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Sewing Terms and Definitions
A-line dress
Dress Silhouette which has the shape of alphabet A, narrow at the top and flaring sway from the body towards the bottom.

A line skirt
Skirt which is tight at the waist and hip and flares from the hipline creating a shape like Capital letter A

Abutted Dart
A type of dart that is used in fabrics such as interfacing to eliminate unnecessary bulk by bringing the stitching lines together after cutting out the center of the dart. Baste or stitch to an underlay (a woven tape or very lightweight fabric).

Abutted seam
An abutted seam is used to eliminate bulk in an interfacing seam. The seam allowances are removed and the seam edges are abutted together and sewn with a zig zag stitch or 1/8 inch seam to an underlay, for example, a woven tape.

All articles which complement the clothes like hosiery shoes, bags, gloves, belts, scarves, jewellery, hats. Accessorizing is the process of adding accessories to apparel. Learn more about the 30 different accessories in fashion here

A decorative embroidery stitch.

Accent shades
Bright and dark shades like Orange, shocking pink, fluorescent colours

Accordian pleats
Permanently pressed machine made pleats which donot go with washing or pressing, usually seen around the width of skirts

A design that has the features of another design but is not an exact copy

Advancing colours
Warm colours (shades of red yellow and orange)

African print
A dynamic and colourful print taken from the traditional dress and textiles.

Aida fabric
The most commonly used type of fabric for counted cross-stitch. The weave of the thread is visible in this cloth and hence it is easy to count the stitches.

Alter / Alterations
To change or revise a pattern or garment to suit a person’s size or particulars. This includes lengthening a pant hem, removing a zipper and making a dress smaller or bigger

Used in two ways . 1. Same as seam allowance; extra fabric allowed outside of seam line; 2. alternatively extra fabric allowed inside the pattern for gathers tucks etc

American style
Very easy going sporty style

Anchoring Stitches
Stitches made with the shortest stitch length at the beginning or end of stitching to keep them from pulled out

Animal print
A cloth pattern representing skin of an exotic animal like zebra or leopord. You can learn more about animal prints in the post on fabric patterns

Animal fabric
Fabrics obtained from animal fibers – skin/fur.Learn more about the different kinds of Animal fabric here.

A treatment applied to fabrics to prevent the formation of tiny balls on the fabric surface due to abrasion during wear. The term explains the wear resistance of a fabric. If a fabric is termed anti-pill it means it is of superior quality and does not have the uneven worn look of fabric made with low quality fibers.

The word refers to the fullest part of the bust when taking body measurements

This an all embracing term for men’s women’s and children’s clothing.

A decoration made by stitching one piece of fabric onto another fabric by using blind stitches or satin stitches

Applique scissors
Used to cut applique they are also called duck bill scissors. One blade is longer for better cutting around edges

A style of cloth featuring original patterns with abstract geometrical motifs

A diamond-shaped plaid pattern on a knit fabric. This is a Scottish pattern and comes in three basic colours.

Armhole dart bodice
A bodice with a dart starting from the armscye to the apex of the bust

Part of a dressform covering the arm socket; in metal

The circumference of the Armhole ( where sleeve is sewn)

Asymmetrical garment
A garment which is not a mirror image of itself from side to side; each side of the garment mayhave a different silhouette. Asymmetrical neckline is one in which either side of the center front of the garment is different

The Studio of a designer or dressmaker.

Avant Grade
The most original, experimental, innovative and most unconventional designs of any particular period

A sewing tool used to make holes in the fabric. It can aslo be used for pushing out corners or make eyelets

Design exposing the back

Back pleats
Tiny pleats on the back of a garment that allows for more room and comfort

Back stitching
This refers to the one or two straight stitches made in the beginning to anchor the stitches when you start sewing a seam.

Back yoke
A piece of fabric that connects the back of a garment to the shoulders. This allows the garment to lay flat and drape very well

Back stitch
An embroidery stitch which can also be used sew seams ; Or the stitch used at the beginning and end of a machine sewn seam to anchor the seam in place. More on back stitch embroidery here.

Material used beneath a fabric to provide stability and support.This term is usually used in quilting and embroidery.

Baby hem
Hem which is only turned very little as litttle as 1/8″. This is usually used in stitching sheer fabrics like chiffon

Baggy pants
Pants fitting at the waist and hip but loose at the bottom flare.

Ballerina neckline
This is a wide scoop neckline similar to those seen in classic dance attires of ballerinas

This is a thick and durable material usually used in luggage.

Ballpoint needle
A needle used for machine or hand sewing which has a rounded point useful for sewing knits and elastic since it does not pierce the threads but slips between them.

A loose, single-breasted overcoat usually with a short turnover collar

Balance Mark
This is a line marked along the center of a pattern going through the center of bust line, waist line and hip line. It is made to maintain balance in the garment. This is usually marked with needle and thread using basting stitches

Balance Notches
These are small cuts made in the shape of a v using scissors to denote the middle. It is made at the time of tracing the pattern. They are usually used to mark pleats, darts.

Ball point needle
This is a special type of needle used to sew knit fabrics

Tie and die fabric from Rajasthan, used to make garments

A strip which is used to hold, decorate or complement an article, or piece of clothing

Four or more satin stitches.

Bar tack
This refers to Reinforced stitching.The bar stitches are made in a point where you meant to hold something in place. eg at the top of a pocket. There is a special machine for this in industrial sewing.

Basic block
Simple outline of a pattern.

Basket weave
A variation of a plain weave construction in which two or more warp and filling yarns are woven side by side to resemble a pleated basket.

Long running stitches temporarily created by hand or machine to hold fabric in place before the final stitching. The stitches are called basting stitches.

Basting needle
A long sharp hand sewing needle used to baste

A method of dyeing in which parts of fabric are coated with wax, resulting in varying patterns or colors. Often the wax cracks, causing fine lines or streaks.

Fiberfill, cotton, wool, or other material used to fill the insides of quilts , hotpads etc.They are available on rolls and are purchased in precut lengths or by the yard.

Beeswax is used to coat the thread of embroidery/hand sewing to prevent it from tangling.

Beading needle
Long thin needle with a very narrow eye for sequins and beads to pass through

Bead elastic
This is a strong, stretchable cord often used in beading or jewelry making

Bell sleeve
A Sleeve resembling a bell with flared lower edge. Check out the different types of bell sleeves here.

Besom pocket
An inset pocket with the lower lip finished with a welt. If both edges have welts, the pocket is called a double besom

Between needle
Short fine needles used for quilting.

Bias grain/direction of fabric
Any direction in a fabric which is not following the warp yarn or weft yarn. It is at a diagonal angle to the weave .

Bias cut
A diagonal cut across a fabric’s grain. Used to create garments that closely trace the body’s natural curves for a flattering look. True bias is a cut made in a 45 degree angle to the selvedge. This gives the most stretch

Bias tape

A narrow strip of fabric, cut on the bias or cross-grain which has great stretch and has a greater drape It is often used to the finish raw edges of quilts, placemats, etc. Single-fold bias tape is bias tape with each raw edge folded in toward the center, wrong sides together, and pressed. Double-fold bias tape is single-fold bias tape which has been folded in half and pressed, with the single folds to the inside. Checkout this post on making bias tape for more details

Bias binding
A strip of fabric cut on bias used to bind or cover edges. Also called bias tape, this is stretchy so can be used to give a neat edge around curves.

Bias seams
Seams cut and sewn on the bias grain

This is a trim or a strip of fabric – (woven, usually cut on the bias and knit, usually cut crosswise) which encases a hem or a raw edge. Learn how to bind necklines here.

Bicep measurement
Measurement around the fullest part of the arm

Bifurcated dress form
Neck to ankle dress form

Encasing a fabric edge inside a strip of fabric piece ; as a trim or a as finish

Bird nesting
This terms refers to what happens when sewing – a thread collection between the fabric and needle plate resembling a bird’s nest. Learn different ways to prevent bird nesting here.

Bishop collar
Two hanging collars longer than the normal collar forming a W shape in the front

Bishop sleeve
A long sleeve which ends with gathers at the lower edge which are held with a cuff. it starts at the armhole with minimum fullness. Learn more about bishop sleeves here.

Blanket Stitch
This is a hand stitch used to finish a fabric edge . Eg buttonhole stitch

Refers to when colour of one fabric or portion of fabric transfers to somewhere else. Check out this post on different ways to prevent color bleeding here.

Blouse placket
Placket most seen in women’s garments where one side of placket hides beneath the garment and the other side is extended

A women’s jacket that blouses and is drawn at the waist

Blind stitch
A kind of hemming which does not show on the right or the wrong side

Master pattern; in quilting this is an individual block used in the quilt top. Usually this is patchworked

Blocking pattern
Arranging pattern pieces on fabric so that the grainline of the fabric is correctly laid out with weft and warp threads intersecting each other at right angles

A wide neckline that is open from shoulder to shoulder. It is usually cut same in the front and back.

The spool that holds the thread for sewing and sits in the bobbin holder under the needle and throatplate

Bobbin winder
A mechanism in a sewing machine which helps in transferring thread from spool to bobbin effortlessly and quickly

The upper part of a dress from shoulder to waist. A boned bodice has stays giving it structure.

Long, flat, needle-like tool with a blunt point used to thread elastic ribbon etc through casing. Learn more about Bodkin here.

Body rise
This refers to the distance from the shoulder to chestline in a front bodice pattern

Body balance
The form and balance of the body when a person stands straight

A large roll of cloth as it comes from the manufacturer.It can be on a tubular roll or a rectangular form. Fabric is usually folded right sides together lengthwise on a bolt.

Narrow strips used to stiffen a garment, usually made of plastic, metal, or bone. They are inserted into the seams in corsets, bustiers etc where you want a firm structure and stiff joints

Permanent joining of two fabrics with a bonding agent , heat setting.

It refers to Jeans style which flares from the knees slightly to accommodate boots underneath.

Border print
A design that runs along the border or the cuff

A free standing shop in devoted to specialised merchandise for a niche market.

Box pleats
Full length broad pleats in rectangular shape usually around the width of skirts.( eg uniform skirts)The two pleats face each other on one side and away from each other on the opposite side

A large roll of fabric which can be on a tubular roll or a rectangular form. Fabric is usually folded right sides together lengthwise on a bolt.

Tape used on the lapel roll line of a jacket.

A skirt or dress that is characterized by numerous pleats and crinkled material.

Build up shoulder
Where the shoulder is emphasized with embellishments/padding etc

Bugle beads
Beads of an elongated tubular shape in different colours, that are often sewn onto garments as ornamentation.

Large loose silhouette

A heavy, coarse cotton fabric used for stiffening garments and hats.

Closure usually made of metal or plastic used to close a garment.

Bust dart
Dart that starts from the neck shoulder side seam etc and ends at the apex of the bust

Bust form
Neck to waist dress form with bust cup demarcations.

Button through sleeve placket
A small placket located on the sleeve by the cuff which contains a single button closure

Bringing two edges together so they touch but do not overlap..

Button down
Fastened down with buttons

Button hole
A hole made in the fabric for the button to pass through. Buttonhole stitch is used to reinforce the hole edges. Learn how to hand sew a buttonhole here. And to make machine made buttonholes.

Buttonhole twist
Heavy thread used to hand sew buttonholes

Button and buttonhole placements ( Pattern symbols)
They are often together and sometimes separate. They indicate placement of button, size, and buttonholes.

Button stand
This refers to the band on which the button is attached on a garment.

Cable Stitch
A straight stitch.

Camp Pockets
Pockets that are sewn to the outside of the garment, usually squared off and characterized by seaming.

A design incorporating the army’s brown-green print

A medium- to heavyweight type of cotton or linen in a plain or twill weave.

Cape collar
Collar with a plain rounded back and a cut in the front. The width of the collar is the same throughout

Cap height
Distance from biceps to sleeve cap at center

Cap sleeve
This short sleeve extends just over the shoulder for a touch of femininity.

A thread or fabric loop used as a support for a belt or tie

A fabric tube sewn in the garment for encasing elastic or drawstring

Carbon Paper
This is used along with a tracing wheel to transfer pattern markings to fabric from the paper patter. It has removable ink on one side in different colour choices

Fabric folded and stitched to hold elastic, cording, or boning.

A hemstitch used to join an edge to the inside of a garment. It consists of cross-shaped stitches on either side of an edge.

Cathedral Train
Also known as a monarch train. A cascading train extending six to eight feet behind the gown. Often used on wedding dresses.

Center front Fold
CFF ;indictes the center fold line in the back pattern; this can be got by folding by matching the shoulder points and armpits of the back pattern

Center back fold
CBF; indictes the center fold line in the front pattern; this can be got by folding by matching the shoulder points and armpits of the front pattern

Chain stitch
A chain like hand stitch which consists of loops of the same size. Learn about the different variations of the chain stitch here.

Used to mark fabric pattern lines, notches , buttonholes etc.

Charm Packs
Little precut fabric squares of 5″ * 5″ dimensions

Incredibly soft, fuzzy yarns that stand out around a velvety cord.

Check on check
Having various layered check patterns and colours

Chelsea collar
Two long collars around a V neckline.

Sophisticated or stylish

Chinese style

Chinese collar ( Mandarin collar)
A rounded stiff collar with an opening, placed close to the neck.

Churidhar pants
Indian Pants which are loose above the knees and very tight below the knees

Cine mode
Style of fashion that originated in the movies

Circle skirt
These skirts are cut on the bias grain; They are very flared at the lower edge. A full circle skirt is without a side seam.

Clip /clipping
Make small cuts on the seam allowance for easy turning or fit better.Usually used in curved seams

Clean seam
Seam stitched and pressed open. The seam looks invisible when pressed open.

Clean finish
Neat finish applied to fabric edges like facing

Coat collar
A two part stiff collar raised above the shoulder line. One part of the collar is an extension of the bodice.

Construction lines
Basic seams of a garment that forms its outline/silhouette

Complimentary colours
Colours on the opposite side of the colour wheel. lik red and green, blue and orange yellow and purple

Cool Colors
Blue, violet and green are cool or light colors.

Used to describe a dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading or running due to washing, exposure to sunlight, and other environmental conditions.

Collar stand
A band between the shirt and the fall of the collar on a shirt or blouse. It is the part of the collar that touches the neck.

Continuous placket
A one piece placket usually seen on garments with a partial opening

A manufacturing concern that does the sewing for other producers under an agreement

Convertible Collar
A rolled collar that can be worn open or closed. Sewn directly to the neckline.

Sophisticated international

Classic style
Traditional timeless style

Refers to buttons, zippers etc used to close garment opening

Connecting stitches
Threads that connect short distanced objects n embroidery. Distance of 1/16″ is usually the standard for a a connecting stitch

Current; having the look of today

Designs having the characteristics of European men’s style featuring wide shoulders fitted waist

Convertible collar
This is basically a jewel neckline with a slit which gives the look of collar. A contracting colour fabric is used inside the garment which when turned inside out looks like collar.

String or cord which can be used in decorations, and as drawstring

In couching hand or machine overcast stitches are used to attach a thread yarn or trim to a fabric. Learn different ways to do couching here.

French word for male designers usually one who has his own couture house. Coutruiere (female term )

A lightweight blanket often used during warmer months. Coverlets have a shorter drop than traditional bedspreads, exposing the frame or bedskirt

A finish in which two needles are used to create parallel rows of visible stitching. It is used around neck arm holes waistband and wrist band to create a cleaner and more durable finish.

Cowl Neck
A neckline featuring a piece of material attached to a garment at the neck, which may be used as a hood or draped loosely in a swag from shoulder to shoulder at the front neckline or back.

A fad of fashion characterised by indiscriminate following by people

Crew neck
Tight Round neck of a sweater or t shirt

Circles and squares
Marks in a pattern that you match with their identical shapes, or a line of change (such as a seam, sleeve cap, or beginning or ending of gathers) in the adjoining piece.

Measure around something

Make a fold line in the fabric, as an indication while sewing . You can crease with iron orwith fingers. The line formed is called a creaseline. A crease edge is created by creasing the edge

Crewel yarn
A two-ply, loosely twisted, fine-worsted yarn used in heavy embroidery

Crewel needles
These are embroidery needles with a longer eye for threading multiple strands of embroidery thread. Suitable for smocking, most embroidery work.

A machine stitch that eases fabric into an area of a seam.

Method of making a loose, open knit fabric by looping thread with a hooked needle.

Refers to shortening the length of a garment; A cropped top is a short top ending just under the bust

Cross back
This refers to the body measurement taken about 5-7 cms down from the shoulder point on the back. Also called back width. This is especially important for making jackets, waistcoats etc

Cross grain
Grain of the fabric that lies perpendicular to the selvedge i.e grain running from selvage to selvage. This is formed by warp yarns that start from one selvage to the other selvage

Cross grain edge
The edge perpendicular to the selvage

Cross stitch
Two stitches that cross to form an x. Checkout the different types of cross stitches here.

Crotch depth
Distance from waist to crotch level plus desired ease.

Crotch length
Total measurement taken from back waist to front waist along the crotch line

Crotch level
Area from waist to crotch on a pattern

A rectangular piece of cloth stitched to hold gathers. One side of the cuff will have a button and the otherside buttonhole

Cutting line
A solid, dark outer line to follow in cutting out a pattern piece.This will be outside of the stitching line and seam allowance.

Cutting mat
Rubber self healing mat used to protect surfaces when cutting fabric along with a rotary cutter.

Cut on the double
When you cut fabric, if the fabric is folded before cutting it is called cut on the double.

Decorative stitch
An embroidery stitch used to highlight a design.

Darning foot
A presser foot that is used with dropped feed dogs for free-motion stitching or mending; Darning foot. It has a circular opening that doesn’t clamp down over the fabric

Darts are fold stitched into a fabric to take in ease and give it shape. Dart legs are lines that come to a stop at the pattern edge. Learn more in detail about darts here.

Dart placement — on patterns transfers shape markings onto fabric where you make a fold on the solid line and stitch on the broken lines, toward point.

Dart point – tip of a dart.

Dart leg
Length of a dart ; one of the lines that makes up a dart

Dart manipulation
Moving darts to different parts of the pattern for better fit

A lightweight, silky-soft fabric blend that has a slight shine to it. Dazzle is found primarily in active clothing because of its quick-drying capabilities.

Depth of scye
Distance from shoulder line to chestline

Design lines
Style lines like Seams or stitching that adds a different dimension to the garment like openings, gathers, tucks, pleats, sashes.

Design ease
Extra measurement added to the pattern for accommodating design lines/ style elements like ruching

Diamond Neck
A diamond-shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.

Small, usually geometric patterns that are woven into a fabric.

A long cape-like sleeve that is very wide at the armhole. It is cut as an extension of the bodice.

Having one-half of the front lapped over the other. Usually has a double row of buttons and a single row of buttonholes.

Double breasted collar
A coat collar with overlapping lapels. This collar has double sets of buttons below the collar.

Double needle
Two machine needles attached together to sew two parallel rows of stitches at once with two spools of thread and one bobbin. It is also called twin needle.

Double-fold hem
A hem that is folded first to enclose the raw edge and then for the hem allowance.

A fluffy, soft fibrous material that grows under the contour feathers of ducks, geese and other waterfowl. Used as a thermal insulator because it’s known for warmth.

The way a garment / fabric hangs

Creating a garment by arranging fabric on a mannequin ; soft drapey fabric is used this way

Making a sewing pattern based on body measurements

A string in the seam of a garment which can be pulled to tighten.

Dress form / Dummy
This refers to the form made to be a copy of the human form with almost exact dimensions for fitting purposes and draping.

Dropped Waist / Low Waist
A waistline that is sewn below the body’s natural waistline.

Drop stitch
A type of knit where some of the needles are “dropped out” during stitching to produce an open-worked pattern in the fabric. Similar to a wide, ribbed finish.

Drop shoulder sleeve
This sleeve has an extended armhole. Sleeve lies below the shoulder.

Duck cloth
A medium-weight cloth (usually cotton) that is soft, breathable and durable. Tightly woven and retains color beautifully.

Dyed to match
Refers to buttons or trims that are of the same colour as the garment into which they are sewn.

Earth colours
Colours that are found in nature mostly of the brown shades

a) Difference between garment measurement and body measurement. This measurement is added to finished garment for comfortable movement.

b) Join different lengths of fabric together by adjusting the length against each other.

Edge stitch
A stitch made very close to the edge as close as 1/8″

Trims or decorative needle work used on the fabric edge

Egyptian cotton
Cultivated mainly in the Nile River Valley in Egypt, this grade of cotton boasts the longest and strongest fibers.

Applying special stitches, appliques, decorative stitches and items to enhance the look of the fabric

A symbol or edge

A raised design on the surface created by heated rollers under pressure.

Empire waistband/ empireline
This high waistline begins just below the bust, giving tops or dresses a flowing, flattering fit.

It is a piece of lightweight fabric joined to another piece of lightweight fabric with a delicate bit of lace with connecting stitches and is used in heirloom embroidery. Another method is to join two ribbons with a piece of lace with embroidery stitches.

Envelope waist
A high waist line that folds over and forms a point like that of an envelope

Often describes a garment that has been specially treated for extra softness and a worn look.

Epaulet sleeve
This sleeve consists of an ornamental strip or loop sewn across the shoulder of a garment.

Native and traditional

Etched tone buttons
Buttons with an etched pattern

Extended tail
When the back portion of the garments longer than the front

A type of embroidery in which small holes are cut out in the fabric and finished by embellishment of thread around the opening.

Evenweave fabric
A common fabric used for embroidery work with the same number of threads per inch vertically and horizontally. Aida is an evenweave fabric. Linen is another one.

Device that fastens or holds together separate fabric parts like zippers buttons etc. Learn more about the different kinds of sewing fasteners here.

This simply refers to the finer, more printable surface of the fabric that is used as the outside. It is the more finished side of the fabric.

Faced waist
Finishing a waistline of a skirt with facing rather than a waistband.

This is a method of finishing the edge of a fabric. A fabric is sewn to the raw edge of the main fabric piece, then turned under, at the seamline for lining purposes or to add strength and structure . This is a seam finish which looks very neat. Neckline , armhole, hemline can be finished by using a facing.

A trim added in between two fabric pieces/ edges/seams

A knitting style characterized by geometric patterns.

Fastening /fastener
A device to hold together separate parts of a garment. Check out this post on the different types of fastenings used in sewing

Fat quarter
A fat quarter is a precut fabric of dimensions 18″ * 22″.

Feed dog
Apart of sewing machine located under the presser foot; They help move the fabric under the presser foot. In the raised position, they feed the fabric.

Fell stitch
This is also called applique stitch and is used to applique one layer of fabric to another. This stitch works from the right side to pull a seam together invisibly

Any extra items attached to a garment during the manufacturing process. This can include trims, buttons, hooks, snaps, or embellishments.

Finger pressing
This refers to using fingers and pressure to press a seam or stitch,when it is not possible to use iron to press

This generally refers to the processes used to improve the appearance of fabrics, after it is made (woven or knitted). Bleaching, mercerizing, steaming, singeing, and dyeing are all finishing processes.

Finished Fabric
A fabric that has gone through all the necessary finishing processes, and is ready to be used in the manufacturing of garments.

Fishtail Train
Fitted around the hips and flares out from the knee to the hemline.

Fitted Point Sleeve
A long, narrow sleeve that tapers to a point which rests against the back of the hand.

Fitted garment
Close fitted garment

The process of trying on a garment to see if it fits ; usually muslin is tried on for fitting. Also called trial.

This is the small fabric piece covering of pockets on shirts

This term is used to describe a big opening at the hem of a garment.

Flex curve
A type of curved measuring device used to measure and mark armholes or other curved areas on a pattern, garment or dress form.

The circumference of the hemline of a garment that extends beyond the normal – it could be the bottom hem or the hem of a sleeve

Flared sleeve
A small sleeve tight at the armhole ad loose at the lower edge

Flat felled seam
Used mainly in activewear, sportsware , this is a seam made by placing one edge inside a folded edge of fabric, then stitching the fold down with a top stitch.

A decorative detail in which short fibers are applied to the surface of a fabric in a particular pattern by using an adhesive.

Flounce hem
A strip of fabric attached to one edge of a garment (usually a skirt) to create a wide ruffle. Usually a circular or bias cut piece of material is used to create this effect. Learn how to make a flounce here.

This is a piece of fabric attached on the crotch line opening on left side on pants, shorts etc, for attaching buttonholes or zipper. Learn how to sew a zipper fly on pants here.

Fly catch
This is a piece of fabric attached on the crotch line opening on right-side on pants, shorts etc, for attaching buttons.

The line you draw between the legs in a pattern in the shape of an inverted Y

Fold line
This mostly refers to the center fold of the piece of fabric. Most pattern pieces are placed on the fold line for cutting it out. On patterns indicates the line on which you turn the fabric for hem or facing.

Fore pitch
This is the notch marked on a coat pattern on the forward arm hole for joining a coat sleeve . The notch on the back is known as the Back pitch.

Forte of a garment
The strong point of the garment.

Unravelling of threads at cut fabric edge ;Threads start to come out during handling, especially from cut edges of fabric

Free motion embroidery
Hand guided machine embroidery with dropped feed dogs on fabric fixed in embroidery hoops

Free motion quilting
A quilting stitch following the technique of free hand stitching

French cuffs
Turned-up cuffs sometimes fastened with cuff links and sometimes contrasting in color.It is larger than the usual shirt cuff

French Curve
A drafting tool made of metal wood or plastic used for drawing curves.

French darts
Darts placed on the garment front starting from near or at the waist and ending near the bust point.

French knot
This is a hand embroidery technique which creates a three dimensional tight dot by bringing up the threaded needle through the fabric, wrapping the thread around a number of times. The knot is used decoratively in the center of flowers etc.

French seam
A seam finish used for sheer and delicate fabrics, this method hides the raw edges in a neat double fold on the wrong side of the fabric. ie seam allowance is enclosed in the fold.

Threads which come out from the fabric during handling.

Frog closure
The decorative closing of fabric with cording or braided material which fits over a ball or button to complete the closure.

This is a term used in sewing to refer to unpicking of stitches after making an error.

Funnel neck
A neckline that is high and wide, resembling a funnel. A funnel neck is attached to the body of the garment, not sewn at the neckline.

A type of fabric with adhesive on both sides so that you can attach one fabric on top of another

Fusible interfacing
A fabric with adhesive on one side used on the wrong side of the main fabric to add shape and support to the main fabric.

This term often describes apparel that has been through a standard wash cycle in a commercial washing machine. The repeated exposure in water leads to a softer, worn-in look on the garments

Garment dyed
This is dyeing process done after garment is finished.

Drawing fabric together by tightening stitched thread sewn in a row as running stitches of using a cord. Learn how to effectively gather fabric here.

Glen check
A blue and white check

A triangular fabric piece placed into a hem to give fullness (e.g., the bottom of a skirt).

Gorge line
Seam that joins the collar and neckline at the lapel.

The depth of the neck

These are vertical garment sections that are cut narrow at the top and wide at the hem. This is added to increase width at the bottom part of a fabric.

A cord added to buttonholes to give it some strength ; used in coats/jackets

This indicates the circumference in the botttom part of the clothing

The process of converting a pattern from one size to another.Grading a seam refers to trimming your seam to various levels making each layer of fabric a different width.

Grading seams
Trimming seam allowance to reduce bulk

The orientation of the threads in woven fabric – crossgrain (weft), lengthgrain (warp) or diagonal (bias). Also refers to the smooth side of a piece of leather after tanning.

Grain line

Small lines visible between weft and warp yarns on the fabric

Grain arrow

straight line carrying an arrow at each end you use to position pattern on the fabric. You place this line parallel to the selvage or lengthwise grain.

Shades of colour

Strong, closely woven, corded fabric with narrow, horizontal ribs, usually used as trim.

Gauge is the number of threads per inch.Also called the number of holes per inch (hpi)

Gun club checks
A pattern of double checks

An insert (Usually in a diamon shape) in a seam of the garment allowing for more space or opening ; It is usually triangle shaped or diamond shaped

A shop dealing with Small items (notions) used in sewing like buttons, snaps etc – this is the meaning of this term in UK; It is a shop selling mens apparel and accessories in the US

A hard, stuffed form used to shape darts and curves during pressing.

The way a fabric feels when touched. softness, crispness, dryness, silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric.

Hand finishing
This is doing the last more detailed finishes of a garment by hand

Handwoven fabric
This is fabric woven by hand on hand operated looms. Learn more about hand woven fabric here.

Hanky sleeve
The lower edge of this sleeve hangs down like a handkerchief

Haute Couture
A French term which means high fashion. It is used to describe one of a kind expensive garments

Heat-transferred print
A unique type of printing in which art is digitally replicated and printed on the surface of polyester. The dye permanently bonds to the fibers without fading, even after repeated washing.

Finished bottom edge of a garment. Also refered as hemline.

Hem allowance
Hem allowance is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the hemline. This allowance is folded inside the garment and then sewn with the appropriate hem finish.

Hemming tape
Adhesive strip of 1/2 inch wide used for hemming. This is applied at the fold of a garment for a quick hem

In patterns a hemline is indicated by a solid line that you turn up for the hem.

A broken twill weave with a pattern made up of rows of parallel lines in opposite directions forming a zigzag pattern.

High bias collar
Shaped like the chinese collar , this is cut on the bias and is not stiff.

High performance
High-Performance footwear includes specially designated athletic shoes and boots featuring true performance technology for the serious athlete and adventurer.

High waist
Also known as empire waist line, this waist line is very high usually in line with the bust line.

Hip curve
A curved ruler used to mark the curved sides of the bodice

Hip Pockets
Pockets sewn on the front of a garment at hip height.

Hippie style
Style characterized by long hair Beards jeans and psychedelic colours

Hollywood Waistband
Characterized by a full elasticized back and a side zipper or button closure.

Hong Kong finish
A bias-bound edge seam finish.The seams are bound with bias tape on the wrong side off the garment.

Hook-and-eye closure
A fastening system with a small metal hook that is inserted into a matching eye loop or small metal loop.This can be sewn or glued in place.

A plastic, metal, or wooden hoop that holds fabric tight while sewing or embroidering. The fabric is kept taunt between the two rings of the hoop. It is used to tightly grip the fabric and stabilizer between an inner and outer ring. Usually this is attached to machine’s frame. Learn more about the different types of embroidery hoops here.

Horsehair braid
This is a net like ribbon used to add support to a hem. It is stretchy and takes curves easily. It is usually used in the hems of skirts and puff sleeves to give support and fullness. Learn how to sew with horsehair braid here.

Horn tone buttons
These are buttons which looks like made of horn

A usually small, distinctively broken-check pattern that resembles the jagged back teeth of a hound.

Illusion Bodice
A bodice made of sheer material giving the illusion of no bodice.

Illusion Sleeve
A sleeve made of sheer material giving the illusion of no sleeve.

This refers to the extra seam allowance of about 1/5 inch you leave for future expansion when sewing jackets pants etc. You can increase the size of the garment, this way.

Vertical seams on pants between the legs. Inseam length is the measurement from the crotch of the pants to the hem.

A narrow strip of fabric or trim stitched between two fabric pieces for fit or decorative purposes

Sew-in or fusible fabric used to stabilize the fashion fabrics.When applied to the wrong side of the main fashion fabric it will add rigidity and body to the fabric. Example of use – shirt collar, lapels of a jacket, pant hem. Learn about the different types of interfacing used in sewing here.

An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, either sewn to the wrong side of the lining or the inner side of the outer shell fabric. The interlining is used primarily to provide warmth in coats, jackets, and outerwear.

A type of cut-and-sew knit fabric that is characterized by the interconnecting of the knit stitches.

Inverted pleats
Inside out box pleats, usually made around the width of skirts

Invisible zipper
A zipper when sewn into a seam will disappear into the seam. Just the zipper pull will be visible from the outside.

A very important tool in the sewing room, this is used to press the clothes, especially seams, not iron. Ironing will stretch the fabric and distort it so take care only to press

Jewel tones
Deep shades of colours red blue green and purple

This is adding a reinforcing fabric strip to pockets which may be concealed. A welt pocket is also called jetted pocket.

Johnny collar
An open, split neckline with a pointed collar.

Jungle print
A pattern depicting African plants and animals

Kabuki sleeves
Wide loose-fitting sleeves modeled after the garments worn in traditional Japanese theater. Also known as kimono sleeves.

Kangaroo pouch pocket
A large pocket formed by sewing a piece of cloth over the center or stomach area of the garment leaving both ends open.

Keyhole neckline
A round or teardrop-shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline. Check out more about different types of keyhole necklines here.

Earth colours / military colours

Kick pleats
Short inverted pleats stitched till the hips. You can also sew it as slits. Learn how to sew such kick pleats here.

Kimono sleeve
A slightly longer and broader version of the Magyar sleeve which is an extension of the bodice. Usually seen in the Kimonos. Learn more on kimono sleeve here.

Knife pleats
Thin very firmly pressed pleats facing in one direction.

Kurta Placket
Placket mostly seen in kurtas for men and women they have one piece broader than the other. You can learn how to sew a kurta placket in this post.

Kurta sleeve
A long or ¾ sleeve, it has a rectangular armhole with a cloth fitted in between the sleeve and the bodice. The width of the sleeve at the armhole is almost the same as that at the lower edge.

Ladder stitch
This is a hand stitch used to join two folded edges of fabric. Stitches are made at right angles to the fabric, creating a ladder-like formation between the fabrics. When tightened it will not appear from the outside. Learn different ways to stitch a ladder stitch here.

Lacy knit
A weave constructed to imitate the appearance of lace

The skin or hide of a young sheep. Also known as “napa” leather, lambskin has fewer blemishes and a more uniform grain than other leathers such as buffalo and cowhide, which make it extra soft and attractive for use in clothing.

To fold or extend one fabric over the other.Also the part of a garment which extends over another.

The folded area on the front of a coat that is usually a continuation of the collar.

Lapped seams
A seam in which the edges of the two pieces of fabric overlap. Usually used with fabrics that do not fray like felt, leather etc.

Trimming seam allowance in different width so that bulk is reduced

Design with Layers of clothes stitched in varying lengths

Layered sleeve
Sleeves with overlapping Layers of different lengths, stitched together at the armhole line.

Layered skirt
Skirt with two or more layers of gathered or circle skirts

Layout refers to how the different pattern pieces are arranged on the fabric. An optimal layout will ensure that you do not waste fabric

Lengthen and shorten lines
Single or double lines that indicate the place where you can add or subtract length without affecting the design of the garment.

Leg of mutton sleeves
A long sleeve of ¾ arm length, usually cut on the bias grain; It has gathers or pleats at the arm hole and is tight fitted at the lower edge. Learn how to draft a leg of mutton sleeves here.

Lettuce edge
This is a hem edge finish which is a serged edge that is stretched as sewn, resulting in an attractive slightly ruffled edge.

This fiber is obtained from flax plants. As it makes a fabric which is cool, absorbent, breathable and durable it is very suitable for summer clothes. Learn more about Linen here.

An inner layer of fabric or any other material that covers the construction details of the finished garment, like interfacing, padding, seam finishes. It gives a neat look to the inside. Learn more about lining here and the best fabrics to sew lining.

Ink-receptive images on a page or fabric resulting from a mass-production printing process.

Indicates the repeated reinforcing stitches made at the starting of stitching

Lock stitch
The basic stitch made by a sewing machine

Magyar sleeve
This short sleeve is an extension of the bodice.

This refers to using a hot iron or steam to press sewn garments and change the fit and shape.

Marble print
A speckled pattern that imitates natural stone patterns

Mandarin collar
A short, standup collar that gives garments a stylish Asian look.

It is a dummy in human form – very useful for displaying clothes and for draping fabric to make patterns

A visible impression made on the fabric to be cut. This denotes the measurement.

Interlocked, different-colored fibers are twisted together to create a long, continuous strand resulting in a contrasting effect on the finished garment.

This refers to the extra seam allowance of about 1 inch you leave for future expansion when sewing

Presentation of new products

Mesh net
A net usually found in summer bags or shoes

A smooth or sometimes brushed surface that lacks luster and shine.

A process of treating a thread, yarn or fabric to increase its luster, color retention and durability. The fabric (usually cotton) is immersed in sodium hydroxide and then neutralized in acid. This causes the fiber to permanently swell, which increases its qualities.

A unique type of brushing done to fabric that removes its roughness for an extra-soft feel.

This is a pattern formed when two pieces of fabric are joined at right angle connecting the inside and outside corners.

Mitered bindings
When bias bindings are used they are joined at a 90 degree angle and a 45 degree seam divides them causing a diagonal seam.

Mitered corners
Mitering a corner makes a smooth, tidy finish to a 90-degree corner, neatly squaring the corners. There will be a diagonal seam from the tip of the corner to the inside edge

Mother of pearl
Logo buttons made from mother of pearl with a logo iscribed on them.

A test garment that checks fit and style, made to ensure that pattern meets the maker’s expectations, prior to making the final garment. Also called Toile.

Moisture-wicking fabric transfers moisture from the skin’s surface to the garment’s outer layer for faster drying.

A single colour

Consisting or using only one colour

The central or dominant design element.

A fabric texture that runs in a particular direction and requires all pattern pieces be cut facing the same direction. A fabric with nap will look different from different directions because of the The variation in colour reflection from threads lying different ways ; eg is Velvet, Corduroy, terry cloth. Checking for nap is particularly important when cutting. You can learn more about Nap here

Natural Waist
A seam or waistband that secures or falls at the natural curve of the body, which is the indentation between the hips and the ribcage.

Needle board
Used for pressing velvet and velveteen

Small knots of tangled fibers added intentionally to increase the fabric’s aesthetic appeal. The knots can be made from the same or different color and material.

Neutral colours
White grey etc. Learn about the 10 different neutral colors here.

Newyork Hem
A way of hemming the jeans by keeping the original hem. If you like to keep your original hem but would like to trim the length this is the hem technique. You can find this hem described in this post on different ways to alter the length of jeans

Small indents made by the pattern maker, Notches are shaped like diamonds or triangles that are printed on the cutting line of a pattern outside the seam allowance, to indicate where the seams should meet or where another pattern piece should fit. They ensure that two pieces of fabric will come together correctly when sewn together.

This is making double cuts on the seam allowance so that wedge shaped pieces are cut out from the seam allowance which makes the seam lie better – used in curves and when you overlap seams to reduce bulk.

All the items used in sewing other than sewing machine and fabric

Nursery print
A fabric with imaginative fantasies like cartoons bird’s animals and toys printed on it in bright colours is said to have nursery prints.

Strong and durable elasticised fabric which an be washed and dried easily. Learn more about Nylon here.

Off-The-Shoulder Neck
A neckline that lies gently hovering across the top of the bust-line with the shoulders uncovered or able to be seen through the sheer yoke of net or organza attached to a high collar. Find out how to sew an offshoulder top and how to sew an offshoulder dress and the different types of offshoulder neckline (Bardot) styles here

Gradual blending of related tones of color that graduate from light to dark.

Ottoman rib
A stiff, heavyweight, warp rib (vertical running yarns) sometimes referred to as Ottoman cord.

Overcast stitch
Stitch used to finish the raw unfinished seam or edge to prevent threads from unravelling. It is also called whip stitch and it covers the edge like a spiral.

When one edge of an opening overlaps the other edge.

Paperbag waist
Usually with an elasticized or drawstring style that forms a gathered effect above the waist

This refers to extra fabric or material added to emphasize that part in a garment.

Pagoda sleeve
A sleeve that is shaped much like an Asian building called a pagoda. Like a pagoda, the sleeve is narrow at the top where it fits the upper arm closely, then gradually flares out to become wide at the bottom. The shape is similar to a funnel, and so this sleeve style may also be called a funnel sleeve.

A swirled pattern of fancy, curved teardrop shapes – shaped like a leaf

Fabric pieces added to a garment to increase the width or as a design element

Pastel colour
A pale soft colour made by adding white to a bright colour

Pastoral print
A design showing a landscape scene

Patch pockets
A small pocket, usually found on pants, which looks like a piece of material was sewn on as a patch.

Patch work
A design made from sewing small patches of cloth together. Learn more about the different ways of doing patchwork here.

Patch or Emblem
Embroidered design with a finished edge stitched independant of garment. Checkout this post on making clothing patches and also sewing clothing patches here.

Pattern lay
This refers to keeping the pattern on fabric and tracing it

Pattern weights
Weight used to keep the paper patterns on the fabric instead of using pins

Peter Pan collar
A small collar that is flat and close-fitting with rounded ends.

Photo real
A screen print with the realistic qualities of a photo

A row of tiny decorative loops sewn or cut along the edge of a garment. Learn how to sew a picot edge here.

A design that is created by sewing pieces of material together to form the garment.

Pigment dye
A type of dye applied and held to the fabric with resins and cured at high temperatures. Boasts excellent features for light colors and less so for darker shades.

The fibers that stand upright on the face of some fabrics (Learn more about pile fabrics)

Pile knit
A type of knit with a decorative pattern of yarns interlaced to create loops, most often used in faux fabrics.

Pile weave
A type of weave with a decorative pattern of yarns interlaced to create loops.

A term used to describe small balls of fibers tangled together on a fabric (usually fleece). Pills are generally caused by wear and tear producing an uneven, worn look. Learn how to prevent and reduce the effect of pilling here.

Pins are used to hold the paper patterns on the fabric when cutting and to hold fabrics together when stitching. Check out the different types of sewing pins here.

Pin holder
Cushion or a container used to hold various pins

A type of weave with two-over, one-under stitching. More durable than most weaves but less soft than sateen.

A small, narrow fold of fabric stitched together to create the appearance of a line or stripe. Learn more about different types of pin tucks here.

Pinking shears
Scissors with a zig zag edge which cuts fabric with a zig zag edge so that the cut edge wouldnot fray.

A narrow piece of bias cut fabric folded over a cord that is used as a decorative trim usually as contrasting trim in the seam at the edge and facing of a garment . Checkout this post on sewing piping here.

Moving the fabric without moving the needle from the fabric at 45 degrees to make a continous stitch when stitching corners and square seams

Place on fold line
A grain line that indicates the edge of the pattern you should place on a fold of the fabric.

It is a means of finishing an opening – A v shaped opening is made by a piece of cloth that covers an opening with an overlap. It supports or hided the closures like buttons and buttonholes. Learn more about plackets here.

The interweaving of strands or locks of a fabrication, so that one yarn appears only on the face and the second on the back

Refers to the number of yarns twisted together to make a composite yarn..

Pocket (Patch)
Any outward pocket that is sewn on the surface of a garment

Pocket placement

The area where you attach the finished pocket.

Pocket stay
This is a type of tape used to reinforce the top of a pocket.

A stitch used in knitting to create a tiny, open-worked pattern typically with geometric shapes. It adds a lightweight, delicate texture to clothing.

Point turner
A tool used to turn a sewn corner to the right side with a sharp, crisp point.

Polo collar
Usually seen in pullovers made in knitted fabric, this collar lies close to the neck in double fabric.

Pork chop pockets
Front pockets on a pair of pants, shorts or a skirt that are characterized as being oversized and rectangular.

A term used to describe fabrics or garments, especially tees, that have received treatment to prevent it from additional shrinkage when washed.

This refers to washing fabric before sewing so that any sizing present is washed off and further shrinking is avoided. Learn more details on preshrinking fabrics before sewing here.

Press Mark
Undesirable shining lines on the outside of the garment due to incorrect ironing. Learn more about pressing fabric here.

Pressing template
An object used to create a smooth, crisp line or edge when pressing.

A term used to describe fabrics or garments, especially tees and jeans, which have already been washed to add softness and prevent shrinking.

Primary colours
Red yellow blue

Pick stitch
A short back stitch used on bulky materials like velvet. Learn more about the pick stitch here.

Pin cushion
A stuffed object to which pins are pressed to keep them safe.

Print on print
Having one pattern printed on a contrasting pattern eg floral print on checks

Princess seams
Vertical Seams that are on the front or back of a garment positioned between the side seam and the center front and back, that create a flattering, form-fitting shape. Learn more about princess seams here.

Princess sleeves
Gathered sleeves with straight plain pieces inserted in between.

When stitching ( hand or machine) the stitches gather together bunching up the fabric. Learn how to avoid puckering here.

Puffed ink
A decorative detail added to screen prints to give them a raised surface

Puff embroidery
Stitching a dense motif over embroidery or craft foam to create a three dimensional effect.

Puffed sleeves
A sleeve with gathers or pleats at the arm hole or lower edge.(Pouf sleeve) Learn how to draft puff sleeves here.

Quarter inch quilting foot
A sewing machine foot designed to sew with a 1/4 inch sewing allowance

Quilting needles
Also called betweens needle. Short needle with a rounded eye that can stitch medium and heavy weight fabrics easily

Raschel knit
This is a knit construction with interweaving of coarse and fine yarns. It is frequently used as an unlined material for coats, lingerie and dresses.

Allowing or pulling thread to come out of the raw edge of the fabric to create a deliberate fringed look.

Raw edge
Unfinished cut edge of a fabric

Rectangular sleeve
This sleeve has a rectangular armhole extending almost till the waist. This sleeve starts from the center of the shoulder line.

Regimental stripe
A neckline design of stripes in the colours of flags

Changing/scaling a pattern to different sizes

Reverse applique
This is an applique method where design is cut out first and then the accent fabric appliqued from the back so that the fabric will be seen through the main fabric as if through a small window. Learn different ways to do reverse applique here.

Clothes which looks the same on either side ( right side as well as wrong side)

A type of knit fabric characterized with a ridge effect in one direction, usually vertical. Rib knits are very elastic and often used in apparel to provide a comfy, body-hugging fit.

Raised ribs of fabric arranged vertically or horizontally

A decorative trim on clothing featuring a flat fabric that forms a zigzag pattern.

Rippled collar
A cape collar with a slashed outer edge, usually seen in nightwear.

Distance between the waistline and crotch seam of pants

A fastener attached to a hole. Usually used in Jeans

Rolled hem
This is a very narrow hem produced by rolling and stitching the edge. This can be sewn by hand, regular sewing machine, or serger. How to use a rolled hemmer feet to make a rolled hem can be seen here.

A fabric embellishment that’s pleated and ruffled to resemble a rose. Find many tutorials to make fabric roses here.

Rotary cutter and self healing mat
Circular Blade with a handle used to cut multiple layers of clothing easily. The cutting mat is useful in protecting the cutting table from the sharp edges of the cutter. Learn more about using a rotary cutter and a self healing mat here.

A pleated or gathered strip of fabric used as a decorative, feminine accent. Learn more about ruching here.

This is a sewing machine attachment used to make ruffles.

Running stitch ( Straight stitch)
This most basic stitch is a hand stitch which makes a dashed line weaving in and out of the fabric. Check out this post on sewing a running stitch and 9 variations here.

A strip or frilled or gathered fabric used for trimming or decoration. Learn how to make ruffles here.

Ruffled sleeve
A short sleeve with gathers all around the armhole.

Sack dress
Loose fitting dress which slips over the head

This is a result of poor fitting; Referes to the loose folds sagging as a result ofclothes not fitting on the body

Sailors collar
This collar has a square or rectangular flap at the back and in the front two triangular collars are tied in a knot; usually seen in the uniform of sailor’s.

To save or recover from destruction; repurpose clothes.

Loose pants popular in Indian subcontinent

Garments that have been specially treated with sand creating a softer, worn-in look and feel.

A loose-fitting, long strip of fabric that is often worn around the waist like a skirt, or wrapped around the whole body like a dress. It is a very popular form of a swimsuit cover-up.

Satin Stitch
A very zig zag stitch used for applique and other decorative purposes. Can be done by hand and by machine. Checkout the post on sewing satin stitch here.

Ornamental band scraf, strip or belt worn around the waist over the shoulders. Learn different ways to make sash here.; and to make obi sash belt.

Scalloped Edge
A border that contains continuous curves finished with bourdon stitching. Check out the different types of scalloped edges you can make here.

Scribble stitch
A meandering stitch made by a sewing machine ; the stitching lines would not touch each other. It is used as a quilting stitch to hold different layers of fabric together.

Joining different fabric pieces to form one piece. Learn more about a plain seam and 17 different ways to stitch the seam here.

Resulting line when two fabrics are stitched together in a straight line usually 1/2 inches from the cutting line.

Seam Allowance
Distance between the cutting line and the seam line.

Seam Finish
Methods used to finish the edges of a seam

Seam ripper
A very handy tool in the sewing room, used to remove stitches.

Seam roll
A cylindrical-shaped pressing tool; This is used to press open long seams or to slide inside a sleeve for crease less pressing.

Seam tape
A stable lightweight ribbon-like tape used to stabilize seams and finish hems.

Secondary colours
Orange green purple

Secure stitch
In stitching when coming to end of a stitch , sew back 1/4 inch and go forward to anchor the stitch. You can do this over the sewing machine by pressing the reverse stitching lever.

Facing cut from the same fabric as the garment

Self fabric collar
A collar that is made from the same material as the body of the garment.

Tightly woven factory edge of fabric that runs parallel to the lengthwise grain.

An edge or seam sewn on a serger. The finish used is termed serge finish.

Serger (Overlock machine)
A sewing machine that can seam, trim, and overcast raw edges in one step.

Set in Sleeve
A sleeve joined to the garment at the natural edge of the shoulder line

This is an ornamental edge finishing with a number of curves or shell like segments joined together

Scoop Neck / Round Neck
A low, U-shaped or round neckline.

Left over pieces of fabrics ; saved to use for small projects.

Screen print
A picture or design printed on a garment using the silk-screen process.

Scye up / Scye lower
The point where the armhole attaches to the sleeves to maintain the correct balance of a sleeve is known as scye. The point at the back is known as scye up and the front part is known as scye lower.

A type of stitch that creates a textured finish and looks like a continuous pattern of seeds.

Finished edge of the fabric (along the length side)

Sewing weights
Small weights used to anchor fabric while cutting or sewing

Protrusion in the back of a button through which the thread passes to attach the button to the garment.The button is called a shank button. You can add shank to normal buttons with thread.

Shawl collar
The collar is raised above the shoulders and one part overlaps the other; This collar is broad near the shoulders and tapers below.

A lightweight, woven fabric made from cotton or linen. It sometimes has a crinkled texture and is commonly used for seasonal bottoms like capris.

Shirt collar
Collar usually found on men’s shirts, with a band which makes it stiff and tight around the neck.

A loose-fitting dress that lacks a defined waistline. It tends to hit above the knee and is commonly sleeveless.

Gathered material that creates pleated details.

Shirt placket
Full opening placket used in shirts etc

Shirt sleeve
A full length sleeve ending in a cuff; usually seen in men’s shirts; they have a small placket attached to the cuff with buttons.

Short waisted
Having a short torso ; indicates the distance between shoulders and waist that is shorter than average

The contraction of a fiber, yarn, or fabric after washing and drying. Most natural fibers have a tendency to shrink 4-6%..

Outline, shape of the garment or body.

Light weight natural fiber which possess a soft sheen, silk drapes very well and can be dyed.

Side vent
Slits at the bottom edge of side seams which overlap

A light starch fabric finish given to fabrics to add some crispiness.

Pants that have flaps of fabric sewn on at the waist to create a skirt-like appearance.

Slashed pocket
A pocket set in the garment, cut through the face of a garment and faced. It is usually placed below the waist line.Slash pockets.The pocket pouch is suspended from and attached to the slash.

Sleeve board
Small ironing board that fits inside a sleeve.

Sleeve cap
The curved top section of the sleeve from the front underarm to the back under arm. Sleeve head/ sleeve crown

Sleeve ease
Ease added to the sleeve to be able to move the arm easily and comfortably

Slip on
Clothing put on the head without laces or fasteners

A slipstitch uses invisible stitches to join two folded edges or one folded edge to a flat surface.

An opening on a garment which doesnot overlap.

This is a basic master pattern used as a building block for all patterns , used for a perfect fitting snug fitting basic garment.

A process where a fabric (usually silk or cotton) is slightly twisted or drawn out, producing an intentional unevenly textured appearance.

Snap tape
A firmly woven tape to which snap fasteners are securely anchored

Snips (Thread)
A very handy tool to cut thread.Mostly used in hand embroidery but it is a very valuable tool with sewing machine too.

A flat, decorative braid usually consisting of narrow loops, similar to crochet. Most commonly used as a trim or accent on women’s clothing.

A dye process in which individual strands receive more than one color at irregular intervals.

Spaghetti straps
Very thin straps attached to a bodice.

Decorative pieces, usually made from metal or plastic, that have a hole through which they can be sewn to a garment. Sequins, which are usually round and fairly small, and paillettes, which are larger and made in different shapes, are the most common types of spangles.

Holder of thread made of wood, plastic etc.

Stone wash
Repeated washing of a fabric to fade the colour

A material used as an under layer to hold the shape of the fashion fabric or support its strength during embroidery. It is mainly used in machine embroidery

Collection of fabrics.

Stay stitch
A basting stitch placed on or just outside the seam line, used to stabilize the fabric and keep it from stretching. It is usually used in curved seams to prevent stretching or distorting.

Stitching line
The actual line on which you sew; In pattern symbols a broken line, usually located 5/8 of an inch away from the cutting line indicating where the seam should be made. The seam allowance is the distance between the cutting line and the stitching line.

Stitching on top of a finished seam line from the front of the garment. This helps to hold layers of fabric together without a visible stitching line.

Stitch and flip
To sew two fabric pieces together and then flip to the other side and press.

A laundering process in which the fabric is washed with rocks or rubber or silicon balls. The resultant fabric has a distressed or weathered look

Storm flap
A strip of fabric sewn under or over the front zip or snap closure of an outer wear garment to protect against wind and moisture.

Straight grain of the fabric
It is the vertical grain of the fabric

Straight-grain tape
This Tape is cut with the grain ; They are cut in strips parallel to the selvages of the fabric and gives the least stretch. So this binding used to stabilize bias and cross-grain seams and edges.

Straight pins
Pins used to fasten pieces of fabric or paper together. They consists of a short straight steel pin with a pointed end and mostly a beaded head

Style lines
Various lines made on patterns to create a new look or design, that makes it different from the basic block.

Thin knife pleats placed in the center of a garment like the pleats of a saree

This refers to making the slanted stitching line to shape the waistline

A neckline formed when one piece of fabric overlaps the other to create a V-neck opening.

Piece of scrap fabric

Sweetheart neckline
A curved neckline with a scalloped trim that is similar to the top half of a heart.

Swiss dot
Woven, flocked or embroidered dots on a sheer, lightweight fabric providing a textured pattern.

This refers to long running stitches used to hold layers of fabric together. These stitches have to be removed after the final sewing.

Tacking thread
This is a type of weak thread used for tacking – because of its lack of strength its easy to remove the tacking stitches.

Tambour needle
A thin, sharp pointed hook used for applying strung beads or sequins from the wrong side, or sewing decorative chain stitches from the right side. Learn how to use a tambour needle here.

Taped seams
A strip of fabric sewn to the seam of a garment to prevent distortion. In outer wear taped seams helps in water proofing the garment.

Tape measure
A long flexible measuring tape used to take custom measurement of body. Checkout the post on reading the tape measure accurately.

To decrease width gradually and bring it to a point

Tapestry needle
A needle with a blunt tip and large oval-shaped eye made for decorative stitching with bulky threads or yarns

Tape yarn
A pure cotton yarn used to create a narrow, woven fabric. It is a soft with an airy texture and ideal for warmer temperatures

Thread tautness. Check out this post on adjusting sewing machine tension.

The surface feel/look of a fabric

This is a test garment made to test a pattern for fit. Also called muslin

The body part of a doll with out the head, arms, or legs. Of humans too.

Material placed on top of fabric to hold embroidery stitches above it.

Top stitch
Stitching line on the right side of the garment 1/4 inch from the edge. This is done usually as a decorative feature. Learn more on top stitching here.

Tracing paper
Semi transparent paper used for tracing drawing etc

Tracing wheel
A smooth toothed wheel with a handle that is used on tracing paper to trace a sewing pattern on to fabric

Tricot lining
A very lightweight nylon lining used in shorts.

General term used to refer embellishments used in finishing a garment like laces, ribbon etc. Also refers to cutting away excess seam allowance

Truing the pattern
Checking to be sure that all areas match up, after stitching like whether the side seams are the same length, shoulder seams are the same etc.

Tubular collar
Collar in which knit in a tube form so it has no seams.

This is a design feature which refers to folding the fabric and sewing a row of stitch parallel to the fold, to manipulate fullness, either decorative or used to shape a garment. It is usually sewn on the right side of the fabric.

Tuck in tails
A shirt constructed so that the back hem is longer than the front . This helps in keeping the shirt tucked in during daily activities.

Tulip sleeve
A small sleeve without a side seam. One side of the sleeve overlaps the other side on the upper side of the arm. The shape of this seam is like that of a Tulip flower

A high, close-fitting, turnover collar used especially for sweaters.

This refers to the seam allowance for turning under the hem

Twill tape
A flat non-stretching woven ribbon of cotton, linen, polyester, or wool. It is used to stabilize seams or edges

Twill tape placket lining
Twill is attached to the inside of the placket as a design

Two Way zipper
A zipper with two zipper pulls so that it can be unzipped from both directions.

Two – piece sleeve
A sleeve made of 2 parts. This is usually seen in tailored suit jackets.

Umbrella sleeve
Full length sleeve with a flared edge

Under arm grommets
Small holes in the armpit area to allow breathablility and air circulation

A layer of fabric underneath another layer of fabric.

A garment lining made from the pattern and placed under the fashion fabric to be sewn as one. It is is great to be used under see through fabrics or loose weave fabrics or to add firmness. Usually a light weight fabric is chosen as underlining

This refers to a line of straight stitching sewn just beyond the seam line of two pieces, where the seam allowances are stitched to the facing along an edge.

A pattern having streaks or marks in different colors. Variegated ribs will have a slight difference in the colors between the ribs

V patch
A section of material in a v shape that is sewn onto the garment directly under the collar. This is used to give support against the stretching in the neck opening.

Tapes used for tying two parts of the garment together. One side of the tape has nylon bristles and the other has plastic bristles which when brought together sticks. It is usually used at the back of skirts to give walking ease, on sleeve hems.

A lined opening or slit meant to aid in comfort and that allows breathability. It is also added as a design element. It also provides ease to embroider the inside of a garment. One side of the vent will seem to overlap the other (different from slits). Learn different ways to sew vents here.

V-Neck / V-Back
An open yoke coming to a “V” shape midway down the bodice.

Another name for batting; A fibrous material used for stuffing inside quilts etc for insulation and thickness.

Waist line
Line wound that part of the human figure between the shoulder and the hip that is most narrow.

Waist stay
A stable ribbon sewn inside a dress at the waist, used to support the dress.

Walking foot
A presser foot that steps across the fabric instead of sliding to facilitate even feed. Best when sewing several layers of fabric together and for sewing slippery fabrics

Lengthwise thread in woven fabric that runs parallel to selvage.

Wash away stabilizer
Provides support to a fabric, then dissolves in water. It is especially useful when embroidering onto fabric.

Waste canvas
A canvas used in embroidery. It is used on the face of the fabric and is dampened and frayed away with the help of tweezers after the work is done, as the threads of this fabric are held together by starch. This is helpful in doing counted embroidery work like cross stitch on non-evenweave fabrics

Watteau back
A loose, full back of a garment, usually a woman’s gown, in which wide box pleats hang from a high shoulder yoke and extend to the hem of the garment. This style is derived from Jean Antoine Watteau, a French artist of the 18th century, in whose paintings women wore dresses with style.

Wedding-Band Collar
A collar featuring a yoke that is either open or of sheer net with an ornate band fitting snugly on the neck, creating a choker effect.

The crosswise threads in a woven fabric–traveling from selvage to selvage

In simple terms it is a band of fabric inserted on top of a pocket – to make it complicated it is a strip or insert for embellishment or reinforcement. It can be single edged or double edged. Fabric covered cord sewn into a seam is also called a welt.

Tiny, frayed threads from raw seam edges.

Wing Collar
A collar with projections which cover shoulder seams of bodices and doublets.

Wing needle
Needle with wide, wing shaped, flared sides used to create holes in tightly woven fabrics. It is useful in heirloom sewing and creating pin holes for entredeux.

Wrist round
Measure around the bottom hemline area of a sleeve, level with the wrist of the arm.

Wrong side
Usually the inside of a garment or the backside of fabric.

A type of stitch that passes diagonally over a fabric’s edge.

A checkered pattern characterized by vertical and horizontal lines that intersect to form the appearance of a windowpane.

Unit of measure that is the equivalent of 3 feet, or 36 inches or 0.9144 metre. (common abbreviations: yd or yrds)

Measure of the length of the fabric calculated in yard.

A measuring device of wood or metal for measuring long, straight areas.

A dyeing process where yarns are immersed in a coloring solution and then woven or knit to make fabric. The colors stay brighter longer. The yarns are dyed before weaving or knitting.

Y shaped neckline
A V neckline which extends down the center front and looks like a Y.

A rosette shaped embellishment made by gathering the edge of a circle. Learn many ways to make a yoyo here. You can also checkout this post on making a yoyo applique fabric.

A panel stitched across the top of pants, a skirt or a shirt. Saddle yoke create an inverted triangle shape in the back of formal shirts. Round, Straight, square, pointed asymmetrical, U yokes are also seen.

Zig Zag stitch
Z-shaped machine stitch used very commonly in place of straight stitch . It is used to finish raw edges or to sew stretchable fabrics.

Zip-In/Zip-Out Lining
A removable lining that is attached with buttons or zipper and that can be removed totally.

Zipper foot
A presser foot ideal for stitching zippers as it enables sewing with the needle on either side. Checkout the post on different types of zippers for more details on its anatomy

Zipper fly
A short opening on the front part of a trouser/jeans with zipper fastening.

Zipper guard
A double layer of fabric stitched in place behind the zipper to protect skin or the garment when zipper is pulled up.

Sewing Abbreviations