Technique of the Week

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Have you ever noticed those little circles on your pattern? The ones at seemingly random points that you’re supposed to mark? Have you ever struggled to mark them? Well, friends, struggle no more, for I have learned about Tailor Tacks, and am going to share this super-easy technique.

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Circley-thing of infamy, and a sewing needle.

First, thread a sewing needle- as small and maneuverable as you can bear- this will make the fiddly bits a little less fiddly. Double the thread, but don’t knot it (well, I suppose you can, but it found knots ended up getting in the way later).

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How cute are my nails? Like, seriously cute, right?

Make a small stitch through the centre of the dot, going through both layers of your fabric, as well as your pattern tissue (or plastic, if you’re me- a technique I will discuss at a later date). Pull it through, leaving a tail of about 2-3cm (so the unknotted end won’t pull out as you work).

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It was really hard to do this with one hand and photograph with the other.

Put the needle through the same holes again, but don’t pull the stitch through completely- leave a loop about an inch high. I found it useful to loop it around my thumb and hold it in place. Repeat this so that you have 2 matching loops .

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Like a bunny ear. On a one-eared bunny.

Now, gently pull the pattern off the stitching. I sliced gently through the plastic with the blade of an NT cutter, being careful not to cut my thread. But if you’re working with tissue you probably won’t have to do this. Then pull apart your fabric layers, drawing the thread into the space between them.

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You’ll need to work slowly and carefully- sometimes the threads get tangled, even if you’ve sewn super-neatly.

Finally, snip this loop in the middle.

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I took this photo left-handed. Nothing is in focus. And my scissors are not cutting anywhere near the middle of that loop. Ah well.

And, voila! you should have a perfect marker that shows up on both sides of the fabric, and is easy to remove.  It’s great for dark fabrics, that don’t show marker pen, or acrylics etc that won’t hold chalk.

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A whole family of little markers!

This is a slightly labour-intensive way to mark things, especially at first when you’re not quite used to it, but eventually it gets quicker, and if you don’t play sillybuggers with your sewing, they stay in place till you’re ready to yank them out. Easy peasy!

I’m not sure this is going to replace my trusty purple fading marker pen, especially on lighter fabrics, but It’s definitely going to be a useful skill.

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