Glossary of Terms

  • Back-tack - A few stitches taken in reverse to secure a line of stitching.
  • Bar Tack - A group of closely sewn stitchs (back and forth from side to side a la zig zag)
  • Binding - Encasing the raw edges of a materials with another piece of fabric.
  • Butt - to bring two edges of fabric together so that they touch.
  • Chainstitch - A stitch that interloops the needle thread(s) with a bottom looper thread on the underside of the seam. Most main seams sewn in woven apparel are sewn with this stitch formation.
  • Coverstitch - A stitch, often used to seam knitwear, which consists of at least two needle threads, a looper thread and a top thread passing over the edge of the material. Spun or textured polyester thread is generally used to form these stitches.
  • Denier - A thread numbering system used primarily for continuous filament threads. The gram weight of 9,000 meters of thread. The lower the denier, the finer the thread.
  • Greige (pronounced: Gray) Goods - Knitted or woven fabrics of all fibers in an unfinished state, after they have been woven or knitted and before dyeing or finishing.
  • Gusset - A bit of fabric sewn into a seamline to provide depth to the sewn product.
  • Hem - to bottom edge of fabric which is sewn to hide frayed edges.
  • Lockstitch - A stitch formed by interlocking needle threads with a bobbin thread. This is the most common stitch formed on industrial sewing machines.
  • Merrow - A stitch made by a wide range of machines for edging, as well as machines for butted seams that typically utilize anywhere from 3 to 6 threads for a variety of sewing operations.
  • Nap - the "fuzzy" part of a fabric that is usually directional in nature
  • Non-woven fabric - A fabric not woven or knitted from thread or yarn. Non-woven fabrics, include fake leather and suede, felt, various interfacings.
  • Notch - A small cut into the seam allowance which will allow fabric to bend at curves and corners.
  • Nylon - A strong synthetic fiber formed into a filament for use in thread making and other applications. It has good strength, excellent abrasion resistance and is washable.
  • Safety Stitch - A stitch formation that incorporates both chainstitch and overedge.
  • Seam allowance - The fabric between the edge of the fabric and the line of stitching, usually about ¼" - 5/8" in most cases.
  • Selvage - the edge along the side that doesn't unravel. Sometimes there's writing up the side. Even though the cut edge is nice and neat, it's not a good idea to include that in your cut piece because it doesn't hang or wash like the rest of the fabric.


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