Glossary of sewing terms used on my blog (not exhaustive)


Fancy word for armhole.  Not sure why we don’t just say armhole, but we don’t.

Bias binding

Strip of fabric cut diagonally so it will stretch.  Used to finish necklines, armholes, hems.


Stitched, angled wedge of material, used to shape fabric around curves.


Extra fabric factored into the pattern measurements to allow room for, eg, eating, sitting down, moving your arms.

French seams

Fancy seam finish where the raw edges are encased within the seam.  Pretty, but only useful if you are sure you won’t want to take the seam in or let it out (make it bigger or smaller).

Faux french seams

Almost as fancy a seam finish, but the cheat’s version.  Let’s you get the seam in the right place first, then encase the raw edges.

Herringbone stitch

Hand sewn stitch that allows for movement and stretching.


Test version of garment, sewn in cheap fabric (not necessarily muslin–old sheets are also popular).  Also a verb–to muslin–to make a test garment.


Fold of fabric, usually stitched into place.


The part of a lined garment that is visible on the outside.  Also called the garment, I guess.


Small overlapping split at the centre back hem of a tight skirt.  Allows you to walk in the skirt. Maybe even climb stairs.  Very hard to line.



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