A coworker of mine is making her daughter-in-law's wedding dress. The fabric is a creamy off white and the chalk she has used to mark the skirt is pink. After marking all her darts and pleats she has discovered that even after washing a test swatch, the chalk marks can still be seen faintly. Does anyone have any ideas on how she can remove these chalk marks? Thank you in advance for any tips or ideas you can offer.
Kinda depends on the chalk. If we're talking regular tailor's chalk (which kind of resembles grammar-school chalkboard chalk in its texture and brush-off-ability), then going at it with a fine dry brush (like a clean toothbrush) might take it off, though I wouldn't recommend washing it first, since that might drive the chalk dust further into the weave of the fabric. Tailor's chalk comes in white and blue, and it's shaped like a square, about 2" on a side.
Sometimes you can find a similar marking tool which is actually wax like a crayon (not chalk), which won't come out unless you dry clean it. Depending on the wax and the color of the fabric, you can make it 'disappear' by ironing it (thus melting and diffusing the wax), but the chances of this happening with off white fabric are slim to none.
If she's using a marking paper and wheel, again she might have the "chalk or wax?" problem. Most new marking papers are made from chalk, so they will dust off, but I know I've accidently used my mom's old waxed marking paper that refuses to come off.
So long story short, I would try dusting the chalk off with a toothbrush, or ironing it if it has a wax base. Test swatch it first, since both of those methods run the risk of driving the color further into the fibers.
Something else that occured to me: depending on whether the fabric she used has a right/wrong side, she might want to try using the marked side as the 'wrong' side, and thus marks won't be a problem (since they'll be on the inside).
Hope that helps!