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Fabric Terms
Bias – the diagonal direction of the fabric
Cross Grain/Crosswise Grain/Weft/Fill – threads that run from left to right; always perpendicular to the selvage
Drape – the way that the fabric falls and forms to the body

Fabric Grain – the direction of the threads used in weaving the fabrics
Face – the front (or right) side of fabric
Fold Line – refers to folding right sides together to prepare fabric for cutting and pattern piece arrangement

Hand – the texture or feeling that a fabric has
Length(wise) Grain/Warp – threads in woven fabric that run the length of the fabric and are parallel (same direction) to the selvage
Nap – the direction that fibers in textured fabrics lay down

Selvage – the tightly woven edge of fabric in a roll that doesn’t fray before being sold
Wrong Side – the backside of fabric Garment Construction Terms
Clip – small snips placed in curved or angled areas of pattern pieces to add ease and keep the area smooth
Cutting Line – solid lines printed on patterns that show where to cut out the pattern
Darts – triangular wedge-shape that’s folded and sewn into areas that have more fullness to achieve a better fit (often found at the bust, waist, and/or hips)

Dots – marks placed at seam intersections, dart points, collars, and more on pattern pieces to locate where garment pieces should line up
Cut On Fold Symbol – an open ended rectangle with a double edged arrow; this symbol specifies when a piece needs to be cut on fold
Ease – space in a pattern allotted for fit and style, according to the body’s specific measurements

Grade/Layer – to increase or decrease the sample size of a pattern to make a complete size range
Hem – bottom edge of a garment that is raw and then finished by being folded and sewn
Iron – to move the iron backward or forward against a finished garment in order to create crisp seams and help the garment lay correctly

Layout – a printed portion found in pattern instructions that helps to organize pattern pieces when placing on fabric for cutting
Marking/Tracing – to transfer trued lines and guidelines from muslin or pattern over to pattern paper using a marking tool or tracing aid
Notch – triangle shaped cuts or marks placed into pattern pieces that help align pieces for sewing

Pivot – a sewing technique used for corners where the needle is lowered into the fabric and the fabric is rotated to the desired position
Pre-shrink – to launder fabric normally before sewing if the content is prone to shrinkage
Press – to lift and lower an iron onto pattern pieces to release wrinkles or to set in the seam

Seam Allowance – the width of fabric between the seam line and the edge of the fabric that allows room for fraying and wearing ease
Seam – a series of stitches that holds two or more pieces of fabric together
Tack – a stitch type used for reinforcement at points of stress such as pockets or zippers

Trim – to cut down the sewn seam allowance to reduce bulk
Yoke – an element added for fit that is usually added across the shoulders or to the waistline

Sewing Machine Parts
Bed – the flat part of the sewing machine where the fabric rests when it’s being sewn
Bobbin – a bottom thread fed through the machine to meet the spool to make the stitch
Bobbin Case – holds the bobbin in place, allowing the machine to unravel it neatly

Bobbin Cover/Slide Plate – covers the bobbin case and keeps it in place
Bobbin Winder Spindle – a mechanism that is typically moved to the right to wind thread from the spool to the bobbin
Bobbin Winder Thread Guide – used to wind the bobbin evenly

Feed Dogs – 2-3 metal bars on a sewing machine bed that feed fabric through the machine
Foot Pedal – regulates the start/stop of the machine through the use of the foot
Free Arm – a detachable piece that’s a part of the machine bed; it’s used to sew small or circular areas

Guidelines – measurements located on the throat plate used to guide the edge of fabric to keep seam widths even
Hand Wheel – large wheel found on the right side of the machine that raises and lowers the needle
Needle Clamp – small, flat screw that keeps the needle in place

Power & Light Switch – turns the sewing machine and its light on/off
Power Socket – where the power cord is placed into the machine
Presser Foot – uses pressure to hold fabric in place as it meets the feed dogs

Presser Foot Lever – used to raise and lower the presser foot
Reverse Stitch Button or Lever – a button/lever that creates backstitches to lock the seam in place
Sewing Needle – special needle designed for use in a sewing machine rather than for hand sewing

Spool Pin – small extendable rod on the top of a machine that holds thread and keeps it in place
Stitch-Length Control – a dial or button that controls the distance between stitches
Stitch Pattern Selector – a dial or screen that allows the user to choose a stitch type

Stitch-Width Control – dial that controls the width between stitches or the position of the needle
Tension Control – a dial that controls the amount of pressure that’s applied to the thread
Thread cutter – a knife found to the left and behind the needle that is used to cut threads after a seam is sewn

Thread Guides – guides the thread from the spool to the needle
Thread Take-Up Lever – a metal hook that pulls back thread after each stitch to prevent tangles and feeds thread from the spool to the needle
Throat Plate – metal part of the machine located under the presser foot that protects the bobbin/bobbin case

Basic Seam Types
Bound – appears to look like a french seam from the right side and from the wrong side it has neatly enclosed stitches
Double Stitched – a plain seam with two lines of stitches
Flat-Felled – a double stitched, closed seam that is durable and conceals raw edges which lie flat

French – Encloses the seam allowance so that no raw edges are visible; best used on thin fabrics to avoid bulkiness
Lapped – right sides of fabric face up and overlap
Plain – the most basic seam; any seam that attaches two pieces of wrong facing fabrics together
Superimposed – edges that are placed one over the other and sewn along the edges

Basic Stitch Types
Back Stitch – reverse machine stitching done to the beginning and the end of a seam to secure the stitch from unraveling
Baste – a temporary set of stitches that hold a seam in place before permanent stitches are applied, usually sewn with a long stitch length and no back stitching
Edge Stitch – a series of straight stitches placed about ⅛” from the edge of the trimmed seam or outer edge

Reinforced – small stitches made at corners or high tension areas to reduce stress
Serged – closely interlocked stitches that will finish raw edges, often used for knits and jeans
Stay Stitch – stitches used to stabilize fabric placed on or just outside the seam

Stitch in the Ditch – where seams are joined; facings are hand tacked or machine stitched in the “ditch” to hold in place and partially hide stitches
Straight Stitch – a basic line of simple stitches
Top Stitch – a line of decorative stitches sewn ¼” from the edge on the right side of fabric that is parallel to a seam or edge
Understitch – seam allowances that are stitched to the facing along the outer edge

Garment Types
Skirt Silhouettes
A-line – fitted throughout the hips, widening out to the hem
Shop bestselling skirt fabrics!
Free patterns: Juniper Skirt & Cassia Skirt
Ball Gown – a floor sweeping, voluminous full-length skirt
Shop formal fabrics!
Free patterns: Iris Ensemble
Circle – a circular cut of fabric that forms a full skirt that hangs smoothly
Try our free Circle Skirt Calculator!

Dirndl – having a fitted waistband and a full skirt
Shop casual dress fabrics!
Free pattern: Romulea Skirt
Mermaid – fitted from the hips to the mid-calf with a tapered flare at the bottom
Shop prom fabrics!
Pencil – a slim fitting skirt that reaches the knee or just above it
Ship suiting fabrics!
Free pattern: Aspen Ensemble

Sheath – form fitting style that commonly hits right at the knee but can vary in length
Trumpet/Tulip – fitted from the hips to the knees with a peplum style bottom
Shop day dress fabrics!
Free pattern: Gardenia Skirt

Skirt Lengths
Maxi – reaching ankle length
Midi (Tea-length) – a mid-calf length skirt, typically with a lot of fullness
Mini – fitted style with a mid-thigh length

Outerwear Styles:
Balmacaan – often made with raglan sleeves and a wide and full fit
Battle – short in length and fitted at the cuffs and waist originally made to take the place of original army jackets
Blazer – traditionally hip-length with a notched lapel and single or double breasted buttons; can have a tailored or boxy fit

Bolero – open front style hitting just above the waist in length
Cardigan – a long-sleeved knitted sweater with a button front
Chesterfield – made of simple vertical seams with a trench length

Polo/Camel – a tailored coat similar to a trench style with a sheath dress fit
Reefer – a fitted double-breasted style with a trench length
Safari – belted jacket with a collar and utility style pockets

Spencer – long-sleeved fitted style that ended at the waistline
Trapeze (swing) – made with ½ or ¾ length sleeves, a lengthened lapel, and an a-line cut
Trench – double-breasted having pockets, shoulder straps and a waist belt, ranging from ankle to knee length
Wrap – a style that ties at the waist where one side overlaps the other

Bottoms Styles:
Ankle/Cropped/Cigarette – a style that hits right at or above the ankle
Capri – mid-calf length with a fitted cuff
Culottes – mid-calf length, similar to the capri, but with a slightly loose fitting leg

Harem – soft, loose fitting pants with a fitted cuff
Hip hugger – waistband sits at the hip region
Jumpsuit – the joining of a top and bottom incorporated into one garment

Palazzo – loose, wide-legged style
Pleated – creases that are sewn and folded before being attached to the waistband
Raised-waist – sits slightly above the hips

Straight leg – a fit that does not change and falls straight from the thighs to the hem
Tapered – style that becomes more slim as it reaches the ankle
Wide-leg – very loosely fitted pants from hips to cuffs

Shorts Styles:
Boxer – loose fitting shorts that reach the mid-thigh
Jamaica – a knee length style with a body skimming fit
Tailored – style with belt loops, a body skimming fit, an upper mid thigh length, and a cuffed hemline
Walking/Bermuda – body skimming style with a hem that can be cuffed or uncuffed, reaching about 1” above the knee

Garment Elements
Lapel Styles:
Notch – conventional style where the collar and lapel meet to form a V
Peak – sits closely to the collar with a dip that comes up to form a peak, this style resembles a paper plane edge
Shawl – curved style commonly found on tuxedos

Blazer Pockets:
On (In) Seam – a concealed pocket covered by the other layers, and is nearly invisible with no closures
Patch – a separate square-like piece of separate fabric top-stitched onto a garment
Seam to Seam – style that reaches from the princess seam to the side seam of the garment and usually includes a closure like a button
Welt – bound pockets with a reinforced border along the top edge of the fabric

Pants/Shorts Pockets:
Jeans – flat pocket reaching from the side seam to the bottom of the waistband in a rectangular shape with a rounded bottom edge
Scoop – flat pocket reaching from the side seam to the bottom of the waistband in a semi-circle fashion
Trouser – flat pocket forming a diagonal triangle from the bottom of the waistband to the side seam of the bottoms
Western – flat pocket reaching from the side seam to the bottom of the waistband forming a 45 degree angle

Interfacing – a fabric used for support in areas of stress
Interlining – material added between the fashion fabric and the lining; usually for warmth
Lining – an inner layer that can be decorative- added for greater opacity, warmth, structure, or comfort
Underlining – sewing fashion fabric to a backing fabric to provide stability

Collar Types:
Buttoned Down – style with a buttonhole on either collar point that attaches to the shirt
Classic – easily identifiable by the small amount of spread from the collar edge to the button
Club – style with rounded edges

Hidden button – style with an extra layer on the corner to conceal a hidden button hole
Long Point – made with long pointy edges
Mandarin – small, upright collar that is closely fitted to the neck

Pinned – a style held down on either side by a pin
Two Button – features 2 buttons at the top of the button placket to provide extra height or stiffness to the collar

Boat – wide neckline that sits slightly below the collar bone
Cowl – heightened neckline with a loose fit
Crew – close fitting, round neckline

Funnel – high neck style that does not have a seam
Halter – a style held up by a tie that wraps around the neck
Jewel – higher rise scoop with a slight curve

Mock Turtle – similar to a funnel neck, but shorter and more fitted
Oval scoop – style with a deeper scoop
Square – style that resembles a half square shape

Strapless – a top with no straps or sleeves
Turtleneck – fitted, high collar that folds over
V-neck – style with two lines that meet to form a V

Sleeve Types:
Bishop – a long sleeve with gathering at the bottom finished with a cuff
Dolman – attached to the body of the garment without seams, being very loose at the shoulder and tapering to a more fitted style towards the wrist
Drop Shoulder – the sleeve is lengthened past the shoulder edge and the bottom of the sleeve is shortened

Mutton – very wide towards the shoulder and fitted from the elbow to wrist
Peasant – gathered at the shoulder and the cuff
Puffed – gathered at the top and the cuff with fullness in the middle

Quarter Length – extends in length between the elbow and wrist
Raglan – having a diagonal seam that begins under the arm and reaches to the collar bone with a closely fitted sleeve that extends past the elbow
Set-in – sleeve seam that starts at the shoulder edge and continues around the armhole

Sleeveless – absent of sleeves
Strapless – a top with no straps or sleeves
Tapered – loose at the armhole and closely fitted down the sleeve towards the wrist

Bound – a decorative buttonhole made with a rectangular lip from its front side
Keyhole (cord or grip) – reinforced with 2 lines of tight stitches that have a circular shaped end resembling a keyhole
Oval Bound – a version of the bound buttonhole with an oval shaped lip

Slit – simple buttonhole with a rectangular fence of stitches to control the hole width
Zig-zag– basic machine sewn buttonhole consisting of two parallel lines of zig-zag stitches

Closure Types
Cord Locks – a cylindrical device that can retract and expand to allow or stop a threaded drawstring from slipping; typically found in waistbands or jackets hemlines
D-Ring or O-Ring – adjustable buckles that are great for connecting straps
Hooks/Hook & Eyes – consist of 2 metal pieces – one that resembles a rounded omega sign and a flattened hook that interlock and keep small edges together once they are sewn in place

Toggle – a loop and a T-shaped piece that interlock together- great for outerwear or adding a fashionable element to garments
Zippers – having two strips of flexible fabric with teeth that interlock and can be sewn to garments

Fit Silhouettes
Natural – fitted with ease and room for movement
Over-sized – loose, having little to no shape
Relaxed – less fitted and shapely

Slim – fit that follows the body
Stretch to fit – a fabric with give that fits closely to the body