Aida. The most commonly used type of fabric for counted cross-stitch. There are many varieties. Blocks of thread are woven (blockweave) together leaving obvious holes for stitching.
Assisi Work. This is a variation of cross-stitch. The stitches used are the same, but the principle of the design is reversed - as the background is embroidered and the pattern left plain and in outline.
Alter. To change or revise a pattern or garment to suit individual sizing or desires. This could be making an item larger or smaller, adding darts, lengthening a bodice, etc.
Apparel. General term used to describe garments made by a person who sews.
Applique. Sewing a piece of fabric atop another after folding under a small bit of the fabric to create a clean edge. When done by machine, many use a satin stitch (tight zig zag). By hand, blind stitching is often used. Applique can be done with or without a fusible or stabilizer.
Armscye. Armhole. The story has it that the word is derived from the term "arm's eye", as in the eye of a needle. In this case, though, the arm goes through, not the thread.
Awl. Tool with pointed tip used to push out corners when fabric is turned (for example, when making a collar).
Acrylic. A manufactured fiber derived from polyacrylonitrile. Its major properties include a soft, wool-like hand, machine washable and dryable, excellent color retention. Solution-dyed versions have excellent resistance to sunlight and chlorine degradation.
Alpaca. A natural hair fiber obtained from the Alpaca sheep, a domesticated member of the llama family. The fiber is most commonly used in fabrics made into dresses, suits, coats, and sweaters.
Angora. The hair of the Angora goat. Also known as Angora mohair. Angora may also apply to the fur of the Angora rabbit. However, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, any apparel containing Angora rabbit hair must be labeled as "Angora rabbit hair" on the garment.

Bargello. Also known as Florentine. This refers both to the craft itself and to the type of stitch. Long straight, vertical stitches on canvas produce geometric and zigzag designs. The variations in the groups and sizes of the stitches create the patterns. Despite having originated in Europe in the 17th century, Bargello has a contempry feel. It is easy to create designs, and is hardwearing, so is suitable for cushions, chair and stool covers.
Beading Needle. A long, sharp needle with a round eye. Used for beads and sequins.
Berlin Work. Half cross-stitch that is coarser (therefore quicker) than standard cross-stitch, and uses brighter colours. It originated in the 19th century.
Black Work. As its name suggests, embroidery originally done in black thread. It can be in other colours or using metallic threads - the result is called silver gilt. Its history goes back at least six hundred years. It is often linked with Catherine of Aragon, a skilled needlewoman, for making it popular in court. Traditionally the style involved a fine, black silk thread worked on linen, mostly in back stitch, in diamond patterns. It is very expressive and textured.
Backing. Generally a quilting term that defines the fabric used as the back layer of the quilt. Can also be used to describe the layer of fabric used inside a wearable art vest, ets.
Backstitch. Used at the beginning and end of a machine sewn seam to anchor the seam in place; it involves a couple of extra stitches back and forth.
Ballpoint needle. Ballpoint needles are designed to penetrate knit fabrics without nicking or damaging the fabric.
Bar tack. A group of closely sewn stitchs (back and forth from side to side a la zig zag) that is used to tack a belt loop or similar item in place, and is often used in buttonhole making. This is not a basting stitch and should be repeated several times on the machine to make a very short run of satin stitching.
Baste/basting. Temporary stitching used to hold a sewing project in place and is removed when the permanent sewing is done (usually long or large stitches).
Batting. Fiberfill, cotton, wool, or other material that is flattened and usually on a roll and purchased in precut lengths or by the yard. Uses of batting range from filling for placemats or vests to quilts. Simply, batting is the "fluff" inside the quilt or garment.
Bias. Runs diagonally to the straight grain of the fabric. This is the stretchiest part on the fabric.
Bias tape. Strips of fabric cut on the bias, often turned under and pressed, and used for bindings, facings, or other application where there is a need for stretch or accomodation to curves.
Binding (blanket, quilt, etc.). Encasing the raw edges of a blanket or quilt with another piece of fabric. Binding also refers to the fabric that is folded and used for the encasing of the raw edges.
Blanket stitch. Used to serge the edge of a buttonhole, blanket, vest edge, or other seamline. A blanket stitch can be done by hand or machine.
Blind hem stitch. Sewing stitch that is not meant to be seen on the right side of the fabric, usually accomplished by picking up one thread of the fabric at a time rather than going through the full fabric or several threads before completing a hand stitch or machine stitch. Many sewing machines come with a blind hem attachment and the manual is the best guide for how to use it and produce virtually invisible hems.
Block. A block is the individual unit used in a quilt top. Blocks can also be made to create pillows or a length of fabric from which a garment is cut. Blocks make interesting pockets and embellishment on an otherwise less-than-exciting garment.
Bobbin. The piece of your sewing machine that holds the bottom thread (the bobbin thread) and is placed in the bobbin case. It generally is under the area the needle penetrates and it loops with the needle thread to form a locked stitch.
Bodice. The part of a pattern or garment which runs from shoulder to waist.
Bolt. A large roll of fabric which can be on a tubular roll or a rectangular form. Fabric is usually folded right sides together lengthwise on a bolt.
Buckram. Strong, heavy woven fabric used for stiffening baseball cap brims and some drapery applications.
Butting. Bringing two edges together so they touch but do not overlap.
Buttonhole. A bound slit in the fabric to allow the passage of a button for closure. Buttonholes are mostly made by machine these days, but many people do still prefer to make them by hand, using a special buttonhole stitch.
Barr?. An imperfection, characterized by a ridge or mark running in the crosswise or lengthwise directions of the fabric. Barr?s can be caused by tension variations in the knitting process, poor quality yarns, problems during the finishing process.
Batiste. A medium-weight, plain weave fabric, usually made of cotton or cotton blends. End-uses include blouses and dresses.
Boucle. A knit or woven fabric made from a rough, curly, knotted boucle yarn. The fabric has a looped, knotted surface and is often used in sportswear and coats.
Broadcloth. A plain weave tightly woven fabric, characterized by a slight ridge effect in one direction, usually the filling. The most common broadcloth is made from cotton or cotton/polyester blends.
Brocade. A heavy, exquisite jacquard type fabric with an all-over raised pattern or floral design. Common end-uses include such formal applications as upholstery, draperies, and eveningwear.
Burlap. A loosely constructed, heavy weight, plain weave fabric used as a carpet backing, and as inexpensive packaging for sacks of grain or rice. Also, as fashion dictates, burlap may also appear as a drapery fabric.
Burn-out. A brocade-like pattern effect created on the fabric through the application of a chemical, instead of color, during the burn-out printing process. (Sulfuric acid, mixed into a colorless print paste, is the most common chemical used.) Many simulated eyelet effects can be created using this method. In these instances, the chemical destroys the fiber and creates a hole in the fabric in a specific design, where the chemical comes in contact with the fabric. The fabric is then over-printed with a simulated embroidery stitch to create the eyelet effect. However, burn-out effects can also be created on velvets made of blended fibers, in which the ground fabric is of one fiber like a polyester, and the pile may be of a cellulosic fiber like rayon or acetate. In this case, when the chemical is printed in a certain pattern, it destroys the pile in those areas where the chemical comes in contact with the fabric, but leave the ground fabric unharmed.

Canvas Work. This term can be used to cover any form of needlecraft using canvas, or, more specifically, be the term used to define mixed stitch work done on canvas. This can also be known as Stitchery or Canvas Embroidery.
Congress Cloth. Cotton, which comes in various colours and is particularly good for samplers. Liable to watermark.
Continental Tent Stitch. A type of tent stitch where the reverse diagonals are longer than the front diagonals, and is sewn back and forth across the canvas /fabric. It is hard wearing.
Crewel Needle. A medium, sharp needle with an oval eye. Suitable for crewel work, embroidery and smocking.
Crewel Wool. A 2 ply wool that comes in a particularly wide range of shades.
Crewel Embroidery. Also know as Jacobean Embroidery. Wool embroidery on a twill fabric, using a particular stylised form of design.
Cross-stitch. This refers both to the craft itself and to the type of stitch. There are 2 fundamental ways of sewing cross stitch: the Danish method - also called "here and there", where one completes a line of half stitches and then returns to complete the X; and the more traditional method where each cross is completed before starting the next one.
Casing. Fabric envelope of sorts for encasing elastic, a drawstring, or similar material, usually along a waistline, cuff, hem. Elastic waist slacks have a casing into which the elastic is woven. Sweat pants have a turned up casing into through which elastic is encased (if there are not ribbed cuffs).
Clip (curve). Methods vary from person to person, but to clip a curve keep in mind that an outside curve (shaped like an upside down U) needs to be clipped to within a breath of the seam line. An inside curve (shaped like a right side up U) can be either clipped or you can cut very small notches (V shape) out of the curve itself in order to have it lay flat and not make bunches when the project or garment is done. If you use a serger to finish your seams, clipping is not an issue.
Cording. A twisted or woven "rope" or "string" that is used primarily in piping and to act as a drawstring in a jacket hood, waistband, or as stabilizer for frog closures. Cording is covered with bias strips of fabric when used for most decorative applications (such as edging a pillow). Other decorative effects can be achieved by zig-zagging over cording on a fabric for a raised design.
Covered button. A button covered with coordinating or same fabric as the garment for which it is being made. Kits are available for this effect or creative and careful application of fabric, fabric glue and shank buttons can be used.
Cutting line. On a pattern, the outermost dark line is the line upon which you cut. Traditions vary; some people cut through the center of this line, others cut just to the outside of this line.
Calico. A tightly-woven cotton type fabric with an all-over print, usually a small floral pattern on a contrasting background color. Common end-uses include dresses, aprons, and quilts.
Camel's Hair. A natural fiber obtained from the hair of the Bactrian camel, a two-humped pack-carrying species. The fiber is used primarily in coats, sweaters, and suits.
Cashmere. A luxury fiber obtained from the soft fleecy undergrowth of the Kashmir goat of Tibet, Mongolia, China, Iran, Iraq, and India. Most commonly used in sweaters, shawls, suits, coats, and dresses.
Challis. A lightweight, soft plain weave fabric with a slightly brushed surface. The fabric is often printed, usually in a floral pattern. Challis is most often seen in fabrics made of cotton, wool, or rayon.
Chambray. A plain woven fabric that can be made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers, but is most commonly cotton. It incorporates a colored warp (often blue) and white filling yarns.
Chiffon. A plain woven lightweight, extremely sheer, airy, and soft silk fabric, containing highly twisted filament yarns. The fabric, used mainly in evening dresses and scarves, can also be made from rayon and other manufactured fibers.
Chintz. A plain-weave fabric, which has been glazed to produce a polished look. Usually made of cotton, this fabric is most commonly used in blouses, dresses, draperies, and slipcovers.
Core-Spun Yarns. Consist of a filament base yarn, with an exterior wrapping of loose fiber which has not been twisted into a yarn. Polyester filament is often wrapped with a cotton outer layer in order to provide the strength and resiliency of polyester, along with the moisture-absorbent aesthetics and dye affinity of cotton. Sewing thread as well as household and apparel fabrics are made from these yarns.
Cotton. A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant. Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than 1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality cotton fabrics.
Crepe-back Satin. A satin fabric in which highly twisted yarns are used in the filling direction. The floating yarns are made with low twist and may be of either high or low luster. If the crepe effect is the right side of the fabric, the fabric is called satin-back crepe.

Duo Canvas. Also known as Double Thread or Penelope Canvas. This canvas has two sets of threads, creating networks of large and small holes. This allows different stitch sizes on the same canvas e.g. 10hpi for background and 20hpi for fine detail like flowers and faces. "Antique" duo is generally better quality than "white".
Darn. To repair a hole by using stitches going back and forth that fill the hole. Most commonly referred to when repairing socks. Some people use special darning tools and balls to keep fabric taut while they make the repair with needle and thread. Some sewing machines come with darning attachments and stitches.
Dart. A V shaped, tapered adjustment to a pattern to allow for more fullness in the bust area or less fullness in other areas (waist, back). Darts can be creatively placed for fit or design elements.
Dongle. A small security device or key for your computer that attaches to the printer port/cable. It is used between embroidery machines and computers, protecting from theft of designs, keeping track of converted images, etc. It may also be used in cybercafes to keep track of time on a computer for which you're paying in time increments.
Drape/drapes. Drape describes the way fabric hangs and falls from the body. Drapes are a formal window covering hung from drapery rods.
Duct Tape Double (DTD). A body form made out of primarily duct tape and other materials that conforms exactly to one's body because the tape is wound around the body and then removed as a whole.
Damask. A glossy jacquard fabric, usually made from linen, cotton, rayon, silk, or blends. The patterns are flat and reversible. The fabric is often used in napkins, tablecloths, draperies, and upholstery.
Denier. A system of measuring the weight of a continuous filament fiber. In the United States, this measurement is used to number all manufactured fibers (both filament and staple), and silk, but excluding glass fiber. The lower the number, the finer the fiber; the higher the number, the heavier the fiber. Numerically, a denier is the equivalent to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of continuous filament fiber.
Denim. True denim is a twill weave cotton-like fabric made with different colored yarns in the warp and the weft. Due to the twill construction, one color predominates on the fabric surface.
Doeskin. Generally applied to a type of fabric finish in which a low nap is brushed in one direction to create a soft suede-like hand on the fabric surface. End-uses include billiard table surfaces and men's' sportswear.
Donegal Tweed. A medium to heavy of plain or twill weave fabric in which colorful yarn slubs are woven into the fabric. The name originally applied to a hand-woven woolen tweed fabric made in Donegal, Ireland. End-uses include winter coats and suits.
Dotted Swiss. A lightweight, sheer cotton or cotton blend fabric with a small dot flock-like pattern either printed on the surface of the fabric, or woven into the fabric. End-uses for this fabric include blouses, dresses, baby clothes, and curtains.
Duck. A tightly woven, heavy, plain-weave, bottom-weight fabric with a hard, durable finish. The fabric is usually made of cotton, and is widely used in men's and women's slacks, and children's playclothes.

Embroidery Needle. A medium, sharp needle with an oval eye. Suitable for crewel work, embroidery, smocking .
Evenweave. Any fabric with the same number of threads per inch vertically and horizontally, which is important for accurate count sizes. Most canvases and aida are evenweaves.
Ease. A way of sewing a length of fabric into a bit of a smaller space without resulting in gathers or puckers.
Edgestitch. A stitch done a scant 1/8" from the folded or seamed edge.
Embellish. Adding special stitching, appliques, charms, or other decorations to your sewing project. Anything that adds something extra to the original design.
Entredeux. French word meaning "between two". Often it's a piece of lightweight fabric joined to another piece of lightweight fabric with a delicate bit of lace. Another method is to join two ribbons with a piece of lace.
Embroidery. An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.
Eyelet. A type of fabric which contains patterned cut-outs, around which stitching or embroidery may be applied in order to prevent the fabric from raveling.

Floor Standing frames. These are the best choice for the frequent stitcher. Dependant on the design, the actually frame is clamped or rested on the stand.
Florentine. Also known as Bargello. This refers both to the craft itself and to the type of stitch. Long straight, vertical stitches on canvas produce geometric and zigzag designs. The variations in the groups and sizes of the stitches create the patterns. Despite having originated in Europe in the 17th century, Bargello has a contempry feel. It is easy to create designs, and is hardwearing, so is suitable for cushions, chair and stool covers.
Floss. is a single untwisted silk thread, often used for ecclesiastic embroidery. It is much used in India and China.
Flower thread. 100% cotton thread, equal to about three strands of embroidery floss.
Fractional Stitches. Cross-stitches with missing arms: ?, ?, ?
Facing. Fabric sewn on the raw edge of a garment piece that is turned under and serves as a finish for the edge as well.
Fat quarter. Prior a quilting term, but often used for wearable art, vests, smaller garments, a fat quarter is 1/4 yard of fabric, about 18" x 22" as opposed to a regular 1/4 yard, which is 9" x 45". Fat quarters allow quick and colorful stash building.
Feed dog. The "teeth" under the plate on the sewing machine that move fabric as it is sewn.
Findings. In jewelry making, findings are the holders, the items used to make jewelry (earring wires, faux jewels, etc.). In sewing, findings are also known as notion. Findings are the little extras.
Finger pressing. Opening a seam with your hands and pressing or rubbing the seam open with your fingers. Sometimes used in craft projects or small areas on a garment.
Finish (an edge). Turn under 1/4" and stitch, serge the edge, or other method of finishing the edge so it doesn't ravel or cause a bulky problem.
Flat felled seam. A seam created by sewing fabric wrong sides together, trimming one of the seam allowances close to the seam, then turning the other seam allowance under and stitching it over the prior trimmed seam allowance. This is often used for reinforcing seams on pajamas or to reduce bulk in a seam.
Fold line. Many pattern pieces are placed on the fold of a piece of fabric. This is the actual fold of the fabric off the bolt or a fold of your own creation; the goal is to have a pattern piece that is cut out without a center seam.
Foot. The piece of the sewing machine that presses down on the fabric as it is moved by the feed dogs below. The foot can have special properties (zipper foot used for zippers or cording, for example) or may be an all purpose foot used for most machine stitching needs.
Fusible (webbing, interfacing, etc.). Has the characteristic of being able to be ironed on, usually permanently, with or without reinforcement by stitching, due to a heat-activated "glue" on one side.
French curve. A tool used for drafting curves when altering or creating sewing patterns or designs.
Face. The right side or the better-looking side of the fabric.
Faille. A glossy, soft, finely-ribbed silk-like woven fabric made from cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers.
Fiber. The basic entity, either natural or manufactured, which is twisted into yarns, and then used in the production of a fabric.
Flannel. A medium-weight, plain or twill weave fabric that is typically made from cotton, a cotton blend, or wool. The fabric has a very soft hand, brushed on both sides to lift the fiber ends out of the base fabric and create a soft, fuzzy surface. End-uses include shirts and pajamas.
Flannelette. A medium-weight, plain weave fabric with a soft hand, usually made from cotton. The fabric is usually brushed only on one side, and is lighter weight than flannel. End-uses include shirts and pajamas.
Flax. The plant from which cellulosic linen fiber is obtained. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.
Foulard. A lightweight twill-weave fabric, made from filament yarns like silk, acetate, polyester, with a small all-over print pattern on a solid background. The fabric is often used in men's ties.

Gauge. The number of holes per inch (hpi) or threads. The higher the gauge, the finer the fabric. The "gauge" of fabric/canvas and type of fibres affect the size of needle, the type and number of strands of fibre used, the detail of the final design and the length of time for the design to grow!
Gather. Gathering allows for making a long piece of fabric to fit with a shorter piece of fabric and also is a method of easing a seam to allow insertion of sleeves and other rounded pattern pieces. When making an apron, there is a waistband that is the size of the person's waist, plus some extra for tying the apron around the body. The apron itself usually is gathered, fluffy, almost pleated and has more fabric that flows from the waistband. The apron seam was gathered and then sewn to the waistline. To gather the seam, two parallel lines are sewn on the right side of the fabric, a scant 1/4" apart. Long tails of thread are left for gathering. The bobbin threads (on the wrong side of the fabric) are held on either end of the seam and gently tugged, gathering the fabric evenly on the threads. Do not scrimp and only sew one thread of long length stitches; you will need both.
Grading (seams). Trimming raw edges in graduate widths to reduce bulk. The narrowest seam edge should be closest to the body, as a general rule.
Grain. Direction of the fabric that runs parallel to the selvage (a stretchier grain is found running perpendicular to the selvage). Commercial patterns have an arrow on them <-----> indicating direction of the grain to assit in laying out the pattern pieces correctly.
Gusset. A bit of fabric sewn into a seamline to provide fullness (to let a garment out) or decoration. A lot of gussets were used in the early 50s that were diamond shaped and were used under the arm of a dress to give it more movement.
Gabardine. A tightly woven, twilled, worsted fabric with a slight diagonal line on the right side. Wool gabardine is known as a year-round fabric for business suiting. Polyester, cotton, rayon, and various blends are also used in making gabardine.
Gauze. A thin, sheer plain-weave fabric made from cotton, wool, silk, rayon, or other manufactured fibers. End-uses include curtains, apparel, trimmings, and surgical dressings.
Georgette. A sheer lightweight fabric, often made of silk or from such manufactured fibers as polyester, with a crepe surface. End-uses include dresses and blouses.
Gingham. A medium weight, plain weave fabric with a plaid or check pattern. End-uses include dresses, shirts, and curtains.

Hardanger. Deriving its name from the Norwegian Fjord, this is a method of cutting fabric and removing threads to create an openwork mesh of embroidery. Geometric designs are based on Kloster blocks of embroidered squares. Hardanger fabric can be wool or cotton and is usually 22 pairs of threads to the inch.
Half Cross Stitch. A form of tent stitch, where the reverse has short, vertical lines. It uses less thread, and is less hardwearing than other forms of tent stitch. It is good for pictures.
Hank. A hank of tapestry wool is approximately 55 meters and a hank of crewel wool is approximatle 180 meters.
hpi. The number of holes (or threads) that a fabric has per inch. The higher the gauge, the finer the fabric.
Hoops Frames. A hand frame that is most appropriate for smaller works on fine fabrics. However there is a risk of marking and stretching the fabric
Ham. Also known as a dressmaker's ham or tailor's ham. This is a tightly stuffed, "ham" shaped item that is used at the ironing board to support and provide the appropriate molding for pressing curved areas - darts, princess seams, sleeves, etc.
Hem. Fabric that it turned up on the lower edge of a garment or sleeve to provide a finished edge. Often extra fabric is left in the hem with children's clothing to allow for growth (especially skirts and slacks).
Hong Kong finish. Enclosing a seam with bias binding.
Hook & eye closure. A type of closure that employs a small hook on one side and a loop made of fabric or metal on the other. The hook and eye is used at the upper back of many dresses and often on lingerie.

Interlock mono. Threads are bonded and do not move when stitched. Interlock does not unravel or fray. It is good for small items, but not ideal for upholstery as it can snap. 13 gauge can be too flimsy for some projects.
Inseam. Seam inside the leg of pants that runs from the crotch to the hem.
Interfacing. Fabric used between layers of fabric to provide stabilization and form. Usually used in collars, cuffs, plackets, some waistbands and pockets, and facings. Interfacing can be fusible (using your iron to release an adhesive) or not (sewn in).
Iron. An iron is a tool that is used to straighten or press fabric. The iron can be used with or without steam. It is a very important tool for the sewing room.
Ironing. Ironing is done by moving the iron back and forth over fabric. Ironing is generally not utilized when sewing. See "press".
Interlining. An insulation, padding, or stiffening fabric, either sewn to the wrong side of the lining or the inner side of the outer shell fabric. The interlining is used primarily to provide warmth in coats, jackets, and outerwear.

Jean jumper. A small piece of plastic made to ease sewing seams on denim by holding the presser foot up ever so slightly. Allows the presser foot to "jump" the seam as if it was level with the rest of the denim. Works well with all thick fabrics.

Kapok. A short, lightweight, cotton-like, vegetable fiber found in the seed pods of the Bombocaceae tree. Because of its brittle quality, it is generally not spun. However, its buoyancy and moisture resistance makes it ideal for use in cushions, mattresses, and life jackets.
Knit Fabrics. Fabrics made from only one set of yarns, all running in the same direction. Some knits have their yarns running along the length of the fabric, while others have their yarns running across the width of the fabric. Knit fabrics are held together by looping the yarns around each other. Knitting creates ridges in the resulting fabric. Wales are the ridges that run lengthwise in the fabric; courses run crosswise.

Laying tools. help keep threads untwisted when using several strands. The tool - which can also be a large tapestry needle or equivalent, is used to stroke the stands flat near where they emerge from the fabric.
Linen. is a fine single thread evenweave.
Loop method. A method for securing threads instead of knots.
Lining. Used to finish the inside of a garment, to hide the seam construction, to allow for ease of putting a garment on or taking it off, and to provide decorative effect. A lining is cut of the same pattern pieces as the garment and often is made of "slippery" fabrics. It provides a minimal amount of warmth and usually extends the life of a garment. Linings should be washable if the garment is washable and should be prewashed.

Medici Wool. A fine French wool, originally produced for the Aubusson carpets. It is finer than Crewel and Paterna wools. It is easily divisible and gives a very smooth finish when sewn.
Metallic threads. Blending filament adds lustre to ordinary floss. Braids are rounded and add definition and sparkle. Ribbons are flat threads.
Mono canvas. Mono canvas is woven, and is therefore easier to block than interlock. It is good for upholstery as it has a degree of "give", so is less likely to tear when under pressure.
Mono de Luxe Canvas. The best quality canvas, with rounder polished threads for smoother stitching, and less 'fuzzing' of the wool as it is pulled through the canvas. The higher the gauge, the stronger the canvas will be. It is available in white or antique. All kits manufactured by Sew Exciting use this canvas.
Mountmellick Embroidery. A form of white work which has no open or drawn spaces. The stitches lie as much as possible on the surface of the material with as little thread as possible underneath. It is a coarse form of embroidery, producing the maximum effect for the minimum effort.
Nap. The variation in colour reflection from threads lying different ways, as in velvet.
Machine embroidery. Decorative stitching created by using a regular sewing machine (zig zag, satin stitch, etc.) or a sewing machine specifically designed for machine embroidery. Combo machines are available as well.
Mend. To repair or fix a hole, tear, split or other problem with a garment. This can be done with sew-on patches, iron-on patches, stitching by machine or hand in a variety of manners, or whatever method is convenient.
Miter. Mitering a corner makes a smooth, tidy finish to a 90-degree corner, neatly squaring the corners while creating a diagonal seam from the point of the corner to the inside edge. Mitering is used for quilts corners, craft projects, some vests and jackets, and sometimes on collars or other decorative areas of a garment.
Muslin. A generally inexpensive woven fabric used to make crafts, back quilts, or to make draft or trial garments.
Madras. A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric with a striped, plaid, or checked pattern. A true madras will bleed when washed. This type of fabric is usually imported from India. End-uses are men's and women's shirts and dresses.
Matelass?. A medium to heavyweight luxury fabric made in a double cloth construction to create a blistered or quilted surface. Common end-uses are upholstery, draperies, and evening dresses.
Melton. A heavyweight, dense, compacted, and tightly woven wool or wool blend fabric used mainly for coats.
Merino. A type of wool that originates from pure-bred Merino sheep. The best Merino wool comes from Italy.
Mohair. Hair fibers from the Angora goat. End-uses include sweaters, coats, suits, and scarves.

Needlepoint. is the American name for tapestry and uses predominantly tent stitch.
Nap. Nap is the "fuzzy" part of a fabric that is usually directional in nature. Corderoy and velvet are good examples of fabric which has a nap or a pile. If smoothed with the hand in one direction, nap is typically shiny in one direction and not shiny in the other. When cutting out a pattern, care should be taken to keep fabric pieces going in the same direction nap-wise unless one is intentionally mixing naps and piles to produce a different kind of look. See "pile".
Narrow hem. A narrow hem is one that is approximately 1/8" or 1/4" and is used on men's shirts, slips, lingerie, napkins, and other items that need just a hint of a hem. Use a special sewing foot for this or turn the hem up with your fingers. See "hem".
Needle. Sewing machine needles come in a variety of sizes and types - ball point and sharps are the two major categories. Ball point is used for knits and regular sharp needles are used for nonstretch fabrics. There are also all purpose needles, but it is recommended that you use ball point or regular rather than all purpose. There are wing needles, wedge needles, needles of varying sizes and shapes, as well as twin needles for some fancier stitching.
Notch. Usually, the notch is shown on a pattern with a dark diamond. They are commonly cut outward and should be matched on seams when joining for sewing.
Notion. A term used for any item used for sewing other than the fabric and the machine.
Nainsook. A lightweight plain weave cotton fabric, usually finished to create a luster and a soft hand. Common end-uses are infants' wear, blouses, and lingerie.
Ninon. A lightweight, plain weave, made of silk or manufactured fibers, with an open mesh-like appearance. Since the fabric is made with high twist filament yarns, it has a crisp hand. End uses include eveningwear and curtains.
Nylon. Produced in 1938, the first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.

Overlock. An overcast stitch to prevent ravelling of fabric. There are sewing machines made to do overlock stitching. See "serger".
Overcasting, overstiching. Stitching done over a seam to prevent ravelling. This can be done by hand or machine.
Organdy. A stiffened, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count. End-uses include blouses, dresses, and curtains/draperies.
Organza. A crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric, with a medium to high yarn count , made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester. The fabric is used primarily in evening and wedding apparel for women.
Ottoman. A tightly woven plain weave ribbed fabric with a hard slightly lustered surface. The ribbed effect is created by weaving a finer silk or manufactured warp yarn with a heavier filler yarn, usually made of cotton, wool, or waste yarn. In the construction, the heavier filler yarn is completely covered by the warp yarn, thus creating the ribbed effect. End uses for this fabric include coats, suits, dresses, upholstery, and draperies.
Oxford. A fine, soft, lightweight woven cotton or blended with manufactured fibers in a 2 x 1 basket weave variation of the plain weave construction. The fabric is used primarily in shirtings.

Paterna Persian Wool. This comes in 3 or 5 ply and is divisible. The range of colours available in 5 ply is limited. It has a rough and a smooth direction - always use the smooth. When sewn it has a slight sheen.
Penelope Canvas. Also known as Double Thread or Penelope Canvas. This canvas has two sets of threads, creating networks of large and small holes, allowing different stitch sizes on the same canvas e.g. 10hpi for background and 20hpi for fine detail like flowers and faces. "Antique" duo is generally better quality than "white".
Perl? cotton. A lustrous, highly mercerised twisted non-divisible thread for counted thread work, which comes in various weights. It is highly versatile and can be used in most needlecrafts.
Petit Point. This refers to both the needlecraft and the canvas. The canvas is very fine with more than 17 or more holes per inch. The needlecraft uses tent stitch in wool or silk on Petit Point canvas to achieve fine detail and wonderful shading.
Plastic Canvas. Comes in small sheets of various shapes. Good for children to use and for rigid projects like boxes and tags.
Pattern weights. Weights used on paper patterns instead of pinning a pattern to the fabric.
Pile. See "nap".
Pinking shears. Shears with a V shape along the cutting edge used to cut fabric and have it remain essentially ravel-free.
Pins. Pins are used for temporary basting of fabric. They are used to hold patterns in place while cutting and to hold fabrics together while stitching (it is not recommended to machine sew over pins as they have been known to break your sewing machine needle, jam the machine, or cause other problems). Often, large safety pins are used to baste quilt layers before the final quilting. Care should be taken to use a pin that will not leave a large hole and to not leave pins in fabric too long; they could cause stains where they touch the fabric.
Pintuck. Narrow sewn rows of fabric that give a decorative raised look to a garment. Some bloused are made with pin tucking on the bodice for a more tailored look.
Piping. A cord covered with bias fabric, often used for decorative edging on garments or projects. This can be encased in seams for a nice effect.
Pivot. To leave the needle in fabric, raise the presserfoot and turn the fabric at a 45 degree angle. Then lower the presserfoot and start sewing. Used to sew square seams. (Thanks to Beth!)
Placket. A V-shaped opening at the end of a sleeve that is finished with a bias strip before the cuff is attached.
Pleat. A fold in fabric that is either inverted or folded outward, is not sewn except on the top edge (as in a skirt or slacks waistband), and provides decorative or functional fullness.
Preshrink. It is a good idea to wash your fabric in the manner in which your garment will be washed before you cut it and sew it. If you are making a pin cushion or a craft that will not be washed, you don't necessarily need to do this. The goal is to allow the fabric to shrink to whatever degree it is going to shrink before you use it; i.e., preshrinking it. If you do not do this, sewing your fabric without washing and drying it first, you may have puckers, uneven lines, buttonholes askew, etc. Do not preshrink dry clean only fabrics.
Press. Using an iron in a press/pick up/move/press/... pattern. Pressing is not moving back and forth on fabric with the iron. Pressing is done "as you go" while creating a garment.
Presser foot. The part of the sewing machine that holds the fabric in place as it is being sewn and fed through by the feed dogs. Specialty feet such as zig zag, buttonhole, cording, blind hem, and others are often included with a sewing machine upon purchase and are best learned by consulting the sewing machine manual.
Prick stitch. You use prick stitching on fabrics such as velvet where everything shows. Take a small backstitch sewn on the right side of the fabric and do the remaining backstitching on the wrong side.
Paisley. A tear-drop shaped, fancy printed pattern, used in dresses, blouses, and men's ties.
Percale. A medium weight, plain weave, low to medium count (180 to 250 threads per square inch) cotton-like fabric. End-uses include sheets, blouses, and dresses.
Pliss?. A lightweight, plain weave, fabric, made from cotton, rayon, or acetate, and characterized by a puckered striped effect, usually in the warp direction. The crinkled effect is created through the application of a caustic soda solution, which shrinks the fabric in the areas of the fabric where it is applied. Pliss? is similar in appearance to seersucker. End-uses include dresses, shirtings, pajamas, and bedspreads.
Pongee. The most common form is a naturally colored lightweight, plain weave, silk-like fabric with a slubbed effect. End-uses include blouses, dresses, etc.

Quilting. A fabric construction in which a layer of down or fiberfill is placed between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching or sealing in a regular, consistent, all-over pattern on the goods.

Railroading. A method for preventing twisting on cross-stitch when using two threads by bringing the needle between the threads. It adds time but improves the appearance of the stitch and coverage.
Rayon thread. Divisible, shiny and good for blending. Rayon thread is not particularly hardwearing.
Ribbon floss. Flat and shiny.
Rotating Frames. Good for larger works. They hold fabric secure with rollers (scroll bars) at the top and bottom.
Running under. A method for securing threads instead of knots.
Raw (edge). The edge of fabric that is not stitched or finished.
Reinforce (seam). To reinforce a seam, you may need to sew next to it, almost on top of it, but not quite. You can also reinforce a seam with bit of seam or bias tape. Crotch seams are susceptible and need to be reinforced.
Right side. The right side of the fabric is the design side. There are instances of fabric with no right or wrong side visible, and the determination and appropriate markings are then made by the person doing the pattern cutting and sewing.
Rotary cutter. Early versions of the rotary cutter looked like pizza cutters. Today, the handles are often ergonomically designed and padded. The blade, though, remains a rounded razor, sometimes with pinked edging or other designs. These are great for cutting layers of fabric into straight strips. Many people are using them for curved lines and pattern cutting for garments as well.
Ruler. Rulers used in sewing are usually made of a clear plastic and marked in 1/4" or less increments. A very popular ruler is 2" wide and 18" long, and can be used for sewing, rotary cutting, measuring buttonhole placement, and other measuring jobs. In addition to a ruler or two, a good measuring tape is needed.
Running stitch. A simple stitch made by running the thread over and under the fabric. This stitch is often used for basting or as the basis (marking) for another more decorative stitch.

Silk thread. These are expensive, but are wonderful to sew with and have a longlasting sheen. They can be variegated in colour and are not always colourfast.
Silk gauze. Very fine fabric, commonly 40hpi and very expensive
Single Thread Evenweaves. These are made of single threads woven together. They are generally stitched over two threads. So a 30 hpi fabric will produce the same size work as a 15 hpi aida. Stitching "over one" fabric thread, usually with a single strand of floss, produces a picture a quarter of the size. Aida is generally cheaper and stiffer than evenweave.
Skein. A skein is a 1/6th of a hank. The length of a skein varies for each type of fibre and manufacturer. Guide lengths are stranded cotton - 8 metres, tapestry wool - 9 meters, crewel wool - 30 meters.
Stranded cotton. A divisible thread made of double mercerised long cotton fibres. Stranded cotton usually has 6 strands.
Satin stitch. A very tight zig zag stitch that is available on most sewing machines. If it is not automatically available, the stitch length can be set to almost 0 to achieve a satin stitch with a plain zig zag machine.
Seam. The result when two pieces of fabric are sewn together along a line.
Seam allowance. The fabric between the edge of the fabric and the line of stitching, about 5/8" for most patterns. (Craft patterns often allow 1/4" seam allowance.)
Selvedge, selvege, selvage. Often marked with information from the manufacturer (color code, identifying data, etc.), this is the edge of the fabric which generally does not fray due to manufacturer's finish. In most cases, this edge should not be included when you cut your fabric, as it may cause puckering of your seam later. on.
Separating zipper. A zipper that comes completely apart when unzipped. There is a special tab at the bottom of a separating zipper for bringing it together and starting the zip.
Serger. A type of sewing machine that stitches the seam, encases the seam with thread, and cuts off excess fabric at the same time. These are used for construction of garments with knit fabrics mostly, or to finish seams of any fabric. Some sergers are combination overlock and serger machines. They do not, though, do the locking stith that a regular sewing machine does.
Shank button. A button with space left between the button and fabric. A shank button is one made with a shank. Other buttons can be "shanked" by wrapping thread under the button to create a shank.
Shrink. Some fabrics become tighter/smaller when washed and dried, whether by machine or by hand. See Preshrink.
Sizing. Fabric finish that provides crispness without stiffness; a light starch finish.
Slit. An open part of a seam, the bottom usually, often found in skirt side or back seams.
Sloper. Very simply, a sloper is a trial pattern, a custom-fitted muslin or gingham pattern which has been altered for the individual. Slopers can be created through trial and error, using computer programs such as CAD and pattern making software, and other methods of individual taste and style.
Snips. Very small cutting tool resembling scissors used to snip threads. Usually used with hand sewing or portable projects.
Spool. The holder of thread. There are wooden spools, plastic spools, cardboard tube spools, and cone spools, as well as others.
Stash. Collection of fabric.
Stay stitch. A line of stitching just inside (about 1/8") the intended permanent stitching line (seam line) on curved edges that stabilizes and keeps the curve from distoring. The direction of the stay stitching is shown on the pattern. If not, it generally goes from shoulder to center on necklines (usually going with the grain of the fabric). There are other indications for stay stitching, but this is one of the more common.
Stitch in the ditch. Stitching in the ditch is used as a method of understitching and also as a form of simple machine quilting for craft projects. It is a method of stitching close to a seam allowance or in the seam itself in order to hold it down.
Stitch length. In general, regular sewing is about 11-12 stitches per inch, basting/gathering/bunching/sleeve easing is about 6 stitches per inch (plus or minus 1 or 2 stitches for some applications). There are rare occasions when stitches need to exceed 12 per inch, but they are few.
Straight stitch. Stitching made with single forward stitches. This is the regular stitch that most sewing machines make and may or may not require a special presser foot.
Sharkskin. A hard-finished, low lustered, medium-weight fabric in a twill-weave construction. It is most commonly found in men's worsted suitings; however, it can also be found in a plain-weave construction of acetate, triacetate, and rayon for women's sportswear.
Silk. A natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated worms; Tussah silk, or wild silk, is a thicker, shorter fiber produced by worms in their natural habitat. All silk comes from Asia, primarily China.

Table Frames. Good for larger works. They are similar to rotating frames, holding the fabric secure with rollers (scroll bars) at the top and bottom. However they have short legs so they can be used on your own table. They are less bulky than floor frames.
Tapestry. is design by weaving the fabric itself rather than by stitching designs onto an openweave canvas. The origins go back well over a thousand years, coming to Europe via the Middle East. The great age of tapestry was in the 1600s and 1700s, especially in France. Hand looms gave way to power looms in the nineteenth century. Many of the designs from that period have retained their popularity for needlepoint kits. The term Tapestry is now often used to refer to Needlepoint.
Tapestry Needle. A medium, blunt needle with an oval eye. Suitable for almost all counted thread work. They range in size from 14, the heaviest to 26, the finest. Too large a needle will distort canvases and too fine will fray the yarn.
Tapestry Wool. Non-divisible four ply wool. Good for tapestry and canvas work.
Tapisserie. Anchor's trade name for their tapestry wool.
Tent Stitch. Tent stitch is a diagonal stitch over one canvas thread. There are several types, all of which look similar from the front, but have different qualities. Half Cross Stitch - The reverse has short, vertical lines. It uses less thread, but is not as hard wearing. It is good for pictures. Continental Tent Stitch - The reverse has longer diagonals and as a result it is harder wearing. It is sewn back and forth across the canvas. Diagonal Tent Stitch (Basket Weave) - The reverse has overlapping horizontal and vertical lines. It is very strong and is good for backgrounds as it has less distortion. Gross Point - Sewn like Continental Tent Stitch, but on course canvas or over 2 threads on finer canvas.
Tram? (tramme, tramming). The canvas is marked out with horizontal lines of wool that are then overstitched with a continental tent stitch to give raised areas. It is excellent for hardwearing chair covers and commonly used on duo canvas to define designs and colours accurately. Tram? dates back to medieval times, the world centre today for this work is Madeira in Portugal.
Tweeding. Two or more colours of thread in the needle
Twist. A yarn will either have an 'S' or a 'Z' twist depending on how the yarn is spun: clockwise (S) or anticlockwise (Z).
Tack. A temporary stitch to hold pieces together, usually removed after final stitching. Tacking is also known as a term for starting off a seam with a few stitches back and forth for stabilizing.
Tailor's tack . A tailor's tack is essentially two threads in a needle, drawn through fabric layer/s and then snipped, leaving tails of thread on top and on the bottom of the fabric as a marking for later use. They can be used to mark pattern pieces for darts, buttonholes, etc. Go straight through all layers of pattern and fabric before snipping any threads. Leave a long enough tail of thread that you can find it later. Use a contrasting thread that stands out so you can see it later.
Tape (measuring). Flexible, usually made of a covered cloth material, about 60" long (152 cm), and has a cover on each end. Markings are on both sides of the tape. This is not to be confused with a measuring tape used in carpentry that is encased in a metal box. A measuring tape for sewing can be kept rolled up in a drawer or hanging on the bulletin board next to the sewing machine.
Tension. Tension is one of the least understood concepts of sewing machines. It refers to the pressure being placed on your needle and bobbin thread by your machine. There are two types of tension on your sewing machine - the thread and bobbin tensions. It is best to read your sewing machine manual for specifics. Rarely does one need to adjust bobbin tension. Your sewing machine manual will show you the appropriate settings and offer you examples of what the threads should look like on the right and wrong sides of your stitching.
Thimble. Thimbles are protective devices for your middle finger when doing hand sewing. They can be made of leather, metal, wood, ceramic, or other material. To be certain you have one that is right for you, try on several to get a good feel. You want it loose, but not so loose that it slips off. You want it tight, but not so tight that it is snug. A thimble is worn on the hand that is using the needle for sewing (hems, embroidery, basting, etc.).
Thread. A complementary or like thread is chosen for garment or project construction on a machine. The bobbin should be wound of the same type of thread or the exact same thread whenever possible, to prevent knotting, bunching, etc. The first step for most sewing machine trouble shooting is to change the thread and needle. When hand sewing with one thread, cut the end of the thread that is nearest to the spool before tying a knot in the same end. This will prevent ravelling and knotting.
Top stitch. A sometimes decorative, sometimes functional stitch that is usually 1/4" from the edge of a seam. For instance, once a vest is turned or a facing to a jacket is turned and pressed, one may stitch 1/4" from the edge on the top of the garment to provide a bit of stabilization. This can be done in same or contrasting thread, depending on the decorative effect one wishes to achieve.
Tracing paper. A type of paper made especially to be used with a tracing wheel. It has an ink-type substance on one side for marking fabric with the wheel.
Tracing wheel. A tracing wheel is used with tracing paper. The paper is placed upon the fabric with the "ink" side down, the pattern markings that need to be transferred placed upon the paper, and then the markings are traced with the wheel. The wheel itself looks a bit like a pizza cutter with spikes. Care needs to be taken not to press too hard and cut the pattern, tracing paper, or the fabric. Tracing ink from the tracing paper does not always wash out and this needs to be taken into consideration as well.
Trim. Trim is any decorative item, ribbon, lace that is put on a garment or craft item that is being sewn. Trim is also used to define the act of trimming excess seam allowances or fabric with scissors.
Tuck. See pin tuck. A method of sewing fabric together resulting in a raised seam, often seen in heirloom sewing, the bodice of a woman's blouse or a man's formal shirt.
Tulle. A lightweight, extremely fine, machine-made netting, usually with a hexagon shaped mesh effect. End-uses include dance costumes and veils.
Tweed. A medium to heavy weight, fluffy, woolen, twill weave fabric containing colored slubbed yarns. Common end-uses include coats and suits.

Underlining. Lining used to add body to a garment.
Understitching. Keeps a facing or lining from rolling onto the right side of a garment. After pressing the seam allowance and facing away from the garment, stitch through both a scant 1/8" from the seam. Some people grade the seam allowance and facing/lining prior to stitching to eliminate bulk.
Universal needle. A slightly rounded tip to use for woven or knit fabrics.

View. Most patterns show different variations on the pattern package. Each variation is called a "view".
Velour. A medium weight, closely woven fabric with a thick pile. It can be made using either a plain weave or a satin weave construction. It resembles velvet, but has a lower cut pile. End uses include apparel, upholstery, and drapes.
Velvet. A medium weight cut-pile constructed fabric in which the cut pile stands up very straight. It is woven using two sets of warp yarns; the extra set creates the pile. Velvet, a luxurious fabric, is commonly made with a filament fiber for high luster and smooth hand.
Velveteen. A cotton cut-pile weave fabric, utilizing extra fill yarn construction, with either a twill or a plain weave back. The fabric is woven with two sets of filling yarns; the extra set creates the pile.
Voile. A crisp, lightweight, plain weave cotton-like fabric, made with high twist yarns in a high yarn count construction. Similar in appearance to organdy and organza. Used in blouses dresses and curtains.

Waste canvas. Threads held together by starch. Allows counted thread work to be done on non - evenweave fabrics. Afterwards, dampen to remove starch and extract threads with tweezers.
Waste knot. A method for securing threads with a knot on the top that is cut off once the wool/thread has been sewn over.
Walking Foot. A walking foot is an attachment for your sewing machine that enables smoother sewing when using several layers or fabric. It provides an extra bit of hold from the top that works with the feed dogs below the fabric, pushing the fabric during the sewing process. It "walks" the fabric. It also works well with slippery fabrics that may need control not available with the feed dogs only.
Warp. Threads running the length of a woven fabric, sometimes known as the lengthwise grain (little to no stretch) (see weft and grain).
Wearable art. Decorative, usually quilted, clothing made to be unique, beautiful, and functional.
Weft. Threads running at right angles to the length of a woven fabric, sometimes known as the cross grain (very little to some stretch) (see warp and grain).
Welt. A method of covering the raw edges of a pocket or other opening, can be single or double welt.
Wing needle. Needle with wide, wing shaped, flared sides used to create holes in tightly woven fabrics, such as creating entredeux. Available as single or doubles.
Wonder-Under. A fusible product by Pellon which allows for the application of a fabric design upon another fabric, paper, wood, etc., utilizing an iron. See the projects area of this site for some examples of Wonder-Under use.
Wrong side. The wrong side of the fabric is the side upon which there is no design. There are instances of fabric with no wrong side visible, and the determination and appropriate markings are then made by the person doing the pattern cutting and sewing.
Wool. Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. However, the term "wool" can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama, or vicuna.

Yarn. A continuous strand of textile fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. These long yarns are used to create fabrics, either by knitting or weaving.

Zweigart. A particularly high quality make of canvas. All kits manufactured by Sew Exciting use Zweigart canvas.
Zig zag. A stitch that goes one way (zig) and then the other (zag) and provides a nice finish to a seam to prevent raveling, can be a decorative addition to any garment, and can allow for give with knits. A very short to nonexistent stitch length with zig zag stitching is the same as a satin stitch.