You take out your brand new suit, slip it on and start to walk out the door.
As you do – you look at yourself in the mirror.
And that's when you notice the tack stitching is still on your suit!
You notice the lapels are sewn to the suit.
The vents are sewn together.
To your annoyance even the breast pocket is sewn up.
What about your pocket square!
“What the…” Is this some kind of tailoring practical joke?!
Today we're answering a reader's question about what is the stitching that often holds pieces of a new suit or in some cases a new shirt together.
We'll look at some specific issues like:
- Why does your suit have this extra stitching?
- Should you take this off your suit?
- What tools to use to remove Tack Stitching?
The Tack Stitching Issue
The question was as follows:
“Antonio, I've got a quick question in regards to tack stitching on clothing. Yesterday I made my first big purchase.”
“I bought a wonderful three-quarter length Van Gilles Top Coat in a blue herringbone pattern…”
He goes into some detail but here's the actual question:
“There's a single long, but not loose stitch across the notch of the lapel and I'm wondering if this needs to come off..”
Where To Find Tack Stitching
The problem the reader has is that the notches on his lapel are connected to the jacket by the tack stitching.
The other places you'll find tack stitching are in the pockets, the vents and the lapels.
So before you put your new jacket or shirt on check those places (where appropriate):
- Make sure the lapels are loose
- Open each pocket and peer inside
- Look on the back and make sure the vents are loose
Should You Remove Tack Stitching?
The reader goes into a bit more detail but his actual question is:
“Should I cut this out or remove this?”
The answer is “Yes”.
You need to go ahead and remove that tack stitching.
Be sure to also keep an eye out for it on other men's outfits and if you ever see a gentlemen walking around with tack stitching, especially younger men, you should let them know about it.
Often someone will buy a new suit, top coat or overcoat and they won't remove the tack stitching because they don't know any better.
So if you see some gentleman (or lady) with their tack stitching in place go ahead and you pull them to the side and say:
“You may want to remove that.”
Be a gentleman about it.
Sometimes it's not as obvious and you may look into or open up your pocket and find stitching in there that looks like it's pretty well done.
Should you just cut through that and have it removed?
If you're ever in doubt simply take it to a local tailor.
This is most likely something he deals with every day and he'll help you out without judging you and he'll be able to fix it in short order.
But What Is Tack Stitching?
The reason for tack stitching being on the back of the vents, in your pockets and on your lapels has to do with the manufacturing and shipping process.
While your clothing is moving through machinery and as it's being packaged it's often being moved around a lot and the last thing your tailor or his staff want is for your masterpiece tailored item to get caught on something.
So anything that can be slightly loose like your lapel and vents on a jacket are sewn together. The same goes for your pockets – they could gape open or the flap may get caught on something and damage your clothing.
So the purpose of tack stitching is to protect your investment from damage and the idea is that once it gets to you safely you'll simply remove it.
Removing Tack Stitching
I've seen gentlemen wearing the actual label or tag of their outfit on the bottom of the sleeve of their suit jackets.
These labels and everything similar should be removed along with the tack stitching. (Remember the price tag if it has one)
Again, if you're in doubt go to your local tailor.
This is one of the things I push with my subscribers on my Youtube channel and readers in my RMRS community:
That you gentlemen get to know the name of your local tailor because he or she can be an amazing and trusted source.
Realistically you simply cannot send each and every question aboutclothing you have to me and of course you can't physically send me clothing items for an opinion on something.
That is where your tailor comes in – if you have a simple problem about your clothes or need to have something adjusted or fixed, having an existing relationship with a local tailor is going to pay dividends.
While I try to get to as many concerns and questions as I can you probably have a tailor in your town or within a reasonable distance who you can take some issues to and who can help solve your problems.
Tools To Use To Remove Tack Stitching
Some tack stitching is going to be loose enough to simply remove with your hands or a pair of scissors, but some of it is going to be sewn into place.
What I use is a stitch removers (also called a seam ripper) you can buy that for a couple of bucks online or at a sewing supply center. If you're married your wife probably has one in her sewing kit (and FYI – I think a man should own one as well!).
I would be very careful of using something like an Exacto knife because you could easily slip or lose control and damage the clothing.
The worst thing that can happen is that you remove tack stitching and you don't like it because you feel it's opening up too much. All you do then is to take your clothing item to a tailor and have him put it back in.
Now that you know how important it is to have a relationship with your tailor make sure you read these related articles: