Tricks of the Trade – Arrowhead Tacks

While remaking the Turquoise Tartan skirt, I found the stitching on the back inverted pleat had started coming undone slightly:

I thought I’d give one of those arrowhead tacks a go.  I have to admit I haven’t done these very often and had to refer to my old Vogue Sewing book, and dig out the embroidery cottons:

You bring the thread out from underneath at the lower left point, then take a short stitch across the apex:

And take a long stitch across the bottom:

I changed to a double strand of embroidery cotton here, as it gave a more satiny effect.  You keep taking stitches across the apex, and this stitch gets slightly wider as you move down from the point:

Pull the thread through, so it lies flat and the tension is even:

Then stitch across the base – this stitch gets narrower with each round:

And pull the thread through evenly…ok, it’s a bit tight here:

Keep going around and around until you are finished – cute eh?

Next time I’d probably sew some guidelines for the triangle so it ends up a perfect shape – my triangle is kinda more Eiffel-tower-y!

Have you done any arrowhead tacks before – where exactly do you place them?  And do you have any sewing tips for neat and tidy arrowheads?

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

34 thoughts on “Tricks of the Trade – Arrowhead Tacks

  1. Now it's truly a vintage skirt.
    I used to to that in the fifties and sixties. Nowadays you never see it anymore.Your example gives me the idea of doing it again ,and you really need not wait till the material has been torn


  2. i use the machine and sew guide lines around the triangle, then hand stitch as you have done….i have done that in fear of my hand sewing not being strong enough…you dont see the machine stitches when it is finished…


  3. I've never done this before, but I've seen my mother in law embroider some handkerchiefs with satin stitch and she did something very important at the end of the job: she burnish the job with her needle passing the needle horizontally over the whole surface a few times. In doing this she was able to “join”the fibers together and obtained a more satiny effect. She also made more stitches per millimeter. I hope this helps.


  4. Last time I tried arrowheads was on a Western-style shirt for my husband. Never again! Lol, I have other talents than embroidery, so will choose to bolster my strengths and cover up my weaknesses. I use a figure-8 tack instead at stress points.


  5. I love your little Eifel Tower-y arrowhead! I've read about these and I love the look, but I haven't tried actually doing one. I kinda blow at embroidery, I guess I'm a little chicken.


  6. I told you already that I used to make arrowheads in the fifties and sixties. The Dutch word for it is vlieg,( Translated fly)We used to make them with the type of material that you use for handmade buttonholes.I think, it should be strong yarn.I preschetched it with chalk. To avoid tearing of a pleat I stitch a rounded row of stitches from the side of the pleat to the middle. I hope you understand my English. If not I'll make a picture.


  7. This is a great idea. In fact, in my case, it would be just the thing to elegantly cover some machine reinforcing of the area. That baby would never come out. 🙂


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  9. What a darling little fixture! Imagine making one with variegated thread! Going to save this tutorial for a future date. Thank you for making it look so easy!


  10. I've just made a skirt with some inverted pleats for Julia Bobbins Mad Men Challenge, think I might add these on for decoration! Thanks! – Also a quick note to let you know that I've nominated you for a blog award! No need to participate but you can check out my blog if you're interested! 🙂


  11. How neat! My Vogue sewing book has this, too. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the tutorial though, these are usually much easier to follow than a simple picture diagram.


  12. You are my hero in sewing. I looove your blog and your sewing tips (is it the right word in english). I will try it very soon on an old skirt I don't dare to wear anymore.


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