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How to Create a Notched Tuck

Our inspiration has metallic embroidery sewn over the tucks.
The template is indispensable and will help you get accurate spacing and consistent, well-laced notches.

You can use this irresistible tuck treatment on anything you sew. It would look great on a decorative pillow, a lovely blouse, or as shown here, on a sophisticated crepe dress. Plan the tucks before you cut the fabric. Then, add the necessary space to your pattern. Sew the tucks before cutting the pattern so you'll have some room to adjust, if needed. This amazing effect comes together far more easily than you would guess.

Line up and baste folds into shape

Start by planning a template for the tucks. The tucks shown were drafted on graph paper spaced six squares to the inch. The template is indispensable and will help you get accurate spacing and consistent, well-laced notches. The template shown is for one half of the tucked unit. The wide blue lines are the vertical and horizontal centers of the complete tucked motif. For each tuck, you form the notches first, then stitch the tuck.

1. Chart the pattern. Plan the tuck and notch spacing on graph paper, following the diagram below. Draw a vertical red line every 10 squares for five lines. These are the mountain folds. Draw a blue line four squares to the left of each red line for the valley folds and tuck stitching line. Follow the spacing on the illustration for placing the notches and center each on a red line.

notched tucks

2. Machine- or hand-baste the tuck foldlines on your fabric that match the red lines on the template.

notched tucks

stitchhappy judith neukam, senior technical editor
Posted on Aug 13th, 2012 in sewing, design, garment construction, All How-To, tucks, notched tuck

Comments (16)

MrsTIm07 MrsTIm07 writes: Please make a How To video of this. I think it would help a lot of people out. Can't wait to try this,
Posted: 1:35 am on September 1st

BretonDreamer BretonDreamer writes: This is very very cool!!
Posted: 10:23 pm on August 22nd

Daylily1940 Daylily1940 writes: What a great idea for pillows.

Posted: 8:30 pm on August 20th

smockerlady smockerlady writes: Wow, I really love this and hope to make some time to try this out..........looks fantastic on the dress, and as you say would be lovely on either clothing or home furnishings.

Thank you so much for sharing this technique.
Posted: 7:25 am on August 19th

smockerlady smockerlady writes: Wow, I really love this and hope to make some time to try this out..........looks fantastic on the dress, and as you say would be lovely on either clothing or home furnishings.

Thank you so much for sharing this technique.
Posted: 7:25 am on August 19th

Lide Lide writes: Oh, I absolutely love this. Can't wait to try it - will certainly give an old dress pattern a new flair! Thank you, Judith!


Posted: 10:28 pm on August 16th

Concordiabelle Concordiabelle writes: Beautiful! A wonderful detail for a "plain" garment. Judy's typically concise directions break the complicated-looking process into doable steps! Thank you.
Posted: 11:19 am on August 16th

Sewista Sewista writes: I taught classes in "shark's teeth" some years back. This effect is similar but a different type of construction than the traditional heirloom method. I like that this method actually sews and turns the tucks. In the heirloom method they are cut, turned under on the right side to make the points and then then secured by topstitching on the tuck stitching line, not the greatest technique for a beautiful crepe but great for a sharp linen. I really like this idea, Judith, and am anxious to try it. Thanks.
Posted: 5:31 am on August 16th

Hunny Hunny writes: Judith Neukam, My Hero! :)
Love Everything you share with us. Can't wait to try this.
Posted: 9:14 pm on August 15th

SansSouci572 SansSouci572 writes: This is shark's tooth? I have Martha Pullen's book, a huge one, about heirloom sewing, and always meant to figure out how to do some of these things, but make them current. Another one I want to do is smocking.

This is my kind of "art to wear."
Posted: 2:31 pm on August 15th

prairiesewist prairiesewist writes: Beautiful! Reminds me of the "old" Threads with pictures of fabulous vintage clothing on the back cover. Thanks for the instructions.
Posted: 9:06 am on August 15th

Knitnut Knitnut writes: I have never seen this before and LOVE IT! I can't wait to try this. Thank you THREADS for keeping me inspired and for giving us such easy to follow instructions with great photos. You ROCK!
Posted: 8:44 am on August 15th

gailete gailete writes: Fantastic idea! Amazing what a little time can do to make something over the top when you don't have funds to buy trim or embellishments. I love the idea because it is so 'grown' up for us older women that want to do something special with our clothes but not look silly.
Posted: 7:17 pm on August 14th

user-1119825 user-1119825 writes: Looks great! I didn't realize at first that this was a version of "shark's teeth" from Martha Pullen. This looks more grown up andis definitely easier too.
Posted: 7:12 pm on August 14th

MysteryWoman MysteryWoman writes: Gorgeous! Absolutely Gorgeous!! What a great decorative idea!! You can't go wrong with a little fabric manipulation. Thanks Judith!
Posted: 4:42 pm on August 14th

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: She did it again! This time it's fabric manipulation made understandable.

Mostly magic, with a little mischief, that's Judith Neukam.
Posted: 1:33 pm on August 14th

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