Sewing Terminology

Accordion Pleats:  pleats (straight)that fan out from the garment in uniform creased folds

A-line clothing with sloping sides, the widest part being at the hemline

Appliqué decoration or fabric sewn onto another fabric

Apron front apronlike flap on the front of a dress or skirt

Backing (Also called underlining)  layer of support fabric applied to the wrong side of a garment section before being sewn

Bias line at a 45-degree angle to the lengthwise grain of the fabric; used in cutting fabric to achieve a smooth fit

Binding strip of fabric used to enclose a raw edge

Bobbin case part of a sewing machine, with a bobbin casing and bobbin spool, which stores the thread used for the bottom stitch

Bodice Upper portion of a woman’s dress

Box Pleat pleat made by forming two folded edges, one facing right and the other facing left

Button Foot machine foot used for sewing on buttons with a zigzag machine; not for domed buttons

Buttonhole Foot machine foot for producing machine-made buttonholes on a zigzag machine

Buttonholer machine attachment for straight-stitch machines, which enables them to
produce machine-made buttonholes

Feed Dogs little serrated feet located on the needle plate of a sewing machine, draw the fabric forward

French Seam (bulky) self-finished seam suitable for thin and fraying fabrics

Gathering Foot machine foot that gathers thin and sheer fabrics as they’re stitched.
Small soft folds created when fabric is drawn between large stitched threads.

Hem finish; folding back the raw edge of a fabric to the wrong side, finishing the raw edge, and stitching it to the body of the fabric

Interfacing or interlining fabric used to give strength and support

Preshrunk (1) Fabric that has been shrunk during manufacture. Cotton, linen, and wool fabrics should be tested for shrinking before cutting.
(2) Fabric finish that prevents fabrics from shrinking during washing

Ruffle strip of fabric or other material gathered on one edgeand inserted into a seam. Used as trim.

Ruffler machine foot that makes gathered or pleated ruffles and will attach the ruffles to another piece of fabric at the same time

Running Stitch permanent stitch used for seams, tucks, gathers,and quilting, which can be even or uneven and long or short

Seam joining two pieces of material, strongly and without bulk, in such a way that it will withstand washing and cleaning

Seam Allowance extra fabric outside the actual stitching line

Seam Gauge used to mark and check widths, such as distance between buttonholes, width of hems

Seam Ripper sharp bladed tool/hook used for ripping out seams,cutting buttonholes, etc.

Serger sewing machine that stitches seams and finishes the edges in one operation. Also called overlock machine.

Stay Stitching row of stitching worked just inside the seam allowance, following the stitching line in order to prevent areas on the bias from stretching while the item is being made up.

Straight-stitch Machine type of sewing machine that can produce only a locked running stitch without the aid of attachments

Tailor’s chalk special chalk used for temporary marking on fabric that can be brushed out

Tension Assembly machine part designed to place a limited amount of resistance or dray on the thread as it passes through its parts

Thread Guide Open-sided hooks on a sewing machine that act to guide the thread from the spool to the needle

Tracing Paper special carbon paper used with tracing wheel to transfer pattern marking to the wrong side of the fabric

Tracing Wheel used with tracing paper to transfer pattern marking to the wrong side of the fabric

Wrong Side side of the fabric that will be inside the garment when it’s made. Usually less well finished than the right side

Zigzag Foot (zigzag machines) machine foot that enables the needle to sew from side to side

Zigzag Machine type of sewing machine that can produce a number of sewing processes and embroidery stitches automatically, without attachments, because the needle
can move side to side. Two types: fully automatic and semiautomatic

Zipper  made of metal or plastic teeth on strips of fabric tape