How to make- and use- tailor’s tacks
You know how on dress making patterns, they often have marks for darts or buttons maybe, but the dots for them are right in the middle of the pattern? You can’t draw them out, and if you’re not using carbon paper to mark your pattern onto the fabric you may wonder how to transfer them onto the fabric when you’re making them. You need the age-old dressmaking favourite- the tailor’s tack!
Tailor’s tacks are loose bits of thread through your fabric that pull out simply once you no longer need them. They’re great on cottons, knits (if you’re careful and don’t snag) and some synthetic fabrics but be aware that they are not great on silk, leather, and other sensitive materials where the puncture hole will show once the garment is complete.
I learned how to do these in dressmaking class about 18 months or so ago and they’re really useful, here’s how you do it!
1) Cut a nice long bit of contrasting thread and thread through the needle, doubling it up so that the tail is equal length.
2) With your pattern still pinned to the fabric, insert your needle through the pattern and the fabric (both layers if folded or cutting two!) and back up from one side of the dot to the other.
3) Don’t pull tight, leave a decent size loop of thread and reinsert through the same hole in the same direction. I like to do this a total of three times, leaving an equal size loop each time.
4) Take off your needle and trim so that the thread is the same length each side of the dot, then cut through the loops you made.
5) Take off the pattern and start to pull the fabric layers apart. Making sure you don’t pull the top threads through completely, snip the threads equally between layers so that the stitches remain on both pieces of fabric.
Now you can use these dots for accurate darts, etc and the bit of thread simply put or brush out once you’re done!