Contraption in Action – The Mini Max Singer Skirt Marker

I had mentioned that I waited 3 weeks to hem up my circle skirt. That was due to getting this little nifty vintage notion via Ebay. Before I purchased this one, I went ahead and purchased one of those Dritz hem markers from my local fabric store. Um….it was more than disappointing. When I got it home from the store, I promptly took it out of the package, poured the powder into that spray thing and started squirting some pants I had on. The powder was white, mind you, and my pants were dark grey. And yet, I could barely see the chalk line. Not to mention, the more I started looking at the actual marker tower I noticed that indeed, the tower was crooked. Next day, took it back. Got a full refund, even though I had opened it. So sad really. They just don’t make sewing notions like they used to.

After that fiasco, I started looking around online at some vintage hem markers. I found some that were the chalk spray type, but decided that I didn’t want to go that route. Then I saw a host of these pin markers on Etsy. I thought, “Why not?” Lurked around a little more and found this one for mini-skirts on Ebay, not that I’m going to make a mini, but you never know right? But now it’s mine! And it came in the original box!

So what makes these contraptions so great? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we. For one thing, these have metal and wood parts. Enough said there. You have the base, which usually comes with a pincushion (how very handy, if I say so myself). Then you have the ruler which is attached with a screw to the base. Next you have the actual metal pinmarker. This part slides over the ruler and is tightened or loosened with a wingnut screw. I used mine on my Linda-Hop Skirt. First, I tried on my skirt and marked it where I wanted the hem to be. Next, I took off the skirt and put it on Ms. P, adjusted the pinmarker to the height of the pin I marked the skirt hem at and Voila! started marking my skirt all the way around by sandwiching the skirt fabric between the marker and the ruler.

These things work really great for circle skirts. Really great. Not to mention they are so easy to use that if you didn’t have a dressform, you can get your significant other or a friend to mark your skirt for you. Seriously, they are THAT easy to use. AND, since the pin is pushed through the fabric at 4 different points (rather than the regular 2), it really doesn’t fall out. I always have that problem, you know, the pins falling out of the fabric while pinning things up, in the carpet, where I can’t find the darn pins. Won’t happen here. Promise.

Do you have one of these? You need one, if you don’t. Seriously, these are the COOLEST gadgets out there. Simply brilliant.

  • Myrna - These are the best of the hem markers. I really like mine. Enjoy.
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  • D@FrenchCollections - I WANT ONE NOW!! I’ve been disappointed with hem markers forever now I want one (especially since I have a circle skirt planned…). Thank you so much for this hint! By the way, your pictures always look so nice, what camera do you use?
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  • Angie - Wow that is pretty much the coolest thing ever! Now I must hit up ebay asap!
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  • Angela - How cool is that!! Thanks for sharing!
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  • Seemane (aka Claire) - Oh dear me… I feel another frantic eBay/Etsy search in my immediate future LOL!
    That looks so cool – plus I’m luvin’ the animation of it in action v. cute :)
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  • lap - “Contraption in Action” is the greatest blog subject title ever. Please consider making it recurring.
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  • Patty - Hmmmm…. take one ruler, a handmade pinchusion and some ingeniuousness… I’m seeing another cupcake goddess product offering!
    Really? could a partner do it? I’m curious about these sorts of things, but don’t have a dress form and dont’ think Mr. Bug would be up for the job!
    Also, you win the award for best tutorial animation ever!
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  • Darci - I HAD one of those and didn’t know what to do with it! I’m sure I made someone at Goodwill REALLY happy that day‚Ķ crumb!!
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  • melissa - That’s really cool! I’ve never seen that kind before, only the crappy powder kind. Thanks for walking us through how it works!
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  • Samantha - I’m so glad I stumbled onto your site. :)
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  • A Sewn Wardrobe - A contraption is the perfect description for this! How funky!
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  • Ana - Oh wow, I thought those things weren’t available any more. My mum has one and I have several childhood memories of standing precariously on a stool while she pinned up hems on various dresses and skirts. You can’t beat them!
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  • Stephanie - Like the contraption, but o.m.g. that animation graphic rocks my world!
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  • Tasia - What a cool tool! (Haha, that rhymes…) That’s such a great item to have in your collection, and now you’ll have perfectly marked hems on all your circle skirts. I love the animated photo, how cool is that?
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  • Tamsin - That is amazing! what a simple idea and you little video is fab too!
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  • Corvus - That looks all sorts of useful!
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  • Alexandra - Oh hey, I have one of those. Picked it up in a thrift store. I didn’t realize that contraption was for pins!
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  • Gail - I needed one of these so badly on my last project.
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  • Gertie - I have one of these but it’s super short! It only goes up to 20″. It’s from the 50s when tea length was all the rage. I love yours does mini skirts! How mod!
    I just saw that they sell them new on this website. I’ve been meaning to order one for a while now.
    http://www.bblackandsons.com/pin-skirt-marker-p-539.html
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  • kaitui_kiwi - I remember our next door neighbour came over to hem my school skirts and she had one of these. I thought it was so cool :) I used the similar attachment on my dress dummy just recently and produced a perfect hem, I was so pleased :)
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