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Sewing A to Z

A COMPLETE GLOSSARY OF SEWING WORDS & TERMS

Appliqué –
ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck on to a larger piece to form a picture or pattern.

Awl –
awla small pointed tool used for piercing holes, especially in leather.

Backstitch –
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.

Baste –
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.

Batting –
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 –
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”.

Bobbin –
a cylinder or cone holding thread, yarn, or wire, used especially in weaving and machine sewing.

Button –
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.

Buttonhole –
a slit made in a garment to receive a button for fastening.

Chain Stitch –
an embroidery or crochet stitch resembling a chain.

Chalk –
hardened chalk or soapstone used to make temporary guide marks on a garment that is being altered.

Cloth –
woven or felted fabric made from wool, cotton, or a similar fibre.

Cotton –
a soft white fibrous substance which surrounds the seeds of the cotton plant and is made into textile fibre and thread for sewing.

Crewel –
a thin, loosely twisted, worsted yarn used for tapestry and embroidery.

Crochet –
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.

Cuff –
the end part of a sleeve, where the material of the sleeve is turned back or a separate band is sewn on.

Darts –
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.

Dressmaker –
a person whose job is making women’s clothes.

Elastic –
elasticcord, tape, or fabric, woven with strips of rubber, which returns to its original length or shape after being stretched.

Embroidery –
ornamentation of fabric with needlework, or decorate by sewing patterns on the fabric with thread.

Fabric –
cloth produced by weaving or knitting textile fibres.

Fashion –
a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair or decoration.

Fastener –
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.

Garment –
an item of clothing.

Gathering –
a sewing technique for shortening the length of a strip of fabric so that the longer piece can be attached to a shorter piece.

Grommet –
an eyelet placed in a hole to protect or insulate a rope or cable passed through it or to reinforce the hole.

Gusset –
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.

Hem –
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.

Hoop –
embroidery hoops and frames are tools used to keep fabric taut while working on embroidery or other forms of needlework.

Inseam –
another term for inside leg.

Interfacing –
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.

Iron –
a strong, hard magnetic silvery-grey metal, used as a material for construction and manufacturing, or to iron out kinks in garments.

Knit –
make (a garment or other item) by interlocking loops of wool or other yarn with knitting needles or on a machine.

Knot –
a fastening made by looping a piece of string, rope, or something similar on itself and tightening it.

Lace –
lacea fine open fabric of cotton or silk, made by looping, twisting, or knitting thread in patterns and used especially for trimming garments.

Linen –
cloth woven from flax.

Lock Stitch –
a stitch made by a sewing machine by firmly linking together two threads or stitches.

Needle –
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.

Needlepoint –
closely stitched embroidery worked over canvas.

Notions –
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.

Patchwork –
needlework in which small pieces of cloth in different designs, colours, or textures are sewn together.

Patterns –
a pattern is the template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled.

Pin –
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.

Pleat –
a double or multiple fold in a garment or other item made of cloth, held by stitching the top or side.

Pocket –
a small bag sewn into or on clothing so as to form part of it, used for carrying small articles.

Quilt –
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.

Ribbon –
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.

Ruffles –
an ornamental gathered frill of lace or other cloth on a garment, especially around the wrist or neck.

Ruler –
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.

Scissors –
an instrument used for cutting cloth, paper, and other material

Seam –
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.

Seamstress –
a woman who sews, especially one who earns her living by sewing.

Selvage –
an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unravelling.

Serger –
a sewing machine used for overcasting to prevent material from fraying at the edge.

Sewing –
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.

Silk –
a fine, strong, soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms in making cocoons and collected to make thread and fabric.

Smocking –
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.

Spool –
a cylinder with a hole through the middle around which sewing thread is wound.

Stitch –
a loop of thread or yarn resulting from a single pass or movement of the needle in sewing, knitting, or crocheting.

Tack –
a long stitch used to fasten fabrics together temporarily, prior to permanent sewing.

Tailor –
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.

Tat –
make (a decorative mat or edging) by tying knots in thread and using a small shuttle to form lace.

Textile –
a type of cloth or woven fabric.

Thimble –
a small metal or plastic cap with a closed end, worn to protect the finger and push the needle in sewing.

Thread –
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.

Trim –
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.

Yarn –
spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.

Yoke –
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.

Zip –
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.

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  • Made my first purchase for my business, Cathrin Brodie Ltd. Excellent and speedy service, great range of products and competitive prices. One item was missed from the order but that was dealt with and resolved very speedily. I have no hesitation in recommending this business and I will certainly be back!
    Pauline Randall
    Pauline Randall
    16:05 17 Jul 19
    I was searching for a difficult to find product, Adam from William Gee was incredibly helpful and not only pointed me to the item in stock but also changed the minimum order so it was more appropriate to my needs, thank you that was really excellent! Once ordered the product arrived promptly and as advertised.
    Jenny Brent
    Jenny Brent
    18:55 24 Jun 19
    Very good service. Helpful staff with great knowledge. Hope to see shop.
    Pauline Rawlinson
    Pauline Rawlinson
    14:56 03 Jun 19
    Great being able to find all your sewing needs in one place. I placed an order for a few items & all were received quickly & at a great price.
    Jacqui Thomas
    Jacqui Thomas
    11:54 03 Jun 19
    Excellent customer Service. Had an issue with an order and it was sorted in minutes. Also got items in for me that I need on a regular basis. Good prices too.
    Joanna McCall
    Joanna McCall
    16:12 23 May 19
    My first experience of buying from this company. Good price, smooth transaction and super fast delivery. Would definitely recommend them for all your haberdashery needs.
    Christine Muttock
    Christine Muttock
    15:41 19 Apr 19
    Great products, I received my order (overlocker thread and dot & cross pattern paper) within 24 hours of ordering. Would definitely order again.
    Fiona Barnett
    Fiona Barnett
    08:15 04 Apr 19
    Managed to find exactly what I wanted at a fantastic price. Quick delivery. Very happy.
    Lara Lewis
    Lara Lewis
    10:33 25 Mar 19
    Wonderful old shop complete with original layout and fittings. Long may it last. Helpful service too.
    Anne Barron
    Anne Barron
    15:22 15 Mar 19
    Thank you very much for my order. I was able to choose the right products at a good price from an extensive range all in one place. Quick delivery too.
    CatsMistress
    CatsMistress
    12:10 18 Feb 19
    I'm very pleased with the items that I've purchased and they were delivered very quickly.
    jayne cooke
    jayne cooke
    07:25 31 Jan 19
    Not only do William Gee have an amazing amount of products at great prices their customer experience must be second to none! I placed my order at about lunchtime and it was in my house in Derbyshire by 8.15am the next day! Thank you.
    Di Kendall
    Di Kendall
    12:59 23 Jan 19
    Quick delivery, quality products I struggled to find a shop that provided all the products I needed and found this! Will order again.
    RADUTA ROXANA
    RADUTA ROXANA
    14:19 21 Jan 19
    A great little shop with a good selection of quality haberdashery from notions to lining fabrics. I bought a beautiful pair of William Whiteley Wilkinson fabric shears and they are excellent.
    Laura Haines
    Laura Haines
    09:57 10 Jan 19
    Had everything I needed. Delivery was very quick. Will shop with William Gee again.
    Richard Christian
    Richard Christian
    07:50 24 Dec 18
    Ordered two pairs of shears. Got an immediate telephone call advising that one item was not in stock but would be delivered as soon as available. Both items arrived within 8 days.
    David Brown
    David Brown
    15:08 29 Nov 18
    Brilliantly helpful staff, quick to respond to emails and to ship. Helped me find specific items not on the website and very easy to deal with and process. Will continue to use for future business purchases!
    Hayley Jones
    Hayley Jones
    11:22 14 Nov 18
    Excellent service and high quality products. Highly recommended.
    C Parfish
    C Parfish
    17:08 02 Nov 18
    My friend bought some Terko satin cotton recently and was very impressed with the excellent service, will definitely use again.
    derek richardson
    derek richardson
    20:33 29 Oct 18
    Excellent service - William Gee supplied thread for curtain making that I had struggled to find elsewhere and for a fraction of the price of the few suppliers I had managed to find elsewhere. Delivery was fast and reasonably priced. Would recommend and will be shopping there again. Thank you.
    Hannah
    Hannah
    09:48 26 Oct 18
    I ordered binding and was very pleased with it..Communication went smoothly very nice people Thank you so the sale .Annette from Nottingham. Will definitely buy again
    Crabbycheetah
    Crabbycheetah
    06:10 07 Oct 18
    Quick and efficient service. Very good quality products
    Mo Heywood
    Mo Heywood
    06:07 07 Oct 18
    Was more than pleased with the things that I ordered arrived very promptly and were packed well would certainly recommend and look forward to ordering again in the future.
    caren Tapley
    caren Tapley
    07:37 13 Sep 18
    I ordered a 150m. roll of Dot and Cross pattern and received the parcel the following morning, excellent customer service, thank you.
    Janet Megson
    Janet Megson
    14:31 29 Aug 18
    I placed an order for some haberdashery items. They arrived well packed and secure so there was no damage; and, earlier than I expected to receive them. Good quality products, will definitely be ordering again. Thank you very much!
    kemi watchorn
    kemi watchorn
    12:32 06 Aug 18
    Placed an order online to collect, was ready quickly and they called to tell me so. Through browsing online store it is probably the best stocked haberdashery in the uk, stocking harder to find and a lot of items for designers. Will definatly be using again.
    Thewilsonsdidwhat
    Thewilsonsdidwhat
    08:25 02 Aug 18
    Amazing service. Next day delivery. Good value.
    Janette Hall
    Janette Hall
    14:15 30 Jul 18
    Online ordering is simple; efficiency in recieving goods in a timely manner is superb. Will continue to use William Gee.
    Lara Kelly
    Lara Kelly
    12:26 28 Jul 18
    Have used them for a number of years both professionally and personally. Great prices, fast and efficient service and amazing staff who go out of their way to help.
    Catherine McEvoy
    Catherine McEvoy
    16:34 03 Jul 18
    Excellent service and quick delivery. The only place on the Web I could find Acetate Satin at the correct weight. Very pleased with the product and I will certainly come to you again when we need.
    Sifu K
    Sifu K
    20:39 30 Jun 18
    Everything I needed in one place and speedy efficient delivery, can't ask for much more :)
    Shirley Mather
    Shirley Mather
    15:55 22 Jun 18
    Lovely habedashery with very friendly and helpful staff. Easily accessible by public transport. Will definitely go again.
    Fatima Mirza
    Fatima Mirza
    14:35 17 May 18
    I placed my first order recently and I was very pleased with my purchases. Everything was as described, the quality was outstanding and it was all affordable. Their wide range of haberdashery is the best I've come across. I'll definitely be back for another haul.
    twenty.seven zero.three
    twenty.seven zero.three
    07:53 27 Mar 18
    Excellent quality goods and speedy delivery, can't ask for more! I'll definitely shop here again.
    Lisa Wightman
    Lisa Wightman
    22:34 02 Mar 18
    Excellent. I made a silly mistake when ordering. Phoned immediately and it was all sorted straightaway. Couldn’t have wished for better service. Thank you.
    Joan Clark
    Joan Clark
    09:57 25 Jan 18
    I visited WilliamGee store today. I am a new starter in sewing, so I had just a paper with a list of unknown words to me. Effie, the sales assistant, was very helpful, indeed. She explained to me what I needed for and replied friendly to my queries. So, I easily found all I needed and I am happy! I will definitely recommend this place.
    Natalia Kokla
    Natalia Kokla
    12:17 10 Jan 18
    Excellent service provided by this family run business. Not only are the prices superb but the delivery time is swift too. I shall be definitely using William Gee again and have recommended them to all of my 'stitchy' friends!
    Zoe Goodwin
    Zoe Goodwin
    15:54 03 Jan 18
    Great price and found exactly what I need, speedy delivery too. Will definitely be returning for more zips!
    WOSAT Group SC046663
    WOSAT Group SC046663
    09:44 20 Nov 17
    Amazing selection on their website - lots of unusual and hard to find items. Great prices and quick delivery. I will definitely be shopping there again just because of the extensive range of products.
    rosalind povey
    rosalind povey
    09:40 02 Nov 17
    Brilliant service. Really helpful when I telephoned them. My order was processed very quickly. Will definitely use them again.
    Jane
    Jane
    18:14 31 Oct 17
    A fantastic place for all haverdashery needs. I've been buying from this company for years. Excellent customer service, responds promptly to any issues. Shopping online is easy, but the shop is always worth visiting.
    Sonia Auyeung
    Sonia Auyeung
    18:56 06 Sep 17
    Placed my first online order with William Gee for my small sewing business. Web site very easy to navigate and use, good quality products and very speedy delivery. Very happy customer, I will be ordering again. Thank you.
    julie payne
    julie payne
    20:03 13 Aug 17
    Incredible sewing and craft shop, reminds me of long established sewing shops in Manchester growing up in the 80s. It's not a massive shop but they have everything you could ever want at very competitive prices. I also love their bargain bundles and bags.Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful too. I have done both click and collect online and bought from the shop in person, both great experiences but if you're easily tempted I advise the former option.
    Sophie J
    Sophie J
    23:39 11 Aug 17
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