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Have you ever heard of the saying, “Walk before you run?” Well I'll say, try to learn the terminologies of fashion before jumping in.

It is true that you can learn them on the job. But wouldn’t it be inconvenient to have a dictionary by your side while completing a project?That is surely a distraction. If you really want to improve your skills then familiarizing yourself with the basic fashion terms is the best way to start.

Bellow is a list of Fashion terms that shouldn't escape your knowledge.




When a dress doesn’t fit you, your child or your customers, this is what saves the day! Altering means to change or adjust something, in this case, a piece of clothing.


Applique creates patterns or pictures on garments. In this Case Smaller pieces of fabric are sewn onto a larger piece of fabric as decoration not for mending. This can be hand-stitched or machine stitched. Note, however, that this is different from patching.


A sewing machine makes stitches with two threads. The top thread is passed through the needle While a bobbin holds the second thread. The threaded needle catches thread from the bobbin to form a stitch. A sewing machine Cannot work without a Bobbin.


The casing is the tunnel of fabric where strings,ropes(In Nigerian's traditional trouser for men) or elastics go into to draw the fabric, creating a bag or tight pants or sleeves.


Darning is a technique for repairing holes in fabrics by hand using only a needle and thread. I remember my grandmother doing this for one of our older table runners. She always said she came from a generation that always fixes things.


This is a type of shaping technique. Sound complicated? Simply create it by stitching out a wedge-shaped fold in any given fabric. It’s usually done for the bust and waist area of a clothing.


Embroidery | Know Your Sewing Terms And The Language Of Sewing | Sewing Dictionary

One of the most time consuming and detailed types of needlework, wouldn’t you agree? It creates images or designs by stitching one type of material over another, for example, gold threads over purple fabric – very royal.

French Seam

Sewing a French seam means stitching both sides of the seams to hide the raw edges of the fabrics. It provides a neater, cleaner, and smoother finish.


This is an important term to know, especially when cutting a fabric! The grain refers to the direction in which a fabric is woven. If someone says, ‘cut with the grain’ it means cut parallel to the threads of the fabric, not perpendicular to it.


Commonly used to refer to a men’s outfitter — someone my husband occasionally visits! A haberdasher is also a person who sells small articles for sewing like buttons and zippers.


You and I know how annoying and heartbreaking it is when a garment unravels. All of your hard work…gone! In order to avoid this, we hem the garment by folding the cut edge twice and sewing it down to secure it


Notions | Know Your Sewing Terms And The Language Of Sewing | Sewing Dictionary

These are the tiny little things we use in sewing and we keep away from our children’s reach. It’s a collective term for the accessories and items we use like; buttons, pins, and snaps.


Pleat | Know Your Sewing Terms And The Language Of Sewing | Sewing Dictionary

Oh, I love pleats! But what is a pleat? A pleat is a type of fold that’s formed when you double a fabric upon itself, meaning, folding it over and folding it back.

Right Side

This is a synonym of ‘face.’ It is the side of a fabric that will be seen once a project is done. This is usually the side with the design.

Seam Allowance

Seam Allowance | Know Your Sewing Terms And The Language Of Sewing | Sewing Dictionary

The seam allowance is the area between the fold or the edge of the fabric and the stitching line done to create the seam. I suggest having this at around 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch wide, depending on what item you’re sewing.

Seam Ripper

Of course, sometimes, mistakes in seaming are made. In order to undo the seams without destroying the fabric, we use the seam ripper! It’s a small tool specifically made for undoing seams.


A selvage is the end of a fabric that doesn’t need to be seamed. It keeps the fabric from unraveling, like a ready-made seam. Amazing? Yes, but it doesn’t apply to all types of fabric. Oh, it would’ve been amazing if it did!


Look in your closet and you’ll see topstitching everywhere. A topstitch is simply stitching you can see on the outside of a garment.

Topstitch is often decorative but it can be functional too. It holds facing, strengthens seams and holds them in place so the finishing touches looks perfect.

Wrong Side

If we have the right side, we have the wrong side. This is simply the “back” of the fabric. It is usually the one without design or with a paler design.

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