Welcome to the Sewepedia on The Nina Line. Below you will find a collection of sewing and sewing related terms and their definitions. Some of the terms have how-to videos for a more visual learning experience. Click on any highlighted term to view the video tutorial!
Basting: Temporary stitches used to create gathers, or to temporarily sew something together. The stitches are usually 3.5-4.5mm in length and are taken out when the project is completed.
Basting in the hoop: This is also known as fixing in the hoop. It is done in the embroidery function/mode of your sewing machine and is a series, usually a square or rectangle, of basting stitches. These stitches outline your design area as well as tack layers of fabric or stabilizers together.
Bias:If something is cut on the true bias, it is cut at 45 degrees to the selvage or at a diagonal line across the fabric. Garments cut on the bias drape beautifully and outline the figure more than straight cut garments.
Bias Binding: A binding strip cut on the bias.
Binding: This is a narrow strip of fabric, usually cut on the bias used to cover the raw edges of a project. Binding can be decorative or used as a finishing technique.
Blind Hem: This type of hem is sewn by machine to give a professional looking hem to a pant or skirt hem. The way the fabric is folded and the type of stitch used (usually called a blind hem stitch) the hem does not appear on the right side of the fabric.
Bust Point: The point on the pattern where the apex of the bust is. It is usually 1” below this point that a dart stops.
Cross grain: Some thing is cut at right angles to the grain line, across the grain.
Ease: The difference between the body measurement and the pattern measurement. Because the ease measurement will differ based on the style and type of garment everyone’s desired ease may be different, effecting the types of garments they wear and make.
Ease Stitch: Also called a gathering stitch sometimes, this stitch is sewn along the seam line using a basting stitch. It is used to adjust the amount of ease and fit of the pattern.
Edge Stitching: This stitch is usually 1/16” or 1/8” away from the edge of the garment on the lining side.
Facing: A piece of fabric that creates a finished edge to a garment opening, like a collar, neckline or a sleeveless garment .
Finishing: Finishing the edges of the garment. This can be done by binding the edges, using a serger or a overlocking stitch.
Fabric Grain: The direction of the fabric, up and down the length or perpendicular to the selvedge. They are called the lengthwise grain, crosswise grain and the bias.
Gathering: A set of stitches ¼” above and ¼” below seam line using a stitch length of 3.5-4.5. Usually the bobbin thread is pulled gently to adjust to fit.
Hem: The unfinished end you turn up at the bottom of a garment to stop it from fraying and give it a finished presentation.
Interfacing: A special fabric between the layers of a garment to help it hold its structure. Interfacing comes in many different weights for different weights of fabric. It also comes in two application versions: fusible – which you iron in and sew-in – which you sew onto one of the garment pieces.
Interlining: A fabric between the outside fabric and the lining, usually used for warmth or to add texture/structure to a project. A good example is the flannel like interlining in custom drapes.
Lining: This is a light weight fabric that lines a garment. It prevents lighter weight fabrics from being too sheer as well. Linings can compliment the outside fabric of the garment or contrast for an exciting inside personality to your project.
Mounting: The process of using two fabrics as one: You cut out the outer fabric and the mount fabric as one and sew all steps of the project with them together. It gives weight and sturdiness to fabrics. Most times the mounted fabric is cut 1/2-5/8” smaller then the outer fabric.
Miter: The technique when binding a project that results in 45 degree corners on a right angle.
Nap: A one way direction of texture on a fabric such as velvet or corduroy. When using fabric with a nap all pieces must be cut with the nap in the same direction.
Notches: Diamond shaped marks that are drawn on the edges of a pattern. Notches help you to line up all the pattern pieces when you sew the garment.
Piping: A decorated or covered cording inserted into the seam of a project for decoration.
Pressing: Picking up the iron when moving to a new location to smooth. Usually no steam is used in this process, but a very slightly damp cloth.
Pivot: Turning a corner or angle while your needle in in the fabric and presser foot raised to prevent fabric from shifting.
RS: Right side, usually in reference to the right side of fabric, which is the side of the fabric with the print or finish.
RST: Right sides together. A term meaning that two pieces of fabric should have the right sides facing each other before you sew.
Raw Edge: The cut edge of a piece of garment. It may fray or unravel if left in this state.
Reinforce Stitch: A stitch along the seam line to make the seam stronger. This stitch usually has a very small stitch length.
Right Side: The side of the fabric you see when the garment is finished.
Seam Allowance: The little bit of fabric between the cut edge of the garment and the seam line. This measurement varies based on the type of project you are doing. The most common measurements are below but always consult your pattern for the seam allowance before beginning the project.
Home Décor (and most other craft sewing): 1/2″
Seam Ripper: A sewer’s best friend! Used to remove basting stitches as well as “accidents”.
Selvage: The woven edge of the fabric. One of the selvages usually has printing on it.
Slip Stitch: Slide needle through a folded edge, then pick up a thread of underneath fabric. Sometimes used when finishing a hem by hand.
Stay Stitching: a line of stitching sewn just inside the seam line to prevent an area of the garment from stretching or distorting before it can be assembled. This is very common around sleeve openings and necklines.
Straight Grain: The direction the threads travelling parallel to the selvage.
Tacking: The same as basting. Can be used to hold something together permanently.
Tailor’s Tacks: Temporary thread marks for matching points or to mark where things are to be placed. These are common for pleats and are removed after they are used like basting.
Top Stitching: A decorative stitch like edge stitching, but further from the edge of the garment. They can come in multiple rows and look very nice. These stitches also help to hold facings inside the garment.
Under Stitching: A line of stitches round the inside of a garment that sews the seam allowances to the facing to prevent it rolling to the outside. Usually between 1/16″ and 1/4″ from the edge of the garment. It does not show on the outside.
WS: Wrong side, usually in reference to the wrong side of fabric. This side of the fabric is bland and usually has a muted version of the print side of the fabric.
WST: Wrong sides together, the two fabrics that are to be sewn together have the wrong sides of the fabric touching.