Sewing Glossary

What is a Bartack Stitch?

September 15, 2023 by

Have you ever looked closely at the stitching on your clothes and wondered how it’s made? As someone who enjoys sewing, I’ve always been fascinated by the different types of stitches and techniques that can be used to create sturdy and beautiful seams.

One type of stitch that I’ve been particularly curious about is the bartack stitch. This small, but mighty stitch is commonly used in clothing and accessories to reinforce areas that experience a lot of stress, such as pockets, belt loops, and buttonholes.

Despite its usefulness, the bartack stitch is often overlooked in favor of more decorative stitches, but I believe it’s a skill worth mastering.

So what exactly is a bartack stitch, and how can you make one? In this article, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned about the bartack stitch, including its definition, history, and step-by-step instructions for making one yourself.

Whether you’re a seasoned sewer or just starting out, learning how to create a bartack stitch will add a new tool to your sewing toolbox and help you create long-lasting, durable garments and accessories. So grab your needle and thread, and let’s get stitching!

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

Table of Contents

What is a Bartack Stitch?

A bartack stitch tends to be a close series or sequences of stitches typically crossing a piece of cloth generally at a stress point. It is basically a short reinforcement of threads just like tightly packed zigzag stitches.

A bartack strengthens that specific point of the fabric and is conducted to minimize tearing.

A bartack stitch is used commonly in corners of collars, belt loops, and button loops.

It’s most noticeable in corners or edges of pockets so they won’t get torn apart.

Other potential uses of bartack are in backpacks, tents, sports, and protective gear.

Buttonholes are a common example of the bartack stitch as well, comprising one or two bartacks on one or both ends holding the button for reinforcement.

The bars generally lie between 1⁄16 to 1⁄8 inch (1.6 to 3.2 mm) in width and 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 inch (6.4 to 9.5 mm) in length.

bartack stitch example
bartack stitch example

How to Sew a Bartack Stitch?

It’s better to be a bit slower while sewing a bar tack, especially when you’re sewing many layers of fabric together.

At times, the machine can get stuck because it may be unable to bartack numerous layers of fabric simultaneously.

Also, stitch short rows first at standard zigzag length and width.

If your sewing machine can’t handle performing a Bartack stitch, then you could sew a Bartack stitch by hand. Just opt for a heavy-duty needle, thread, and also thimble to protect your finger from needle pinching.

If you don’t have a zigzag sewing machine then a simple home sewing machine works well too. Just make sure you’re using a thick needle in your machine.

 Most importantly, run a couple of tests on a scrap of fabric to decide what works and looks better for your project. 

Method 1: 

Simply set the zigzag on your machine to the standard zigzag width and stitch length i.e (between 2mm-3mm wide and 0.3-0.5mm long.)

Then just sew the desired length of the bar tack. Stitches are conducted close together so that only one pass is needed.

Passing back and forth several times can cause a distorted look.

Method 2:

Simply set the zig-zag on your machine to the width and stitch length that is a little longer than the first method.

Then just start to stitch forward for the desired length. At last, backstitch the row just sewed and repeat for three or four passes on the same area.

Method 3: 

Bartack by hand is the option when you don’t have a sewing machine with you.

Take a needle and thread, then sew several stitches horizontally according to the desired length of the bar.

Then sew around the first stitches you made, in the perpendicular direction to them.

To further explore how to perform a bartack stitch, we also recommend this video by Montavilla Sewing:

When Do You Need to Do a Bartack Stitch?

A bartack is required in your sewing to strengthen the fabric at stress points.

It’s usually stitched on the areas where there is frequent usage of pushing and pulling.

It’s also necessary to give strength to the area so that the fabric doesn’t fall apart.

What is a Bartack Stitch example
bartack stitch examples

What is a Bartack Sewing Machine?

A bartack machine is a specified lockstitch machine.

This machine tends to produce a very high-density lockstitch in a very short length, to increase the strength of that particular area.

What is the Function of the Bartacking Machine?

The Bartacking machine provides a simple automatic function that is capable of producing numerous close stitches in a cyclic order.

The principle of the machine is to create tack stitches of small length (1-2 cm) and then again sew covering stitches over, at right angles to the first stitches.

To see a bartacking sewing machine in action, we recommend this video by AtlasLevery Sewing Machine Company:

The Bartack is a very special-purpose stitch in the field of sewing.

It is very important in any application that requires reinforcement stitches to increase the tear strength.

Therefore, without bartack stitching, garments or products can be easily ripped and torn apart.

What is the purpose of the Bartack stitch?

The purpose of the Bartack stitch is to reinforce areas of a garment that experience a lot of stress, such as pockets, belt loops, and buttonholes. It creates a strong and durable seam that can withstand regular wear and tear.

What does a Bartack stitch look like?

A Bartack stitch consists of a cluster of closely spaced zigzag stitches that overlap and create a dense, compact shape. It is often in a rectangular or circular shape, depending on the purpose of the stitch.

Why is it necessary to apply Bartack on the pocket mouth?

Applying Bartack on the pocket mouth is necessary to reinforce the area around the opening of the pocket where a lot of stress is placed when items are placed inside the pocket. This helps to prevent the pocket from tearing or stretching out of shape over time.