Sewing Terms

How to Make Your Career Skyrocket? Learn Sewing Terms and Join the Fascinating World of Sewers 

If you’ve been in the sewing business for some time, you know that knowing a fair number of sewing terms is a must. 

Why is it so crucial to learn sewing vocabulary? 

Because every: 

    • instruction, 
    • video tutorial, and, 
    • blog post

contains sewing terms. It’s as simple as that!

Knowing sewing words is necessary to follow instructions and to feel included. At least if you aim at being successful in understanding the lesson and networking. 

Sewing terms to know
Image source: Threads Magazine

So grab our sewing vocab guide below. Good things are waiting on the other side. 

And do you know what will happen after you’re done with learning sewing vocabulary? 

Take your sewings supplies in hand, read the blogs and conjure up some sewing miracles with ease: 

Step by step, we’ll get to the excellence in this business together. Just keep reading. 

Sewing terms
Image source: Frankie 

By the way, isn’t it funny to be a high-functioning adult learning basic vocabulary? 

We know the pain! We’re also aware that learning this new “language” isn’t one of the 10 reasons to start sewing clothes for anyone. 

But trust us, it’s hard at the start, but the finishing line of this enterprise is more than satisfying. 

Seeing your friends and family jaws on the floor can’t be expressed with words. 

Glossary of sewing terms

We prepared an exhaustive list of sewing terms from “a” to “z.” 

If you prefer lists created according to functions (quilting, patterning, machine sewing, stitching terms, etc.), go to Guide 2 Sewing.

It’s handy to know many of the words below for everyday sewing activities. Some terms are less necessary but still pretty helpful. 

To make the glossary complete, we reached out to The Inspired Wren, Dicey Home, Sewing, National Sewing Circle, The Sewing Dictionary, and Contrado.   

Let’s take a look:



A shiny, “evening” fabric similar to synthetic silk (it’s used as its substitute). 


Fabric made from acrylic fibers. Both sweaters and upholstery can be made of this fabric; it’s pretty popular. 

Anchoring stitches 

Machine stitches sewn with zero stitch length to keep from pulling out. This term can also refer to anchoring the stitch by stitching backward (a couple of stitches).


A French-origin word that means to “apply” or “put on.” In sewing vocabulary, it’s both a verb and a noun. Applique in sewing refers to applying one kind of fabric on top of another layer of fabric, usually for decorative purposes, creating patterns or pictures on garments. It can be hand- or machine-stitched, attached by sewing or another fusing means.

We explain “applique” in the “Sewing terminology―techniques” chapter below. 


The armhole of a garment, the opening in the bodice to which the sleeve is attached.

Sewing words
Image source: Anna Skoblikova



Refers to stitching backward over the loose threads at the beginning and end of a project. It’s a sort of knot that prevents a seam from unraveling. Its function is to secure the threads so they don’t come loose, and the fabric pieces come apart. It’s usually 2-3 stitches forward and 2-3 stitches in reverse, repeated two or three times. Avoid using backstitch when top- or edge-stitching.

Ballpoint needles 

Sewing machine needles designed for sewing knit fabrics. The rounded tip is there to prevent piercing (that, otherwise, would damage the knit).

Bar tack 

A couple of tiny stitches in one place to secure one fabric or piece to another or to reinforce a stress point. It can be performed by hand or on a machine (using a zig-zag stitch of the desired width at a length of zero).


Long stitches that hold the fabric temporarily in place before sewing; before applying permanent stitches. Then, once the final seam is in place, they’re removed. You can baste by hand or by machine. 

Read more about basting in the paragraph “Sewing terminology―techniques” below. 


Any straight line or cut that doesn’t run parallel to the grain of the woven fabric (straight- or cross-grain). The most popular is called “True Bias” and runs at a 45-degree angle to the straight and cross grain. Fabric cut on the bias has more stretch and drape than fabric cut on the grain. But it can twist and warp.

Bias tape (aka bias binding) 

A narrow strip of fabric cut on the bias (read about bias above). You can piece many strips together into a long “tape.” Its width varies from 1/2″ (1,27 cm) to about 3″ (7,62 cm). Bias tape is used in making piping, binding seams, finishing raw edges, etc. It is often applied on the edges of quilts, placemats, and bibs, around armhole and neckline edges (instead of a facing). It will work as a simple strap or tie for casual bags or clothing.


Used as both a noun and a verb. It refers to finishing a seam, edge, or hem of a garment. It’s a narrow strip of material sewn around the edge of a garment, a bag, or a quilt. It can be hidden on the inside or exposed on the outside, functioning as decoration.

Get to know binding better in the “Sewing terminology―techniques” chapter at the end of this article.

Blind hemming 

The activity referring to hemming stitches that aren’t seen from the outside of the garment.


A sewing machine makes stitches with two threads. The top thread goes through the needle while a bobbin holds the second thread. The threaded needle catches thread from the bobbin to form a stitch. The bobbin is necessary for the sewing machine’s functioning. 


Don’t get “discombobulated”; we’re here to explain! Bumblebunching refers to the tangled loop of stitching on the bobbin side of the fabric. It’s a result of improper tension applied to the sewing machine. 


A cut in the fabric that is bound with tiny stitching. The hole is small, but it has to be just big enough for a button to pass through it and remain in place.



The tunnel of the fabric where strings or elastics go into to draw the fabric, creating a bag or tight pants or sleeves.

Clipping corners 

It stands for snipping the triangular piece of the seam allowance off of the corner of a seam. Be careful not to cut the stitches! The goal of clipping corners is to prevent bulk in the corner in the seam allowing. It leads to a sharp corner in your ultimate piece when it’s turned right side out.

Clipping curves 

Removing small triangular pieces of the fabric allows a seam to lay flat along a curve when turned right side out. 


Twisted fiber, somewhere between rope and string.


A sewing method that uses yarn and a hooked needle to create a garment, fabric, or lace. 

Read “How to Crochet for Beginners” on The Spruce Crafts.

Right handed yarn over double crochet
Image source: Blog Ira Rott

Cross stitch 

A needlework stitch that uses two stitches. They cross over to create a cross shape.

Crosswise grain 

The threads of woven fabric running perpendicular to the selvage.

Cutting mat 

It’s a board used for cutting sewing fabric on it. They have different sizes and methodologies of use. Some of them are marked with handy measuring grids.



A common technique for shaping garments, usually around the bust and waist. A dart is created by stitching out a wedge-shaped fold of the fabric. They vary in width and length. They can be tapered at one or both ends. 


The fluid way in which the fabric hangs on a garment.


This term has two meanings. The first refers to a person who makes custom clothing for women (dresses, blouses, evening gowns, and so on). Vintage names for this occupation are mantua-maker or a modiste. Dressmaker as an adjective refers to clothing made in a particular style with details such as ruffles, frills, ribbon, or braid trim. “Dressmaker” functions here as opposed to “tailored” and is an archaic terminology division. 



The allowance of space in a pattern for fit, comfort, and style over exact body measurements. In other words, the difference between the body measurement and the pattern. 

Edge stitching 

Straight stitching is sewn very close to the edge of a seam, trim or outer edge on a visible part of the project. It’s 1/16″ or 1/8″ from, and it’s parallel to the fabric’s edge, a seam, or another stitching line. Used to reinforce a seam or as a decorative finish. It’s also handy for keeping the edges of collars sharp.


A decorative item (buttons, beads, jewels, ornamental stitching, etc.) added to improve the look of a project. 


Type of needlework that consists of creating images or designs by stitching one type of material over another. It’s a detailed, time-consuming, but also visually delightful type of stitching activity. 

Sewing terminology
Image source: Frankie Magazine


A decoration (typical for military clothing or royal clothing) on the shoulder of a dress, blouse, or jacket. 


Eyelets are usually found in shoes. They’re the holes where the laces go. It’s a smaller version of a grommet (see below). 



The outside or right side of the fabric. The side you see when the garment is finished.


The piece of fabric inside a garment opening (i.e., a sleeve or neck opening) that encloses the raw edge of the fabric. It is frequently interfaced.

Feed Dog 

The “teeth” of the sewing machine. It moves the fabric as we sew it.

Finishing a seam 

Preventing a seam from unraveling. Adding stability by using certain stitches or tools.

Free motion

Machine sewing with the feed dogs down, moving the fabric freehand. You can use it for various machine sewings like mending (i.e., darning a hole) or freehand embroidery.

French Seam

Stitching both sides of the seams for a neater, cleaner, and smoother finish to hide the raw edges of the fabrics. 



A way of gathering the fabric to create fullness in the fabric, such as ruffles. This technique serves to shorten the length of a strip of fabric. Thanks to it,  the longer piece can be attached to the shorter piece.

Read more about gathering in the paragraph “Sewing terminology―techniques.”


This term refers to the fabric weave, i.e., the direction of the threads/yarn woven within the fabric. Straight grain (warp) runs lengthwise, i.e., is parallel to the selvage, cross-grain (weft) runs widthwise, i.e., is 90º to the selvage, and bias is 45º, which gives a looser, draped look. (We wrote about bias above)


Grommets are the small metal or plastic rings you find in showers or curtains. Sewers insert the grommets into the fabric to protect the fabric from abrasion. 


A triangular or square piece of fabric inserted into a seam. Its function is to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing, to shape the garments to the body. We use them at the shoulders, underarms, and hems of traditional shirts and chemises made of rectangular lengths of linen. 



We hem the garment by folding the cut edge twice and sewing it down to secure it, thus creating a neat and even bottom edge finish of a garment. 


The lowest edge of a garment once the hem is sewn. Read on Sew Guide about different types of hemlines. 

Hook & Eye closure

A closure that employs a small hook on one side and a loop made of fabric or metal on the other. It’s used at the upper back of many dresses and on lingerie.



Sewn-in or fusible fabric used to stabilize the fabric. We usually use it in collars, cuffs, plackets, some waistbands and pockets, and facings.

Check out this Super Label Store article about interfacing sewing


A fabric that comes between the face cloth and the lining. It usually serves to add warmth or substance to a lightweight fabric. A good example is an insulating layer in a padded or quilted jacket.

Sewing vocabulary
Image source: Stoff Stil


Jean jumper (aka hump jumper or Jean-A-Ma-Jig)

A small piece of plastic used to ease sewing seams on denim and other thick fabrics 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. 


A type of stretchy, absorbent fabric, perfect for moving around, thus often used in athletes’ uniforms, bodycon, and body-tight dresses. 

Jeweler’s knot 

A simple knot tied on a strand of thread and then pulled down on a pin or needle to the thread base.


Knife Pleat

Narrow pleats all pointing in the same direction.

Knit fabric

A fabric with a looped structure. This feature gives knit fabrics a great deal of stretch. They unravel but don’t fray. It’s created from one continuous piece of yarn that is looped repeatedly. 



Woven labels are threads woven together with a text or logo design. It serves to permanently attach some kind of information to the garment or accessory. 

Read about different types of woven labels.

Superlabel color picking

A serged edge stretched as sewn, resulting in a ruffly edge on the finished garment.


A layer of material that we add to the inside of a garment to hide the ‘mess’ of the construction process. The lining attached to the facing encloses the raw edges.

Long stitch 

A stitch for tapestry or embroidery that can cover one to 12 threads in a single stitch.


Mandarin Collar

A type of non-convertible collar created with a thin band of fabric. Interfacing adds structure to it.

Match point 

A point marked on one pattern piece. We can match it to a similar point on another pattern piece.


Women’s hats or businesses where women could buy hats.

Woman in hat lady sewing terms
Image source: Sewing


Working on a 90-degree corner to make a smooth, tidy finish, neatly squaring the corners while creating a diagonal seam from the point of the corner to the inside edge. Used for quilts’ corners, craft projects, some vests and jackets, and on collars.


A piece of cheap woven fabric used to ‘prove’ a pattern. You make this version up to ensure that the pattern fits. It’s handy when making crafts, back quilts, or to make a draft or trial garments. In British English known as “toile.” 



Any practice that involves needles and fabric. Namely anything from quilting, knitting to upcycling.

Nonwoven fabric

Fabric that is not made of thread or yarn. For example, suede, leather, etc.


Diamond-shaped mark that sticks out beyond the edge of the pattern to help line up all the pattern pieces when sewing the garment. They come in pairs to be matched up. 


Tiny accessories used in sewing like buttons, pins, and snaps. When we think about keeping sewing stuff away from our children’s reach, we usually have these in mind.


Open seam (aka plain seam)

It’s the simplest seam, the first that sewing beginners usually learn. It’s a simple line of stitching with the resulting seam pressed open.


An overcast stitch to prevent raveling of fabric. A serger is one of the sewing machines made to do overlock stitching. 

Overcasting, overstitching

Stitching done by hand or machine over a seam to prevent raveling. 


A piece of fabric on top of the garment (such as a lace or tulle) used with a different fabric underneath. Used in gowns, dresses, or skirts.


Pencil skirt

A straight-lined tight-fitting skirt from waist to hem with no fullness at the hem.


A type of needlework that involves sewing pieces or ‘patches’ of fabric together to make a larger design. It has a rustic charm to it. It’s a good choice when working on upcycling fashion as patchwork makes use of scrap fabric. Browse these upcycling ideas and get inspired.


A place to put pins and needles. Often available with wrist straps to make them handier. Read about this and other sewing supplies here. 


A trim or embellishment consisting of a strip of folded fabric inserted into a seam. It’s meant to define the edges or style lines of a garment. We can make it from the same fabric as the object to be ornamented or contrasting fabric or leather.


Pressing is different from ironing. It usually uses a dampened pressing cloth rather than steam. Also, the iron (used for pressing) is picked up off the cloth and moved rather than rubbed back and forth. Pressing is placing the iron on the fabric, holding it there, and then removing it.

Pressing vs ironing sewing terms
Image source: All Free Sewing



A method of sewing to create a thicker fabric, where you sew two pieces of fabric together, with an insulator in between (perfect for blankets, for example).


Raw edge

The edge of the fabric, cut and not stitched or finished yet. The eventual fray may or may not appear; it depends on the type of fabric.



When two pieces of fabric are sewn together along a line.

Seam allowance

The area between the fold or the edge of the fabric and the stitching line done to create the seam. It is usually around 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch wide, depending on the item and sewing instructions. 


A type of sewing machine that seams, trims, and overcasts raw edges.

Shoulder pads 

Shaped pads of felt or foam, put in the shoulders of garments to shape, are often used in tailored garments like jackets and coats. 


Stitching placed on or just outside the seamline used to stabilize the fabric and prevent it from stretching.



The same as basting (see above).


Straight- or decorative stitch on the piece from the visible side of a project. Top-stitching is visible on the final project.


An embellishment such as rickrack, lace, and cording used on the edges of a garment.


Under stitching 

A line of stitches around the inside of a garment that sews the seam allowances to the facing. It aims at preventing it from rolling to the outside. It usually takes between 1/16″ and ¼” from the edge of the garment. 


Walking foot 

A presser foot that steps across the fabric (as opposed to sliding).


A simple running stitch. It’s used to hold two pieces of fabric together. Suitable for closing seams of leather, crochet/knit items, or openings of a stuffed pillow.

Wing needle

Needle with wide, wing-shaped, flared sides. It’s used to create holes in tightly woven fabrics, such as creating entredeux. 



An undefined length of fabric.


A continuous length of interlocked fibers made from natural or synthetic fibers.


A panel across the shoulders or the waistline.

Zigzag stitch 

A stitch made with a zigzag pattern used to sew along raw edges to prevent them from fraying.

Zipper foot

An attachment for a sewing machine designed for installing zippers. Regular zipper feet allow the needle to move to either side. The invisible zipper foot has channels for the zipper teeth to feed into.

Sewing terminology with pictures
Image source: Blog Makerist

Why should we learn sewing words?

What can you do with all that sewing terminology after you’ve thoroughly learned it with this guide?

The future is bright. 

For instance, imagine reading these publications and having real fun doing it:

    1. “The Sewing Book: Over 300 Step-by-Step Techniques”
    2. “Singer: The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing”
    3. “Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make”
    4. “Sewing 101”
    5. “A Complete Guide to Home Sewing”

ArtNews described them in “The Best How-To-Sew Books for Learning and Perfecting Technique.” 

Maybe buying them will give you enough inspiration to keep your sewing hands always busy?

Sewing patterns sewing terminology
Image source: My Modern Met 

When you step by the Super Label Store for blog reading, you’ll be able to tackle, for example, these exciting topics:

to mention only a few;

With the right amount of handy vocabulary, you’ll be able to learn to sew all by yourself. 

All this, without searching the internet for sewing terminology every five seconds.

But Super Label Store is not for blog purposes only. 

The brand produces customized woven labels and care labels. They are great for sewing projects and not only. 

Super Label Store is open to collaborating with target audiences who want to customize their: 

    • clothing, and
    • textile, but also
    • towels, 
    • sheets, and 
    • accessories;

Your future projects with these labels will look ultra-professional. That’s not to say that they didn’t before. There’s just something about labels that make garments decorated with them stand out. 

They are sophisticated yet simple to create and order. 

Everyone, from small: 

    • Individuals (DIYers, crafters at home, sewing fanatics, enthusiasts), 
    • fashion startups, 

to big:

    • fashion designers and brands,
    • companies, brands (hotels, bars, and hospitality businesses) 

can place their order on the Super Label Store website and receive a ready product in the blink of an eye! 

What’s most exciting about these different types of woven labels

First off, the Super Label Store web-based configuration tool is optimized. 

With it, you can upload or create labels from scratch. 

Plus, the whole process doesn’t take more than 15 minutes.  

Custom woven clothing tags

But there is another reason for getting to know a few more sewing words than “needle” and “thread.” (Read about sewing threads types and tips). Keep in mind that sewing itself requires this knowledge. 

It’s not that you need to know the glossary of sewing terms to be able to hand-sew. Not precisely. 

Yet, the moment you buy a new sewing fabric or unpack a sewing kit, you’re faced with sewing terminology. 

Likewise, the moment you come across a useful blog, you need to have some vocab basics at hand.  

Kate from Pattern Niche YouTube channel claims that sewing vocabulary can be:

“expanded upon and researched at nauseam.” 

Well, we do know what she means. 

Let’s have a look at her beginner-friendly video guide. It has various sewing-related words and definitions divided into three sections. Just to have a taste of it. No strings attached.  

Have we convinced you that grabbing our glossary of sewing terms is worth the effort? So let’s get to the best part―words and pictures. 

Sewing terminology with pictures

How do you feel about acquiring a sufficient amount of sewing vocab? By that, we mean the number of words that make you independent and satisfied. 

It’s a bit like learning to speak a new language. There are so many unfamiliar words to get to grips with in the sewing department it can be overwhelming. 

Also, just like with a new language, knowing words only is not enough. You also have to understand their meaning. 

In sewing, meaning comes with a definition of how to use a particular tool or technique. So the case becomes even more complex.  

For example, knowing the general meaning of hemming sounds ok. Yet, only having, at least, a basic understanding of the process gets you there for real. 

Glossary of sewing terms
Image source: Home School Mastery Academy

Let’s see the internet resources worth spending time with on our road to getting familiar with sewing vocabulary. 

Sewing terminology―resources and techniques glossary

The first stop―The Creative Curator. Sewing terms are nicely explained and discussed on this website. For starters, get to know what is what and how it works. After all, we need to start somewhere.  

In the following paragraphs, we share some sewing terms with additional images for your entertainment. 

Sewing supplies sewing vocabulary
Image source: All Free Sewing

But before we get there, let’s see this lovely YouTube introduction by Kim Dave:

After you’re done with this video, have a Play How Stuff Works quiz to check your knowledge!

Sewing techniques glossary

We’ve given the general view on a never-ending list of sewing vocabulary. Let’s get more specialized. 

In the paragraphs below, we’re about to provide you with the sewing techniques glossary. We present it in three tables, so the whole thing is more approachable. 

Feel free to re-read this part of the article every time you have doubts. 

New words need to sit for some time to let us memorize them better. 

Get back anytime you need, until sewing terminology becomes part of your circulatory system (“learn by heart,” right?). 

Sewing vocabulary pdf
Image source: Art News 

Sewing techniques glossary―seam & hem

What does it mean to seam? What is the difference between a seam and a hem? Evelyn Wood tackles a “seam gate” once forever. Let’s have a glance:

Also, “Sewing My Style” by Nikki GG is a valuable video introduction to sewing vocabulary. There are both tools and techniques, so the whole undertaking is quite explicit:

Do you prefer simple (yet exhaustive) glossaries in a written form? 

Then, consider going for one of these positions:

    1. The Sewing Dictionary or Sew Simple Bags (in from-“a”-to-“z” order),
    2. “85 Sewing Terms & Phrases You Need To Know” by Contrado,
    3. Ifixit and All Free Sewing for sewing terminology with pictures.
    4. Word Mint―all the sewing dictionary websites in one place,
    5. Machine sewing vocabulary pdf available to download from sps186;

Sewing vocab
Image source: Seasoned Home Maker

Glossary of sewing terms―sewing machine

Let’s say you want to learn to use a sewing machine. Obviously, among other billions of sewing hacks and techniques that you’re curious about. But let’s pause at a sewing machine for now. 

Isn’t it frustrating to read the whole page and remain without anything after you finish? 

It’s advantageous to be prepared for that. 

Sewing terminology is crucial; plus, the images are superb. So, we’ve joined forces and found this cute picture below to share with you. 

Have a look to discover the names of sewing machine parts: 

Anatomy of a sewing machine
Image source: Sewing School 

Sewing terminology―techniques

Now, we know what a sewing machine is composed of. 

Let’s take a look at the sewing vocabulary related to sewing techniques.

In the table below, with the help of: 

we investigated a few basic terms.


Description Extra tip

to applique

It refers to sewing one piece of fabric on top of another.

You do it with a satin stitch (a very tight zig-zag). 

Set your machine settings in a way that stitches are very close together on the zigzag setting.

to baste (to tack in British) 

It means to gather sewing fabric or hold something in place with loose, temporary stitches.

Read “How to sew a basting stitch” on The Spruce Crafts

You can do basting:

    • by hand, or 
    • by a sewing machine (using the most extended length of the stitch);

The stitch should be long and secure enough to keep the two fabrics together. Yet, only temporarily.

to bind 

This sewing activity refers to finishing a garment. After you have folded or rolled your seams or hem, you need to sew them up into place. 

You’ll need some extra fabric left on the seam or hem allowance to do binding on the seam or hem allowance. Consider it before you get to that point (of no return). 

to nap (unfortunately, it has nothing to do with  our favorite after-dinner napping)

Nap in sewing means the direction of the raised fibers. When you rub your hand across different fabrics, such as: 

    • velour, 
    • fleece, 
    • suede leather,
    • velvet, and 
    • corduroy

you’ll notice their texture. Voila! This is a nap. 

Be careful when you are joining two fabrics. If they are the same, you need to pay attention that each of the naps runs in the same direction. 

Basting takes time to master. But, with practice, you’ll stop harming your material by placing too many holes in it. 

By the way, binding is considered a “vintage sewing term” by Sewing is Cool

On the other hand, Sewing claims that binding is 

“A mark of your success.” 

Sewing terms for beginners
Image source: Jaguar Sewing Machines

Read on Doina Alexei what is basting and how and when to use it in garment construction.  

Get to know this excellent Leslie article on Seasoned Home Maker.

It’s titled “Learn How to Applique Using a Sewing Machine.” 

Sewing basics
Image source: Doina Alexei

Another piece of advice for all the sewers out there: 

Feel free to chit-chat with other sewing/stitching enthusiasts. Do it whenever you feel the urge to connect or need advice.

Sewers are a worldwide community of lovely people with passion. You’ll be welcomed with arms wide open, be sure about it.

Is anyone here eager to learn complex words and techniques? Grab these “29 Basic And Complex Sewing Techniques Sewers Should Master” by

Muslin fitting and markings
Image source: Threads Magazine

Now, time for part two. And another table!

Here is another brief collection of helpful sewing techniques to memorize. 

Whether you’re working on sewing projects old jeans, upcycling clothes, or something new, you’ll need to get prepared. 

Sewing words you should know
Image source: The Spruce Crafts

We reached out to Charlotte Kan, Sewing Is Cool, Sewing, and Crazy Little Projects, for valuable techniques and tips. 

We imagine some of you have already passed the point when these sewing words enter the stage. Yet, some of you will be happy to get to know or refresh this part and get inspired:


Description Extra tip


It’s a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth. It has a layer of insulating batting between them. As a result, it creates a thicker fabric (perfect for blankets).

Making a quilt looks complex but is manageable. Also, the beauty of a quilt can’t be overlooked, so consider giving it as a gift. 


It’s a technique that serves for repairing holes in fabrics by hand. 

You do it by using only:

    • a needle and 
    • a thread;


Boning are stripes meant to hold a fit and usually a vertical shape to certain clothing parts.

They are inside the fabric to maintain their shape and resist wrinkles.

The word comes from “to bone-in,” as boning in the past was using with bones. Now, we use small plastics, steel, or metal.

This clothing appearance will stand out in the fast fashion era.


We use gathering stitches to sew a longer edge to a shorter edge. This process gives it fullness.

How to gather? 

    1. Use a long stitch length. 
    2. Stitch two or three rows parallel to each other. 
    3. Leave long thread tails (you can pull them to adjust ease on the longer piece of fabric before you sew).

Clothing items where you often find boning are:

    • bustiers, 
    • swimsuits,
    • wedding gowns, 
    • corsets, 
    • Elizabethan clothing
    • strapless gowns; 

and is places where the outfit needs it:

    • necklines, 
    • collars, or 
    • where it’s necessary to keep folds and pleats in place;

Also, check the “Best ways to gather for beginners” described on Treasurie.Blog

Tailor man working his shop tailoring sewing for beginners
Image source:

What about:

    1. the right side and wrong side of the fabric,
    2. seam allowance,
    3. backstitching, and
    4. baste stitch?

Colirpa’s YouTube channel has answers and definitions to these four mysterious terms. 

Be sure to check it out if you want to know these sewing terms from the charming gal. 

Now, let’s pass to the third table filled with relatively well-known sewing techniques.

In the abundance of sewing vocabulary, one thing always branches out to another. And to another, and another. In sewing, it’s a rule. 

We guide you through basic terms (let’s call it a trunk since we talked about branching out). 

Each sewing item or method is divided into several types or subtypes. And later on, into other, further categories. 

Enough to say, sewing terminology has no end!

Keep that in mind when you browse the tables we prepared for you. 

For the next one, as in the examples above, we asked Charlotte Kan, Sewing Is Cool, Sewing, and Crazy Little Projects. Again, outsourcing for knowledge helped us to prepare detailed explanations.  


Description Extra tip


It refers to when you create new garments by draping and pinning fabric on a dress form. 

Thanks to draping, you can see a 3D representation of your garment’s idea. It also allows checking how a specific fabric will really “look” and “hang” on a person.

grading (seams)

It means trimming raw edges in graduate widths to reduce bulk. 

Usually, the narrowest seam edge should be closest to the body.

seam finish

Refers to any technique that finishes the raw edges of a seam.

You can do seam finish in many different ways. 

Its general goal is to prevent the raw edge of your seam from raveling.


Facing stands for the unique method of finishing the raw edges of the fabric.

We don’t want our outfit to have raw edges around the neckline or sleeves, do we?

Have we mentioned that there is a lot more to it? What about tackling a couple of less popular sewing words?

Experiencing joy from constant discoveries is probably among the 10 reasons to start sewing clothes

    1. “Stitch-in-the-ditch” refers to stitching inside the “valley” or “groove” of a seam.
    2. “Muslin” is the practice or test garment when we’re making clothing.
    3. “Haberdasher” is a men’s outfitter. It’s also a person who sells small articles for sewing (for instance, buttons or zippers).
    4. “Webbing” is a braided strip of fabric (like a belt). You can use it for straps on a bag or backpack. (Crazy Little Projects).
    5. “Box pleat” is a pleat with more design and movement than a plain knife pleat. You can use it for:
      • skirts, 
      • valances, 
      • buffet tablecloths, etc. 

If it wasn’t enough, we’ve got a few geographical surprises (by the way, wait for the last chapter of this article):

    1. “Hong Kong finish” is enclosing a seam with bias binding. (The Sewing Dictionary)
    2. “French seam” is a wholly enclosed seam used for 
      • sheer fabrics, or 
      • high couture;

You can read about French seam in our glossary above. 

      3. “French knot” is an embroidery 3D stitch done by hand. You can use it for decoration on garments or in traditional embroidery.

The process involves:

      • bringing a threaded needle up through the fabric, 
      • wrapping the thread 3-4 times, 
      • taking the needle back down into the fabric, 
      • enclosing the wrapped thread,
      • leaving a knot on the top of the fabric. 

      4. “New York hem” (aka “super hem”) is used to hem jeans while leaving the original hem in place. 

Sewing techniques glossary
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Elementary sewing terms

So we went through all these complicated sewing techniques. 

But what about notions from the sewing kit, sewing fabric, and a simple needle and thread? Don’t they need a bit of love and attention as well?

The best way to get to know them is to watch, for example, the YouTube video below. 

Check out “Sewing supplies you need to start” by With Wendy: 

The internet isn’t full of vocabulary-focused videos supposed to teach you the names of each piece of the sewing kit.

You’ve found one, but it’s super slow and accompanied by images? Then you’re most probably learning English with other 6-year-olds out there.

Read about sewing fabric and sewings supplies on Super Label Store to see all the tools gathered and categorized in one place. 

Pink pillar candles on white metal rack sewing for beginners
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Sewing terms and a new language

If all that struggle that we went through wasn’t enough, we prepared something extra.

We love to see you growing in various niches, and we hate to see you bored! So, we have a little something for those who have already learned all the sewing vocabulary.

Why not learn the same in Spanish? 

Here’s a fantastic YouTube video by the Real World Spanish Lessons channel. You can learn several Spanish words from the sewing department. On top of that, the friendliest atmosphere possible.   

We’re looking forward to the day you start “sewing” in both languages. For fun, for the sake of it, and intellectual stimulation. 

Who knows, maybe one day you’ll say: 

“Aprender a coser es de mis pasatiempos favoritos” 

instead of 

“Learning to sew is one of my favorite hobbies.” 

(Spanish Academy)

Sewing terms and definition
Image source: The Spruce Crafts