Tailor Tacks are loose, looped, hand sewn stitches that are common in most sewing patterns. They are used for marking specific points on your fabric.
For example you will see markings on dress making patterns to indicate where your darts are to be sewn or where the pockets should be placed on a garment.
These markings must be transferred from the pattern to the fabric. Its a way of thread marking through the pattern pieces and the fabric all in one go to achieve accuracy. This is especially needed to ensure that your darts are positioned symmetrically on both sides of your garment.
So here is a step by step tutorial on how to sew a Tailor Tack.
You will need a hand sewing needle and a thread of a contrasting colour to your fabric.
Keep the paper pattern piece attached to your fabric pieces that you have cut out.
You will be sewing the tailor tack through all layers. (The pattern paper is still attached).
The pattern will indicate where a tailor tack is needed by circles that look like these in the photo. Each circle is numbered. That number represents a garment size. You will sew through one of these circles. Choose the one that matches the pattern size you have cut out.
Thread a needle with a strand of thread make it double thread. Make sure its a contrasting colour to your fabric so it creates a clear, obvious marking. (Don’t worry you will take these out eventually, so you won’t see it.) Do not knot the end. Start by making a small simple single stitch. Using the circle on the pattern as a guide, push your needle through the circle and into the fabric. Push it to the underneath, then bring it back up again to complete the stitch, as shown in the picture below.
Pull the needle and thread through to leave a reasonable thread tail.
Go back into the same hole/ area and take the needle and thread down and through to the underside of fabric ,making sure to leave a loose loop of thread showing on the top surface.
From the underside bring the needle and thread back up and though the hole/area again. Gently pull the needle through the fabric to bring the thread to the top surface. Make sure you leave a loose loop on the underside of the fabric.
Cut the thread from the needle, but be sure to leave a little tail of thread first.
Carefully remove the paper pattern, taking care to ease the tailor tack threads off the tissue paper so it doesn’t tear the pattern too much.
The tailor tacks will still be attached to the two layers of fabric.
Gently pull the 2 layers of fabric apart until you get to the tailor tacks. Continue to pull the fabric apart so you can see the threads. Snip through the middle of these threads. The tailor tack is now cut into two halves.
Make sure you leave enough thread on both the top and underneath side of the fabric when you cut through the tailor tack. You will have loops of thread on one side of the fabric and cut ends on the other.
You should now be left with 2 thread marks that are in exactly the same symmetrically placed, on the both the left, and right hand, side of the fabric.
And that’s it!
You now have Tiny little thread markings on both sides of the fabric.
Along with your pattern instructions, you can use these markings to create things like darts, align pockets. mark out your buttonhole placements etc. When you no longer need them, you just simply pull them out. They’re very loose threads so it’s easy to do.
Tailor Tacks are a very simple, usefulness and well known technique, that will improve your sewing significantly.