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tailor tacks

user-295555 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am looking for a good description on how to create tailor tackd. Does anyone have a full proof method?



  1. rjf | | #1

    Wow!  I haven't thought about tailor tacks for years!  But what you do is get a big needle threaded with double thread, no knot.  Sock darning thread is good because it's not slippery.  At the place where you want the tailor's tack, take a small stitch   leaving at least an inch-long tail , then make another small stitch perpendicular to the first.  Don't pull it tight but leave a loop about an inch-long and a tail about an inch long.  If you hold the thread tight, you can pull the pattern right off.  Then separate the layers and clip the threads between.   As I remember, this was a safe way to mark fabric but you had to be careful about the tacks as they had a tendency to fall out on the way to the sewing machine.                rjf

    1. Michelle | | #2

      I guess you could call me 'old fashioned', but I _still_ prefer using the tailor tacking as a method of marking - however, I've never heard of using extra thick thread for tacking- I simply use a different colour thread. 


    2. carolfresia | | #3

      I thought I was the only one whose tailor tacks fall out! I really think I must be doing something wrong, because they're always disappearing if I do them the way I learned from books. So now, if I really need them, I take a couple of stitches in place so they stay put, and also, of course, use a contrasting thread color. Here's a tip, though: if you're putting tailor tacks in white or very light pastels, use white thread. darker colored thread can deposit lint that will never go away.


      1. rjf | | #4

        The dark colored thread on white fabric tip is a good idea.  Actually I like the round headed straight pins for markers: one straight through the top and one straight through the bottom and when you take the pattern off, finish pinning through each layer separately.  You can pull the pattern up by hanging on to the bottom pin and you'll which creates a small hole through the pattern when removing it.  Much faster and more accurate than tailor tacks.                       rjf                                    

        1. carolfresia | | #6

          I use pins almost always, too, but since most of my patterns are traced off onto a non-woven, non-paper material (like Pellon), I can't pull the pattern pieces off over the pins--but it's not too big a deal to pin through, peel the pattern back a bit, and position another pin under it. For marking those dots where yo align inset corners, though,  do use thread tacks mostly because they're very accurate and flexible when you're sewing in a tight spot. Occasionally one of those removable marking pens works, but I've gotten a little scared of using them on light colors, since pressing over the marks can make them permanent.

          My most recent, and somewhat unexpected, marking challenge was when I was sewing a jacket in black wool boucle with a very loose weave. Pins and threads just slid right out, clips in the seam allowances ravelled instantly, and I couldn't find anything that would make a decent, lasting mark. I ended up having to mark each piece just before sewing it, so that whatever method I chose (mostly little clips and some pins) was still there and visible by the time I needed it. I think a thread tack made with several stitches in place would have worked, but I was too lazy! There, I've said it...laziness and shortage of time dictate many of my sewing decisions, and not, alas, always for the better!


          1. rjf | | #7

            Okay......is it tailor tacks? tailor's tacks? tailors' tacks? Maybe it's "tailor's tack" when it's singular and "tailor tacks" when it's plural.  Say the preceding very fast three times and you win a piece of tailor's chalk.

            I think a pin marking an inset corner works pretty well because I can put the reinforcement stitching just inside the seam line right to the pin and turn the corner very accurately.  Then I clip right to the corner and sew the seam with the clipped piece on top but pinned only to the turn.  When I get to the turn, everything gets rearranged.  Sometimes the fabric needs a bit of reinforcement at that point but when making a shirt from stuff like broadcloth, it doesn't seem necessary. 

            Do sewists still use broadcloth?  I wonder where that name came from.     rjf

          2. carolfresia | | #9

            The Threads style sheet doesn't seem to have tailors' tacks (or whatever is our accepted variation) on it, so I really don't know. My instinct is that is should be tailors' tacks, but I'll bet tailor tacks is accepted...

            Isn't broadcloth fabric woven on a broadloom? I thought that's where the name came from. I don't remember where I read that--if I do, I'll post the source.

            Colored sticky dots is a very good idea, esp. for dark fabrics like my black boucle. Thanks for the suggestion!


    3. user-295555 | | #5

      Thank you , I will be working with fine fabrics and do not want to risk any marks.

      1. Crafty_Manx | | #8

        Those sticky adhesive dots (from office supply stores) work well for marking delicate fabrics (just test to make sure you don't leave an adhesive mark, and never iron over them!)  You could get several and color-code them: green for dots, red for notches, and so on.


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