Jul 21, 2009

Sewing Terminology

I find after teaching, the hardest thing for people to grasp when learning how to sew is terminology. Once you know what the terms mean the sewing experience is much easier.

About.com is a great source of information. I often use it to look up all kinds of things. They have a very good list of sewing terms. They also have a lot of other links to help you when you don't know what the terms mean.
Sewing Term Glossary
Don't let not understanding a sewing term stop your creative process. Follow the sewing glossaries and definitions to understand and see what the term means.

A-E | F-J | K-O | P-T | U-Z


And then there is "Only Sewing" (click for full list) also has a great list of sewing terms. Book mark it to use later.

alter:
To change or revise a pattern or garment to suit individual sizing or desires. This could be making an item larger or smaller, adding darts, lengthening a bodice, etc.

applique:
Sewing a piece of fabric on top of another after folding under a small bit of the fabric to create a clean edge. When done by machine, many use a satin stitch (tight zig zag). By hand, blind stitching is often used. Applique can be done with or without a fusible or stabilizer.

awl:
Tool with pointed tip used to push out corners when fabric is turned.

backing:
Fabric used as the back layer of another fabric.

backstitch:
Used at the beginning and end of a machine sewn seam to anchor the seam in place; it involves a couple of extra stitches back and forth.

ballpoint needle:
Ballpoint needles are designed to penetrate knit fabrics without nicking or damaging the fabric.

bar tack:
A group of closely sewn stitches via zig zag that is used to tack a belt loop or similar item in place, and is often used in buttonhole making. This is not a basting stitch and should be repeated several times on the machine to make a very short run of satin stitching.

baste/basting:
Temporary stitching used to hold a sewing project in place and is removed when the permanent sewing is done (usually long or large stitches).

batting:
Fiberfill, cotton, wool, or other material that is flattened and usually on a roll and purchased in precut lengths or by the yard.

bias:
Runs diagonally to the straight grain of the fabric. This is the stretchiest part on the fabric.

bias tape:
Strips of fabric cut on the bias, often turned under and pressed, and used for bindings, facings, or other application where there is a need for stretch or accomodation to curves.

binding:
Encasing the raw edges of a blanket or quilt with another piece of fabric. Binding also refers to the fabric that is folded and used for the encasing of the raw edges.

blanket stitch:
Used to neaten the edge of a buttonhole, blanket, vest edge, or other seamline. A blanket stitch can be done by hand or machine.

blind hem stitch:
Sewing stitch that is not meant to be seen on the right side of the fabric, usually accomplished by picking up one thread of the fabric at a time rather than going through the full fabric or several threads before completing a hand stitch or machine stitch.

block:
A block is the individual unit used in a quilt top. Blocks can also be made to create pillows or a length of fabric from which a garment is cut.

bobbin:
The piece of your sewing machine that holds the bottom thread (the bobbin thread) and is placed in the bobbin case. It generally is under the area the needle penetrates and it loops with the needle thread to form a locked stitch.

bodice:
The part of a pattern or garment that runs from shoulder to waist.

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

buckram:
Strong, heavy woven fabric used for stiffening baseball cap brims and some drapery applications.

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

buttonhole:
A bound slit in the fabric to allow the passage of a button for closure. Buttonholes are mostly made by machine these days, but many people do still prefer to make them by hand, using a special buttonhole stitch.

When you're not sure what the words mean try to look them up. If you still don't understand then come to a sewing class and I'll get you over your hump so you can move on with your project.

Until next time,
Enjoy your moments ~ make them "sew" much fun,
Cindy