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  1. #1
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    What is the proper way to bartack?

    I've read some things online that indicate that a bartack is done with a zigzag stitch with a stitch length of 0 and the stitch width to the desired stitch width.
    In addition I've read that you should go over the stitch 3-4 times.

    What would other suggest? I've tried with a spare piece of fabric and had a heck of time getting the fabric to feed correctly even with setting a larger stitch length. In addition I had problems after turning the fabric around to go back over the stitch where the stitch didn't continue on top of the previous stitch, but slightly to the side of it. Additionally I find that after turning the fabric around on the needle (reversing the direction) I am unable to see the stitch that I just made due to the foot being in the way which makes it very difficult to feed the fabric accurately in order to make the stitch directly on top of the previously made stitch.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I have a couple of long bartacks that need to be done, so I have to do them manually instead of using the bartack foot / stitch function that is on my machine.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    Stitch length of 0 will not feed usually. You'll have to feed it manually and risk breaking the needle. That's a true bar tack like you see on the pockets of dress shirts.

    Set zig zag for preferred width. 2-4 mm seems about right.

    Set for a very small stitch length and stitch without reversing back over the stitching. Most times you don't have to back tack to lock it if the stitches are tight enough together.
    OR a little longer and back stitch full length
    OR a little longer and go back and forth a couple times

    whatever your machine handles best. Going back and forth too many times can cause the thread to get too thick on te bottom side and stop feeding.

    A button hole usually has only one pass down each side and they are pretty strong.

  3. #3
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    My self learned take on bar tacks....yes a bartack is made using a zigzag stitch.

    A bartack can be done with a single pass and a short stitch length but it works better for me to use a longer stitch length and make two or three passes (usually just two).

    I don't turn the fabric around a make another pass. I use reverse....forward/reverse/forward.

    It doesn't take a heavy bartack to do the job (don't get carried away). A light bartack will work and be less apt to have feed problems while stitching.

    It works best for me to tension the fabric coming out from under the presser foot to aid in a smooth feed with both of my machines.

    As always, YMMV.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    Forgot to ask, What are you stitching?

    Sil nylon and thin nylons don't handle bar tacks well. The stitch density is too great for the super thin threads of the fabric. I find reinforcing bar ack locations with stabilizer or another dbl layer of nylon helps

    -Not enough stitch length will cause a ball on the bottom side and material will stop feeding
    -Too wide of a zigzag squeezes the fabric together resulting in loose stitches that will end up balling up and not feeding.

    At most, I would go down ,back, and down again, 3 total passes.

    Slightly to the side is no big deal and may indicate you've got too many passes already or zig zag too wide and the bar tack is getting tall because it's balling up on top.

    It doesn't have to look perfect like embroidery with perfect stitches and no fabric showing to be functional.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmcttr View Post
    My self learned take on bar tacks....yes a bartack is made using a zigzag stitch.

    A bartack can be done with a single pass and a short stitch length but it works better for me to use a longer stitch length and make two or three passes (usually just two).

    I don't turn the fabric around a make another pass. I use reverse....forward/reverse/forward.

    It doesn't take a heavy bartack to do the job (don't get carried away). A light bartack will work and be less apt to have feed problems while stitching.

    It works best for me to tension the fabric coming out from under the presser foot to aid in a smooth feed with both of my machines.

    As always, YMMV.
    It looks like my machine uses 0.4 for the stitch length and 2.0 for the stitch width for the bartack function. That combo seemed to produce nice sized bartacks with the buttonhole foot. Unfortunately it can only do bartacks up to about 1" in length....hence learning to do it on my own. I'll probably use those settings for my manual bartacks.

    I thought about just trying to reverse, which I can very well do, but my machine only goes back one stitch when I hit the reverse stitch button. Once I use the foot pedal again it's going forward. Is there typically some way to set machines to reverse stitch all together, rather than just pressing a button to go back one stitch?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nacra533 View Post
    Forgot to ask, What are you stitching?

    Sil nylon and thin nylons don't handle bar tacks well. The stitch density is too great for the super thin threads of the fabric. I find reinforcing bar ack locations with stabilizer or another dbl layer of nylon helps

    -Not enough stitch length will cause a ball on the bottom side and material will stop feeding
    -Too wide of a zigzag squeezes the fabric together resulting in loose stitches that will end up balling up and not feeding.

    At most, I would go down ,back, and down again, 3 total passes.

    Slightly to the side is no big deal and may indicate you've got too many passes already or zig zag too wide and the bar tack is getting tall because it's balling up on top.

    It doesn't have to look perfect like embroidery with perfect stitches and no fabric showing to be functional.
    The fabric is coated oxford. Also I mention that the stitch is to the side of the first stitch, it's because when I turn the fabric 180 degrees it starts stitching to the side of the first pass. I try to correct it, but I can't stitch straight down the first pass due to not being able to see it because the presser foot is in the way.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IOInterrupt View Post
    It looks like my machine uses 0.4 for the stitch length and 2.0 for the stitch width for the bartack function. That combo seemed to produce nice sized bartacks with the buttonhole foot. Unfortunately it can only do bartacks up to about 1" in length....hence learning to do it on my own. I'll probably use those settings for my manual bartacks.

    I thought about just trying to reverse, which I can very well do, but my machine only goes back one stitch when I hit the reverse stitch button. Once I use the foot pedal again it's going forward. Is there typically some way to set machines to reverse stitch all together, rather than just pressing a button to go back one stitch?

    Hold the reverse button in on electronic machines. You may have to hold and press the pedal. That button is for back tacking usually.


    You can use the regular foot(N or J???.) and those settings. Also, if you want to have your stitch centered when you turn your fabric around, you may need to use the center needle position instead of the default left needle position for the full stitch, forward and back

    Oxford should hold bar tacks fine, much less finicky than lighter weight stuff.

    Building a G4 by chance?

  8. #8
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    My crummy Brother ls2125 does a decent job of bartacking 1.1...

    I have 2 options for zig-zag size, and both seem to work fine, I just go over the spot fwd/back several times.

    Yes, too much tension on a wide bartack does gather up the fabric, but a lighter tension seems to do fine.

    John
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  9. #9
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    If your not using reverse and you need the bartack to align..

    Keep the needle down and to one side (left or right) and then spin the fabric 180*, so the next zigzag stroke will bring the needle over the previos stitch.With a little practice on scraps you'll get the bartack to align.

    Reverse is your friend.

    If the fabric is bunching, adjust the thread tension down, prior to doing the bartack.

  10. #10
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    What are you bartacking that needs to be more than 1" in length? Bartacks are usually short patterns that reinforce a specific high stress area like a pocket top or something like that. If you are sewing loops in webbing the jury is still out on the effectiveness of bartacks. The use of the zig zag is not required in a bar tack although it is very common to use it.

    Be careful using a very short stitch length in the zigzag. The effect can resemble putting too many nails in a piece of wood and you actually weaken the weave. One pass with a very short stitch length is ample. That is mostly for appearance anyway. It makes a nice smooth bar but in all likelihood does not add substantially to the strength of a longer stitch length.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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