Sewing Terms and Definitions
Silhouette which has the shape of alphabet A, narrow at the top and flaring sway from the body towards the bottom.
Skirt which is tight at the waist and hip and flares from the hipline creating a shape like Capital letter A
All articles which complement the clothes like hosiery shoes, bags, gloves, belts, scarves, jewellery, hats. Accessorising is the process of adding accessories to apparel.
A decorative embroidery stitch.
Bright and dark shades like Orange, shocking pink, fluorescent colours
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
Warm colours (shades of red yellow and orange)
A dynamic and colourful print taken from the traditional dress and textiles.
Very easy going sporty style
Stitches made with the shortest stitch length at the beginning or end of stitching to keep them from pulled out
A cloth pattern representing skin of an exotic animal like zebra or leopord
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.
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
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 ( where sleeve is sewn)
A garment which is not a mirror image of itself from side to side
The most original, experimental, innovative and most unconventional designs of any particular period
Design exposing the back
Tiny pleats on the back of a garment that allows for more room and comfort
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
Material used beneath the embroidered fabric to provde stability and support.
Hem which is only turned very little as litttle as 1/8″. This is usually used in stitching sheer fabrics like chiffon
Pants fitting at the waist and hip but loose at the bottom flare.
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.
A loose, single-breasted overcoat usually with a short turnover collar.
Tie and die fabric from Rajasthan, used to make garments
Four or more satin stitches.
This refers to Reinforced stitching.
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.
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.
Beeswax is used to coat the thread of embroidery to prevent it from tangling.
A Sleeve resembling a bell with flared lower edge
An inset pocket with the lower lip finished with a welt. If both edges have welts, the pocket is called a double besom.
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
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
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.
Seams cut and sewn on the bias grain
Measurement around the fullest part of the arm
This terms refers to what happens when sewing – a thread collection between the fabric and needle plate resembling a bird’s nest.
Two hanging collars longer than the normal collar forming a W shape in the front
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.
This is a hand stitch used to finish a fabric edge . Eg buttonhole stitch
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
A kind of hemming which doesnot show on the right or the wrong side
A wide neckline that is open from shoulder to shoulder. It is usually cut same in the front and back.
A mechanism in a sewing machine which helps in transfering thread from spool to bobbin effortlessly and quickly
The upper part of a dress from shoulder to waist
Long, flat, needle-like tool used to thread elastic through casing.
Narrow strips used to stiffen a garment, usually made of plastic, metal, or bone
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.
A design that runs along the border or the cuff
A free standing shop in devoted to specialised merchandise for a niche market.
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 skirt or dress that is characterized by numerous pleats and crinkled material.
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.
A technique using a chemical paste that destroys a layer of fabric to create a patterned effect and can sometimes result in a sheer look
Button through sleeve placket
A small placket located on the sleeve by the cuff which contains a single button closure.
Fastened down with buttons
A hole made in the fabric for the button to pass through.Buttonhole stitch is used to reinforce the hole edges
They are often together and sometimes separate. They indicate placement of button, size, and buttonholes.
A straight stitch.
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.
Collar with a plain rounded back and a cut in the front. The width of the collar is the same throughout
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
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.
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
A chain like hand stitch which consists of loops of the same size
Used to mark fabric pattern lines, notches , buttonholes etc.
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
Two long collars around a V neckline.
Sophisticated or stylish
Chinese collar ( Mandarin collar)
A rounded stiff collar with an opening, placed close to the neck.
Indian Pants which are loose above the knees and very tight below the knees
Style of fashion that originated in the movies
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.
Make small cuts on the seam alloance for easy turning or fit better.
Seam stitched and pressed open. The seam looks invisible when pressed open.
A two part stiff collar raised above the shoulder line. One part of the collar is an extension of the bodice.
Colours on the opposite side of the colour wheel. lik red and green, blue and orange yellow and purple
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.
A band between the shirt and the collar on a shirt or blouse.
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
A rolled collar that can be worn open or closed. Sewn directly to the neckline.
Traditional timeless style
Threads that connect short distanced objects n embroidery. Distance of 1/16″ is usually the standard for a aconnecting stitch
Current; having the look of today
Designs having the characteristics of European men’s style featuring wide shoulders fitted waist
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.
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.
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 indescriminate following by people
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.
Make a fold line in the fabric, as an indication while sewing . You can crease with iron orwith fingers
A two-ply, loosely twisted, fine-worsted yarn used in heavy embroidery
Method of making a loose, open knit fabric by looping thread with a hooked needle.
The edge perpendicular to the selvage
Two stitches that cross to form an x.
A rectangular piece of cloth stitched to hold gathers. One side of the cuff will have a button and the otherside buttonhole
A solid, dark outer line to follow in cutting out a pattern piece.
An embroidery stitch used to highlight a design.
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
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..
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.
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.
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.
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
A string in the seam of a garment which can be pulled to tighten.
Dropped Waist / Low Waist
A waistline that is sewn below the body’s natural waistline.
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.
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.
Coloursthat 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.
A stitch made very close to the edge as close as 1/8″
Trims or decorative needle work used on the fabric edge
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.
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.
This sleeve consists of an ornamental strip or loop sewn across the shoulder of a garment.
Native and traditional
Buttons with an etched pattern
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.
Device that fastens or holds together seperate fabric parts like zippers buttons etc
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.
Finishing a waistline of a skirt with facing rather than a waistband.
An 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
A knitting style characterized by geometric patterns.
A fat quarter is a precut fabric of dimensions 18″ * 22″.
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.
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.
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.
A fabric that has gone through all the necessary finishing processes, and is ready to be used in the manufacturing of garments.
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.
A small sleeve tight at the armhole ad loose at the lower edge
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.
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.
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.
Forte of a garment
The strong point of the garment.
Threads which come out during handling
Free motion embroidery
Hand guided machine embroidery with dropped feed dogs on fabric fixed in embroidery hoops
Turned-up cuffs sometimes fastened with cuff links and sometimes contrasting in color.
A drafting tool made of metal wood or plastic used for drawing curves.
Darts placed on the garment front starting from near or at the waist and ending near the bust point.
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.
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.
The decorative closing of fabric with cording or braided material which fits over a ball or button to complete the closure.
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 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
This is dyeing process done after garment is finished.
A blue and white check
A triangular fabric piece placed into a hem to give fullness (e.g., the bottom of a skirt).
These are vertical garment sections that are cut narrow at the top and wide at the hem.
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.
Trimming seam allowance to reduce bulk
The orientation of the threads in woven fabric – lengthwise and crosswise
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.
Gun club checks
A pattern of double checks
An insert in a seam of the garment allowing for more space or opening ; It is usually triangle shaped or diamond shaped
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.
This is doing the last more detailed finishes of a garment by hand
The lower edge of this sleeve hangs down like a handkerchief
A French term which means high fashion. It is used to describe one of a kind expensive garments
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 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.
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 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 footwear includes specially designated athletic shoes and boots featuring true performance technology for the serious athlete and adventurer.
Also known as empire waist line, this waist line is very high usually in line with the bust line.
A curved ruler used to mark the curved sides of the bodice
Pockets sewn on the front of a garment at hip height.
Style characterized by long hair Beards jeans and psychedelic colours
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.
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.
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
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.
A bodice made of sheer material giving the illusion of no bodice.
A sleeve made of sheer material giving the illusion of no sleeve.
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.
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.
Inside out box pleats, usually made around the width of skirts
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
Deep shades of colours red blue green and purple
An open, split neckline with a pointed collar.
A pattern depicting African plants and animals
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.
A round or teardrop-shaped cutout that fastens at the front or back neckline.
Earth colours / military colours
Short inverted pleats stitched till the hips
A slightly longer and broader version of the Magyar sleeve which is an extension of the bodice. Usually seen in the Kimonos
Thin very firmly pressed pleats facing in one direction.
Placket mostly seen in kurtas for men and women they have one piece broader than the other.
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.
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.
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.
A seam in which the edges of the two pieces of fabric overlap. Usually used with fabrics that donot 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
Sleeves with overlapping Layers of different lengths, stitched together at the armhole line.
Skirt with two or more layers of gathered or circle skirts
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.
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 extremely suitable for summer clothes.
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.
Ink-receptive images on a page or fabric resulting from a mass-production printing process.
This short sleeve is an extension of the bodice.
A speckled pattern that imitates natural stone patterns
A short, standup collar that gives garments a stylish Asian look.
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.
Presentation of new products
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.
When bias bindings are used they are joined at a 90 degree angle and a 45 degree seam divides them causing a diagonal seam.
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 makers expectations, prior to making the final garment.
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 ; eg is Velvet, Corduroy, terry cloth. Checking for nap is particularly important when cutting.
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.
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.
White grey etc
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.
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.
All the items used in sewing other than sewing machine and fabric
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.
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.
Gradual blending of related tones of color that graduate from light to dark.
A stiff, heavyweight, warp rib (vertical running yarns) sometimes referred to as Ottoman cord.
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.
Usually with an elasticized or drawstring style that forms a gathered effect above the waist
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
A pale soft colour made by adding white to a bright colour
A design showing a landscape scene
A small pocket, usually found on pants, which looks like a piece of material was sewn on as a patch.
A design made from sewing small patches of cloth together
Patch or Emblem
Embroidered design with a finished edge stitched independant of garment
Weight used to keep the paper patterns on the fabric instead of using pins
A soft feel usually obtained by sanding the fabric lightly; it also can be achieved with chemical or laundry abrasion.
Peter Pan collar
A small collar that is flat and close-fitting with rounded ends.
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.
A design that is created by sewing pieces of material together to form the garment.
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.
A type of knit with a decorative pattern of yarns interlaced to create loops, most often used in faux fabrics.
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.
Pins are used to hold the paper patterns on the fabric when cutting and to hold fabrics together when stitching.
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.
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 .
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.
A v shaped opening made by a piece of cloth that covers an opening that is the closure of the garment.It supports or hided the closures like buttons and buttonholes.
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..
Any pocket that is sewn on a garment
The area where you attach the finished 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.
A tool used to turn a sewn corner to the right side with a sharp, crisp point.
Usually seen in pullovers made in knitted fabric, this collar lies close to the neck in double fabric.i
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.
Undesirable shining lines on the outside of the garment due to incorrect ironing.
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.
Red yellow blue
A short back stitch used on bulky materials like velvet.
Print on print
Having one pattern printed on a contrasting pattern eg floral print on checks
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.
Gathered sleeves with straight plain pieces inserted in between.
A decorative detail added to screen prints to give them a raised surface
Stitching a dense motif over embroidery or craft foam to create a three dimensional effect.
A sleeve with gathers or pleats athe arm hole or lower edge.(Pouf sleeve)
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.
Unfinished cut edge of a fabric
This sleeve has a rectangular armhole extending almost till the waist. This sleeve starts from the center of the shoulder line.
A neckline design of stripes in the colours of flags
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
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 extremely 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.
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. Used with grommets
This is a very narrow hem produced by rolling and stitching the edge. This can be sewn by hand, regular sewing machine, or serger.
A fabric embellishment that’s pleated and ruffled to resemble a rose.
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.
A pleated or gathered strip of fabric used as a decorative, feminine accent.
Running stitch ( Straight stitch)
This most basic stitch is a hand stitch which makes a dashed line weaving in and out of the fabric
A strip or frilled or gathered fabric used for trimming or decoration
A short sleeve with gathers all around the armhole.
Loose fitting dress which slips over the head
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 desrtuction
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.
A very zig zag stitch used for applique and other decorative purposes. Can be done by hand and by machine.
ornamental band scraf, strip or belt worn around the waist over the shoulders
A border that contains continuous curves finished with bourdon stitching.
Resulting line when two fabrics are stitched together in a straight line usually 1/4 inches from the cutting line.
Distance between the cutting line and the seam line.
Methods used to finish the edges of a seam
A very handy tool in the sewing room, used to remove stitches.
A cylindrical-shaped pressing tool; This is used to press open long seams or to slide inside a sleeve for crease less pressing.
A stable lightweight ribbon-like tape used to stabilize seams and finish hems.
Orange green purple
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.
A picture or design printed on a garment using the silk-screen process.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Full opening placket used in shirts etc
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.
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.
Pants that have flaps of fabric sewn on at the waist to create a skirt-like appearance.
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.
Small ironing board that fits inside a sleeve.
The curved top section of the sleeve from the front underarm to the back under arm.
Clothing put on the head without laces or fasteners
A slipstitch uses invisible stiches to join two folded edges or one folded edge to a flat surface.
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.
A firmly woven tape to which snap fasteners are securely anchored
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Thin knife pleats placed in the center of a garment like the pleats of a saree
A neckline formed when one piece of fabric overlaps the other to create a V-neck opening.
Piece of scrap fabric
A curved neckline with a scalloped trim that is similar to the top half of a heart.
Woven, flocked or embroidered dots on a sheer, lightweight fabric providing a textured pattern.
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
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.
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
A needle with a blunt tip and large oval-shaped eye made for decorative stitching with bulky threads or yarns
A pure cotton yarn used to create a narrow, woven fabric. It is a soft with an airy texture and ideal for warmer temperatures
Material placed on top of fabric to hold embroidery stitches above it.
Stitching line on the right side of the garment 1/4 inch from the edge. This is done usually as a decorative feature.
Semi transparent paper used for tracing drawing etc
A smooth toothed wheel with a handle that is used on tracing paper to trace a sewing pattern on to fabric
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
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
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.
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.
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 designs
Two Way zipper
A zipper with two zipper pulls so that it can be unzipped from both directions.
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
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
Openings that allows breathability. It is also added as a design element. It also provides ease to embroider the inside of a garment.
V-Neck / V-Back
An open yoke coming to a “V” shape midway down the bodice.
Line wound that part of the human figure between the shoulder and the hip that is most narrow.
A stable ribbon sewn inside a dress at the waist, used to support the dress.
A presser foot that steps across the fabric instead of sliding to facilitate even feed.
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.
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.
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
A run-resistant, double-edged strip or insert for embellishment or reinforcement.
Tiny, frayed threads from raw seam edges.
A collar with projections which cover shoulder seams of bodices and doublets.
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 dyeing process where yarns are immersed in a coloring solution and then woven or knit to make fabric. The colors stay brighter longer.
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
A presser foot ideal for stitching zippers as it enables sewing with the needle on either side.
A double layer of fabric stitched in place behind the zipper to protect skin or the garment when zipper is pulled up.
CB – Center Back
CF – Center Front
c/l – Cotton lycra
CS – Coverstitch
FL – Fold Line
FOE – Fold Over Elastic
GL – Grain Line
RST – Right Sides Together
RS – Right Side
RTW – Ready To Wear – Garments purchased from shop
SA – Seam Allowance
TAW – Tear Away Stabilizer
TTS – True To Size
WIP – Work in progress
WOF – Width of fabric
WS – Wrong Side
WSS – Water soluble stabilizer for embroidery
WST – Wrong Sides Together