Glossary of sewing terms

Lesson 1:Introduction to Clothing Construction

Glossary of sewing terms

ALTER: To change or modify the shape, size and position of various constructional lines in the garment to fit the individual exactly or as desired. This alteration is made by increasing or decreasing the depth of the seams, darts, fullness etc.

ALLOWANCE: An extra fabric which can be used to accommodate gathers, ease, tucks and pleats or during alteration of a garment.

ARMSEYE: Arm hole of a garment.

BESPOKE: A means of holding two pieces of fabric together with a long open hand stitch, in preparation for the permanent stitch.

BIAS: The diagonal line formed when a piece of fabric is folded so that the crosswise threads run in the same direction as the lengthwise threads. A true bias makes an angle of 450 across the length-wise and width-wise grain and has the maximum stretch.

BINDING: Enclosing of the raw edge of a garment section by another section.

BLOCK PATTERN: Also called as basic pattern or master pattern or sloper, with the basic darts made to a set of special measurement for an individual or in standard size. It is used like a template. A set of block patterns consist of front bodice, back bodice, sleeve, front skirt and back skirt. It is usually made without seam and hem allowances and style.

BODICE: Close-fitted upper part of women’s dress, down to the waistline.

CLIP/SLASH: A small cut made in the seam allowance of a pattern, which allows a curved area to spread and lie flat.

CUTTING LINE:The line marked on pattern pieces parallel to and outside the stitching line.

CUTTER OR TRIMMER: A small tool used to trim thread ends after stitching.

CONSTRUCTIONAL LINES: The lines on which the garment is stitched to fit an individual perfectly. The construction lines in the garment always match with imaginary constructional lines of the silhouette. They are also called stitch lines.

CREASE: A pressed fold line.

DART: A triangular folded fabric stitched to a point at one end and used for fitting the fabric to body curves.

DESIGNER: A person who is able to sketch and produce the original styles for the garment trade.

DRAFT: A sketch or plan of a garment; working out the style on a flat piece of paper from the block patterns.

DRAFTING: A system of drawing patterns on paper with mechanical precision on the basis of body measurements.

DRAPING: A method of pattern making in which patterns are made directly by draping material on the figure or a model or a dress form.

EASE: The extra allowance of fabric allowed in a pattern design for ease of movement, breathing etc., unlike any form of fullness. It is also the difference measurement between the stitching line and the actual body measurement along that line.

FACE OF THE FABRIC: The right side of fabric.

FACING: A shaped or bias piece of self-fabric applied to the raw edges in a garment as a finish and to support the shape of neckline, armhole, collar etc.

FASTENERS: The mechanical aids that helps to close an opening of a garment. Ex: Buttons, press buttons, zippers, hooks and eyes are called fasteners.

FINDINGS / NOTIONS: Any extra items attached to a garment during the manufacturing process. This can include trims, buttons, hooks, snaps, or embellishments.

FITTING: A process of making a garment fit the body with optimum ease for movement and its seam lines following the silhouette of the body.

FLAWS: Defects in material, caused by faults in weaving and finishing of the fabric. These can be marked for visibility during fabric cutting. Before cutting any fabric, it is advisable to examine the material carefully for imperfections/damage and to mark any damaged part with chalk or pins, to avoid those parts in a garment.

FRAYING: The threads that tend to come out from raw cut edges during handling of fabric. It is also termed as raveling.

FULLNESS: Addition made to the basic block meant to give good shape, proper fit and allow freedom of movement and comfort. Ex: Gathers, Pleats, Tucks etc.

GRAIN: The direction of warp and weft yarns in a woven fabric. The grain running parallel to the selvedge is length-wise grain and the grain running from selvedge to selvedge is the cross-wise grain.

GUSSET: A shaped piece of fabric inserted usually at the underarm and crotch of a garment to provide freedom of movement.

LAYOUT: An economical arrangement of pattern pieces on fabric to ensure proper cutting.

LINING: A fabric used inside the garments made of sheer or coarse fabric. This is added for support.

MITER: Diagonal seaming of two edges at a corner to reduce bulk.

MUSLIN: An inexpensive, medium weight, plain weave, low count (less than 160 threads per square inch) cotton fabric. In its unfinished form, it is commonly used in fashion design to make trial garments for conducting preliminary fit.

NAP: It is a fuzzy surface on the fabric produced by a special finishing process.

NOTCH: Small V-shaped cuttings made within the seam allowance of garment section to match design details or to serve as a balance mark.

PIVOT: It refers to a way of stitching a sharp corner by keeping the needle in the fabric raising machine presser foot, turning the fabric to desired angle, lower the foot and to continue stitching.

PLACKET: A finished opening in a garment that allows for ease in dressing and undressing.

RAW EDGE: Any unfinished edge.

SEAM: A means by which two pieces of fabric or parts of a garment are joined together.

SEAM ALLOWANCE: The fabric edge that extends beyond the stitching line. This is a minimum extension without which a seam cannot be done.

SELVEDGE: The self-edge or finished edged of a woven fabric that runs parallel to the warp threads.

SILHOUETTE: The shape, outline or profile of a garment when it is worn.

SLASH: An even cut in the pattern or a fabric along a straight line, longer than a clip.

TRIM: To cutoff ragged edges or a part of seam allowance, to prevent it from being bulky and to give neat seam edges.

TRIMMINGS: Ornamental decorative additions used on garments.

YARDAGE: The quantity of fabric needed to make a specific garment.

Last modified: Thursday, 10 November 2011, 5:56 AM