sewing 101: tucks

Posted by & filed under Sewing 101.

Hello, friends!

Today: tucks. We were going to do tucks and pleats, but it’s just too much for one lesson – for either of us!  It’s possible that the tucking technique is a little beyond the label of “beginner”, but hopefully I’ll be able to give you all the tools and information in this lesson to pull you up to a new level as a sewist! I really think y’all can do this.

We may do pleats in a future lesson, but honestly, once you conquer tucks pleats feel like a walk in the park.

“And why would I teach you about tucks?”, you ask. (I never know how to punctuate those. Christine – help?) Because they’re such a beautiful and increasingly popular detail for things from clothing to home decor that you can do yourself! And when you do, people think you’re amazing. Because you are.

A few favorite examples of tucks being sold for top dollar currently:

Also, feel free to check my ever-growing pin board of pin tuck pretties on Pinterest for more inspiration to use your newfound skill!

Okay, let’s jump in to the lesson!

To begin, I made some lovely little worksheets for you. (How is Scribd working for y’all? Any troubles?) Print the three pages below, then gather the following tools:

three 4″x6″ fabric rectangles (does this totally throw you off? if you only have squares, it’s okay)
marking pen (I use the double-sided one with purple and blue disappearing ink)
cutting mat
acrylic ruler
*you do not need your rotary cutter for this unless you need to cut new rectangles. I say you do in the video, but it’s not true. don’t believe me.

**Note: If you’re having trouble printing with Scribd, just click here to view and print Spaced Tucks, Blind Tucks, and Pin Tucks)**

Spaced Tucks

Blind Tucks

Pin Tucks

And if you’d rather not print the pages right now, here is the same information right within the post. So accommodating, I know.

Ready to roll? Let’s watch the first video!

Okay, now that everything is marked, it’s time to press the folds and stitch the tucks into place. This is what you’ll need:

iron & ironing board
sewing machine loaded with thread and ready to roll
you’ll use a 3.0 straight stitch with the needle in the center position to begin
your pretty (and growing!) sewing book

Here’s the next video:

And after all of that, page 8 should look something like this:

And page 9:

And a bit more information:

Tucks are fun and easy enough to make when you’re working with 4×6 rectangles. But what if you want to do pretty tucks on a shirt or a pillow? My best advice: rather than altering a pattern to accommodate future tucks, do all the tucking first, then cut your pattern. There will be some math involved to figure out how much fabric you’ll need to begin with, but it’s not impossible. And, it’s way simpler than the former.

If you’re an intermediate sewist taking this course, try making a pillow like the Anthro one pictured above. (If it helps, use my simple pillow-making tutorial.) Play with widths and angles and get creative – what would it be like to pice fabrics together and then tuck them? FANCY!!

I’m just giving you the basic skills – I’d love to see what sorts of projects these skills equip you to create! Keep sharing photos here – I love to see how you’re doing!

Tomorrow we jump into shirring. Then a break for the weekend. Then three lessons next week about fastenings. Then we’ll be ready to learn how to sew from a pattern!

Have a lovely Friday, friends!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Brother NX800 machine mentioned above for free in exchange for a mention of the product in my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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12 Responses

  1. Christine 13 April 2012 at 12:58 pm

    (Comma goes inside the quotation marks, though in your particular situation I think you could skip the comma. Thanks for trusting my instincts. They may be incorrect, I allow.)

    Your tutorials are fabulous so far! I have one gripe, and it’s that we don’t have a color printer. Therefore, none of the lines are printing and I’m stuck. I understand that I probably just need to get over it and head to Staples, but is there a way to communicate this in greyscale?

    Gripe gripe gripe. You know how 1995 we are around here. I am surprised I’m not using Juno.

    Oh, and Scribd is working just fine. Though I need to know how to pronounce it, please.

    • Christine 13 April 2012 at 7:20 pm

      And just because my husband suspected I was being stupid: no, it’s not printing anything originally colored, even when set to “black and white” or “greyscale.” I’m heading to Staples tomorrow.

      • Raechel Myers 14 April 2012 at 1:11 pm

        okay, I see – no printing anything that’s a color. that’s weird! I made one solid and one dashed to accommodate greyscale printing, but this is beyond me. Sorry to make you buy colored ink!

        FYI- you’ll need a zipper and a button for next week’s lessons.

  2. Kelly 13 April 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I was able to print the ones from yesterday… but I am having trouble with the one from today. It’s asking me to login through FB before I can print. What’s that all about? I was able to just print them yesterday. Thanks!

    • Raechel Myers 14 April 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Hey Kelly,
      Because I had three pages to print I bundled them into a collection on Scribd and linked to them so they wouldn’t make the post so long. Weird that it’s asking you to log in.

      I just embedded them into the post like last time and that should solve the problem!


  3. Jayme 15 April 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Fantastic series. I have been sewing for about a year (self taught) and this has been so helpful/great for me. Thanks for putting this together!!!

  4. Lisa 25 April 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Finally getting the tucks done! I really enjoyed this lesson… helped me practice sewing in a straight line, something that I seem to be challenged with. Really want to add the pillow to my list of things to try and make with my new skills. Thanks, Raechel, for taking the time to help us :)

  5. Betty Willson 11 August 2014 at 8:10 am

    Thank you for showing me how to do Tucks do you do pleats or are they the same as tucks as you can see im a beginner but I do enjoy sewing and learning new things.Iv just found your site its very enjoy able.

  6. Simona 23 June 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put up these tutorials and all the writing that you do to explain how to accomplish each project. It must take ages and I really appreciate it!! Thanks!! Thanks!! Thanks!!

  7. Simona 23 June 2016 at 3:38 pm

    And I absolutely love the sewing book with small samples of the work/decoration done!! So lovely! Thanks for this idea too!!


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