Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Still Tacking * + September Book Giveaway Winner


Much of my sewing kit is ancient, as it was inherited from my Grandma. Lucky for me she was a hoarder and left plenty of supplies. About a year ago I ran out of tacking thread. (* I am pretty sure tacking thread is called basting thread in North America. Here, basting means anointing your turkey with juices during roasting, but I think basting as a sewing term is beginning to catch on.) Anyway, I visited all my usual sewing supply sites - none stocked it. I went to the sewing section of a large department store - they didn't stock it. I even went to the stall at our minute market which sells home furnishing fabric, laminated tablecloth fabric, polycotton and some habby, where the elderly gentleman who runs it sucked his teeth and finally announced, "No-one has asked for that in years!"




I found some eventually on a quilting website. It was very expensive, for something designed to be broken...anyway, recently I searched again. Lots more options. Either sewing the old way is becoming more popular, or sewing as a hobby is becoming more popular generally. 

Do you tack?  When I learnt to sew, virtually anything that was to be machined had to be tacked first (most especially small areas that needed to be super accurate) and tailor tacks were used for all markings. I still pretty much sew this way. Is there any alternative to tacking, where pins won't do?

Tacking my latest project. The little workbasket in the background
is for all my indispensable bits and has dogs on it - sewing + dogs = perfect for me! 

Also, congrats to September giveaway winner katahdinchicklet! I have emailed you to get your mailing address. I hope you will have fun achieving your Perfect Fit!


Drawn by my willing assistant (OK, it was my daughter, thank you!)

I have every intention of doing more giveaways as I get my sewing space in order, so please continue to check in...and of course for a sewing chat anytime!

Happy sewing, 'til next time!

21 comments:

  1. I learned to tack everything as well, but in class we did it with normal thread, probably because the tacking thread wasn't really available. I had a bobbin of tacking thread that was inherited too, but that ran out a long time ago...
    And the only alternative to tacking when no pins are going to work (I'm thinking leather?) that I know of, are paperclips, although I have never tried this...

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    1. Paperclips! Now there's a thought! I use a chopstick sometimes to push out points and feed fabric though the machine. Maybe I will start a collection of non-sewing objects for sewing uses!

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  2. I make most of my markings with tailor tacks and use regular thread in a a contrasting color. Having just completed sewing a pointed pattern piece into an angled pattern piece, I could easily see the value in tacking it first!

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    1. I think tacking is due for a revival! Ordinary thread is just so much tougher. What we need are more colours of tacking thread...

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  3. Hmm...what kind of thread do you use exactly? I'm not one to "tack" much but I should :)

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    1. I'm using Gutermann 100% cotton tacking thread in a 200m spool. It breaks easily compared to normal cotton when you pull it, which is why I use a specialised thread, but my Grandma's spools were much larger, on a little cardboard roll - I imagine they were very cheap, back in the day.

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  4. I do baste (cause I'm one of those Americans who uses funny words) sometimes... But don't use special thread, just whatever I have around. Usually it's the ends of a wound bobbin from a pervious project. Thanks for the giveaway! I'll post on my blog!! P.s. I changed my screen name from katahdinchicklet to sew rachel! to better reflect my bog.

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    1. Oh, I will take a peek thank you! & I hope you enjoy your book x

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  5. I do tack for more complex sewing but often don't for a straight seam, a short seam or if sewing jersey knit. I usually use contrasting colour thread. I also do tailors' tacks. My mum was a very experienced and accurate sewer. She would machine over pinned seams as long as the pins were lying at a right angle to the machine foot and not parallell, I am not brave enough to do this, though she never had any pin-wrecking/ needle-breaking incidents! x

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    1. I do this too with the pins. I guess I'm brave :D I have only had 1 pin break a sewing needle on me.... That was scary! but not nearly as scary as when I accidentally left a pin in and serged it... the knife on the serger cut it straight off in half and I had to look for it in the fabric forever!

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    2. I'm not brave enough to sew over pins. I broke a needle a couple of days ago on the end of a zip (I know - should have marked it with a pin!) and the machine made the most terrible noise, but it was ok...not something I want to hear often!

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  6. I don't use tailors tacks for fear that I will mess up something. I usually baste or pin but in some fabrics when I can't then I use my clover wonder clips ($17 on Amazon). These work great for binding and I tend to use a ton when using it on that.

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    1. That's what I should have used on the binding for my dog beds then (yes I did make beds for my dogs!!) as the fleece just swallowed the pins and I ended up tacking the lot...

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  7. It is indeed called basting - or so my novice level of sewing knowledge would have be believe. :) We use the word basting in relation to cooking, too, here as well though - and we'll be doing some of that later this month when Canadian Thanksgiving rolls around again (yum-yum!).

    It's so neat that you inherited a lot of your sewing supplies from your grandma. Growing up, my mom - a fellow cross stitch/stitchery fan - had a bag (sturdy plastic from a department store) full of skeins and cards of embroidery thread that I adored looking through as a youngster. When I hit somewhere around 12 years old, she passed it on to me, as she wasn't doing such crafts much any more and I was (big time!). Though I've long used up most of her threads (some of which probably stretched back to the late 70s), I can still spot a few in my collection that I know trace their roots to that bag, and I must admit, I've grown shy of using them (those threads), because I want to preserve them as a tangible reminder of how much I enjoyed looking into my mom's thread bag when I was a little girl.

    Big hugs & tons of joyful October wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I'm going to do a post on my Grandma's sewing supplies soon - I know you will really appreciate the things in it and you are right, when I use them it connects me to her, which makes my sewing time even more special :) Hope you enjoy everything October has to offer, Jessica!

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  8. I tack, or baste! occasionally, but just use any old cheapo thread that's lying around; generally overlocking thread since that is super cheap and nasty. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on something that is just going to waste like that :)

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    1. I love your thrifty approach to sewing, but I find any type of ordinary thread does not break as easily when pulled. What I am really looking for is the cheap kind of tacking thread that my grandmother used...I think I will be looking for a very long time!

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  9. I definitely tack.I stock up when I visit my daughter in Cambridge and visit the haberdashery dept of John Lewis.It might seem expensive to buy but proper tacking thread is strong and sturdy and will hold things in place when you need it most far better than any cheaper alternative.

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    1. Ah John Lewis - I used to love their stores for sewing supplies but they have gone very 'quilty' in the fabric department (not to mention expensive!). My local store did not have tacking cotton but I love the real stuff - maybe it will follow where Cambridge leads!

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  10. I don't baste very often - maybe just on some zippers, especially when I need to match seams - but will just use an odd color of regular thread, which I want to use up. It's funny to me that they actually manufacture thread that is supposed to break easily, but I guess it does make sense if you're going to do a lot of basting...er...tacking.

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    1. I know what you're saying but even though it breaks easily it's thicker and more visible than ordinary thread, so it must be the individual strands that are made from shorter fibres (I guess). Maybe I will tack less as I sew more as lots of more experienced sewers are saying they don't tack much. We'll see!

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