Fabrications – Mayflower Medley (part three)

With our knolls in place, we are now ready to add grass between the chenille cut furrows. This is accomplished with a tailor tack foot, sometimes called a marking foot. Your sewing machine may have come with this accessory (myBernina 1230 did), and possibly you’ve wondered what to do with it.

The tailor tack foot has a raised ridge in the center that forms loops on the surface as you zig zag stitch. It can be used to mark darts and seam lines when constructing garments, for hemstitching, and for making fringe. By adjusting the width and length of your stitches, you can alter the resulting appearance of your thread work.

Tailor Tack Foot: Generic, Bernina, Husqvarna Viking

Tailor tack feet differ in ridge heights between sewing machine companies. For example, the Bernina ridge is higher than the Husqvarna Viking ridge. I prefer the higher ridge when using this foot for decorative work, such as the grass in our present project. If you don’t have this foot among your sewing machine accessories, a generic foot is available that will work with many machines.

To form the grass, attach a tailor tack foot and set your sewing machine on a zig zag stitch at 1 mm stitch length and 1.5 mm stitch width. Test the needles clearance on your machine to make sure these settings work for you, and make any adjustments necessary. Thread the needle with a heavy decorative thread. (You may need to change your needle to accommodate the thicker thread.) I usedValdani Cotton #35 in Green Grass.

Separate the bias cut knoll layers until you reach the bottom grass layer and begin stitching about one inch in from the side. Separating the layers is a little awkward owing to the curves, but you’ll have the hang of it in no time. Continue this process until you have stitched between all the cut layers.

When your grass in complete, you may like to cut away the extra fabric at the bottom of your knoll, following the curve of the stitching lines. This is optional, of course.

I encourage you to experiment with the tailor tack foot. You can use it to make some wonderful trims by stitching multiple rows close together. You can also press rows to one side, secure them with a line of straight stitches at the base, and then clip the threads. And these are only a few ways in which this foot can add creative touches to your work.

Multiple Rows of Tailor Tacking

In part four, we’ll create the Angelina flowers.


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. Sarah E. said,

    May 10, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I need to learn to be more creative with my sewing machine…your work is really, really lovely!!

  2. saralouise said,

    May 13, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Long vertical wavy shapes of fringing make wonderful undersea grasses when they are stabilized and the loops are clipped open. Variegated greens and blue-greens make lovely additions to underwater landscapes.

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