Know Your Sewing Vocabulary
Sewing and dressmaking are wonderful hobbies that give a great sense of accomplishment when you produce something unique and personal. Whatever stage of experience you’re at, a basic understanding of sewing vocabulary will be useful, so you can confidently follow patterns and instructions. Here are some basic terms it would be good to know:
Back Stitch: This is the stitch you apply going backwards over the loose stitching at the start of sewing. It acts to secure the loose thread, in order to secure your stitch from unravelling.
Seam Allowance: The gap in the fabric between the edge and seam. This can differ depending on fabric type.
Lining: A layer of material that sits underneath the main layer of fabric.
Hem: This is folded edge of fabric that’s been sewn up to stop the untidy edges of the fabric from coming undone and being visible.
Fabric Grain: This is the make-up of the fibres of the material, how they are knitted or woven together. A fabric’s grain runs parallel to the selvedge.
Warp: This is the thread that runs up and down a woven fabric.
Weft: The threads running at right angles to the warp of a woven fabric, also called cross-grain.
Muslin: This is a basic piece of lightweight material used to make a prototype of a garment so final adjustments can be made before using the actual permanent fabric. Selvedge: Edges of a raw material running along the edge along with the grain. Selvedge edges are used so material edges don’t fray before being used.
Hand: A word used to describe the texture and feel of a fabric. For a wide range of excellent Dressmaking Fabric, see the dress making fabrics available from http://www.quality-fabrics.co.uk
Appliqué: This is when you sew one piece of material onto another piece of fabric.
Baste: The process of hand or machine sewing with long stitches to hold two pieces of fabric together temporarily, so they stay in place.
Embroidery: Decorating a piece of fabric with hand-sewn designs using coloured thread. This can also be achieved with a sewing machine with different programmes.
Facing: Special fabric used to finish a garment for making edges lie flat such as around armholes or a neckline.
Pleat: A fold in the fabric made by doubling the fabric over itself, and sewing it together.
Seam Ripper: This is a little tool with a special pointed edge for removing stitches from material.
Zig Zag: A stretching stitch on a sewing machine that runs diagonally in a zig zag motion.