Like me, you’re always looking for ways to make your sewing faster and easier. And one of the best ways to do that is to learn how to bar tack on a sewing machine.
Bar tacking is a sewing technique that reinforces areas of high stress on a garment, like the corners of pockets or the skirt’s waistband. It’s a super simple stitch to do, and it can make a big difference in the durability of your finish!
What is Bar Tacking?
Bar tacking is a stitching method used to reinforce areas of a garment that experience a lot of stress or strain, such as pocket corners or belt loops. The bar tack stitch is a series of closely spaced zigzag stitches that creates a strong, durable, and flexible seam.
Why is Bar Tacking Important?
Bar tacking is a stitching technique used to reinforce areas of a garment that are subject to a lot of stress, such as pockets, buttonholes, and belt loops. The bar tack is a series of closely spaced stitches that create a bar-like reinforcement.
While you could simply sew these areas with a stronger stitch, the bar tack provides a much more secure reinforcement. It’s also less likely to come undone over time, meaning your garments will last longer.
How to Bar Tack on a Sewing Machine?
There are several ways to bar tack on a sewing machine. The most common way is to use a zigzag stitch. To do this, set your machine to a wide zigzag stitch and sew back and forth over the area you want to secure. You can also use a straight stitch or a decorative stitch to bar tack.
To sew a bar tack:
- Start by sewing a few stitches forward.
- Sew a few stitches in reverse, backstitching to secure the beginning of the bartack.
- Continue sewing in this manner, stitching forward and backward until you have sewn the desired number of stitches.
- Sew a few stitches forward to secure the end of the bartack.
Troubleshooting Bar Tacking
If you are having trouble making a bar tack on your sewing machine, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot the problem.
First, check to ensure your needle is in the correct position. When you start to sew the bar tack, the needle should be in the down position.
Next, check the tension on your sewing machine. The tension should be set to medium tension for most fabrics. If you are sewing on very light fabric, you may need to increase the tension. And if you are sewing on a hefty fabric, you may need to decrease the tension.
Finally, make sure that your stitch length is set correctly. The stitch length for a bar tack should be shorter than your regular stitch length. A good rule of thumb is to set the bar tack’s stitch length to about half of your regular stitch length.
Alternatives to Bar Tacking
Here are some other ways to reinforce stress points on your sewing projects instead of bar tacking:
- Use a zigzag stitch. A comprehensive, close zigzag stitch will give you added strength at a seam without the bulk of a bar tack.
- Make a French seam. French seams are often used on thinner fabrics to give extra strength and durability.
- Use bias tape. Bias tape can reinforce corners or other stress points on your project.
- Use gusseted seam reinforcements. These reinforcements can be sewn into stress points on your projects to add extra stability.
When to Use Bar Tacking
Bar tacking is a sewing technique used to reinforce areas of a garment that endure a great deal of stress. The most common applications are on the corners of pockets and on the waistband of jeans. Still, it can reinforce buttonholes, zippers, and any other area that might see a lot of wear and tear.
While bar tacking may seem like a reasonably simple task, it’s actually quite delicate and, if not done correctly, can result in skipped stitches or broken needles. Use a sewing machine designed for bar tacking, such as the Juki HZL-DX7.
Here are some tips on when to use bar tacking:
- When reinforcement is needed in an area that will see a lot of wear and tear
- On pocket corners
- On waistbands
- On buttonholes
- On zippers
How to Remove Bar Tacking
To remove bar tacking, first cut the thread securing the bar tack. Be sure not to cut the fabric. Then, use a seam ripper to gently pull out the bartack stitches. Start at the bottom of the bartack and work your way up.