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The DIY Network Needle Arts Glossary

Confused by some of the needle arts terms you hear or read? Here's a list of some of the more commonly used terms with explanations of their meaning, courtesy of the DIY Network.

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Backstitch A stitch sewn one stitch length backward on the front side and two stitch lengths forward on the reverse side to form a solid line of stitching on both sides

Bar tack A very short thread reinforcement for stress points

Baste To sew with long loose stitches in order to hold something in place temporarily

Bias A line at a 45-degree angle to the selvage often utilized in the cutting of garments for smoother fit

Boxing The long horizontal strip of fabric that connects the top and bottom of a seat cushion

Buckram A stiff open-weave fabric used mainly for interfacing

Clean finish To stitch 1/4" from the edge and press to the wrong side (if the raw edge won't be stitched down in another step, stitch down)

Ease To make one piece of fabric fit onto another by evenly pulling in the extra fabric with out making any gathers or tucks

Edge-stitch A row of stitching that appears on the very edge of a garment, normally 1/8" or less

Facing A piece of fabric used to reinforce another, usually at a seam

Fashion fabric The outer fabric in a garment

Finger press To open seam allowances with the thumbnail

Flat felled seam A durable type of seam generally found on jeans

French seam A strong seam stitched on both sides of the fabric to enclose all raw edges

Fusible fabric A thin layer of material containing adhesive that is activated with a hot iron

Gather To pull (fabric) along a line of stitching so as to draw into puckers

Give Degree of elasticity

Grade To trim each seam allowance to a different width to reduce bulk

Grain The direction of threads in cloth

Hand The feel of or tactile reaction to something (as silk or leather)

Interfacing An extra layer of fabric that provides shape and support in the detail area of a garment

Interline To sew a lining between the ordinary lining and the outside fabric

Miter A diagonal fold made at the corner in an edge finish

Nap A hairy or downy surface of a fabric ("with nap" refers to any fabric surface that looks different when held up or down)

Pile A coat or surface of usually short close fine furry hairs

Rolled hem A hem created by folding the raw edge under 1/8 to1/4" twice and topstitching

Seam allowance The area of fabric between the stitching and the cut edge

Self-fabric The fabric from which a garment is made

Selvage The edge on either side of a woven or flat-knitted fabric, finished to prevent raveling

Stay-stitch Stitching done to stabilize fabric and help pieces fit together

Stitch in the ditch Pressing the seam allowances to one side and topstitching as close as possible to the seam

Tack (see bar tack)

Topstitch To make a line of stitching on the outside of a garment close to a seam

Tuft The dimpling or bunching of fabric that occurs when a button is pulled tightly against padded fabric

Understitch (see stitch in the ditch)

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