Below are definitions for various sewing terms;
A surface pattern made by cutting out fabric or lace designs and stitching them to another fabric.
A strong stitch that doubles back on the last stitch. There are a variety of backstitch styles.
True Bias is a cut made on an angle 45 degrees to the selvage. This direction allows for the most stretch. Bias refers to any line diagonal to the crosswise and lengthwise grains. Most bias pattern pieces are laid on the true bias; the grainline arrow and the pattern’s layout instructions help you align pieces.
Also called bias tape, a bias cut strip used to bind or over edges. Slightly stretchy, it sews neatly around curves.
Seams cut and sewn on the bias.
Strip of fabric used to cover or enclose raw edges.
Hand stitch used for finishing a fabric edge. A smaller version is a buttonhole stitch.
A hem where the stitches do not show from the right side.
A folded and stitched “tunnel” that holds elastic, cording, or boning.
A cross-shaped hem stitch used to join an edge to the inside of a garment.
This refers to the threads that run across the fabric between the two selvages, perpendicular to the lengthwise threads or ribs. Fabric stretches more on the crosswise than on the lengthwise grain.
1. (noun) Difference between body measurements and garment measurements. Also defined as the amount of space in a garment that allows comfortable movement.
- (verb) Gathering stitches to fit a longer piece of fabric to a shorter piece of fabric.
Straight stitching sewn very close to the edge of the seam, trim, or outer edge. Prevents edges from stretching or rolling, and supports the fabric.
Used to finish exposed edges as a partial lining found on center front, neckline, or armhole edges.
Located beneath the presser foot, these “teeth” move the fabric under the presser foot. In the raised position, they “feed” the fabric. You can also drop the feed dogs so you can move the fabric freely to any direction.
This is the edge of the fabric after it is seamed, hemmed, or finished.
Front Darts starting from near or at the side seams waistline and ending near the bust point.
A self enclosed seam stitched from the right side, then from the wrong side.
A curved ruler.
The vertical inside seam on pants.
Sew-in or fusible fabric used to stabilize fashion fabrics. Can also add body, reinforce, or shape a garment.
Made at 1/16” or 1/8” intervals through the side fold of the turn-under allowance. This technique hides the stitch in the fold along the edge.
When two strips cross at right angles, the line formed by connecting the inside and outside edges.
A fabric with a fuzzy texture, such as velvet, that runs in a specific direction.
Found on the cutting lines of patterns, these diamond-or- triangular shaped marks indicates where seams should match.
A narrow piece of bias-cut fabric folded over a cord and inseted into the seam between the edge and facing of a garment as a decorative trim.
A faced strip of fabric that houses either the buttons or botton-holes on a closure.
The unfinished cut edge of fabric.
Typically, the outside of a garment or the front side of fabric.
A round cutting blade with a handle.
An even hand stitch in which the stitches weave in and out of the fabric from end to end in a dashed line.
Is one of two finished lengthwise edges on a piece of fabrics. These edges, which will not ravel, are usually a little stiffer and firmer that the crosswise, cut edges of the fabric.
The measurement from the edge of the fabric to the line of stitching is the seam allowance.
To sew an edge or seam with a serger. A serger (overlock machine) creates an overloce stitch that extends over the edge of the cloth. Some include automated cutters that cut off the excess fabric. ( For visual how-to information on using a serger: click the “sewing video clip” link found in the “categories” section of the website.)
Stitching inside the “valley” or “groove” of a seam.
An underlayer used to support a fabric for machine embroidery.
Machine stitches along a seamline that keep the fabric stretching when the seam is sewn.
View How to Staystich Video Clip for a visual concept. Staystitching is an important part of garment construction.
Straight or lengthwise, grain:
This refers to the threads (in a woven) or the ribs (in a knit) that are parallel to the selvages. Pattern pieces are usually laid out along the lengthwise grain because it has the least stretch and is the most stable.
A stitched pleat of any width.
A layer of lightweight fabric seam into a garment to reinforce seams, add weight or firmness, hide construction details, and provide a layer for inner stitching.
Typically, the inside of a garment or the backside of fabric.
A fabric panel either across the shoulders or at the waistline.
A stitch that has width and length and looks like connected Zs.