Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Tack-It: A Forgotten Sewing Tool That Deserves a Revival

Once nice thing about sewing (among so many!) is that your non-sewing friends like to support you by gifting you with odds and ends from their parents' or grandparents' sewing rooms. "I don't know if you can use this, but …" What a great way to show love!

I recently received an item this way. It's called the Tack-It, and while a quick Internet search revealed that many sewists out there already know about this wonderful marking tool, it's new to me. As we join our garment pieces together, we rely on marks to make sure we are sewing the correct pieces together, or setting in a sleeve in the right place in an armhole, oh, just so many times we must mark our pieces well or we'll get lost and forget what we were supposed to be doing.

Begin by cutting out all the pieces of your garment from the fabric. To use the Tack-It, first slip a double layer of dressmaker's carbon on the wrong side of your fabric. (Your paper pattern piece is still pinned on.) Then slip all the layers — paper pattern, fabric, carbon — into the Tack-It. It's shaped a bit like a stapler, don't you think? Line up the punch right over the paper pattern's markings. (I was marking some "circles" on this waistband.) Give the Tack-It a slap, as though you were stapling all these layers together.

You get pattern markings that are neat and symmetrical. This tool seems to have first been on the market in the 1950s and was manufactured under several different labels. They are widely available from eBay, and Etsy sellers, but I sure think it's time to revive the Tack-It for mass production again!

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