Sewing Glossary

Here's a great place to start on your mission to become a sewing expert.

All-over design A fabric or wallpaper motif that has no obvious directional emphasis.

Baste To hold pieces of fabric together temporarily with long, loose stitches, usually made by using the longest stitch length on your sewing machine; basting may be used as a guide for permanent stitches and removed after stitching permanently.

Batting Cotton or polyester batting is commonly packaged for quilters and is readily available at crafts and sewing shops.

Bias The diagonal of the weave or a line across the grain of a fabric, drawn at a 45-degree angle to the selvage edge; cloth cut on the bias will stretch, allowing a smoother fit around curves.

Clip To make snips or tiny cuts into the seam allowance, up to but not through the stitching, so the seam will lie flat. On a concave curve, make triangular notches to allow for flattening the seam easily.

Cord with lip A type of ready-made upholstery trim featuring a ropelike cord attached to a fabric lip; the lip is installed in the seam so the cord rests on the seamed edge of the item.

Crosswise grain The welt, or grain of the fabric going across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage.

Cut length The measurement of a piece of fabric that includes allowances for hem, header, any gathers or pleats, and fabric repeat; the length to which you need to cut fabric before you begin sewing.

Cut width The measurement of a piece of fabric that includes allowances for hems, gathers, or pleats; the width to which you need to cut the fabric before you begin sewing.

Directional pattern A fabric design that has an obvious top or bottom; the direction used to distribute two unequal fullnesses of fabric in order to join them in a smooth seam; to curve a trim around a corner, changing a square corner to a rounded one.

Edgestitch To stitch close to the folded edge of the fabric with medium-length to short stitches.

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