32 Super Useful Tips to Improve Sewing Terms for Beginners

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Surprisingly Effective Ways to Sewing Terms for Beginners

Is there anybody who hasn’t done some sewing at some point in their lives? Even if it’s only for a fast repair, I’m sure we’ve all picked up a needle and thread at some point. You may be a little apprehensive about a few terms you’ve never heard before if you’re just beginning to sew professionally. There are a variety of sewing terminology used to describe various stitching techniques, portions of the cloth, and more.

Don’t be concerned! If you’re considering sewing as a career, or even simply a pastime, we’ll teach you the most essential terms you’ll need to know. These are what we might refer to as “basic sewing terms.” Let’s become familiar with some sewing terminology for beginners to the craft.

Sewing Vocabulary for Beginners:

sewing vocabulary for beginners


Sewing is the method used to make it. It refers to the process of sewing or stitching a smaller piece of cloth over a larger one to create a pattern or design. Embroidery is often used on the appliqué’s outside border. To make the pattern stand out, it’s usually done in a contrasting cloth.


When you fold your cloth diagonally up to the opposite side, you’ll see the bias. It’s possible you’ve noticed some diagonal stretching in the cloth. This is where the prejudice lies. Woven cloth is the most common place to find bias. The two biases in woven cloth are perpendicular to each other. The diagonal stretch of bias-cut cloth keeps it from adhering to the wearer’s body.


Backstitching is a technique used to give your stitches a finished look. Once you’ve made a few forward stitches, you next create a few backward stitches, and so on. This aids in tracing the contour of the stitch. Embroidery is its primary usage. The most common technique is the two-stitch forward, one-stitch backward. It is used mostly for sewing machines.

Stitching in the base

Basting stitches are used to keep two or more layers of cloth together while you sew them firmly together. Tacking is another name for this practice. Using long-running stitches, which are afterwards removed, the procedure is completed. It is necessary for this kind of stitch to be used in both couture and hand stitching. In rare cases, it may be followed by a machine finish.

Blind stitching

The blind stitch is a sewing method in which two pieces of cloth are sewn together such that the thread is either completely or practically undetectable to the eye. The stitches may be hidden by folding them within a piece of cloth. Slip stitch and catch stitch are two other options.

Chain stitch

The word “chain stitch” is often used in sewing. Chain-like loops are created by using this stitch. Decorative stitches may be made using this tool. Chain stitches, as opposed to the lock stitching of today, were the standard stitching method on early sewing machines.


Pant or trouser casings have a channel or hollow area for elastic. It’s fashioned with a folded piece of fabric and affixed to the garment from the outside. Adding a belt to the pants makes them seem more polished.

Catch stitch

Use this stitch to join two pieces of cloth together. The design is crisscrossed. It is used mostly for hemming and other finishing tasks. It’s easy for objects to get caught in the unfinished lining. The catch stitch is used to attach the hem or seam allowances so that the surface threads don’t catch on anything.

Clipping corners

To ensure a neat finish while sewing on the wrong side of the cloth and then flipping it, you must trim the seam allowance corners diagonally. Otherwise, there would be groans from the nooks and crannies. To make bags or pouches, it is most often utilized. When it comes to cutting corners, there are a variety of methods.


Haute couture is the term used to describe custom-made designer garments tailored to the specifications of the buyer. These are quite pricey since they are entirely made by hand. Extreme precision and a finely detailed finish are used to create these high-quality gowns.

The sleeveless dolman

To put it another way, a dolman sleeve is one that is very loose. Despite the large armhole, the wrists are fitting. Also known as bat sleeve or bat wing sleeves, In most cases, it’s a single piece with the rest of the garment.


Stitching done at a distance of 1/8′′ or 3/8′′ from the fabric’s edge is known as edge stitching. It’s a common way to add some flair to plain fabrics. But the most common purpose is to keep the fabric’s seams from unraveling.

Feather stitch

Edge stitch that resembles a series of intertwined upside-down ‘V’s is known as a feather stitch. It’s a decorative embroidery stitch that’s often seen on clothing. This is all about symmetry. With the use of a guide, you can ensure that the symmetry is maintained.

Flat felled seam

The flat felled seam is a method of sewing in which the raw edges of two pieces of cloth are sandwiched together and then sealed with a topstitch. To keep denim from fraying, this sort of stitching is often used.

French seam

Sewing the seam allowance within the cloth rather than on the outside, resulting in a finished edge that cannot be seen. It not only provides the cloth a polished appearance, but it also keeps it from fraying. The seam allowance is trimmed by sewing the wrong sides together and then snipping it. To complete the garment, the right sides are then stitched together.


It is a triangular-shaped piece of cloth with a rounded top. Godet At the bottom of a skirt or garment, a few godets are added to give it extra volume. It widens and flares out garments by adding extra breadth to it.


When a long length of cloth is required to be joined to a shorter piece of fabric, the gathering process is used. It is often accomplished by sewing two rows of basting stitches and then tugging the threads’ ends together to ‘gather’ the cloth together. Additionally, it gives the cloth more volume. The collected end is then attached to the smaller portion using a needle and thread.


It is one of the most often encountered sewing words in regular conversation. It is a method of stitching along the edge of a piece of cloth after it has been folded in half. It is used to give a cloth a finished appearance. It protects the cloth from fraying when it is washed.


It is necessary to apply interfacing to the wrong side of a fabric (typically by sewing it on) in order to make the cloth more stiff and give it a little more weight. This is used to provide stiffness to shirt collars, buttonholes, and other areas where stiffness is required. There are many different types of interfacing, including fusible (which has a heat-activated adhesive and must be ironed), sew in (which must be stitched to the fabric), woven (which is made of wrap and weft woven together and must not stretch), nonwoven (such as fleece or felt), and knit interfacing.


The lining is a piece of fabric that is placed inside a garment to conceal interfacing or any raw edges. It is used to create a clean finish to coats, purses, caps, and even everyday wear to give them a professional appearance. A silk-like fabric is used in the construction of this piece.


Notch is a sewing pattern that may be used to make a notch. It is the triangle form that has been curled off your fabric in order to fit the seam allowance design on another item of clothing. It is also used in the process of clipping and turning corners. Earlier, we mentioned that there are many forms of clipping. The notch, for example, is one of them.

Right and wrong side

This is a crucial sewing phrase to know. Regardless matter whether you are a professional or an armature seamstress, you must understand the difference between the right and wrong side of the cloth. The print is on the right-hand side of the page. It is more noticeable than the wrong side of the cloth because the dye of the fabric is occasionally apparent on the wrong side of the fabric. The perforations on the right side are often rougher. It has printing on the backside, which is the incorrect side. It will be paler and smoother in appearance than the right side of the body.


The completed edge of a cloth is referred to as the selvage. It keeps the cloth from moving around in the frame. It is often filled with information about the cloth. The phrase selvage refers to anything that has been “self-finished.” Therefore, extra finishing steps like as hemming will not be required on the cloth in this scenario.

Stitches and Seams

Stitches and seams are two of the most often used sewing words, and they are fully interchangeable. The distinction between stitches and seams is that seams are a sequence of stitches that hold two pieces of cloth together whereas stitches are individual stitches. A needle and thread or yarn is used to make stitches at the same time, which is accomplished by looping the thread (or yarn) through the cloth.

Seam allowance

The gap between the edge of the cloth and the stitches is referred to as the seam allowance. It is typically 1/4′′ in thickness and may be as high as 5/8′′ in thickness. What you choose to wear is entirely dependent on your particular preferences. It makes it possible to relax the clothes if necessary. As a novice, you may start with the typical 14-inch diameter pipe. The standard for a simple design is 5/8″ in width.

Slip stitch

A slip stitch is a hand sewing method that is used to hem or sew the edges of a garment together. When you don’t want your stitches to show, you may use this technique.

This phrase is also used in the craft of crocheting. Moving a stitch down a row without increasing the height of the row is referred to as a slant stitch. For example, it is used to link stitches on two edges of a circular row together.

Stay stitch

This is an example of a kind of basting stitching. It is done on the curved edges or merely the edges of garments to keep it in place while you are wearing it. It should be maintained 1/16″ within the stitching line to avoid fraying the fabric. It keeps the cloth from stretching and becoming distorted.

Top Stitch

Topstitching is a kind of stitch that is often used for ornamental reasons and is visible on the right side of the cloth when completed. Edges and necklines are often used for this technique. A golden border around the pockets or along with the stitching is something you’ve probably seen on jeans or other denim items before.


Underlining is a kind of lining, yet it is distinct from it. It is used in the fashion industry. It is this characteristic that distinguishes couture from other types of clothes. In garment construction, an underling is a piece of fabric that is linked to the “wrong side” of the garment but does not allow the garment to move freely below. In reality, it serves as an integral element of the garment. It gives the cloth more weight and mass and prevents it from being seen as see-through. As an added bonus, it makes the cloth sturdy, long-lasting, and wrinkle-resistant.

Wrap and weft

Wrap and weft are two phrases used in the sewing industry to describe to the process of creating woven cloth. While the wrap is made up of horizontal threads that run parallel to the selvage, weft is made up of vertical threads that cross over and then beneath the wrap. They weave together to form a woven fabric out of their crossings.

Woven or knit

Fabrics made of woven and knitted yarns are distinct from one another. Close inspection will reveal that woven fabric is produced from two separate sets of yarns that are twisted around each other, while knitted fabric is made from just one set of threads that are twisted around each other. The stretching, on the other hand, is the most significant distinction. Knitted fabric, on the other hand, can be stretched both horizontally and vertically, but woven cloth can only be stretched along its bias.


Yokes are little supplementary pieces of fabric that are usually sewn around the neck and shoulders of garments to give it a formed and patterned appearance. It is mostly used for ornamental reasons. It is sewed onto the front or the back of a dress or a shirt to make it more attractive and appealing.

basic sewing terms

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What do you name lines used for sewing?

The line that runs along the seam when two separate pieces of cloth are kept together by a single thread. Allowance for seams is the additional breadth of cloth that extends beyond the seam line. The seam allowance is often measured to be 1.5 centimeters. A seam ripper is a hand instrument that is used to unpick stitches in seams.

What do you call stitches that are too loose?

Stitches that are intended to be temporary and loose in order to collect cloth or keep anything in place. You have the option of doing it by hand, or you may use the setting on your sewing machine that allows for the greatest stitch length.

What is the name given to a piece of fabric?

rag, shred, tag, tag end, tatter. a teeny-tiny scrap of fabric or paper. sheet, sail, canvas, and canvas respectively. a big piece of material, often made of canvas, that is used to harness the power of the wind in order to move a sailing vessel.

What do you name a length of fabric?

A commercial unit of measurement for length or area that is used to assess finished fabric. In general, one bolt is equal to a strip of fabric that is 100 yards (91.44 meters) in length; however, the width of the strip might vary depending on the kind of fabric. Cotton bolts are typically measured at a width of 42 inches (1.067 meters), whereas wool bolts are often measured at a width of 60 inches (1.524 meters).

What is fabric terminology?

A fabric starts off as a fiber, which may be a naturally occurring or synthetic substance. This substance is then spun into yarns and employed in the manufacturing process. The term “filament” refers to a produced fiber that is extruded from the spinneret during the process of producing fiber and is of an unlimited length (continuous).

What do you call rolled up pieces of fabric?

Jelly rolls, also known as fabric rolls or roll-ups, are strips of fabric about 2-1/2 inches wide by 42 inches long. They are sold rolled up, and there are usually around 40 strips on a roll. You may use them to make quilts, bindings, strippy bags, and a variety of other things.


To get you started on your sewing adventure, here are some of the most basic sewing terms. Many more phrases are required to become a professional. I’m sure you’ve heard of most of the sewing vocabulary for beginners listed above. If nothing else, it’s always good practice to take a journey down memory lane. The more you sew, the more you’ll discover new terms you didn’t know before. In this section, we’ve solely covered the terminology related to hand stitching. Sewing machines, scissors, and other associated tools are the subject of other words. You’ll eventually pick them up. Nonetheless, they will enough for now.

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

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