Free Sewing Tip: How To Sew a French Tack

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Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Pam Howard, and I’m a sewing instructor for I’m going to give you a little tip about how to make a thread chain, or what’s also commonly known as a French tack.

Where you’d use this is in a garment where you also have a lining. You want to make sure that, as you wear the garment, the lining doesn’t move around a lot. And, as you remove the garment, the lining also doesn’t travel with you when you take the garment off. So this is just a technique, as you see, where I only lift up the seam allowance. If you were to sew through the entire thing, you’ll see that you’ll be on the outside of the garment. So what you’re going to do is lift the seam allowance up about three quarters of an inch higher than the hemline. You’re going to go put your needle in and sew a couple of passes to anchor that in. And then, once it’s anchored, I’ll show you the technique.

If you hold on to the thread that’s attached to the needle-end in one hand and wrap it around your finger, you’re going to use your other hand to hand-crochet that piece of thread until you get another length to create the French tack.

So you’re making an opening, you’re pulling the thread through to create a loop. Then pull all the way down to anchor that. And, again. You’re going to continue to do that same movement. As you notice, on my right hand, I’m holding the thread so that there’s enough tension there to create your thread loops. And as you see, you’re getting a little length on that tack. And just readjust as you go along.

You want to keep going with this until you get about five eighths of an inch to three quarters of an inch long. And the reason for that is that you want it long enough to maintain enough distance between your lining and your garment, but not so close that as you walk, the lining starts to pull, and the garment buckles at the hem. So I think we’ve got a couple more to go to get the length that we need, which will be about five eighths of an inch. And then the last thing you do on this side, is to put the needle through the loop so that you can close it up. That stops the looping process.

What you’re going to do now is pick up the lining portion. I’m going to turn this around so you can see more of the lining. There’s your French tack. So now we need to reach for the lining. As you see, we’ve got a seam that’s pressed open in the garment, and a seam that’s pressed open in the lining. So you’re going to just lay those close enough together to see where they meet. And on the same side of the seam that you put the French tack, you’re going to then go in about the same level up—about five eighths of an inch up from the hem—and pull that tack all the way back down to the hem. And then anchor it in so that the finished in gets close down to the lining. And then sew a couple more passes through so you can anchor it down well. And then we’ve got the loop, where we can make our knot. Two passes through the loop. And that knots it off.

So now all you have to do is cut it off. And here’s your French tack to hold the lining next to the garment, so that when it hangs freely, you can’t even tell that there’s a French tack, and that you have the extra added stability of that lining not being able to travel through when you remove the garment.

That’s just a little tip for you. If you’d like to learn more about a class I’m teaching, it’s called the Classic Tailored Shirt. I’m Pam Howard at

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