Tailor's Tacks for Dalloway...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tailor's tacks are a super little way to transfer pattern markings onto your fashion fabric.

Because they are essentially a loop of thread, they stay in place where you need them to (and don't rub off!) and you can remove them easily, without leaving a trace.

When I talk about using tailor's tacks for marking the horizontal pleat lines on the Dalloway skirt, I'm not talking about the little teeny ones you might use on a bodice (though the technique is exactly the same). Nope, I'm talking about heavy duty tailor's tacks here guys.

They should be at least 2cm (3/4inch) long or bigger to be of any use to you when assembling and pressing in your pleat folds. So, how do you make a tailor's tack for the Dalloway skirt horizontal pleats?


  • Dalloway skirt paper pattern (both the skirt and underlining pieces)
  • Fashion fabric
  • Needle
  • Contrasting thread (using a contrasting thread makes it so much easier to see your tacks!). You can use silk if this if your preferred thread for pattern marking, but I use regular ol' polyester thread.

1. I talk about using 3-4 tailor's tacks per 'line' to mark your Dalloway skirt horizontal pleats. The important thing is that they all sit horizontally, directly on top of a marked pattern line. They do not need to be neat and all matching up to each other between the different lines though.

These markings are there for you to be able to fold and stitch your pleats in accurately and will be taken out eventually, so there is no need for neatness (except along each individual line).

The red lines on top of the skirt underlining pattern above mark out where you might choose to place your heavy duty tailor's tacks. As you can see, while they don't have match up between each line, they are all placed accurately along each line.

You are also more than welcome to use more or less, depending on how confident you are feeling. I have found that 3 is perfect for me, but when I was first testing Dalloway, I think I used 5 or 6 per line!

2. Take your needle and thread it with one long piece of your contrasting thread (you will need to re-thread as you go, so how long you make it is up to you!). Don't knot the end.

Generally you'd double thread your needle for small tailor's tacks, but because you'll be doing so many, I tend to use a single thread.

3. Take your needle, line it up with one of the skirt pattern lines and thread through all layers of paper pattern and fabric (since the skirt is cut on the fold, that will be three layers total). Leave a long tail.

4. Since we're making big tacks, move along the line 2cm or so and come back up, making sure you are coming through the marked line on the pattern. Don't pull too tightly, you'll want a little loop at the back.

5. Go back through the first stitch you made, and then come back up the second - again, don't pull too tightly. Then, leaving a long tail, cut your needle loose.

You've now made a tailor's tack! Repeat these steps for as many tacks as you need before proceeding.

6. Cut the top loops of your tacks and gently remove the paper pattern sitting on top.

7. Gently pull your two layers of fabric apart, being careful not to pull your thread all the way past the top layer (this is why you should leave long tails), and cut to divide your tack.

Now you'll have a bunch of nice little neat rows of tailor's tacks spanning across your entire skirt ready for you to press in your pleats!


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