Product Review – Vintage Singer Skirt Marker

Vintage Singer Skirt Marker With pin Cushion.. circa 1930 – 1970

Seam Ripper Joe…. and his Sewing Machine posted a picture of this vintage Singer Skirt Marker he bought for $6.00 (USD) at an estate sale this week and graciously allowed me to write about his great find.  I was curious and amazed that I’ve never seen this invention and didn’t know that it existed.  I immediately posted a comment “Does it measure the length? And What does it do exactly?”  Joe responded, “Theoretically I believe it helps you mark the hem to make sure it’s even all around.  I do have to admit though, it didn’t come with a box or instructions so I’m going to have to hit the internet and study up on this one a little.”  I could definitely appreciate his response, because I didn’t know that it existed. My grandmother and mother always put the garment on, and had me or another family member pin the hem in place.

I must admit that curiosity had the best of me when I saw the picture. I shared the picture on So Sew Easy sewing chat on Facebook with two questions… “Does anyone know what this is? And what it does?” The comments poured in with fond memories, helpful tips on how to use it, pictures of other models during that time period, and new models used today. The model shown above has a metal guide used for hemming the skirt or dress, and comes with a pin cushion. This is normally a two person job.

During 1950 Singer found a way to allow an individual to hem their skirt or dress without any help from others.  I love the price of $1.98 (USD). The vintage skirt markers can still be found on Etsy and Ebay, but not for $1.98.  I found the average price for the vintage ruler, chalk and bulb was $9-$30 (USD).

The bulb and chalk were introduced in 1950.


Instructions on how to mark your hem.

This is an awesome find and a great learning experience for me.  I feel that I’ve missed out on this invention and found that others feel the same too. We wondered why they stopped making the markers? And why they went out of fashion? Until someone pointed out that there are new models, manufactures and some dress forms now with hem markers. I found the two pictures below on Amazon made by WAWAK, which are reminiscent of the vintage Singer design.

wakka Delux Chalk Marker


There’s even a Trouser Marker

Trouser Marker_wawak_1

 I so wish I found out about this while I was making my skirts! It’s time to get one for my self…

Stayed tuned there’s more to come from LaCartera!

Creative NEWS You Can USE!
Creative NEWS You Can USE!




12 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent Post Sheila, I had know idea other companies still made these. I’m still a little confused why the base starts at 8 1/2″ and then goes all the way up to 24″.

    1. lacartera says:

      Thank you Joe! The 24″ was used for mini and maxi skirts. And the 8 1/2″ is for longer length hems.

      1. Oh….I looked at it again and finally all made sense. Where you set it at is that many inches from the floor to where you pin it in the little grooved area. Geez…now I’m shocked I didn’t catch onto that quicker. It’s just the beginning number on the ruler kept on throwing me off.

      2. lacartera says:

        It threw me off too! I couldn’t grasp the concept of how it was used either. LOL! Now we know. Thanks again for sharing your great find. It’s been a great learning experience for me. Happy Sewing when you have the right tools. 😃

  2. Rebecca Ruch says:

    Thanks for the excellent post! I didn’t realize there were basically two different marking tools. I thought there was just the version for marking your own skirt, which would be handy in so many ways. I usually mark pants by pinning and then walking in front of my husband so he can’t see the television. I have no idea if my hems are right, but he always gives me an answer.

    1. lacartera says:

      You’re welcome, Rebecca. In the past I have taken inseam trouser measurements and sewed the hem. I’m so glad I found out about these tools too!

  3. I received one of these for Christmas and am still searching how it actually works…

    1. lacartera says:

      Well I hope this post was helpful. It’s easy to use. You will need to have your model stand over the ruler with the dress or skirt on for fitting and the metal bar helps you measure the exact length of where you want to hem the skirt or dress. You will pin the hem in place as the model turned around to make sure the skirt touched or rested on the metal bar. The newer maniquens have the metal slide bar for that same reason.

  4. I just saw your post when I was looking for an item like this one. I worked in the alterations department of a major department store during college. We used an item like the one pictured all the time for skits, dresses and bridal wear. You slide the metal part up and down to set the top of the metal piece in the area where you think the hem should go. You then slide the bottom of the garment into the opening of the metal part and close it over the fabric. The top of the metal piece is slotted across and allows you to insert a pin into the fabric. You go around the garment placing pins around evenly. You use the pin line to have an even hem and you decide where the hem should go by adjusting up one down from the pin line. I don’t think you can use this on yourself, but it is a great tool to ensure an even hem.

    1. lacartera says:

      Thank you for your comment! I couldn’t initially wrap my head around it’s use, but learned how useful it is. This is a great find! I’m glad that you can put things in perspective for us.

  5. FYI we never had the customer shift around, we did,, they were to unlikely to stand the same.

    1. lacartera says:

      That makes sense! 😀

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