Free Sewing Tip: How To Use Tailor’s Tacks

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Video transcript:

Hi, I’m Pam Howard, and I’m a sewing instructor at I’m here to show you how to do tailor’s tacks. This is a way to mark your fabrics and leave a thread map instead of using chalks or pencils or any other type of marking that would leave an impression in your fabric that will never come out.

I’ve already done some tailor’s tacks here in the fold lines of this shirt front. And I’m going to show you to do the markings for where your pocket is on this shirt front, as well. All you’re going to do is get a length of thread. And this is just a cotton thread and a double-threaded needle, as you can see. Now all we’re going to do is take the needle and sew into both pieces of fabric and have the needle come back out. Leave enough length, and I’ll show you in just a few minutes why.

There’s also a pocket-top line that we’re going to mark. So I’m just going to sew into that line to tell you where the top of the pocket stops. Leave enough length. And then this is the other side of the top of the pocket. You’re going to make a marking right there. Now I’m sure you have a lot of questions. None of this makes sense until you take the pattern back off. And I’ll show you how to separate all these tailor’s tacks so that you’ll see that there are markings left on each pattern piece.

This is how you remove the pattern from the fabric, making sure not to take the tailor’s tacks along with the paper. We’re just going to put that to the side. And as you’ll see, I’m going to lift up one pattern fabric piece, and cut. So what I’m doing is leaving thread in both pieces of fabric. Lift it up enough so that you can cut and leave thread. That’s the first line. The next line, I did two tailor’s tacks to show me that’s a different line to be folded. And now we have the pocket section. Just pull it back enough so that you can leave thread in both pieces.

So we’ve cut our last tailor’s tack, and I’m going to show you that we’ve left thread in both pieces. And what you end up with is a mirrored image so that you know you have a left front and a right front, and that you’ve left a thread map in both pieces.

If you’d like to learn more classic tailored shirt techniques, the Classic Tailored Shirt, at

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