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Sewing Dictionary
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Alter To revise a pattern or garment to suit an individual size or a particular design.
Apparel Another term for clothing or garments.
Appliqué scissors They are also called duckbill scissors, one blade is wide help safely trim around the edges of the applique.
Applique’ To sew a cut piece of fabric, often a design element such as a flower, on top of another larger piece of fabric. When done by machine, many sewers use a satin stitch. By hand, sewers often fold over a small edge of the fabric and use a blind stitch to create a clean edge.
Awl Tool with pointed tip used to push out corners when fabric is turned (for example, when making a collar).
Backing This term describes the back of a fabric that has two separate fabrics adhered to each other, for instance, a vinyl fabric with a flannel backing. This is always a quilting term that defines the fabric used as the back layer of the quilt in a sandwich.
Backstitch Used at the beginning and end of a machine sewn seam to keep the seam from reopening; it involves a couple of extra stitches back and forth.
Ballpoint needles Ballpoint needles are made for the use of knit fabrics to penetrate without nicking, damaging or creating a pull in the fabric.
Bar tack A group of closely sewn stitches used to tack a belt loop or similar item in place, also found at either end of buttonhole. A bar tack usually consists of a wide stitch, but the length of the stitch is very short, almost non existent.
Baste/basting Temporary stitching consisting of long or large stitches used to hold a sewing project in place which is then removed when the permanent sewing is completed.
Batting Batting is made of fiberfill, cotton, wool, or other material that is flattened and usually on a roll and purchased in precut lengths or by the yard. It's primary use is as a flat filling in quilted projects to create a soft thin loft. Batting is used as the middle in a quilt sandwich.
Bias The bias runs diagonally to the straight grain of the fabric. This is the part of the fabric with the most stretch.
Bias seam tape or bias binding Narrow 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 accommodation to curves. Bias tape is used in making piping, binding seams, finishing raw edges, etc. It is often used on the edges of quilts, placemats, and bibs, and on garments around armhole and neckline edges instead of a facing. Commercially available bias tape is available as a simple bias tape, single-fold bias tape, and double-fold bias tape. Single-fold bias tape is bias tape that is folded in half lengthwise on its center line, wrong side together, and pressed. Double-fold bias tape is single-fold bias tape where each half is again folded in half lengthwise (to the center fold), wrong sides together, and pressed.
Blanket stitch The Blanket Stitch is a stitch used to reinforce the edge of thick materials. It is also called a whip stitch. The technical definition is a decorative stitch used to finish an un-hemmed blanket, because it can be seen on both sides of the blanket. It is now popular for use with fleece and felt as an edging border. A blanket stitch is also used as a decorative embroidery stitch with embroidery thread in use with applique
Blind hem stitch A sewing stitch that is not meant to be seen on the right side of the fabric, this is accomplished by picking up one thread of the fabric at a time.
Block A block is the individual unit used in a quilt top. Many blocks can be sewn together to create a quilt.
Bobbin A small metal or plastic spool that holds the bottom thread in a sewing machine. It sits under the area the needle penetrates in the bobbin case while it loops with the needle thread to form a locked stitch.
Bodice The part of a pattern or garment that runs from the shoulder to the waist.
Bodkin This is a long, thick needle with a ballpoint end and a large, thin eye. They can be flat or round and are generally used for threading elastic, ribbon or tape through casings and lace openings.
Bolt Fabric rolled by the yard on a tube or a rectangular cardboard form when it comes from the manufacturer. On a rectangular bolt, fabric is usually folded right sides together lengthwise. Fabric size on a bolt is usually 36" - 64" wide. Fabric yardage on a bolt could be from 15 - 50 yards.
Boning Originally whalebone or a flexible stiffening strip used as a corset stay.
Box Pleat A pleat style featuring two straight fabric folds facing in opposite directions
Buckrum Strong, heavy woven fabric used for stiffening baseball cap brims, drapery and handbags. Sometimes referred to as a form of interfacing.
Butting Bringing two edges of fabric together so they touch, but do not overlap.
Buttonholes A slit in the fabric that is bound by thread to allow a button to pass through for closing a garment. Buttonholes are mostly made by machine these days, but some people still prefer to make them by hand, using a special buttonhole stitch.
Casing A fabric envelope for encasing elastic, or a drawstring, usually along a waistline, cuff, or hemline. Bias seam binding can be used as a casing or the fabric at the end of the waistline or hemline can be folded over and sewn to create a casing
Clip (curve) Small scissor cuts are clipped into a sewn curve in order to have it lay flat and not bunch up when the project or garment is done. Clips must be made not to go beyond the sewn edge or a hole is created on the project when it is turned to its right side.
Colorfast Fabric where the color doesn't fade or run with wash or wear.
Cording A twisted or woven "rope" or "string" that is used primarily in piping and to act as a drawstring in a jacket hood or waistband. Cording is covered with bias strips of fabric when used for most decorative applications (such as edging a pillow).
Couture The designing, marketing and selling of custom sewn clothing for women by designers.
Covered Button A covered button is a button that you cover by hand in the fabric that is usually the same as the garment. Covered buttons are usually made of metal, consists of two pieces and are found in the notions department of a fabric store. You can also make a covered button using cardboard.
Cutting Board Cutting boards are usually large folded boards made of cardboard. They come in handy if you don’t have a large cutting surface available to you. Once opened, they can be placed on a bed for your cutting needs and then refolded and stored neatly in a closet. Cutting mats are similar but are usually placed on a firm surface like a table and used with rotary cutters. The mats are usually smaller in size and made of a soft vinyl that is self healing when cut into.
Cutting line On a pattern, the outermost dark line is the line on which you cut. The dotted line inside the cutting line is the line on which you sew.
Darn To repair a hole by using stitches going back and forth to fill the hole. Some people use special darning tools and balls to keep fabric taut while they make the repair with needle and thread. Some sewing machines come with darning attachments and stitches.
Dart A V shaped, tapered adjustment to a pattern to allow for more fullness in the bust area or less fullness in other areas (waist, back). Darts can be creatively placed for fit or design elements.
Dolman sleeve A sleeve set into a wide armhole.
Drape Drape or draping describes the way fabric hangs and falls from the body.
Duct Tape Double A body form made out of mostly duct tape that conforms exactly to the shape of your body because the tape is wound around it and then removed as a whole.
Ease A way of sewing a length of fabric into a bit of a smaller space without resulting in gathers or puckers. Using your fingers to gently glide the fabric through the machine moving it as you go.
Edge Stitch A stitch sewn 1/8" from the folded or seamed edge
Embellish Additional stitching, appliqués, charms, beads or other decorations added to your sewing project.
Entredeux French word meaning "between two". Often it's a piece of lightweight fabric joined to another piece of lightweight fabric with a delicate bit of lace. Another method is to join two ribbons with a piece of lace.
Eyelet A small hole in the fabric finished with thread, metal, cord.
Facing Fabric sewn on the raw edge of a garment piece that is turned under and serves as a finish for the edge as well.
Fat Quarter A fat quarter is 1/4 yard of fabric, about 18" x 22" as opposed to a regular 1/4 yard, which is 9" x 45". Fat quarters allow quick and colorful stash building.
Feed Dog The "teeth" under the plate on the sewing machine that move fabric as it is sewn.
Finger Pressing Opening a seam with your hands and pressing or rubbing the seam open with your fingers. Sometimes used in craft projects or small areas on a garment.
Flare Expands outward in shape, as in pants.
Flat felled seam A seam created by sewing fabric wrong sides together, trimming one of the seam allowances close to the seam, then turning the other seam allowance under and stitching it over the prior trimmed seam allowance. This is often used for reinforcing seams on pajamas or to reduce bulk in a seam.
Fly The fold of cloth that covers a fastening or opening, i.e. zipper, buttons at an opening.
Fold line Lots of pattern pieces are placed on the fold of a piece of fabric. This is the actual fold of the fabric off the bolt or a fold you create yourself. The goal is to have a pattern piece that is cut out without a center seam.
Foot The piece of the sewing machine that presses down on the fabric as it is moved by the feed dogs below. The foot can have a special use. (zipper foot used for zippers or cording, for example) or may be an all purpose foot used for most machine stitching needs.
French curve A tool used for drafting curves when altering or creating sewing patterns or designs. Can be made of plastic or metal.
French seam A French seam is a type of sewing seam in which the raw ends of the fabric are tucked for a more professional look. Many seamstresses use French seams on delicate fabrics to prevent raveling. To create a French seam, with wrong sides together sew the seam along the desired edge. Then, closely trim the seam allowance to the stitching line. Next, the fabric is opened and then folded with right sides together, another seam is sewn in closely to the first seam, neatly enclosing the ragged edges of fabric inside the seam.
Fusible (webbing, interfacing, etc.) Fusible simply means to be fused by ironing. Depending on the fabric it can be permanent,you can reinforcement it by stitching. A heat-activated "glue" on one side is what creates the fuse.
Gather To gather a seam, two parallel lines are sewn on the right side of the fabric, approximately 1/4" apart. Long tails of thread are left for gathering. The bobbin threads (on the wrong side of the fabric) are held on either end of the seam and gently tugged, gathering the fabric evenly on the threads.
Gore A tapering or triangular piece of cloth allowing shape.
Grading (seams) Trimming the raw edges of a garment in graduated widths to reduce bulk.
Grain The grain is the direction of the fabric that runs parallel to the selvage. Commercial patterns have an arrow on them <-----> indicating direction of the grain to help to lay out the pattern pieces correctly.
Grommet An eyelet reinforced with plastic or metal.
Gusset A gusset is a triangular or square piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add additional room to a garment, usually during an alteration.
Ham Sometimes referred to as a dressmaker's ham or tailor's ham, this is a tightly stuffed, "ham" shaped item that is used at the ironing board to support and provide the appropriate molding for pressing curved areas - darts, princess seams, sleeves, etc.
Haute couture High and elegant fashion and/or(establishments).
Hem The fabric that is turned up on the lower edge of a garment or sleeve to provide a finished edge.
Hong Kong finish This is a technique used most often with thin fabrics on the hem so as not to add bulk. Bias tape is sewn to the raw edge of the fabric and then once the hem has been folded to the size desired it is sewn to the tape and the garment creating a flat hem. The alternative is to fold the fabric over twice so the raw edge is covered.
Hook & eye closure A closing on an article of clothing that consists of a small hook on one side and a loop made of fabric or metal on the other.
Inseam Seam inside the leg of pants that runs from the crotch to the hem.
Inset A fabric or trim which is inserted in a fabric or garment for fashion or fit.
Interfacing When a pattern calls for interfacing it is used on the unseen or "wrong" side of the fabric to make the area where it is placed more stiff, also making the fabric less likely to stretch. Interfacings come in a variety of weights and stiffnesses for a multitude of purposes. Generally, the heavier weight a fabric is, the heavier weight an interfacing it will use. Interfacing can be fusible (using your iron to release an adhesive) or not (sewn in).
Inverted pleat A pleat style featuring two straight fabric folds that face each other, forming a pleat underlay. Often used at the center front or center back of a garment.
Iron An iron is a tool that is used to straighten or press fabric and to open seams. The iron can be used with or without steam.
Jabot A decoration of ruffles worn down the front of a dress, shirt or blouse. Fastens at the neck.
Jean jumper A small piece of plastic made to ease sewing seams on denim by holding the presser foot up ever so slightly. Allows the presser foot to "jump" the seam as if it was level with the rest of the denim. Works well with all thick fabrics.
Kick pleats Similar to box pleats, but the pleats are further apart and the folds don't butt together at the back.
Knife pleats A pleat where fabric folds all face the same direction. Also known as straight pleats.
Knitguage A ruler designed to measure the crosswise stretchability of knit fabric.
Lace A delicate, unique fabric of flowers or motifs on net. Decorative and has no grainline.
Laminated fabric Two fabrics which are bonded of which one is foam or vinyl.
Layout Instructional directions showing pattern piece arrangement of pattern pieces on specific widths of fabric for specific size ranges.
Lettuce hem A decorative, frilly finish achieved by stretching a knit fabric while using a zig-zag stitch to sew the edge.
Lining Linings are attached at the garment's waistband neck, arms and sometimes it the hem, it usually hangs free in the garment. It's generally used to give a finished look to the inside of the garment, prevent seams from raveling, reduce wrinkling, help conceal some figure faults, and make a garment easier to slip on and off.
Machine embroidery Decorative stitching created by using a regular sewing machine (zig zag, satin stitch, etc.) or a sewing machine specifically designed for machine embroidery. Some machines do both.
Marking The transfer of symbols and instructions from pattern to fabric by various means. i.e. tracing wheel and paper, chalk, wax, or tailor tacks.
Mend To repair or fix a hole, tear, split or other problem with a garment. This can be done with sew-on patches, iron-on patches, stitching by machine or hand in a variety of manners, or whatever method is easiest.
Metallic thread Shiny silver or gold thread for decorative sewing by machine or by hand.
Miter Mitering a corner makes a smooth, professional finish to a 90-degree corner, neatly squaring the corners while creating a diagonal seam from the point of the corner to the inside edge. Mitering is mostly used for the corners of quilts.
Muslin An inexpensive woven fabric used to make crafts and back quilts. Muslin is often used to sew a pattern together for the first time, avoiding any problems before cutting and sewing more expensive fabric.
Nap Nap is the "fuzzy" part of a fabric that is usually in one direction. Corduroy and velvet are good examples of fabric which has a nap or a pile. If smoothed with the hand, nap is typically shiny in one direction and not shiny in the other. When cutting out a pattern, fabric pieces need to go in the same direction “nap-wise”.
Narrow hem A narrow hem is one that is approximately 1/8" or 1/4" and is used on men's shirts, slips, lingerie, napkins, and other items that need just a hint of a hem. Use a special sewing foot for this or turn the hem up with your fingers.
Notch A notch is found on a pattern and shown with a dark diamond. They can be cut around outwardly or notched inwardly and should be matched on seams when joining for sewing.
Notion A notion is any item used for sewing other than the fabric and the machine. For example: thread, snaps, hooks, needles, zippers and other various tools.
Overcasting, overstitching This is stitching done on the edge of the seam to prevent raveling. This is usually accomplished with a zig zag stitch. Once the seam has been pressed open and the overstitching is visible it gives a very professional look to the piece. An even more formal way to accomplish this is with a “French Seam”. A sewing machine called a "serger" can be used to accomplish this also.
Overlock An overcast stitch to prevent raveling of fabric. There are sewing machines made to do overlock stitching.
Overlock machine A type of sewing machine that sews seams, trims, and overcasts the raw edges all in one step. Also called a serger.
Pattern weights Weights used on paper patterns instead of pinning a pattern to the fabric.
Pile The nap of the fabric. Lay all pattern pieces so that the pile is going in its natural direction. For example, the down pile would be down the leg.
Pin Tuck Narrow sewn rows of fabric that give a decorative raised look to a garment.
Pinking shears Shears with a V shape along the cutting edge used to cut fabric to keep it ravel-free. Pinking shears are also used as an embellishing tool.
Pins Pins are used for temporary basting of fabric. They are used to hold patterns in place while cutting and to hold fabrics together while stitching (machine sewing over pins can break your sewing machine needle). Often, large safety pins are used to baste quilt layers before the final quilting. Care should be taken to use a pin that will not leave a large hole and to not leave pins in fabric too long; they could cause stains where they touch the fabric.
Piping A cord covered with bias fabric, often used for decorative edging on garments or projects. This can be encased in seams for a nice effect.
Pivot To leave the needle in fabric, raise the presser foot and turn the fabric at a 45 degree angle. Then lower the presser foot and start sewing.
Pivot Stitching around a corner by leaving the needle in the fabric at the corner, raising the presser foot and turning the fabric to continue.
Placket A finished slit in a dress, blouse or skirt.
Placket A V-shaped opening at the end of a sleeve that is finished with a bias strip before the cuff is attached.
Pleat Fabric folds that control fullness in a garment. Variations include box, inverted and knife pleats.
Preshrink It is a good idea to wash your fabric in the manner in which your garment will be washed before you cut it and sew it. If you are making a craft that will not be washed, you don't necessarily need to do this. The goal is to allow the fabric to shrink to whatever degree it is going to shrink before you use it. Do not preshrink dry clean only fabrics. Imagine if you have ever purchased a garment, only to find after washing, it no longer fit.
Presser Foot The part of the sewing machine that holds the fabric in place as it is being sewn and fed through by the feed dogs. Specialty feed dogs are available to attach to your machine for various uses.
Prick stitch You use prick stitching on fabrics such as velvet where everything shows. Take a small backstitch sewn on the right side of the fabric and do the remaining backstitching on the wrong side.
Raglan Sleeves Sleeves which extend from the collar to the wrist having diagonal seams in the front and back from collar to underarm.
Raw (edge) The edge of fabric that is not stitched or finished.
Reinforce (seam) To reinforce a seam, you may need to sew next to it, almost on top of it, but not quite. You can also reinforce a seam with bit of seam or bias tape. Crotch seams are susceptible and need to be reinforced.
Remnant A remaining or leftover piece of fabric after selling the rest of a bolt or completing a garment.
Reverse stitching To stitch backwards or to change direction.
Right side The good side of a fabric. The side which would face out.
Right side The right side of the fabric is the design side. There are instances of fabric with no right or wrong side visible, and the determination and appropriate markings are then made by the person doing the pattern cutting and sewing.
Rotary cutter Early versions of the rotary cutter looked like pizza cutters. Today, the handles are often ergonomically designed and padded. The blade, though, remains a rounded razor, sometimes with pinked edging or other designs. These are great for cutting layers of fabric into straight strips. Many people are using them for curved lines and pattern cutting for garments as well.
Ruffles A strip of fabric that is gathered or pleated to be used as decoration.
Ruler Rulers used in sewing are usually made of a clear plastic and marked in 1/4" or less increments. A very popular ruler is 2" wide and 18" long, and can be used for sewing, rotary cutting, measuring buttonhole placement, and other measuring jobs. In addition to a ruler or two, a good measuring tape is needed.
Running stitch A simple stitch made by running the thread over and under the fabric. This stitch is often used for basting or as the basis (marking) for another more decorative stitch.
Satin stitch A very tight zig zag stitch that is available on most sewing machines. If it is not automatically available, the stitch length can be set to almost 0 to achieve a satin stitch with a plain zig zag machine.
Scalloped To cut and finish with circles at the border or the edge.
Seam The result when two pieces of fabric are sewn together along a line.
Seam allowance The fabric between the edge of the fabric and the line of stitching, the standard allowance is 5/8" for most patterns.
Seam ripper A tool of varying sizes and modifications which has a curved, sharp cutting area for removing stitches and seams.
Selvage Often marked with information from the manufacturer (color code, identifying data, etc.), this is the edge of the fabric which generally does not fray due to manufacturer's finish.
Separating zipper A zipper that comes completely apart when unzipped. There is a special tab at the bottom of a separating zipper for bringing it together and starting the zip. Usually used for jackets.
Serger A type of sewing machine that stitches the seam, encases the seam with thread, and cuts off excess fabric at the same time. These are used for construction of garments with knit fabrics mostly, or to finish seams of any fabric.
Sewing needle A sewing needle is a long slender tool with a pointed tip. A needle for hand sewing has a hole, called the eye, at the non-pointed end to carry thread or cord through the fabric after the pointed end pierces it. Hand sewing needles have different names depending on their purpose. Needle size is denoted by a number on the packet. The convention for sizing is that the length and thickness of a needle increases as the size number decreases. For example, a size 1 needle will be thicker and longer, while a size 10 will be shorter and finer.
Shank button A button with space left between the button and fabric. A shank button is one made with a shank. Other buttons can be "shanked" by wrapping thread under the button to create a shank.
Shirring A decorative technique obtained by making multiple rows of gathering.
Shrink Some fabrics become tighter/smaller when washed and dried, whether by machine or by hand. See Preshrink.
Sizing Fabric finish that provides crispness without stiffness; a light starch finish. Usually eliminated during washing.
Slit An open part of a seam, the bottom usually, often found in skirt side or back seams.
Sloper A sloper is the most basic of patterns, used by apparel manufacturers to style a garment. For instance, a designer may start with a paper sloper skirt for size and length and modify it to create something more unique or original.
Snips Very small cutting tool resembling scissors used to snip threads. Usually used with hand sewing or portable projects.
Spool The holder of thread. There are wooden spools, plastic spools, cardboard tube spools, and cone spools, as well as others.
Stash Collection of fabric.
Stay Fabric used to reinforce an area and to prevent stretching.
Stay stitch A line of stitching just inside (about 1/8") the intended permanent stitching line (seam line) on curved edges that stabilizes and keeps the curve from distorting. The direction of the stay stitching is shown on the pattern. If not, it generally goes from shoulder to center on necklines (usually going with the grain of the fabric).
Stitch in the ditch It is a method of stitching close to a seam allowance or in the seam itself in order to hold it down.
Stitch length In general, regular sewing is about 11-12 stitches per inch, basting/gathering/bunching/sleeve easing is about 6 stitches per inch (plus or minus 1 or 2 stitches for some applications). There are rare occasions when stitches need to exceed 12 per inch, but they are few.
Straight stitch Stitching made with single forward stitches. This is the regular stitch that most sewing machines make.
Tack A temporary stitch to hold pieces together, usually removed after final stitching. Tacking is also known as a term for starting off a seam with a few stitches back and forth for stabilizing.
Tailor board A hardwood tool of different shapes and edges useful in pressing various types of seams and corner.
Tailor's tack A tailor's tack is essentially two threads in a needle, drawn through fabric layer/s and then snipped, leaving tails of thread on top and on the bottom of the fabric as a marking for later use. They can be used to mark pattern pieces for darts, buttonholes, etc. Go straight through all layers of pattern and fabric before snipping any threads. Leave a long enough tail of thread that you can find it later. Use a contrasting thread that stands out so you can see it later.
Tape (measuring) Flexible, usually made of a covered cloth material, about 60" long (152 cm), and has a cover on each end. Markings are on both sides of the tape. This is not to be confused with a measuring tape used in carpentry that is encased in a metal box. A measuring tape for sewing can be kept rolled up in a drawer or hanging on the bulletin board next to the sewing machine. A seamstress will often be seen wearing one loosely around her neck.
Tension Tension refers to the pressure being placed on your needle and bobbin thread by your machine. There are two types of tension on your sewing machine - the thread and bobbin tensions. It is best to read your sewing machine manual for specifics. Rarely does one need to adjust bobbin tension. Your sewing machine manual will show you the appropriate settings and offer you examples of what the threads should look like on the right and wrong sides of your stitching. Once tension has been changed it’s best to test the change on a scrap of fabric and not your project.
Thimble Thimbles are protective devices for your middle finger when doing hand sewing. They can be made of leather, metal, wood, ceramic, or other material. To be certain you have one that is right for you, try on several to get a good feel. You want it loose, but not so loose that it slips off. You want it tight, but not so tight that it is snug. A thimble is worn on the hand that is using the needle for sewing (hems, embroidery, basting, etc.).
Thread A complementary or like color thread is chosen for garment or project construction on a machine. The bobbin should be wound of the same type of thread or the exact same thread whenever possible, to prevent knotting, bunching, etc. The first step for most sewing machine trouble shooting is to check the thread and needle. Often, the thread or needle will need to be changed. When hand sewing with one thread, cut the end of the thread that is nearest to the spool before tying a knot in the same end. This will prevent raveling and knotting.
Top Stitch A sometimes decorative, sometimes functional stitch that is usually 1/4" from the edge of a seam. For instance, once a vest is turned or a facing is turned and pressed, one may stitch 1/4" from the edge on the top of the garment to provide a bit of stabilization. This can be done in same or contrasting thread, depending on the decorative effect desired.
Top stitching To sew a decorative row(s) of stitching on the right side of the fabric from the outside at varying distances from the seam, and parallel to the seam.
Tracing paper A type of paper made especially to be used with a tracing wheel. It has an ink-type substance on one side for marking fabric with the wheel.
Tracing wheel A tracing wheel is used with tracing paper, it resembles a pastry wheel. Be careful not to press too hard and cut the pattern, tracing paper, or the fabric. Also note that tracing ink from the tracing paper does not always wash out.
Train An extended part of the garment that follows at the back.
Trim Trim is any decorative item, ribbon or lace etc. that is put on a garment or craft item that is being sewn. Trim is also used to define the act of trimming excess seam allowances or fabric with scissors.
Tuck See pin tuck. A method of sewing fabric together resulting in a raised seam, often seen in heirloom sewing, the bodice of a woman's blouse or a man's formal (tuxedo) shirt.
Twill tape A strong woven tape with diagonal ribs used in tailoring and to strengthen seams.
will tape Twill tape: A strong woven tape with diagonal ribs used in tailoring and to strengthen seams.
Under stitching Keeps a facing or lining from rolling onto the right side of a garment. After pressing the seam allowance and facing away from the garment, stitch through both 1/8" from the seam. Some people grade the seam allowance and facing/lining prior to stitching to eliminate bulk.
Underlap The lower piece of fabric of two overlapped pieces.
Underlay For example: A pleat looks like an inverted pleat but has a separate piece of fabric (underlay) underneath the pleat. Where the backfolds are there are two seams.
Underlining Is cut from the same pattern pieces as the fashion fabric and is attached before construction begins. Then, as the garment is constructed, the underlining and fashion fabric are handled as a single unit. Most often, underlining is cut from fine cotton batist light- to medium-weight cotton broadcloth, or silk organza. But a variety of other materials can also be used to underline a fashion fabric. Lining used to add body to a garment.
Universal needle A slightly rounded tip to use for woven or knit fabrics.
Vent A lined opening or slit meant to aid in comfort.
Yoke The part of a garment that is fitted at the shoulders and neck area or at the hip where often a gathered fabric section hangs from it.
View Most patterns show different variations on the pattern package. Each variation is called a "view".
Walking Foot A walking foot is an attachment for your sewing machine that enables smoother sewing when using several layers or fabric. It provides an extra bit of hold from the top that works with the feed dogs below the fabric, pushing the fabric during the sewing process. It "walks" the fabric. It also works well with slippery fabrics that may need control not available with the feed dogs only.
Warp Threads running the length of a woven fabric, sometimes known as the lengthwise grain (little to no stretch) (see weft and grain)
Wearable art Decorative, often quilted and embellished, clothing made to be unique, beautiful, and functional.
Weft Threads running at right angles to the length of a woven fabric, sometimes known as the cross grain (very little to some stretch) (see warp and grain)
Welt An inset pocket with the lower lip finished by an upstanding welt that may be from 3/8” to 1” wide. It can have one or two lips finishing the opening edges, used mostly in classic wear. Usually found as the chest pocket of a jacket or a coat. A buttonhole can be welted also
Wing needle A wing needle is a sewing machine needle used to achieve an eyelet effect for craft projects, also referred to as an “heirloom affect.” The two small flanges on the left and right of the needle create a hole in the fabric by separating the fibers, and the hole is held open by the stitching. The name of the needle comes from its distinctive appearance, and wing needles come in a variety of sizes designed for different projects and weights of fabric. The larger the size of the wing needle, the larger the resulting hole in the fabric will be.
Wonder-Under A fusible product by Pellon which allows for the application of a fabric design upon another fabric, paper, wood, etc., utilizing an iron.
Wrong side The wrong side of the fabric is the side where no design is present. There are instances of fabric with no wrong side visible, and the determination and appropriate markings are then made by the person doing the pattern cutting and sewing.
Yardstick A measuring device of wood or metal for measuring long, straight areas.
Yoke The part of a garment that is fitted at the shoulders and neck area or at the hip where often a gathered fabric section hangs from it.
Zig zag A stitch that goes one way (zig) and then the other (zag) and provides a nice finish to a seam to prevent raveling, can be a decorative addition to any garment, and can allow forgive with knits. A very short to nonexistent stitch length with zig zag stitching is the same as a satin stitch.