9 February 2013

Sewing Beautiful Tucks

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons
I love tucks! These little stitched folds of fabric can make a garment look so pretty. The Mathilde blouse includes six rows of tucks draping down over the front bodice. In this post I'm going to show you how to sew them...

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons

Tucks are constructed by stitching and pressing excess fabric to form folds. The pattern lines can seem a little confusing the first time you make tucks, but it’ll all make sense once you’ve done it once. Basically a tuck is formed as follows:

- The central line of each tuck ("tuck fold line") is folded, wrong sides together, to bring the excess fabric up.
- This brings the outer lines ("tuck stitching line") of the tuck together – these lines can then be sewn together.
- The tuck is then pressed to one side over the space between them.

They’re not the easiest thing to get right first time, so if you haven't made them before it's worth practising on some spare fabric before taking the plunge on your garment. The key to tucks that make your heart sing is to stitch the lines as straight as you can and keep the width of each tuck the same.

Here's the method I like to use...

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons

Before you start sewing, mark the tuck lines onto the right side of the fabric. The way I like to do this is to mark the ends of the darts onto the fabric - just at the edges within the seam allowance - while the pattern is pinned to the fabric at the cutting stage. Then I remove the pattern and use a ruler to connect the lines with a sharp chalk pencil. (Do check your marking pencil/pen will come off your fabric first!) To avoid confusion, mark the fold lines and stitching lines differently, for example, with full vs. dashed lines.

Double check the tucks are spaced evenly - the gaps between the lines on the Mathilde blouse should be 15mm (5/8in). If your fabric is slippery - like mine is here - you may find that the lines look a bit wibbly. You could try stabilising it first with some spray starch. (Read more tips on sewing slippery fabric.)

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons

To avoid the adjacent tucks getting in the way while you're working on them, I like to work on two at a time - one on the left side of the bodice and one on the right - before moving on to the next pair.

Fold along the middle ("fold line") of each tuck, bringing wrong sides of the fabric together. Press along the fold. (If your fabric is slippery, you could use a piece of card to press the folds neatly in place before stitching.) Pin directly along the stitching lines. That way you can check the pins are exactly aligned with the marking lines on both sides of fabric.

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons

Sew along the stitching line, taking your time to keep the line as straight as you can. You can use the lines you drew on the fabric as well as the seam guide on your sewing machine to help keep your stitching as straight as possible.

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons

Once you've pinned and stitched all the tucks, press them - if you're making the Mathilde Blouse, press the bodice tucks towards the bodice side seams, on both the right and wrong sides of the fabric.

Now staystitch across the top of each section of darts, 10mm (3/8in) from the raw edge. This will help hold them in place when you sew the seams so they don't fold back the wrong way.

How to sew tucks - Tilly and the Buttons

And that's it! Lovely looking tucks.

Wanna try them out? Make the Mathilde blouse sewing pattern.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sHARING THIS. It will be of great use for beginners.. I was making a dress from stylish dress book .. And it had tucks .. The instructions were not clear.. and I practiced to get them right.. Wish this tute was up then LOL :)

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  2. Great tutorial! Love this!!

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  3. Yey! Thanks for this, I've been waiting for the how to do tucks post, because I haven't tried them before. I'm hoping to start my Mathilde next week. :)

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    1. Brilliant! Please send me a photo when you do - I can't wait to see it...

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  4. Absolutely crystal, thanks Tilly!

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  5. Thanks for this! I'm looking forward to putting my top together. I am also going to try to put some tucks into a dress I'm making so thank you for making it so clear.xx

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  6. Thank you so much for this detailed tutorial. As a relative beginner (about a year of sewing), I have shied away from tucks, but this will definitely encourage me to try.

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    1. Great! They're not that difficult as long as the fabric isn't too slippery. They just take a bit of patience.

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  7. I just came across your blog. It's so inspiring! I started following you!

    Love,
    Breathe Me

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  8. Nice! I have a friend who needs to see this post as the tucks in her dress pattern are driving her nuts.

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  9. Hi Tilly

    Just a question on the tucks - once you get to the second and third ones, should they be picking up the fabric on the previous tuck or should they all be loose to allow the material to move?

    Sorry if that's not very clear?

    Thanks

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    1. The tucks should be separate from each other, with a space between them. When you then press them flat, they'll be lying side-by-side, just touching.

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  10. Hi thankyou so much for this tutorial, I had been struggling and this has answered my questions really clearly. I will be marking up and practicing later on. I follow you on instagram. lots of love Daisy Bee Necklines

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  11. Hmm is there a way to not have the stitching showing on the right side of fabric for the final tuck? My fabric is a rayon and I fear the stitching will make it look a bit cheap. I was considering tacking by hand but not sure that would work? Any hints?

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