Skip to Content

Learn Sewing Terms: A-Z Guide for Beginners (2023)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

Sewing is an art form that has been around for centuries, and it is a skill that many find fascinating and rewarding. Although it takes patience and practice to truly master the craft, having a firm understanding of sewing terms can help you get started.

In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about the common terms and techniques used in sewing – from A to Z.

Key Takeaways

what are sewing terms
Understanding sewing terms is crucial for successful sewing projects. Mastery of sewing terminology unlocks a world of possibilities for creative projects. Different types of fabric have different properties and require different techniques and tools.

Understanding Sewing Terms: a Beginner’s Guide

Understanding Sewing Terms: a Beginner
With this comprehensive guide, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to start sewing confidently and understand even the most complex terms.

To begin with, it’s important to familiarize yourself with fabric grains. They help determine direction when cutting pattern pieces.

Next is seam allowance. Depending on the garment or pattern company used, these measurements can vary from very narrow to wide.

Bias binding is strips of fabric cut at a 45-degree angle towards selvage. They are often used for finishing raw edges nicely within garments such as collars or armholes.

Interfacing types come in many weights, and fusible interfacing should be preshrunk before applying onto fabrics so there won’t be any surprises once finished!

The presser foot on your sewing machine comes into play when attaching zippers (invisible ones require special feet) as well as button bands which consist of two panels: one containing buttons while the other holds buttonholes for closure purposes.

To add structure along with strength inside garments, fusible interfacing may be employed, although sew-in options exist too. In addition, knits should follow grainlines printed on patterns closely while pressing cloths help protect fabrics during ironing sessions.

Darts also allow shaping around certain areas such as busts or waists, whereas hemming involves folding the bottom edge towards the inner side after double fold has been done already.

Moreover, stay stitching stabilizes curves prior to constructing the main part followed by notching/clipping where necessary afterwards.

With all these tips & tricks in mind, plus more information found online through tutorial videos, etc.

The Importance of Knowing Sewing Terms

The Importance of Knowing Sewing Terms
Knowing the importance of sewing terms can help you become a better seamstress. Having an understanding of these terms will allow you to confidently use interfacing, invisible zippers, bias binding, and press cloths with ease.

It is also important to understand how to use twin needles and sew French Seams correctly, as well as know what type of seam allowance should be used for different fabrics and projects. Knowing about the bobbin case in your machine or when it’s best to do machine basting over hand-basting are all essential skills that require basic knowledge of sewing terms before they can be mastered.

Additionally, having a good grasp on proper pressing techniques, such as how much pressure needs to be applied along the edges of garments, will give you professional-looking results every time without any unsightly puckering or misshapen seams!

Finally, being familiar with common tools such as tailor’s tacks and dressmaker hams makes creating beautiful pieces even easier by providing stability where needed while ensuring accuracy in cutting out patterns from fabric!

A-Z Sewing Guide: Common Terms and Techniques

A-Z Sewing Guide: Common Terms and Techniques
You may be wondering, what exactly are sewing terms and techniques? The A-Z Sewing Guide is a comprehensive guide to common sewing terms and techniques. From armscye or armhole to zigzag stitch, this guide covers everything from basic definitions of fabrics and stitches to more advanced concepts such as bias binding, fusible interfacing, and stay stitching.


Discover how the armscye or armhole is the opening in the bodice where the sleeve is attached, and learn all about bias binding strips of fabric cut on a 45-degree angle to create professional-looking results.

Master the basics of darting, seam allowances, and French seams for structured garments with ease. Understand interfacing types such as fusible and sew-in, plus buttonhole techniques that will give any garment a finished look.

Take your knowledge further by exploring woven fabrics, bound seams, top tension adjustments for different weights of fabric, and stabilizing unstable fabrics with underlining or interlining.


You can use bar tack to reinforce or keep a facing in place, and even spruce it up with bias binding strips cut on the diagonal for a sharp finish. To gather fabric, adjust your machine’s longest stitch length and select non-stretch fabrics.

Ensure the grain line is parallel to the greatest amount of stretch. When sewing button bands, remember to set the seam allowance correctly, using either a presser foot or buttonhole foot.


When tackling curves, clipping and notching can provide the best results. When selecting fabric weaves, consider seam allowance widths for heavier fabrics.

Thread tension should be adjusted to match the thickness of your material – too loose or tight will affect stitches. To finish raw edges neatly, use bias binding strips cut on a 45-degree angle from the selvage.

Reverse stitching is important when beginning or ending seams as it reinforces them securely.


You’ll be amazed at the difference darts can make to your garments – they shape and mould fabric around curves for a professional finish! To achieve this, you need to understand seam allowances explained, notching and clipping techniques as well as interfacing basics.

Utilize French seams when working with delicate fabrics or create better fittings by using cut-on facings along the diagonal direction of a piece of fabric. Adjust stitch length accordingly for knit garments while ensuring that all raw edges are finished off neatly with bias binding strips.

Master these sewing essentials and watch how your projects will take on another dimension!


Try easing your garment for a comfortable fit – it’s the difference between a snug hug and feeling constricted! Ease determines how much room you need to move around without straining the fabric or creating baggy spots.

Hand-stitches, such as running stitches, are used to gather excess fabric along edges of seams while an invisible zipper can be sewn with special presser feet. Understanding needlework stitch techniques and the weft of woven fabrics allows for precision in sewing projects from start to finish.

If you’re starting a sewing project, it’s important to understand fabric types, maintain your machine regularly, and have essential tools at hand like tailor’s tacks and seam rippers.

Basic Sewing Terms Every Sewist Should Know

Basic Sewing Terms Every Sewist Should Know
Discovering the amazing world of sewing starts with understanding some basic terms – like armscye, backstitch, and bias binding. Knowing these key concepts can help you gain confidence in your crafting strategies as you explore all the possibilities sewing has to offer.

Here are a few common techniques that every sewist should have under their belt:

  • Armscye or armhole is the opening in the bodice where a sleeve is attached. A backstitch or back tack secures stitches at both ends of this seam, and bar tacks reinforce it for added stability.
  • Basting uses temporary, loose stitches to gather fabric or hold something in place before more permanent stitching takes its place. Bias refers to fabric cut on an angle from the selvage edge along crosswise grainlines for bindings and trims.
  • To get a perfect fit when making garments, use notching and clipping around convex curves instead of pinning them up as these will give better results overall.
  • For finishing raw edges, try hong kong seams which encase them using bias-cut fabrics.

These practical techniques are just scratching the surface, but already creative solutions start appearing all over garment construction, allowing us to create truly unique pieces without spending days mastering a certain skillset – because sometimes small changes make huge differences after all!

Glossary of Sewing Terms and Techniques

Glossary of Sewing Terms and Techniques
Unveil the secrets of sewing by understanding basics, including stitching techniques and terminology. To start, refer to a comprehensive guide like the table below that outlines commonly used sewing terms and techniques in three columns: terminology, definition or purpose, and examples.

Terminology Definition/Purpose Examples
Stitch Length The length of stitches on fabric Shorter stitch lengths for delicate fabrics; longer ones for heavier materials
Interfacing Types Material added between layers to add structure/shape Malleable interfacings are used with soft fabrics while sturdy ones work well with heavy textiles

Fabric Grains

Inside of a garment

Separate piece of fabric

Commonly Used Seam Allowances

Test Buttonholes

Narrow Zig-Zag Stitches

By mastering these basic concepts through practice and study from reputable sources such as Sewing Guide websites or books authored by renowned seamstresses/seamsters (tailors), one can improve their skills.

In addition to learning about technicalities like stitch length adjustments based on material thickness or choosing interfacing types depending on desired outcome (e.g., shaping/sturdiness), it is also important to understand essential elements such as grain direction when cutting out pattern pieces.

Another useful technique includes testing buttonhole sizes before making them permanent because they cannot be undone once cut.

Another common skill involves using narrow zig-zag stitches along raw edges instead of more traditional straight seams since this method provides better flexibility without compromising durability over time due mainly to its reinforced nature.

In conclusion, having an understanding of basic sewing terms is essential if you want your projects to turn out beautifully! With continued practice combined with additional resources available online today, which include videos, blogs, and even online courses

Sewing Terms 101: From a to Z

Sewing Terms 101: From a to Z
Gain a comprehensive understanding of sewing terms by exploring our A-Z guide full of tips and tricks! Whether you’re just getting started with sewing or looking to brush up on your knowledge, this guide will help.

From armscye to zigzag stitch, learn all the essential stitching techniques used in sewers around the world. Start by mastering thread tension and basting techniques for anchoring stitches before diving into grain direction and seam allowance.

As you become more experienced, explore interfacing types like fusible interfacing that can be ironed on for added strength or sew-in varieties sewn directly into garments for structured tailoring projects.

Loose stitches such as backstitch and machine basting enable gathering fabric while hand-sewn running stitch can be used to create ruffles when pressed together correctly along seam edges. After careful pressing of fabrics, small cuts like notching or clipping give better results in convex curved parts while French seams offer a clean finish look.

An invisible zipper needs special presser feet which make it easy for even beginners to get great results from the first time. Lastly, topstitching is an important technique used for decorative purposes but also strengthens garment construction at the same time.

Sewing Terms and Definitions for Successful Sewing

Sewing Terms and Definitions for Successful Sewing
Gain a better understanding of successful sewing by learning the names and definitions of essential sewing terms! Knowing the different types of grainlines, interfacings, bias binding basics, seam finishing tips, and pressing cloth techniques is crucial for achieving good results.

Here are some important terms to look out for:

  • Grainline – This refers to the direction in which threads intersect in woven fabric. It should be aligned parallel with the lengthwise grain when cutting pieces from your pattern.
  • Interfacing – This is used as an inner layer between two fabrics to add strength or structure, such as collars or cuffs on garments. There are various types available, including fusible and sew-in, depending on how much weight you need it to support.
  • Bias Binding Basics – These strips of fabric cut at a 45-degree angle help finish off raw edges while adding extra stability around curves where regular hems won’t work well due to their shape, such as armscyes or necklines.
  • Seam Finishing Tips – Different amounts of ease can be added during construction so that seams lie flat once finished. This will depend largely on what type/weight material has been chosen too!
  • Pressing Cloth Techniques – A pressing cloth should always be used when working with delicate materials like silk organza. They also protect your iron from damage caused by excessive heat build-up over time!

Knowing these key words is invaluable if you want to achieve success within any garment making project! Therefore, it’s important that we understand them thoroughly before getting started so our projects turn out looking professional every single time! With each technique mastered comes greater mastery over our skillset, allowing us freedom both creatively and technically when creating something special from scratch

A Comprehensive Guide to Sewing Terms and Techniques

A Comprehensive Guide to Sewing Terms and Techniques
Discover the A-Z guide of sewing terms and techniques to help you learn all the essential vocab and hone your skills!

Every sewist should have a basic understanding of grainline, preshrinking fabric, seam finishing techniques, interfacing types, and basting basics.

Learn how to make a sewn mitered corner or use topstitching for extra strength. Both are great options when dealing with thicker fabrics. You’ll also need to know about different kinds of fabric so that you can choose the right one for each project.

And don’t forget about zero stitch length – it’s essential if you want your seams secure yet invisible on lightweight materials like chiffon or silk organza.

Once familiar with these concepts, start thinking creatively by playing around with darts or bindings as an alternative way to finish edges instead of using hemming tape.

Finally, take some time out from learning theory by practicing various stitching styles such as running stitch embroidery, which is sure to bring a unique flair into any garment design.

With this comprehensive guide on sewing terms and techniques under your belt, success will surely be yours!

Essential Sewing Terms for Every Sewing Project

Essential Sewing Terms for Every Sewing Project
As you embark on your next sewing project, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of essential sewing terms. To create great finishes and ensure accuracy in your work, there are several key words that should be familiar to any sewist.

From gathering fabric for fullness or ruffles, to notching and clipping convex curves, and negative ease used in knit garments, these are just some of the most common terms used when creating garment pieces from a piece of patterned fabric.

Let’s start with Gathering Fabric. This refers to taking two parallel rows of stitches along one edge so that you can pull them together into gathers, which adds volume or texture to the piece being created.

Notching & Clipping is another technique often employed when dealing with curved seams such as armholes or necklines.

Negative Ease also plays an important role, particularly within knitted fabrics, where extra tension needs applying before cutting as this helps give structure once sewn up.

Plus, don’t forget about Press Cloth & Fusible Interfacing too! A press cloth acts as protection between the iron and garment while pressing out seam allowances, ensuring no shine appears on the finished item.

Fusible interfacing gives additional strength and structure, especially if using lightweight materials (e.

With these techniques firmly under your belt, combined with knowledge from our comprehensive guide outlining all other essential sewing terminology, you’ll soon be able to craft beautiful items like never before!

Mastering Sewing Terms: Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Mastering Sewing Terms: Tips and Tricks for Beginners
You can easily navigate the world of sewing terms and techniques with a few simple tips and tricks! Start by understanding the basics, such as armscyes or armholes, backstitching or back tacking to secure stitches at the beginning and end of seams.

Learn bar tacking for reinforcing facings in place, basting for temporarily gathering fabric, and bias cuts on 45-degree angles to selvage. Also, familiarize yourself with bobbin spools which supply bottom threads in stitches.

Bound seams use double fold bias binding while French seams are used when creating Tsuno Tie Bags.

Gathered fabrics create fullness and ruffles while grain refers to the direction warp/weft woven fabric takes. Also, be aware that the grainline should always run parallel lengthwise grain when cutting out pattern pieces from cloths like calico or knits – both require preshrinking beforehand so items don’t shrink after construction has been completed.

Hems along bottom edges need folding towards the inside using narrow seam allowances (dependent upon weight) whilst invisible zips need special presser feet during the stitching process.

Finally, master pressing techniques including ironing board covers plus tailor’s ham cushions shaping collars/cuffs, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What tools do I need to start sewing?

To start sewing, you will need a few basic tools: a sewing machine, thread, needles, and fabric. For instance, you can use calico fabric and set up your machine to sew seams or hems. You can also get creative by adding interfacing for structure or bobbin embroidery for decoration.

To finish off your project, use bias binding to neaten raw edges or presser feet for zippers.

How do I know which type of fabric is best for my project?

Discover your project’s fabric needs by considering the type of material, weight, stretch percentage, and texture. Weave a tale of the best-fit fabrics – choose calico for lightweight items or knit when flexibility is desired.

For strength, select wovens or add interfacing, while facing requires bias binding strips.

How do I use a seam ripper?

To use a seam ripper, carefully unpick stitches by cutting the thread between fabric layers. Then, slide the tip of the tool under each stitch before pulling it up and away from your project, as if unlocking a secret door.

How do I know when to use a presser foot?

A presser foot is used to help guide fabric when sewing. It presses the material against feed dogs as you stitch, ensuring even tension and a professional finish. An interesting fact is that there are different types of presser feet for each type of project, such as zipper feet or walking feet.

What are the differences between woven and knit fabrics?

Woven fabrics are made from interlocking threads, while knits have elasticity woven in. Both are strong and durable, but knits can stretch up to 30%, making them more comfortable for movement.


With the proper understanding of sewing terminology, you can create anything you can imagine! From the fundamentals of bias and bias binding to the more intricate techniques of stay stitching and hong kong seams, mastering the language of sewing will unlock a world of possibilities.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.