Sewing Glossary: A Guide to Common Sewing Terms

A sewing glossary is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about sewing. It can help you understand the different terms used in sewing and better understand the sewing process. Many other sewing glossaries are available, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

This A-Z guide for beginners explains many sewing terms, and it also includes some tips and tricks you might find helpful. Please let me know if I missed one of the crucial sewing terms you want to know about.

Table of Content

Sewing Glossary - Terms Definition & Meaning

The Sewing Directory

Armscye

The armscye is the opening in the bodice where the sleeve attaches to the armscye.

Appliqué

It is a process of sewing close to the edges of a shape and stitching a piece of fabric to another piece of fabric. This fabrication involves cutting out a fun shape, fusing it into place, and sewing around the edges. They are frequently used on quilt blocks.

Backstitch / Back tack

Start and end your seam with 2 or 3 reverse stitches. To prevent your seam from coming undone, backstitch or back tack the stitches.

When working with delicate, thin, or unstable fabrics, reducing the stitch length at the beginning and end of a seam by 1.5cm/1/2″ is sometimes better to prevent the fabric from jamming or bunching into the feed dogs.

Bar tack

A zigzag stitch is a small row of narrow zig-zag stitches that reinforces or holds a facing in place. In jeans, it’s used on the fly, the belt loops, and the buttonholes.

Basting

A temporary stitch that holds something in place or gathers fabric temporarily. Your sewing machine can be set to the most extended stitch length, or you can do it by hand. To make removal easier, loosen the top tension when machine basting.

Bias

The bias indicates the angle at which a piece of fabric is drawn from its selvage or grain line to its diagonal direction. Woven fabrics, even if they are not stretch fabrics, have the most significant stretch in this direction. For more information, see our post on the best sewing machine settings for stretchy fabrics.

Bias Binding

An angle of 45 degrees between the hem and the fabric strip. The fabric adapts well to curves in this direction, making it an ideal finish for necklines, (curved) hems, and armholes. Raw edges of hems and seams are encased in the strip. On the inside of a garment, you can add a pop of color with contrasting or patterned fabric.

Beeswax

In hand sewing, beeswax coats the thread. If you want to do this yourself, you can run the thread through your fingers and pull it over a block of beeswax several times to set the wax and remove the excess. Pulling it between your fingers should now result in a squeaky sound. Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-coated thread.

Hand-sewing buttons, buttonholes, quilting, and goldwork embroidery are all done with coated thread. What are the benefits of waxed thread? Because it’s smoother, it won’t tangle as much and strengthens your thread. It would be best to use waxed and coated thread for hand sewing since it clogs your sewing machine.

Bobbin

Your sewing machine uses a spool of thread for the bottom thread of each stitch. Your sewing machine inserts the bobbin into the bobbin case.

There is no universal size for bobbins! Despite being from the same brand, bobbin sizes can vary between models. Make sure you are using the correct type by checking your manual.

Bound seams

The raw edge of bound seam allowances is finished with double-fold bias binding after they have been pressed open or bound together on one side. This technique is not wrong, but it adds a bit of bulk to the seam allowance. Hong Kong seems to be less bulky.

Button band/button stand

The button band or stand is always composed of two panels, one holding the buttons and the other holding the buttonholes. Button bands are either separate pieces of fabric or extensions of the panels they are attached to.

Buttonhole

Buttonholes are reinforced holes in the fabric slightly larger than the buttons they pass through. Most sewing machines with a buttonhole foot have four steps to making a beautiful buttonhole. However, it is also possible to make them on a sewing machine using a zig-zag stitch or a blanket stitch by hand.

It is always a good idea to make some test buttonholes to determine if heavy fusible interfacing is necessary. Also, by making a test buttonhole, you can check whether your button will pass through the hole easily and whether your chosen thread color matches your main fabric.

Place the buttons after you have made the buttonholes and opened them up. Make a mark on the buttonholes with a marking pen by aligning the edges of the two-button stands. You will always have perfectly aligned buttons and buttonholes with this method.

Blind Hem

The blind hem stitch, which consists of several straight stitches followed by a zigzag stitch, is used to sew across the hem of a garment to make the thread on the right side almost invisible. A Blind Hem foot can be used on a machine or by hand.

Calico

A woven fabric made from unbleached cotton. Cotton husks often leave little brown specks on the fabric. As a fairly cheap fabric, it’s excellent for testing a garment’s fit.

Clip/notch

Clipping and notching will give you better results in concave (neckline) and convex (hemline) curves. Clips are snips toward the stitching, and notches are v-shaped (wedges) cut out toward the stitching. For the best results, cut close to the stitch line but not through it.

Cut on fold

When a pattern says to cut on the fold, you must align the edge of a pattern piece to the fold of the fabric. When you unfold the fabric, you have a whole piece of your garment (don’t cut the fold! ). This often affects bodice fronts and backs without center seams.

Casing

A casing is a small piece of fabric that threads a drawstring or elastic. The elastic for a skirt’s waistband can be placed in a channel near the fold by folding the fabric down 12.5 inches (to hide the raw edge), then down again 1 inch, and stitching on the fold.

Clipping Corners

When turned right side out, the seam allowance is snipped off the triangular corner to prevent bulk in a corner.

Clipping Curves

The process of removing small triangles of fabric from a curve to facilitate right-side out seams. It can also be made with small slits along the curve to allow the fabric to spread out when turned right side out. The process is also referred to as notching.

Crosswise Grain

Threads running perpendicular to a fabric’s selvage are known as crosswise grain threads.

Darts

In most garments, darts shape the waist, bust, shoulders, and sometimes even the sleeves. Triangles and diamonds are common shapes.

Double-fold hem

For the first fold, fold the hem’s raw edge towards the wrong side of the fabric, then fold it again towards the inside of the garment to enclose the raw edge.

Double Needle

It’s the same as a twin needle. See Twin Needle for more information.

Darning

Repairing a hole or tearing a section of fabric by “scribbling” the needle over the hole or tear. Using a darning foot prevents the feed dogs from directing the fabric.

Ease / wearing ease/design ease / negative ease

Ease is the space in a garment that allows you to move and sit comfortably. All patterns are designed with varying degrees of ease.

A pattern consists of:

  • Body measurements + wearing ease + design ease.

A minimum of wearing ease is around:

  • 5cm / 2” around the bust
  • 2.5 cm / 1″ around the waist
  • 3.8 cm / 1 1/2″ around the hips.

In addition to wearing ease, design ease is also considered. Designers or your personal preferences decide what to do.

Easing in

When one of two pattern pieces needs to fit together, the extra fabric must be eased in. For example, the extra fabric on sleeve caps needs to be eased in. Rather than creating wrinkles, you can gather the extra fabric slightly before you set it in the sleeves to distribute it evenly. You can also use a crimping technique.

You crump the pattern piece by sewing stitches just inside the seam allowance, next to the stitch line, and forcing more fabric into those stitches. While sewing, you place your finger directly behind the presser foot, allowing the fabric to bulk up between your finger and the presser foot. This creates an even gathered effect while still slightly gathering the fabric. Leave the gathers intact until you start pinning.

Another way to achieve good results is to use feed dogs when setting sleeves. When setting in sleeves or easing in fabric, you can use this to your advantage by always sewing with the larger piece on the bottom against the feed dogs unless you have a walking foot.

Edgestitch

A line of stitches binds seams, hems, and pocket openings. It is usually only a needle width away from the edge (0.15 cm / 1/16″).

Embroidery

An embroidery technique involves sewing needlework designs onto fabric. Sewing or embroidery machines can also be used.

Eyelet

Small rings made of metal or plastic are inserted with pliers into the fabric to reinforce a hole in the fabric. Lace-up wedding dresses, for example, have eyelets through which the laces pass. In addition, it refers to a type of fabric with holes as the design, with each hole reinforced by embroidery.

Feed dogs

Your sewing machine’s feed dogs transport fabric through its teeth. When you are sewing buttons on your sewing machine, you can drop them under the presser foot.

Finger press

Flattening or opening seams using your fingers, fingernails, or other smooth objects.

French seams

When you don’t have a serger, French seams are a great way to finish your fabric because they enclose the raw edge.

Straight seams are most commonly used, but curved seams can also be used with practice. Curved seams should be stitched with a narrow seam allowance since wider seams tend to pucker.

Snipping your seam allowance along curves will also help prevent puckering. If your fabric is lightweight, you can use a narrow seam allowance; if it is heavier, you can use a wider one.

Facing

Facing finishes raw edges, stabilizes, adds structure, and strengthens fabrics. Partial linings made from main fabrics are used for necklines and armholes.

Facings can be separate panels or cut-on facings. Panels with cut-on facings are integrated into the panel. Cut-on facings are often used in waterfall necklines or button bands. The use of facings and interfacing is common.

Fusible interfacing

Adding strength and structure to your garment is possible with fusible interfacing fused to the wrong side of the fabric. Buttons, buttonholes, welt pockets, collars, cuffs, and panels can be covered.

In places where the glue is, you should feel small bumps where it will fuse with the fabric. Depending on the type, heat and pressure are applied to the fusible interfacing for a certain period.

Use a press cloth when applying fusible interfacing to prevent the glue from fusing with your iron. If you are going to move the piece you just fused, let the fusible interfacing cool down before you do so.

Your project and fabric will determine what kind and weight of thread you should use.

There are sheets and tapes available. The tape can reinforce and stabilize a curve before sewing.

In tailored garments, especially jackets and heavily textured fabrics, fusible interfacing is relatively easy to use, but sew-in interfacing is often used with fusible interfacing.

Free-Motion Quilting

Darning, hopping, and free-motion quilting involve using a foot with lowered feed dogs to move the fabric freely under the needle and thread in any shape you choose.

Gather

Gathered fabric can create fullness and ruffles. Just inside and outside the stitch line, sew two or three lines of gathering stitches.

Ensure your sewing machine’s top tension is loosened, and use a long stitch length (5mm or greater).

Start stitching without back tacking and leave long thread tails. Gather the fabric by holding the loose ends of the thread (top or bottom) and sliding it along the thread, anchoring the thread tails on one side.

Grade

The seam allowance should be cut in graduated widths to avoid bulk and ridges on the right side. The top and bottom layers should be cut 0.3cm / 1/8″ apart, and interfacing should be close to the stitching.

Grain / Cross grain

A woven fabric’s grain describes the direction of the warp and weft.

  • There is little to no stretch in the direction of the grain, which runs parallel to the selvage.
  • This direction has a little stretch or gives as it runs perpendicular to the hem.

Grainline

The pattern has a long line with an arrow on it. The line should generally be aligned with the lengthwise grain of the fabric or the hem. In addition to on-grain, this term is used to describe straight-of-grain wood.

The pattern pieces should always be placed on-grain and in the same direction since fabrics with a nap (velour, velvet, fake fur, corduroy, etc.) appear to have a different shade or color when lit.

It is also possible to use crosswise grain in some cases. When designing a yoke or a cuff, you can play with the direction of the print to create a fun design detail.

When you don’t have enough fabric, it is also good to experiment with lengthwise and crosswise grain placement. Do this cautiously, as this can alter how the garment hangs on your body (hello, twisted pants).

Godet

A godet is a triangular fabric insert used to widen the bottom of a skirt. It adds movement and fullness. Pants with bell bottoms and sleeves are also made from this fabric.

Gusset

To add roominess to a garment, gussets are triangular pieces of fabric that are inserted into seams. Gussets pinch the corners to create a bottom from the sides of a bag.

Hong Kong seam

Hong Kong seams or Hong Kong finishes encase the raw edge of your fabric with a bias-cut strip of fabric. The binding on the wrong side is left raw, so they’re less bulky than bound seams.

Hem

Garments often have their bottom edges folded up towards the inside.

Hand

An expression used to describe a fabric’s feel and texture. “There is a nice hand to this fabric.”

Interfacing

An additional layer of fabric that adds stability, structure, and crispness. A garment’s lining/facing is sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining.

Interlining

Adding warmth to your garment with a layer. The lining sits between the outer fabric and the outer fabric.

Invisible zipper

Special presser feet and seams are used to sew this zipper. As the name suggests, if it’s done correctly, the zipper is hard to see in the seam.

Knit Fabric/knits

Knitted fabric consists of interlocking loops that are very stretchy. The method of knitting knitted fabrics is the same as making a scarf as a child but with much finer threads and needles.

Lining

Adding warmth and comfort to a garment and hiding construction seams and details. The inside of the garment is lined with fabric to hide construction seams and details.

Machine basting

Gathering fabric or holding something in place with loose stitches. Your sewing machine’s most extended stitch length can be used or done by hand. Make sure your top tension is loose when you’re machine-basting.

Mark

Fabric markings and symbols are transferred to fabric. This can be done in a variety of ways.

  • A tracing wheel and dressmaker carbon paper are needed (check the instructions; mine does not allow ironing)
  • Thread is used to make tailor’s tacks
  • Using chalk
  • Water-soluble fabric markers
  • Using pins
  • Add a small clip to the seam allowance. Triangles are my favorite shapes to cut out. Then I make another angled cut, cutting a small triangle (maximum 0.5 cm / 1/4″).

Muslin 1

It is typically used for making test garments because of its light and loose weave.

Muslin 2

Muslin, unbleached cotton, or a cheaper fabric are used for test garments or toiles. Sewers talk about wearable muslins, which are test garments made from cheaper but nicer fabrics, and you cross your fingers they will work out well.

Nap

A nap is a fabric’s surface with fibers aligned in a specific direction. Ensure that all pattern pieces are oriented similarly when using napped fabrics. There is an obvious nap or direction in fabrics like fake fur, corduroy, and velvet. The next step is to cut knits, satins, and woolens with a shine as if they were napped fabrics.

Notch / Clip

You will get better results when you clip and notch convex (scalloped hem) and concave (neckline) curves. The clip is a snip toward the stitching, while the notch is a V-shaped cut (wedge) toward the stitching. To get the best results, avoid cutting through the stitch line.

Notch

In addition to a notch, a pattern marking can be used for alignment. In pattern pieces with long seams or curves, you may find notches.

Notions

A pattern can include a variety of notions, including buttons, zippers, hooks, lace, elastic, and many others. Finish your garment with these small accessories.

Neaten Edges

You can finish raw edges with any method of your choice, such as pinking shears, zigzag stitches, overlock stitches, or serging. When you are asked to finish an edge according to a pattern, you choose how.

Overlocker

It’s the same as Serger. See serger for more information.

Pins

There are many different types of pins. They can vary in length and thickness with or without colorful ball-shaped glass heads.

Placket

There is a partial button band/button closure. Polo shirts, popover shirts, and anoraks have plackets on their cuffs.

Preshrink

In the same way, you wash and dry your finished garment, you should pre-shrink your fabric. It is common for fabrics to shrink when they are washed. The length of cotton fabric can shrink by 5%.

Piping

The piping of a garment or project consists of a fabric-wrapped cord inserted into the seam. The cord is wrapped in bias tape to allow it to curve easily around all seams.

Pleat

The wrinkle is formed by folding the fabric and stitching it together to secure it. It is often used to fit narrower parts of a garment or to give a drape a textured appearance.

Pocket

The pocket is a rectangle of fabric inserted into a garment and accessible from the finished outside edge.

Pressing

Seams can be opened or pressed to one side by using an iron. If you want to achieve the best results, do this while working on your garment. When you move the iron, lift it slightly and then press down instead of ironing the fabric.

Make sure you don’t overpress! On the outside of your garment, the seam allowance might cause ridges, or the fabric may become shiny.

When working with woolen, I always take extra care. Using my steam iron, I apply minimal pressure, just enough to open the seams. After a few minutes of steaming, I remove the iron, hold the seam open with my hand, and let it cool. The wooden clapper can set woolen seams if you enjoy sewing with wool.

A thick towel can also be used on your ironing board when a fabric has a lot of texture.

Press cloth

Use a thin, preferably sheer, fabric to protect your fabric when pressing. To get better results, dampen the pressing cloth and hold it between the iron and your project or garment.

What are the benefits of using a pressing cloth? It prevents shine on your fabric and iron marks and protects your iron when using fusible interfacing.

Presser foot

When you sew, your sewing machine’s feed dogs are pressed against the foot.

Pre-wash

The fabric can be pre-washed after it has been purchased. It is essential to do this if you will machine wash and dry the garment or project. Before the garment is constructed, the fabric will be pre-shrunk. The fabric is typically pre-washed in the same manner as the garment, which will be washed once finished.

Quilting

Quilting is the process of sewing (or tying) two layers of cloth together with an inner layer of batting between them.

Raw edge

This is the unfinished, raw edge of the fabric that is raveling and unfinished.

Right side / Wrong side

You see the right side of the fabric, or its face, outside the garment. This refers to the inside and the fabric’s backside. It is sometimes difficult to decide which side to take. If this happens, choose a side and stick with it.

Running stitch

This stitch creates a dashed line of stitches by weaving up and down through the fabric. With this sewing tool, fabric can be basted or gathered.

Ruche

To embellish a garment or project, a rouche is a pleated or gathered strip of fabric.

Seam

It is the line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together. There are different types of seams.

Seam allowance

The fabric between the stitch line and the edge of the fabric. Depending on the pattern company and the garment, the width can vary. Pattern pieces and descriptions should always be checked.

The following are some standard seam allowances:

  • 0.6 cm / 1/4″
  • 1 cm / 3/8″
  • 1.6 cm / 5/8″
  • 2.5 cm / 1″.

Narrow seam allowances, such as French seams, are ideal for special seam finishes. However, you can also use wider seam allowances for special finishes, such as French seams on heavier fabrics or flat-felled seams, or adjust the fit.

Seam finish

Learning a few different techniques will help you do this in many other ways. For example, you can prevent your seam from raveling by using a seam finish.

If you have a serger, the edges can be overlocked. If you only have a sewing machine, pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch can be used. The following seam types are also available: French, bound edges, and Hong Kong seams.

Seam ripper

Unpicking a row of stitches with this small tool. When the knife becomes dull, replace it occasionally.

Serger

Specialized sewing machines capable of trimming and overlocking raw edges. Knits are well suited to its stretchy seam finish due to its 3-, 4-, or 5-needle construction.

Sew-in interfacing

Interfacing sewn into garments is usually used to make structured and tailored items such as jackets.

Stay stitch

A line of stitches stabilizes the fabric before a garment is sewn. To achieve this, the stitches must be placed just inside the seam allowance, close to the final stitch line.

When should stay-stitching be used? Stay stitches are usually used around bias-cut seams, armhole curves, necklines, and even crotch seams to prevent the fabric from stretching out of shape. The fabric easily stretches in all of these areas. Consequently, when handling your cut-out fabric pieces or moving them from the sewing machine to the pressing machine, these curves may be distorted and stretched. This can be prevented with a stay stitch.

Straight stitch

Single, straight, and even stitches are the most basic machine stitches. It is also used to construct garments and topstitch them.

Stretch percentage

Check the pattern’s stretch percentage against the amount of stretch that a knit fabric can comfortably undergo when working with it. Before cutting your fabric, make sure you stretch it. The raw edge of the fabric is unlikely to stretch as much as the rest of the fabric. Stretch percentages should be comfortable for the fabric.

Stitch in the ditch

Pull both sides of the seam line slightly open before stitching in the seam line. A facing or turned-up sleeve cuff can be invisibly secured by stitching in from the outside. You can also stitch in the ditch if you are attaching bias binding.

Stitch length

A stitch’s length. Depending on the fabric, project, and purpose, the length will vary.

A good starting point for clothing construction is 2.5 mm. For thicker fabrics, 3 mm would be a good starting point. The stitch length should be at least 3 mm / 3,5 mm for topstitching. Make sure you like how it looks by doing a little test.

Scrim

In batting, scrim refers to adding a thin layer of polyester to the cotton to be needle-punched. This gives your batting stability so it won’t crumble during quilting. Additionally, scrim can be added to your batting to make it less cotton-based.

Selvage

A woven fabric’s selvage is the edge produced during the manufacturing process. This edge prevents the fabric from raveling.

Smocking

The process of gathering and folding pleats to create texture through smocking.

Tailor’s tacks

Pattern markings are transferred to fabric using loose hand stitches.

Tailor’s ham or dressmaker’s ham

A firm cushion for pressing. Curves, collars, sleeves, and darts can be shaped with it.

Thread Tension

Sewing machines control thread tension in two places:

  • Top – The tension discs are at the top of your sewing machine, where the top thread passes through them.
  • Bottom – Located in the bobbin case.

It is usually possible to adjust the top tension using a dial on the sewing machine. This needs to be adjusted for buttonholes and thicker and thinner fabrics.

With regular all-purpose sewing threads, you will rarely need to adjust the bottom tension by turning the screw on the bobbin case. You must change your bobbin tension if your threads are thicker or thinner. A bobbin’s screw can also tighten or loosen over time after years of use.

When you pull and shake the thread, a bobbin should only slide down slowly bit by bit as you load it into the case as usual. It’s probably too loose if it slides down on its own, without you shaking it, and too tight if it doesn’t move.

The screw on the bobbin should never be touched, but if it needs adjusting, adjust it. By thinking of the screw as a clock, I can turn it only once every 10 or 15 minutes. The lefty loosey and righty tighty are good ways to remember which way to turn.

Toile

Toile is a French word that refers to canvas, linen, or muslin but is typically used to describe test garments or muslin.

Topstitch

Topstitching refers to the stitching on the outside of a garment. Topstitching can be used for a variety of purposes:

  • Decorative, such as on jeans’ back pockets
  • Strengthening
  • Help flatten seams, such as jeans’ inseams
  • Faceting and pockets should be secure.

Trim

Reduce the width of the seam allowance. This method will make curved seams easier to sew, as it eliminates bulk.

Twin Needle

A twin needle consists of two needles that simultaneously sew parallel rows of stitches. With them, T-shirts can be hemmed, or seams can be topstitched.

Tension

Your sewing machine’s tension determines how much “pinching” is done to your thread. A larger pinch is needed for thicker fabrics (to prevent the thread from flowing out too fast), while a smaller pinch is needed for thinner fabrics (to prevent puckering).

Under stitch

Ensures facings (linings or bias binding) are kept in place and are not visible from the outside. Seam allowances should be pressed toward facings. Face the facing close to the seam line and stitch the seam allowances close to the seam line. Make sure your face is on the inside.

Underlining

Underlining is an extra layer of fabric that duplicates a garment section. When sewn together, the two pieces of the garment are treated as one. Underlining is used to add an opaque backing to sheer fabrics, and it can also be used to back unstable fabrics.

Woven Fabric

To make woven fabrics, many threads are woven together. Threads run lengthwise (warp) and crosswise (weft). A plain weave is the most basic type, where the weft thread goes over one warp thread, then under another, and so on. Repeating the same pattern with alternate threads on the next pass results in a checkered surface.

Fabrics woven on the bias or with elastic, like elastane, don’t stretch unless they are used on the bias.

Walking Foot

Your sewing machine will feed more evenly if you use a presser. Quilters often use walking feet to transport layers evenly through the sewing machine.

Warp / Weft

Woven fabrics, warps are lengthwise threads, and wefts are crosswise threads. Warps run parallel to selvages and are uphill. From left to right, the weft is woven through the warp.

Wrong side

Usually, it is the garment’s inside and the fabric’s back. Use pins or chalk to mark your fabric’s right or wrong side if you can’t tell which side is right or wrong. The raw edges of knit fabrics tend to curl toward the right side if you have trouble seeing the backside.

WOF

The width of the fabric is called the WOF. Many quilting patterns use this abbreviation.

Zigzag stitch

This Z-shaped stitch can finish knits, stretch fabrics, buttonholes, and raw edges.

Zipper Foot

When attaching any zipper, it is important to sew close to the edge of the teeth; a zipper foot can help. Depending on the application, a zipper foot can be snapped to either the left or right ankle of the sewing foot.

Sewing Glossary FAQs

What is a backstitch, and why is it important in sewing?

A backstitch, also known as a back tack, involves sewing 2 or 3 reverse stitches at the beginning and end of a seam. This technique is crucial because it secures the stitches, ensuring that the seam does not come undone. Especially when working with delicate, thin, or unstable fabrics, adjusting the stitch length at the seam’s start and end can prevent the fabric from bunching up, providing a neat finish.

Can you explain what bias binding is and how it is used?

Bias binding is a strip of fabric cut at a 45-degree angle to the selvage, which makes it stretchy and adaptable to curves. It is primarily used to encase the raw edges of a hem or a seam, offering a clean finish. This technique is ideal for necklines, curved hems, or armholes, as the bias cut allows the fabric to conform neatly to various shapes. Utilizing contrasting or patterned fabric for bias binding can also introduce a visually appealing element to the garment’s interior.

What is the purpose of interfacing in sewing projects?

Interfacing is applied to the wrong side of the fabric to add strength, structure, and stability to garments. It is commonly used in areas requiring additional support, such as collars, cuffs, button bands, and buttonhole areas. Fusible interfacing, which adheres to fabric with heat, is particularly popular for its ease of use. However, sew-in interfacing may be preferred for tailored garments or textured fabrics to maintain the fabric’s integrity.

How do you properly execute a French seam?

A French seam encases the raw edges of fabric within the seam itself, creating a clean and professional finish on both sides. This technique begins by sewing the fabric pieces on the wrong sides with a narrow seam allowance. The fabric is then folded along the seam line, right sides together, and sewn again, enclosing the initial seam. French seams are ideal for lightweight fabrics and straight seams, though they can be adapted for curved seams with practice.

What is the difference between ease and negative ease in sewing patterns?

Ease refers to the additional space in a garment that allows movement beyond the body’s actual measurements. Patterns incorporate wearing ease for comfort and design ease for aesthetic purposes. Conversely, negative ease is used in knit garments where the finished item is smaller than the body measurements. The stretch of the knit fabric compensates, providing ease and ensuring the garment fits snugly. Understanding these concepts is essential for achieving the desired fit in sewing projects.

Why is it important to preshrink fabric before starting a sewing project?

Preshrinking fabric is crucial because it prevents the finished garment from shrinking after its first wash. Fabrics, especially natural fibers like cotton, can significantly shrink, altering the fit and appearance of a garment. Washing and drying the fabric according to the care instructions ensures that the dimensions remain stable, preserving the integrity and fit of your sewing project.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve reached the end of this sewing glossary, you should better understand all the terms you’ll encounter as you explore this wonderful hobby (or profession). If you encounter an unfamiliar term, don’t be afraid to ask SewingWithEase for clarification. The sewing community is generally amicable and happy to help newcomers learn more about this fascinating pastime.

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