Sewing Dictionary

Bag Out

This refers to sewing your fabric pieces inside out, and then turning everything right side out so all of your seams, seam allowance and stitching is on the inside of your garment piece.

Baby Lock

Is a small & tight edging stitch; similar to overlock stitch.


A bias cut strip of fabric used to bind seams and edges of garments.

Blind Hem

A hem which is invisible either hand sewn or made by a machine with a hemmer attachment.


Narrow plastic strips stitched into seams to support bodices.

Bound Button Hole

A buttonhole made with fabric.


A width of fabric stitched to the garment to enable a cord or tie to be threaded through.

Chain Stitch

Hand stitched chain made with cotton thread used for belt loops.

Circular Frills

A frill which is cut as a circle to give a full and fluid appearance without gathers

Collar Stand

The band that the collar is attached to, eg mens shirts.

Cowl Neck

A draped neckline with folds of fabric.


Marked on pattern, used to shape garments over bust and hips etc.

Dolman Sleeve

A sleeve design. Very wide at the top without an actual armhole and slimming down to a small opening at the wrist or arm.

Drill Holes

Marked on pattern to indicate where the stitch line finishes. Often 2cm past the drill hole to leave a soft even finish.


Distributes fullness of fabric without tucks.

Edge Stitch

A stitch very close to the edge of seam or garment, used to keep piece flat also as a feature.


The amount of fabric needed for the garment.


A pattern fabric piece which is usually fused to neaten the cut edges of necks, waists etc

Felled Seam

A flat seam used on jeans for extra strength


A concealed opening used with zips for pants and skirts also with buttons on shirt and jackets

French Seam

A seam stitched on the outside first, then turned to the wrong side and stitched again

Flat Stitch

A row of stitching on the correct side of the fabric close to the edge of the seam, this keeps the seam flat. Flat stitching is also known as understitching.


An interfacing that is ironed on to the fabric to keep shape


Two rows of large stitches sewn along the desired edge and pulled in to required length.


The tab on the sleeve opening of shirts.

Grain Line

A line marked on the pattern to show the direction of the fabric when cutting.

Hook & Eye

A metal hook with a metal eye sewn onto garment as a fastener often at the top of zips.


To add strength to fabrics when needed.

Jersey Stitch

Use an overlocker or safety stitch machine for stretch jersey fabric.

Keyhole Buttonhole

Made by a keyhole machine used for coats.

Knife Pleat

Pleats folded in the one direction.


The part of the jacket that folds back onto itself and joins the collar.

Manderin Collar

A collar that stands up and encompasses the neck with the opening at the front.

Mitred Corners

Corners that are cut at right angles and bagged out to make clean edges.


Pile fabrics such as velvet have a nap, smooth one way and rough the other, cut pieces in the one direction


Markings on pattern which correspond between pattern pieces.

Pattern Holes

These are 2cm holes punched into cardboard pattern for the purpose of hanging.

Pattern Lay Chart

An indication of how pattern pieces would be laid onto the fabric to reach estimate for cutting the garment

Pattern Notches

Metal tool for clipping out notch marks on pattern pieces.

Peter Pan Collar

A small collar with rounded edges.


The direction of the loop or yarn of the fabric running down the fabric eg: velvet.


Rows of fine tucks used as a feature, normally 3MM OR 1/8TH" wide.


A bias piece of fabric with or without cord stitched between two pieces of fabric.


A pattern piece for eg: the tab that is on a shirt.


Fabric folded back onto its self which forms pleats.

Plus Sizes

Larger sized patterns for a larger body.

Princess Seam

A design line or seam that runs from the shoulder line down the body giving shape.


A technique of stitching a piece of wadding between two pieces of fabric and top stitching rows

Raglan Sleeve

A sleeve design that includes the shoulder with seams running from under the arms up towards the neckline


Also know as the lapel

Saddle Stitch

Stitched with a heavy thread which is often contrasted


The woven edge on each side of the fabric. Small holes can indicate the selvedge as they often run along it


Large scissors used for cutting fabric and paper


Hat elastic wound onto the bobbin firmly with cotton thread through the needle. When stitching fabric it will gather up, known as shirring


These are vilene pieces that are stitched to noted areas to stop stretching – e.g. neck lines. Once the garment is completed these can be trimmed away

Top Press

To press on top of the seams during the process of sewing the garment

Top Stitch

A feature stitch on top of the seam on the outside of the garment often in a contrast coloured

Twin Needle

Double rows of stitching approximately 5mm apart normally used as a feature

Under Press

Pressing the garment intermittently as you go through the process of making the garment


Understitching is a line of stitching sewn close to the edge of a seam on the side of a lining or facing. Understiching works to secure the lining or facing to the seam allowance to keep it from rolling to the outside.


A non stick interlining


Tape with two sides that attaches to each other


The section of a garment. For shirts it can be seen at the cross back on the shoulder, and on skirts at the back between the waist and hip


Can be used as a feature or on seams if an overlocker is not available


For openings on garments