This week, I wanted to show you how to make bar tacks. These little thread wonders are pretty quick to work up, and they're fabulous for holding two layers of fabric near each other, while still allowing them some room for movement. (You can usually find them holding linings in place, but they also work great to hold down troublesome collar points, or even make thread belt loops!)
For this demo, I'm using heavy duty perle cotton, to make it easier to see -- but in most cases, a normal weight sewing thread will do quite nicely...especially if you wax it first!
First, let's make a heavy-duty bar tack; use it to join thick fabrics together, or when you need a bit more heft.
Start by stitching between the two layers of fabric a couple times, leaving some slack. This distance is the finished length of your bar tack.
Then, work a buttonhole stitch around the threads -- whip around the thread skeleton, then run your needle back through the loop you just formed.
Keep going until you've covered the entire length of thread with buttonhole stitches. When you reach the end, tie a knot and trim off your thread.
But what about for lighter-weight fabrics, you say? In that case, a thread crochet chain might be just what you need! It's much lighter weight, and also a little quicker to do.
Knot your thread, and stitch a little "x" into one piece of fabric to anchor it. Before you draw the last stitch tight, reach through the loop, and pull another thread loop through.
Pull the second loop so that the first loop closes; then, reach through the second loop and make a third...and keep going!
When your crochet chain is as long as you need, run your needle through the final loop and pull it tight; this will finish the chain and keep it from unraveling.
Take a few stitches in the other piece of fabric, and tie off your thread. Congratulations! You've got a bar tack!
Thanks for following along today! How do you use bar tacks? Leave us a comment, and let us know!
For Pixie Faire,
Agreed with the other commenters. It is misleading that this is called a bar tack. Melinda you may want to change the title of this post. Brenda is correct with those other names. I came here specifically looking for reinforcing bar tack for pocket, etc.
Sorry, but I must agree with Christine, Joan and Anne with this being not a bar tack. A ‘French Tack or Swing Tack’ yes or even a Looped-Chain Tack but ‘not’ a bar tack … ☺.
This is a lovely technique.
one can also make the chain with serger or a crochet hook for the swing tack. My understanding of “bar tack” is in line with Christine . I’ve only been sewing for 57 years. so I claim no expertise.
Love those freckles!!!!
I have, in my 50 years of sewing, never heard this chain called a “bar tack”. I agree with Christine on this. A bar tack has always been an even length of stitches side-by-side like a satin stitch to give a point of stress where there needed to be more strength to keep that point from ripping out.
We need a lot more inihtsgs like this!
I work with clothing in retail though new to sewing. Thx for bringing up topic. Nice to know in the comments what others do with it. Gets notoriety as a belt loop because will pull out occasionally, errgh and drop the belt.
Bar tacks/swing tacks are usually used to join two layers of fabric together, like attaching a lining to your garment at the hemline, or keeping a sheer/lacey overlayer in place without stitching it directly to the garment (which might make it look weird and puckery).
You can also modify either of these stitches to make belt loops, thread bars for hooks, or even delicate button loops.
Hope that helps!
I’ve actually heard ‘bar tack’ and ‘swing tack’ used interchangeably, but your distinction makes a lot of sense — thanks for pointing that out!
what is this used for?
Always enjoy your little tidbits of sewing knowledge Melinda! Thanks for sharing.
FYI: This technique is NOT normally called a BAR TACK. A chain stitch used to hold 2 layers of fabric together is generally referred to as a SWING TACK or FRENCH TACK. A bar tack serves a totally different function.
Thank you for posting this tutorial. It is extremely helpful!
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