A COMPLETE GLOSSARY OF SEWING WORDS & TERMS
ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck on to a larger piece to form a picture or pattern.
awla small pointed tool used for piercing holes, especially in leather.
a stitch sewn one stitch length backward on the front side and two stitch lengths forward on the reverse side to form a solid line of stitching on both sides.
to temporarily hold a seam or trim in place until it can be permanently sewn, usually with a long running stitch made by hand or machine called a tacking stitch or basting stitch.
quilt batting is used in various sewing and quilting projects, is also known as wadding. It is used as a layer of insulation between fabrics, most often used in quilt making. Batting is the filling of quilts and makes them warm and heavy.
Bias Tape –
strips of fabric that have been cut on the bias of fabric. Bias Tape is available in various widths – in both single fold and double folded forms.
binding refers to finishing a seam or hem of a garment, usually by rolling or pressing then stitching on an edging or trim.
Blanket Stitch –
a stitch used to reinforce the edge of thick materials. It may also be called a whip stitch or a crochet stitch, and can be better defined as “a decorative stitch used to finish an unhemmed blanket”.
a cylinder or cone holding thread, yarn, or wire, used especially in weaving and machine sewing.
buttona small disc or knob sewn on to a garment, either to fasten it by being pushed through a slit made for the purpose or for decoration.
a slit made in a garment to receive a button for fastening.
Chain Stitch –
an embroidery or crochet stitch resembling a chain.
hardened chalk or soapstone used to make temporary guide marks on a garment that is being altered.
woven or felted fabric made from wool, cotton, or a similar fibre.
a soft white fibrous substance which surrounds the seeds of the cotton plant and is made into textile fibre and thread for sewing.
a thin, loosely twisted, worsted yarn used for tapestry and embroidery.
a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a textured fabric by means of a hooked needle.
Cross Stitch –
a stitch formed of two stitches crossing each other.
the end part of a sleeve, where the material of the sleeve is turned back or a separate band is sewn on.
a sewing technique that helps fabric fit properly to the body, especially for a woman’s bust. One technique that does this is the dart, which is usually two straight stitch lines that bring together a fold of fabric.
Dress Form –
a paper, cloth, or wire representation of a woman’s figure from shoulder to thighs but minus arms that is mounted on a stand and used for fitting garments.
a person whose job is making women’s clothes.
elasticcord, tape, or fabric, woven with strips of rubber, which returns to its original length or shape after being stretched.
ornamentation of fabric with needlework, or decorate by sewing patterns on the fabric with thread.
cloth produced by weaving or knitting textile fibres.
a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair or decoration.
a device, such as a clip, pin, or clasp, that attaches something firmly to something else.
Feed Dog –
a critical component of a “drop feed” sewing machine.
Frog Closure –
a sewing notion that can be used, like a button to close a garment. It’s made by looping and interlocking the cording or fabric tube into the desired design, then securing the places where the cords touch by hand-sewing.
an item of clothing.
a sewing technique for shortening the length of a strip of fabric so that the longer piece can be attached to a shorter piece.
an eyelet placed in a hole to protect or insulate a rope or cable passed through it or to reinforce the hole.
a piece of material sewn into a garment to strengthen or to enlarge a part of it.
Hand Stitch –
to stitch or sew by hand, rather than by machine.
hemthe edge of a piece of cloth or clothing which has been turned under and sewn.
Hook and Eye –
a small metal hook and loop used together as a fastener on a garment.
Hook and Loop –
A type of fastener, either self adhesive, tock and close or hook and pile fasteners, colloquially known as Velcro.
embroidery hoops and frames are tools used to keep fabric taut while working on embroidery or other forms of needlework.
another term for inside leg.
an extra layer of material or an adhesive stiffener that is applied to the facing of a garment to add support. Also known as interlining.
a strong, hard magnetic silvery-grey metal, used as a material for construction and manufacturing, or to iron out kinks in garments.
make (a garment or other item) by interlocking loops of wool or other yarn with knitting needles or on a machine.
a fastening made by looping a piece of string, rope, or something similar on itself and tightening it.
lacea fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.
cloth woven from flax.
Lock Stitch –
a stitch made by a sewing machine by firmly linking together two threads or stitches.
a very fine slender piece of polished metal with a point at one end and a hole or eye for thread at the other, used in sewing.
closely stitched embroidery worked over canvas.
items that are sewn or otherwise attached to a finished article, such as buttons, snaps, and collar stays, but the term also includes small tools such as thread, pins, marking pens, and seam rippers.
Overhand Stitch –
a stitch passing over an edge vertically
Overlock Stitch –
a kind of stitch that sews over the edge of one or two pieces of cloth for edging, hemming, or seaming.
needlework in which small pieces of cloth in different designs, colours, or textures are sewn together.
a pattern is the template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled.
a small thin piece of metal with a point at one end, especially used for temporarily holding pieces of cloth together
Pin Cushion –
Pin Cushiona small pad for holding pins in place
Pinking Shears –
shears with a serrated blade, used to cut a zigzag edge in fabric to prevent it fraying.
a double or multiple fold in a garment or other item made of cloth, held by stitching the top or side.
a small bag sewn into or on clothing so as to form part of it, used for carrying small articles.
a bed covering made of padding enclosed between layers of fabric and kept in place by lines of stitching, typically applied in a decorative design.
a long, narrow strip of fabric, used for clothing, tying something, or for decoration.
Rotary Cutter –
a tool generally used by sewers, quilters and patternmakers. It consists of a handle with a circular blade to cut fabric.
an ornamental gathered frill of lace or other cloth on a garment, especially around the wrist or neck.
a straight strip or plastic, wood, metal, marked at regular intervals and used to draw straight lines or measure distances.
Running Stitch –
a simple needlework stitch consisting of a line of small even stitches which run back and forth through the cloth without overlapping.
an instrument used for cutting cloth, paper, and other material
a line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or other article.
Seam Allowance –
saem allowancethe area between the edge and the stitching line on two (or more) pieces of material being stitched together. Can also be called an “inlay”.
Seam Ripper –
a small tool used for unpicking stitches, also known as a Quick-n-Pic.
a woman who sews, especially one who earns her living by sewing.
an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unravelling.
a sewing machine used for overcasting to prevent material from fraying at the edge.
join, fasten, or repair something by making stitches with a needle and thread or a sewing machine.
Sewing Machine –
a machine with a mechanically driven needle for sewing or stitching cloth.
a fine, strong, soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms in making cocoons and collected to make thread and fabric.
decoration on a garment created by gathering a section of the material into tight pleats and holding them together with parallel stitches in an ornamental pattern.
Snap Fastener –
another term for a press stud, a snap is a pair of interlocking discs, used in place of buttons to fasten clothing.
a cylinder with a hole through the middle around which sewing thread is wound.
a loop of thread or yarn resulting from a single pass or movement of the needle in sewing, knitting, or crocheting.
a long stitch used to fasten fabrics together temporarily, prior to permanent sewing.
a person whose occupation is making fitted clothes such as suits, trousers, and jackets to fit individual customers.
Tape Measure –
tape measurea length of tape or thin flexible metal, marked at graded intervals for measuring.
make (a decorative mat or edging) by tying knots in thread and using a small shuttle to form lace.
a type of cloth or woven fabric.
a small metal or plastic cap with a closed end, worn to protect the finger and push the needle in sewing.
a long, thin strand of cotton, nylon, or other fibres used in sewing or weaving.
Top Stitch –
make a row of continuous stitches on the top or right side of a garment or other article as a decorative feature.
decorate (something), typically with contrasting items or pieces of material.
Twill Tape –
a flat twill-woven ribbon of cotton, linen, polyester, or wool.
Upholstery Needle –
any of several very heavy sewing needles used by upholsterers.
Weave (or woven) –
form (fabric or a fabric item) by interlacing long threads passing in one direction with others at a right angle to them.
spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.
a shaped pattern piece which forms part of a garment, usually fitting around the neck and shoulders, or around the hips to provide support for looser parts of the garment, such as a gathered skirt or the body of a shirt.
Zig Zag Stitch –
a back-and-forth stitch used where a straight stitch will not suffice, such as in reinforcing buttonholes, in stitching stretchable fabrics, and in temporarily joining two work pieces edge-to-edge.
a device consisting of two flexible strips of metal or plastic with interlocking projections closed or opened by pulling a slide along them, used to fasten garments, bags, and other items.