Arrowheadtacksmain_large

Before seamstresses had the opportunity to “cheat” with fusible interfacing, we had to reinforce points of wear in our clothing the old fashioned way. You could use plain old interfacing by itself but the prettiest option available – in my opinion – was the Arrowhead Tack, sometimes also known as the Sprat’s Head stitch.

Though you’d be hard pressed to find an example of an Arrowhead Tack on any item of clothing made today – excepting, of course, upscale western wear – but in 40’s and 50’s clothing this eye-catching embellishment was commonplace.

I love Arrowhead Tacks for securing the corners of slash or welt pockets, flanking either side of buttonholes, decoratively pointing along a seam, or reinforcing the release point of a pleat or vent. Nowadays more than ever, a well-executed Arrowhead Tack has enough “wow factor” to immediately elevate a ho-hum garment into couture territory!

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The good news is that your embroidery skills don’t need to be crazy good to make a decent Arrowhead Tack – it’s basically just some well-organized straight stitches. To incorporate an Arrowhead Tack into your next project, trace out the desired size and shape of your tack onto your project using an erasable marker or tailor’s chalk, thread a double-thickness of contrasting embroidery floss onto your embroidery needle and follow the nifty diagram I’ve included in this post.

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As always, enjoy this technique – I’d love to see what you end up doing with it!

P.S. I’ve encountered a lot of Arrowhead Tacks in my vintage shopping adventures but I had a heck of a time finding examples on the internet for this post. If you have an example on your hands, please let me know in the comments below!

40 Comments

  • 2e70df04edf3e69859c82518fc7c509496c11584_large

    Jan 1, 2011, 10.27 PMby maux

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    Dec 20, 2010, 12.10 PMby seazoo

    Lovely! Thank you for adding great technique on here! I’ll try it :)

    1 Reply
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      Dec 20, 2010, 05.54 PMby eringilday

      You’re welcome, seazoo! Glad to hear its been useful for you.

  • Sam_large

    Dec 20, 2010, 04.49 AMby sammurphy

    OMG! I just made Simplicity 1345 (pictured above) the other day and didn’t include the arrow heads because…well firstly because I just didn’t want them, but secondly because I didn’t know how to!

    Thanks for the great post – keep them coming!

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 20, 2010, 05.54 PMby eringilday

      That’s spooky, Sam! I pulled that one from my personal collection and scanned it in for this post. That’s the pattern that inspired this post in the first place! I’ve had it since high school and always looooooved the red with the black arrowhead tacks and fantasized about making it. Never have, though! I’d love to see what you made with it!

      Thanks for reading!

  • Old_fashion_large

    Dec 19, 2010, 11.27 AMby sewlikeabee6

    Yes you can save them under your favorites I just try it and it worked, most any thing you can save I think it lets you know if you can not do it. I could be wrong. so try to save eringilday arrowhead tacks. cool stuff

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 19, 2010, 05.21 PMby eringilday

      Thanks, Bee! I’m going to repost this under Kelepso’s question to make sure he sees it….

  • Old_fashion_large

    Dec 19, 2010, 11.13 AMby sewlikeabee6

    Thanks for the information cool stuff( I will try that) watch me stick myself lol. eringilday have a great day!

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 19, 2010, 05.20 PMby eringilday

      You, too Bee!!!!! (The username change made me change to eringilday – all one word – but you can call me Erin!) =)

  • Dscn0826_large

    Dec 18, 2010, 10.47 PMby ruthw

    I like the pictures – good ideas. Seeing it get called “historical” stings a bit, though! I know this stitch and I’m not fifty yet! LOL

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 19, 2010, 01.15 AMby eringilday

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Ruth! No offense meant – these days it seems like everything pre-1990 is labelled “vintage,” which does just seem silly to me.

      On the other hand though, I often wonder about the rapid excelleration in the changes (or should I say deterioration?) of RTW construction standards that has happened just over the last several decades. So much change so fast using so many new materials, techniques and machines/computers really does make certain techniques/garments seem “vintage” before their time.

      I guess what we consider to be “vintage” is all a matter of perspective, though, right? I wonder about the history of that word, too – “vintage” – I mean…I feel like 100 years ago they would have just called them “old clothes” and been done with it. I wonder. (I guess that bears further research!)

  • Logo4957b_large

    Dec 18, 2010, 02.05 AMby jenss-1

    Thank you for the information about this technique—very useful! I’ll definitely consider it for future projects.

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 18, 2010, 07.40 PMby eringilday

      you’re welcome! enjoy!

  • Orp_1769_large

    Dec 17, 2010, 06.38 AMby loyl8

    love this post i have this in one of my sewing books and have been meaning to add it to the end/top of a dart on a blouse

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 17, 2010, 05.08 PMby eringilday

      cuuuute! I want to see when you’ve got it done!

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    Dec 16, 2010, 08.37 PMby stuffit-1

    Interesting, I just knew it for securing the slits of skirts. Thank you for more information! :) Funny thing it is called a “Fliege” (fly) in german :D

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 17, 2010, 05.08 PMby eringilday

      O neat! Glad you liked the post!

  • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

    Dec 16, 2010, 06.42 PMby kelepso

    Very cool detail. How can I favorite this article for use in the future?

    5 Replies
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 16, 2010, 07.13 PMby eringilday

      hmmm…not sure what you mean, Kelepso! Maybe bookmark it in your browser? Am I confused?

    • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

      Dec 17, 2010, 03.08 AMby kelepso

      I assumed readers were able to “favorite” an article like we are able to “favorite” techniques to be stored in our homepage for future reference. I am interested in trying this technique when I have some spare time on my hands. Regardless, I will take your advice and bookmark it. Secondly, what type of thread would you use to create this arrowhead tack? thickness? etc?

    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 19, 2010, 01.22 AMby eringilday

      Oh, I see what you mean now! Yeah, I still don’t know for certain how to do that. Sorry! =)

      As far as thread goes – good question! I wouldn’t use regular sewing thread because that would just take ages to fill in so something thicker is definitely called for. I could see this done with embroidery floss for a dainty look on a blouse or even in mercerized perle for a more rugged, textural look on a heavy winter coat. I think anything would work though, even regular sewing thread, if you have the patience – I think the answer would depend on what type of effect you’re looking for.

      HTH, Kelepso! Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 19, 2010, 05.22 PMby eringilday

      Hi Kelepso!

      sewlikeabee6 had some advice downthread that I thought I would repost here to make sure you see it:

      “Yes you can save them under your favorites I just try it and it worked, most any thing you can save I think it lets you know if you can not do it. I could be wrong. so try to save eringilday arrowhead tacks.”

      Helpful? Being an internet bumbler, I still have no idea what either of you are talking about. =)

    • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

      Dec 19, 2010, 06.44 PMby kelepso

      Thank you both (eringilday & sewlikeabee). Your advice was helpful. I bookmarked the link for reference. Funny enough, I never used the bookmark function until now.

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    Dec 16, 2010, 06.26 PMby carottesauvage

    waow great tip! thanks!

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 16, 2010, 07.10 PMby eringilday

      You’re welcome!

  • Mzl_ljixuoxi_320x480-75_large

    Dec 16, 2010, 05.06 PMby FabricUiPhoneApp

    Be sure to use the proper thimble for this technique otherwise it will hurt. A lot!

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 16, 2010, 07.10 PMby eringilday

      OW! Learned the hard way, huh? I always say “won’t be the last time” when I stick myself with pins/needles/whathaveyou. I just accept it as part of sewing. Actually, in costume shops (where I learned to sew), its good luck for the costumer to bleed on the costume, so there you go. =)

  • Mee1_large

    Dec 16, 2010, 04.56 PMby fashionfreek

    Me too :O). Funny thing about sewing is you want to learn everything…Well I do :) Thanks for bringing this topic up.

    1 Reply
    • 35323_1550195117626_1317563306_1450393_3860676_n_large

      Dec 16, 2010, 07.08 PMby eringilday

      You’re welcome! My thoughts exactly! I was just thinking this morning about how I’m as enthusiastic about quilting as I am about dressmaking…and werid stuff like bookbinding (basically sewing) and making fabric boxes. There is never a shortage of things to learn – especially when you look at fiber arts history!

    • This is a question
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