|Wait, what does ‘overlock’ mean??|

13 Jun

I literally have only been sewing since Octoberish of last year. In such a small amount of time, I feel, I have accomplished a lot. I have created some pretty awesome product, have made some good money from it, and am only getting better.

With that said, I still don’t know anything other than pinning and running fabric through a machine. There is still so much for me to learn! Even with terms, like when I’m following a pattern and it tells me about cutting to grain or selvedge. Whatever that means. So I thought it would be useful for me to share some sewing terms with you and learn some myself in the process! All these terms were found in the UK magazine ‘Sew Hip’.

Also, if you have some terms not listed here that you would like to share, please email us and let us know so we can add it to the ever growing {make-shift} dictionary of ours!

Appliqué: Sewing a piece of fabric on top of another piece of fabric for decorative reasons.

Backstitching: Sewing back and forth over the same stitches to lock the end or the beginning of a line of sewing.

Bias: Runs diagonally to the straight grain of fabric. Fabric cut on the bias has more stretch.

Basting: The sewing of a large, temporary stitch, by hand or machine.

Binding: Encasing the raw edges of a blanket or quilt with another piece of fabric.

Blanket Stitch: A hand or machine stitch that is used to neaten the edge of a blanket, buttonhole, or another seam line.

Darn: To repair a hole by using stitches going back and forth that fill the hole.

Dart: A v-shaped, tapered adjustment to a pattern to allow more fullness in the bust area or less fullness in the waist or back.

Embellish: To add special stitching, appliqués, or other decorations to your sewing project.

Facing: Fabric sewn on the raw edge of a garment piece, which is turned under and serves as a finish for the edge as well.

Fat Quarter: A quilting term on fabric. A fat quarter is 1/4 yard of fabric, about 18x22in., as opposed to a regular 1/4 yard, which is 9x45in.

Feed Dog: The ‘teeth’ under the plate on a sewing machine that moves the fabric along.

Finish {an edge}: To turn under 1/4in and stitch or serge the edge so it doesn’t fray or have too much bulk.

Fold Line: Pattern pieces are often placed on the fold of a piece of fabric.

Fuse: The use of a special material that melts to ‘glue’ two layers together. The fusing works by being melted by an iron.

Free Motion: Generally a quilting technique that involves lowering the feed dogs {or covering them} and sewing with total free movement of the fabric.

Gathering: A method of easing a seam to allow insertion of sleeves and other rounded pattern pieces.

Grain: The direction of the fabric that runs parallel to the selvedge.

Hem: An edge that is turned under to the inside of a sewn item, and sewn.

Interfacing: An unseen addition to various parts of a garment, which adds body that the fbric alone would not add.

Inseam: The seam on a trouser leg that runs from the crotch to the hem.

Notion: A term used for any item used for sewing, other than the fabric and the machine.

Notch: A notch is shown on a pattern with a dark diamond. They are commonly cut outward and should be matched on seams.

Overlock: An overcast stitch to prevent the fraying of fabric edges.

Placket: The v-shaped opening at the end of a sleeve that is finished with a bias strip before the cuff is attached.

Pressing: A different process than ironing. Instead of running the iron across the fabric, you gently lift the iron to press a new area as to not distort the fabric grain.

Right Side: The right side of the fabric is the side the design is on. Sometimes a fabric has no discernible right side, so then it is up to the sewer to decide which is the right side.

Rotary Cutter: A cutting tool used in quilting to cut fabric instead of scissors. Shaped like a pizza cutter, it is perfect for cutting long strips of fabric or many layers at once.

Running Stitch: A simple stitch often used for basting or as bias {marking} for another, more decorative stitch.

Satin Stitch: A zig zag stitch with a shortened length that forms a continuous, solid line.

Seam Allowance: The area between the stitching and raw, cut edge of the fabric. Your pattern should say which seam allowance you are to use, often 1/4in, 1/2in, or 5/8in.

Stash: A collection of fabrics, threads tools and more, which you need for sewing.

Stay Stitch: A line of stitching just inside {about 1/8in} the intended permanent stitch line on curved edges that stabilizes the curve.

Selvedge: The edges of the fabric that have the manufacturer’s information.

Stitch in the Ditch: A method of stitching close to a seam allowance or in the seam itself, often used in quilting.

Straight Stitch: The regular stitch that most sewing machines make.

Top Stitch: A decorative or functional stitch that is usually 1/4in from the edge of a seam.

Tension: Your sewing machine has two types of tension – the thread tension and the bobbin tension.

Tack: To sew a few stitches in one spot, by hand or machine, to secure two items.

Walking Foot: An attachment for your sewing machine that enables smoother sewing when quilting several layers of fabric together.

Warp: The threads that run the length of a woven fabric.

Weft: The threads that run at a right angle to the warp – also known as the cross grain.

Wrong Side: The side of the fabric that has no design or that you don’t want facing outwards.

Zig Zag Stitch: Is a stitch that goes one way {zig} and then the other {zag} and provides a nice finish to a seam to prevent fraying. It can also be used as a decorative stitch.

I have definitely done quite a few of these terms with the products I’ve created – I am so glad to know there is an actual word for what I do! Maybe I can study them a little bit more and when I blog I can actually use them in tutorials and such, where they’re important to use!

Happy Sewing!



One Response to “|Wait, what does ‘overlock’ mean??|”

  1. Richard Fusillo June 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    very cool post; now i can sometimes understand what you are saying when you are sewing your goodies.

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