

Cutting Lines

  • The cutting lines on a pattern are the lines you use when cutting out the pattern pieces (first cutting them out of the paper pattern and then cutting them out of fabric)
  • If a pattern comes in one size only, most of the times the cutting line is a solid line and the seam lines which indicates where you would sew on the fabric are dotted or dashed.

  • If a pattern comes in multiple sizes, the cutting line uses a different design or style for each size.


  • These diamond or trapezoid shaped symbols were used to layout pieces when pattern matching is an issue (see Guideline 3.110), but they are also used to help position adjoining project pieces for seaming.

Lengthen/ shorter line

  • This mark is a double line that is parallel to the grain line. Is used to add or take away length. It is  useful on dress bodices where you can use it to adjust the waistline to hit you at the proper spot. 

Bust & hip indicators

  • The circle with crossed lines in it indicates the where the pattern has been designed to land on specific body measurements. You will see these circles indicating the bust point, waistline and hip. 

Miscellaneous Markings

  • These small shapes are usually positioned at the neckline or armholes of a pattern (though they can technically show up anywhere). These are used to indicate the point at which you should match up two pieces of the pattern, such as fitting a sleeve into an armhole.

Button/ Buttonholes

  •  A solid line with dash marks at each end is used to mark buttonholes and large x’s mark button locations.


  •  Broken lines and dots indicate exact stitching location and make it easy to match up the two sides for stitching.

Tucks & Gathers

  •  These markings resemble a square that is missing one line. The dots at the bottom indicate where to pull in the fabric to make it meet in the middle, and the vertical lines and dots at the top indicate where to sew your stitches.

Pattern Key

  • They are designed to keep your pattern right side up or down when cutting.  Be sure to match this to your pattern cutting instructions. 

Fabric Key

  •  These squares refer to your fabric, interlining and lining.  They are designed to keep your fabric placement in check.


Well, I hope you guys find this chart very helpful. Stay tuned for my next post where I will be talking about more  helpful crafty things!

Talk to you soon, 







Beth Galvin on September 21, 2016. "Sewing Pattern Markings, Explained!" N.p., 09 Sept. 2016. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Group, The Abbey. "Welcome to!" Pattern markings. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

"Understanding Pattern Markings." The Sewing Loft. N.p., 14 Mar. 2017. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.