Making Tailor's Tacks and Pleats


Multistrand embroidery floss works well for making tailor’s tacks because it’s thick and won't pull out readily. I also use a chenille needle, which is sharp and has a large, easy-to-thread eye.

Make one small stitch through both layers of fabric on each pattern mark, leaving at least ½-in. tails at each end (1).

💡 1. Mark darts with tailor's tacks, leaving 1/2-in. tails.
Mark darts with tacks

Slowly peel the pattern tissue from the tacks without tearing it. Carefully pull open the fabric layers so that there is enough thread between them to clip the tacks and leave tails (2).

💡 2. Pull the fabrics apart and clip the tacks.
Pull the fabrics apart and clip the tacks

These tacks on the inside (right side) of the cloth will be more uniform lengths, so you will be able to tell the right side of the fabric from the wrong side at a glance.

To mark any pleats or tucks, try using two different colors of embroidery floss to mark each set. Later, you'll be able to match the sets easily. (See p. 61.)

To mark a dart, make snip marks to mark the tops of the legs. Use tailor’s tacks to mark the midpoints and tip of the dart. Then sculpt the dart by connecting the tacks with a hip curve and a fine-line chalk marker (3), and you'll have an easy-to-follow stitching guide.

💡 3. Use chalk and a hip curve to mark dart lines on the wrong side of the fabric.
mark dart lines on the wrong side of the fabric

Don't machine-stitch over tailor's tacks, they can get caught in the stitches and be tricky to pull out.

Instead, baste or mark the area carefully, remove the tacks, then stitch by machine.

(Voir (pg 49 of howto)