Did you know that part of learning to sew means you have to learn a new language? Not really, but kind of. Sewing has a set of lingo terms you should know to be able to follow instructions and patterns correctly.

While there is a very long list of words used exclusively in the sewing world, this is your Girlfriend's Guide of 15 words to know when beginning to sew. 

  1. Backing
    A layer of fabric on the back of a quilt that covers the batting.
  2. Back-stitch
    Used at the beginning and the end of a seam, a couple of extra stitches are sewn back and forth to anchor the seam. Also known as back tacking.
  3. Batting
    The filling of quilts and makes them warm and heavy
  4. Basting
    Temporary, long stitches done by hand or machine to hold fabric in place for final stitching.
  5. Bias Edge
    True bias is a cut made on an angle 45 degrees to the selvage, which is the stretchiest part of the fabric.
  6. Cording
    A narrow strip of fabric wrapped and sewn around a cord. Used as a decorative element added to pillows, valances, and other soft furnishings. Also known as piping or welt.
  7. Right Side/Wrong Side
    The right side of the fabric is the side, which is seen when the project is done while the wrong side is the back side and is usually not as bright.
  8. Seam Allowance
    The fabric between the cut edge of the fabric and the line of stitching. Generally, a 1/4-1/2" seam allowance is used.
  9. Selvage
    The factory edges of a fabric that run lengthwise on both sides of the fabric.
  10. Serge Stitch
    An edge or seam sewn on a serger. Great for keeping the edges of a fabric from fraying.
  11. Notions
    Small objects or accessories use for sewing such as buttons, snaps, and collar stays. Notions also include the small tools used in sewing, such as needles, thread, pins, marking pens, elastic, and seam rippers.
  12. Bobbin
    The part of a sewing machine on which the lower thread is wound.
  13. Quarter Inch
    A typical seam allowance for most sewing projects, which is 1/4". 
  14. Binding
    A narrow strip of fabric attached along the edge of a project to give it a finished look.
  15. Raw Edge
    The edge of a piece of material before it has been sewn.

Knowing these sewing terms will give you the knowledge you need to become a successful sewer. To learn more sewing basics for beginners, read here for 7 Basics Every Beginner Sewing Needs to Learn.

December 08, 2022

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