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If you've come across a craft or Sewing term that you are not sure about, take a look at our comprehensive glossary. We clarify and explain not only common terms, but some of the more obscure ones too. Simply click on the letter below to skip to that section or browse at your leisure.
Absorbency: The capacity a material has to take in water or other fluid.
Acetate: Transparent plastic film with a variety of uses, e.g. behind apertures, either for shaker cards or to make embellishments appear to hang unsupported; for stamping or mounting outline stickers, so they can then be painted with glitter glues and glass paints.
Acid Free: A term important to crafts which require material to last for years. Refers to products that are manufactured free of acid, thus preventing deterioration and discolouration of papers and photographs. This lasts four times as long as paper sized with acid, which is at risk of breaking down in 40 or 50 years.
Acid Migration: This is the transfer of acid from an acidic material to either a less acidic or pH neutral material. Acid will always transfer to neutral and not the other way around. Migration will only occur when materials are in close contact with each other.
Acrylic Block: Clear block of acrylic which clear (polymer) self clinging rubber stamps are temporarily mounted on when stamping. The clear block allows you to see where you are stamping more easily.
Acrylic Paint: A water based paint in which the binder contains acrylic resins.
Acrylic Ruler: Clear acrylic with 2-colour grid for precision measuring and detail cutting.
Adhesive: Anything that sticks one material to another. Several common types of adhesive are photo stickers, Hermafix, glue dots or glue sticks, and unwanted relatives.
Adirondack: Water-based dye ink from Ranger. Acid Free.
Airbrush: A compressed air tool shaped like a pen that dispenses a fine mist of paint, ink or dye. Used in illustration and re-touching photos, as well as in crafts, to achieve a graduated tone.
Air Mail Paper: Paper made in the lightest substance while ensuring reasonable strength and a good surface, to minimise postage costs. Generally produced in white, off-white or pale blue, and usually below 40 grams per square metre. Some non-airmail lightweight bonds are still known as airmail papers.
Alcohol Ink: Alcohol Inks are permanent, fast drying, transparent, acid-free dye inks specially formulated to create a vibrant, polished stone look. Can be used on glossy paper, dominoes, metal, foil, shrink plastic, glass and other slick surfaces and are particularly useful in the creation of Altered Art designs.
Alter: Term used to change or revise a pattern or garment to fit an individual.
Altered Art: Collaging, stamping, embellishing, and otherwise altering a craft to reflect an artistic idea or narrative.
Analagous Colours: (or Related colours) One or more colours that lie side by side on a Colour Wheel.
Angel Company: An Angel company will let you use their images (rubber stamps or graphics usually) to make a product that you can sell. They grant a limited license to sell things made with their images. Different companies usually have different rules for using their images so make sure you take the time to read all the rules!
Angel Hair: Material made from the fusing of fine fibres. Used mainly as a backing material, normally sold in sheets.
Antique Embossing: Antique Embossing is a technique of creating an aged surface using rubber stamping materials.
Antiquing: A more involved form of Distressing in which the Crafter works to create an antique appearance, such as using historical ink or paint colours and faux finishes. May require many steps.
Antistatic Pad: Used to eliminate static and clear small particles away. Swipe over the area to clean.
Aperture Card: Aperture card blanks were originally used for cross-stitch. Now they're widely used for Iris folding and many other techniques, apertures come in all shapes and sizes.
Appliqué: A cut-out, or cut-outs, attached to a background to add an extra dimension or texture to a design. Appliqué images can be motifs, designs, ornaments, decorations, trimmings, carvings or similar, made separately, cut out then glued, sewn, embellished or otherwise fixed to the surface of another item or medium, such as fabric or jewellery (Appliqué is the French word for "applied").
Archival: (1) A non-technical term that suggests a material is permanent, durable, or chemically stable; (2) A material that can safely be used for preservation purposes (Please note that here are no quantifiable standards that describe how long an archivally sound material will actually last).
Archival Ink: As its name suggests, this ink is perfect for archival projects. It's acid-free, fade-resistant, waterproof, quick-drying, won't bleed and won't damage papers or photographs.
Archival Paper: An especially permanent, durable paper with long-standing qualities. Acid-free, lignin-free and usually with good colour retention, used primarily for publications of historical, or significant value.
Archival Quality: This is a term used to indicate materials which have undergone laboratory analysis to determine that their acidic and buffered content is within safe levels (in the case of printed items and photographs, the ability of the images to retain their colour or blackness over a long time). In the case of paper, it's made with the intent of having an extended lifespan without discolouration or deterioration. Anything labelled archival should be acid-free.
Armscye: A dressmaking term for an arm-hole, where the sleeve is attached.
Arrowhead Stitch: A small, triangular stitch used on a seam to add strength at points of strain.
Art Deco: A style of design and decoration that was introduced in the 1920s and 30s to reflect the rise of commerce and industry; and which became popular through the use of designs that are geometric and use intense colours.
Artistamp: An element of Mail Art: artificial postage used to decorate, made with rubber stamps or similar. Sometimes perforated to resemble postage stamps.
Artist's Book: Usually a book made by an artist or crafter to relay a message or define the individual's work at that point in their life or career.
Artists' Linen: An un-pressed linen which serves as a background in embroidery and painting. Can also be used to mount and frame finished projects.
Art Nouveau: A decorative art movement that emerged in the late nineteenth century, characterised by dense, wavy ornamentation.
Ascender: In lettering and printed text, a lower-case letter that has parts extending above average height (as in b, h, and t); or the part of that letter which extends above the body height (or x-height)
Assemblage: Like a collage in 3-D: a modern art term describing objects collected and assembled together to create a harmonious work of art, using existing components (i.e. not made separately by the artist, and not originally intended to be used in art); sometimes also adding painting, drawing or photography.
ATC/Artist's Trading Card: A mini project 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size (the same as a playing card), created by artists and crafters to demonstrate their skills. ATCs cannot be bought or sold, but must be swapped with other artists and crafters, preferably in face-to-face meetings. ATCs can be flat or 3D, and can be originals or duplicates from a series - the artist should write their name, the date, and whether the work is a one-off on the back.
Austrian Blind: A long gathered blind, which is ruched at the bottom.
Awl: A point-tipped tool for pushing out corners when fabric is turned the right way.
Backing: A quilting term for the back layer of fabric used in a quilt, wall hanging etc.
Backstitch: Worked by hand or machine, this is a strengthening stitch. By hand it's formed by overlapping stitches; first stitch up to the front of work, then go back behind the first needle position and then up again in front and repeat along the row. On a machine use the reverse stitch lever at the beginning and end of a row of stitches to secure in place.
Ballpoint Needles: Designed to use with knit and stretch fabrics, these needles have slightly rounded tips which part the fibres of fabrics rather than piercing them, to prevent damage.
Basecoat: The first layer of paint applied; usually a neutral colour to provide a consistent background.
Basketry or Basketwork: Making of baskets and other objects by weaving thin, pliable strips of wood or another material.
Batik: A method of dyeing a fabric where the parts of the fabric not intended to be dyed are covered with removable wax, can be used to create designs. Repeated waxing and dyeing results in colourful patterns. Lines typically found in batik are produced by cracking the hardened wax before applying the dye. Originated in Java, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Batten: This is a length of wood to attach to a quilt, blind, pelmet or valance to a window frame.
Batting: American term for wadding
Basting:Also known as tacking, this is large stitching to temporarily join fabric pieces. It's removed once the permanent stitching is done. Basting can be done by hand or machine.
Beads: Glass, wood, plastic, clay or ceramic shapes with a hole through the centre, often spherical or crystal shaped.
Beading/Beadwork: Ornamenting crafts with beads.
Beading Pins: Straight pins with enlarged heads, used for securing beads to a surface.
Bed Valance: Also known as dust skirt/ruffles, this is a fabric skirt covering the bed divan.
Bias: This is the stretchiest part of the fabric. The true bias is 45 degrees (diagonally) from straight of grain (selvedge).
Bias Binding/Tape: Strips of fabric cut on the bias and then used to bind and hide raw edges of the main project. Bias binding is usually folded with long edges to the middle.
Bible Paper (also known as India Paper): Very thin printing paper, originally made specifically for bibles and prayer books but now also used for other commercial purposes where many pages are required with an overall low volume.
Binding: Encasing of raw edges using bias binding or quilt binding.
Bird Nesting: The name given to the threads caught between the fabric and the needle plate which resemble a bird's nest. This can be caused by problems with the upper thread tension such as upper thread not going through the take-up lever; upper thread not following the correct path, or improper hooping.
Blanket Stitch: Used to neaten the edge of buttonholes and fabrics, blanket stitch is formed by stitching from the front to the back of work and looping the thread around the needle so that a line of thread is on the edge. Can be done by machine or hand.
Blending: A soft, gradual transition from one colour or tone to another.
Blind: A single fabric panel with a fixed heading which pulls up from the bottom.
Blind Hem Stitch: The aim is to hem without any visible stitching. This is achieved by taking up just one or two fibres from the garment fabric and more from the hem allowance. Machine blind hemming may leave a ladder-like stitch on the right side, but is virtually invisible if a good thread match is used. Machine blind hemming stitches a straight row in hem allowance, and then a catch stitch into garment every two to three stitches. Also known as Catch Stitch.
Block: A quilting term referring to the individual unit used in a quilt top.
Blockprint and Blockprinting: Relief prints made from wood blocks. Oldest of all the relief processes, this was the universal means of illustrating books and magazines in the nineteenth century. See Woodcut.
Blowpipe: Used in glassblowing and other crafts, e.g. to move ink about on the surface of a liquid before transferring to cloth or paper.
Bobbin: Spool or reel that holds the lower thread in a sewing machine; this thread combines with top thread to form stitches on the fabric. The bobbin thread shows on the underside.
Bobbin Case: This is the unit holding the bobbin in place in a sewing machine.
Bobbin Embroidery: Designs worked with the fabric positioned face-down with the speciality thread wound onto the bobbin. Use for threads that are too heavy or thick for the needle.
Bobbling - also known as Pilling: This is the term used to describe the tiny fabric balls that occur after repeated wear. They can be removed with a fabric shaver. The better the quality of fabric, the less it will bobble.
Bodice: The part of the garment that fits the torso (running from shoulder to waist).
Bolt: Fabric is stored on a roll known as a bolt, with the right sides folded together lengthwise on the bolt.
Bonding: This is the joining of two fabrics with a bonding agent.
Bone Folder: A flat piece of bone or plastic, round at one end, pointed at the other. Used for scoring and folding paper.
Boning: Thin nylon, plastic or metal strips used to stiffen and shape close-fitting garments such as bodices.
Bookbinding: The craft of fastening loose leaves together to make a book.
Border Print: A fabric with a definite print or design along one selvedge to be used around the hem. Sari fabric frequently has a border print.
Box Pleats: Formed by two pleats folded away from each other.
Bradawl: Tool used to punch or skewer holes into objects or materials.
Brads: Brads are paper fasteners with two prongs at the back. They are available in a range of sizes, colours and shapes.
Braid: A flat decorative trim.
Brayer: A brayer is a soft rubber roller used to create backgrounds. For example, to achieve various stamping techniques, to roll over two pieces of paper to glue them together while smoothing out any air bubbles, to spread inks and paints on paper or stamps. The handle allows leverage and increased pressure. Tip: If you don't have a patterned brayer but wish to achieve different patterned effects you can tie various items (such as string, elastic bands, etc.) around the brayer before using it.
Bristol: A paper with a weight of 90 to 120 gsm, generally not as heavy as cardstock.
Brush Marker: Water-based marking pen with a long, broad tip for colouring in stamp images, or for colouring directly onto the stamp.
Brushless Watercolour: The art of making watercolour pictures without using brushes. A rubber stamp is coloured (with ink or pens) and then the stamp is lightly spritzed with water before the image is stamped.
Buffered Paper: During manufacturing, a buffering agent such as calcium carbonate or magnesium bicarbonate can be added to paper to neutralise acid contaminants. Such papers have a pH of 8.5.
Bugle Bead: A tubular glass or plastic bead sewn onto clothing for decoration, or used for trimming and card making.
Bullion: A thick, twisted decorative fringe.
Burnish: To enhance a finish, and making it glossy, by polishing.
Bust Line: The horizontal line running across the back and around the fullest part of the bust. It's important to get this measurement correct when sizing patterns.
Bust Point: This is marked on paper patterns where the fullest part of the bust should fit.
Button: Come in many different shapes, styles and colours. There are also many buttons that are made specifically for scrapbooking. They are thin, flat and can be attached with fibres, threads or adhesives.
Buttonhole: A bound slit in the fabric to allow buttons to pass through for fastening.
Buttonhole Stitch: Hand-stitch used to neaten and strengthen the raw edges of buttonholes. Resembles satin stitch. Most modern machines stitch buttonholes automatically.
Café Curtains: A curtain which fits the bottom half of a window but lets in the light at the top (Also known as Cottage Blinds).
Calligraphy: The art of producing beautiful or elegant handwriting. Artists devote years to refine their skills and use specialty nibs and inks to achieve the various styles of calligraphy. From the Greek calli (beauty) and graphos (writing). Nowadays, it can be done by hand or machine.
Cameos: A piece of dimensional jewellery or decoration which features a raised image of a person, animal or scene.
Capped Sleeve: This is a very short sleeve that does not extend below the under arm level.
Card: Thick, stiff paper or thin cardboard.
Cardmaking: Creating greetings cards by hand: this is now a popular hobby among those who seek to be creative and achieve a worthwhile result without this necessarily proving too demanding in terms of heavy workload, outlay or artistic skill (although cardmaking accommodates these highly creative people, also); and who wish to produce something a little different for a special occasion, to express affection for another; or work to their own advantage in planning a wedding, for example (hand-crafting their own invitations, favours and the rest as part of a complete stationery set). Some cardmakers form their own small businesses, making a sometimes-modest return on their creative efforts privately, at craft fairs and similar. More formal busineses supply the components, materials, tools and accessories - or produce books, magazines, CDs and more on the topic; while some high street stores now devote floor space to handmade cards.
Cardstock: A thick, sturdy paper available in a variety of weights; commonly used in scrapbooking and paper crafts. This paper is the thickness of most index cards and comes in many colours and textures.
Cased Heading: This is a channel at the curtain top which enables you to thread a curtain rod through.
Casing: A channel created between two pieces of fabric by stitching above and below the required width to hold elastic, ribbon ties, a length of dowelling or a curtain rod.
Catch Stitch: See Blind Hemming Stitch.
Cello Bags: Bags made from thin transparent material used to protect and display handmade cards.
Cellophane: A thin transparent material used as a moisture-proof wrapping.
Ceramics: Refers to all forms of clay, although modern use allows other non-metallic materials. Uses include making jewellery and ornaments.
Chalk: Acid-free chalk that is usually applied with an eye shadow-type applicator or cotton swab to add dimension to die cuts, torn edges and cards etc.
Chapbook: Any small book.
Chemical Stability: Materials which are chemically stable are not easily decomposed or otherwise modified chemically which is desirable for use in preservation as it resists chemical degradation over time. Also known as archival quality.
Chinese Collar: This is a short unfolded stand-up collar which starts at the neckline and stands vertically 2-3 cm (also known as a Mandarin collar).
Clapper: A wooden pressing aid, with angled sides to help press tailored garments as they're sewn, providing crisp edges, points and curves.
Clay: A natural earthy material consisting essentially of hydrated silicates of aluminium, used for beads or potting.
Clean Finish: Term used to describe the way the raw edge is finished if not being stitched later: Stitch 6 mm from the edge and press to wrong side then stitch down.
Clear Rubber Stamps: Clear Rubber Stamps are supplied on a clear carrier sheet. This makes storing your stamps easy and lets you see the designs more clearly. The clear stamps cling to an acrylic block (supplied separately), so you can position them to your own taste. Spelling out words and phrases is easy using the alphabet sets, so you can really personalise your greetings when cardmaking. Clear stamps are made from photopolymer which is hardened through exposure to UV light. You may find your stamps yellow if exposed to light over a period of time. This is natural reaction and will not affect the quality of the stamp.
Cleat: A two-pronged hook which is fixed to one side of the window frame to secure the cords when a blind is pulled up.
Clip: Term used to trim inside curve to allow seams to lie flat. Clip seam allowance at a slight angle close to but not through the seam stitching.
Clip Art: Art purchased in book or software form with pictures that can be applied when making cards and scrapbook pages.
Coiling: The process of rolling clay into strands, which are then wound into a variety of shapes.
Cold Pressed: A paper surface with a slight texture (produced by pressing sheets between cold cylinders at the factory).
Collage: An artistic composition achieved by pasting images from individual sources (artwork, photographs, etc.) onto a background (paper, cloth, wood, etc.) to form an overall design.
Colour Wheel: A flat, circular chart with wedge-shaped segments of different colours, usually primary and intermediate hues. Related (or analogous) colours tend to be shown adjacent, with complementary colours shown opposite (and sometimes known as opposite colours). Helps show the artist or crafter how to mix primary colours to create new colours. Also used in house décor.
Collar Stand: A tailored shirt usually has a collar stand around the neck placed between the actual collar and the shirt. This stand raises the collar so its finished edge will fall smoothly back over the neck edge.
Complementary Colour: Hues that lie opposite each other on the Colour Wheel. Also known as Opposite Colour or Contrasting Colour.
Concertina: Paper, card or other material repeatedly folded one way, then the other, to produce a 3D zig-zag result.
Concertina Book: A continuous run of pages between covers, with concertina-like folding formats including pasting folded pages back-to-back.
Confetti: A collection of small pieces of coloured paper or plastic, traditionally used at weddings. These can be stuck to cards or decorative crafts to give them a sense of celebration.
Conservation: Protection and wise use of natural resources to ensure long-term benefit and continuing availability to future generations. In craft, this is reflected by the use of recycled papers and similar resources.
Contrasting Colour: Hues that lies opposite each other on the Colour Wheel. Also known as Opposite Colour or Complementary Colour.
Conservation: Protection and wise use of natural resources to ensure long-term benefit and continuing availability to future generations. In craft, this is reflected by the use of recycled papers and similar resources.
Cording: This is a twisted rope used in piping or as a drawstring. Cording can be covered with bias fabric strips to make piping.
Corner Punch: Craft Punch for cutting corner shapes.
Corner Rounder: Craft Punch for rounding off corners.
Corrugated Card: Strong cardstock typically made of three layers, with two smooth outer layers and a central inner layer compressed into a dense, corrugated structure.
Cross Grain:Cut at right angles to the grain line, across the grain. Border prints are usually cut this way.
Covered Buttons: A button covered with fabric; usually to match the garment.
Combination Rods: This is where two or three curtain tracks share one set of brackets. They're used to give windows a layered look.
Contour: Shaped pattern pieces cut on a curve which helps garments fit better, such as contour waistbands.
Cornice: Another name for a Pelmet.
Cottage Blind: A curtain which fits the bottom half of a window but lets in the light at the top. (Also known as Café Curtains).
Crackling: A painting technique in which water-based and oil-based paints are layered, resulting in multiple, randomly-placed cracks and breaks.
Craft Knife: A craft knife is a sharp, pointed knife which usually has replaceable blades - ideal for precision cutting.
Crafter's Companion: A brand of crafting products ranging from stamps to essential crafting tools.
Create and Craft: Create and Craft is the only TV channel in the word dedicated to crafting. Showing 24 hours a day, it's complemented by the web-based Create and Craft Club and a range of Create and Craft merchandise which wholesale to independent retailers.
Create and Craft Club: A club for all like-minded crafters, offering its members a 10 per cent discount on all items bought on the Create and Craft website, a regular craft magazine delivered to your door, exclusive offers, members gifts and much, much more! Membership to the club costs as little as 20 pounds a year.
Crimper: A tool that operates much like a mangle or clothes wringer, that wrinkles paper into a corrugated texture.
Crochet: Needlework made by looping thread with a hooked needle, usually for ornaments, appliqués and fringes.
Cropping: Crop has two meanings. The first is simply to trim down a photograph to a size suitable for your layout. The second meaning of crop is a gathering of scrappers who get together to work on their personal projects.
Cross Stitch: Two stitches that cross each other diagonally to form one stitch in the shape of a cross. Usually done by hand but nowadays some machines offer this as a stitch.
Crossways Fold: A widthways fold of fabric which accommodates wider pattern pieces.
Curved Seam: A seam stitched by machine with two differently shaped edges that, when joined, shape the garment. Used at the bust, waist and hip areas. Also known as a Princess Seam.
Custom Designs: Designs created by digitising artwork or manipulating existing patterns.
Cut-running Pliers: Used primarily in glass cutting, with curved jaws to ensure even pressure when achieving a curved edge to cut glass.
Cut Width:This is the width of fabric needed including seams and hems.
Cutting Line: Found on paper patterns. This is the outermost dark line marked with the size.
Cutting Mat: Self-healing cutting mats are used when using a craft knife to protect the surface you're working on. They can also be used to tape stencils etc. down, to stop them from moving about while in use.
Dart: A tapered fold in a garment/pattern to allow for fullness, usually in the bust, waist and back, which helps to shape garments to body contours.
Dauber: A round, miniature stamp pad which can be dabbed onto a stamp to apply ink.
Deckle: Deckle edges are the untrimmed feathered edge feature on a sheet of paper, technically the edge which is the result of sheets being torn when wet. Deckle-edged Scissors deliberately produce a fancy cut to edge items like invitations or announcements.
Decorative-edge Scissors: Scissors with patterned blades for cutting paper or fabric. Many designs are available, from deckle-edges to scallops and zig-zags.
Decoupage: The technique of decorating a surface with paper or other cut outs.
Debossing: The opposite of embossing; the design is indented in to the paper or material.
Density: This is the number of stitches used in a particular area.
Die: A device used for cutting out, forming, or stamping material.
Die Cut: A process for cutting out any special shapes by using a form called a die. Also used to refer to the cut out shape. Can be used with fabric or paper.
Die Cut Decoupage: Die cut decoupage sheets are precisely cut ready for you to simply push out each image, giving instant accurate results.
Digitising: Used in creating machine embroidery designs. It involves changing artwork on a computer using specialist software to create a design which can be read by a computerised embroidery sewing machine via a card (disc).
Dimensional Paint: High quality, puffy paint that usually comes in a squeeze bottle for ease of use. It's traditionally used as fabric paint but sticks well to most surfaces. Available in a large selection of colours and styles.
Direct Inking Method: This method is when ink is applied directly to paper using the surface of the inkpad.
Directional Stitching: 1. All sewing lines follow the direction of the fabric grain - also known as stroking the cat (to find the direction of the grain, run finger along cut edge and stitch in direction in which fibres curl smoothly). 2. In dressmaking, directional stitching refers to stitching every seam in the same direction, ie: all seams waist to hem in order to prevent seams puckering or stretching. 3. On a sewing machine, this refers to multi-directional stitching including side to side (not just forwards and backwards).
TIP: Some commercial patterns print directional arrows for stay stitching - follow these where applicable to avoid unwanted stretching.
Distressing: The activity of making an item appear older and more worn, this is a popular design style giving a rustic, one-off, vintage look. Can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as wood, glass, metal, plastic and paint. There are a number of methods, by which the finish is intentionally destroyed or manipulated to look less than perfect, such as sanding, crumpling, inking, tearing and so on.
Dolman Sleeve: This type of sleeve is an extension of the bodice and can be loose or close fitting (also known as Kimono sleeve) although dolman sleeves tend to be longer and closer fitting whilst Kimono sleeves tend to have a wide square look with a looser fit.
Doodling: A method of embellishing by using pens or brushes to create swirls and decorative shapes traditionally done freehand but templates and stencils are increasingly available to assist those less certain of their artistic abilities! Particularly popular in scrapbooking.
Double Hem: Folding the fabric over twice in equal amounts - 5 cm double hems need 10 cm of fabric.
Double Sided Tape: Double sided tape can either come flat like normal sticky tape or as foam for 3D work. They're used to secure papers and non-adhesive embellishments down to your chosen surface.
Dough Craft: The art of sculpting ornaments and other models from dough, allowing these to dry and harden.
Dowelling: A circular length of wood/plastic attached to the back of a blind to keep the fabric flat.
Dry Brushing: Applying chalk or paint to a brush or sponge and removing most of it by wiping/dabbing it on a piece of paper or rag before using it. This prevents the paint from bleeding under the edges of a stencil, and chalk from looking to dark.
Dry Embossing: Dry embossing, also called relief embossing, is done by tracing a stencil with a special tool, called a stylus. The result is a stunning, raised pattern on the object you're embossing. Also known as relief embossing.
Dust Skirt/Ruffles: A fabric skirt covering the bed divan. (Also known as Bed valance).
Dye Ink: Water-based ink found in basic ink pads.
Ease: The amount of excess provided for ease of movement in a garment. There is often wearing ease AND designer ease. Wearing ease is calculated to allow garments to move with the body etc. Designer ease is the style element and varies according to the designer’s wishes.
Ease Stitch: This is simply a row of slightly longer than usual stitches just within seam allowance. It is used to make a larger or curved piece of fabric fit on to another by evenly pulling in the extra fabric without making any gathers or tucks in the larger piece of fabric.
Edge Punch: Device for applying an attractive edge to card or paper by repetitive punching of a uniform decorative pattern.
Edge Stitching: A row of stitching on the edge of a garment, usually about 2-3 mm from edge.
Embedding: A process whereby an object is placed inside another. Used in soap-making, candle-making and others.
Embellish: The addition of decorative stitching, appliqué and trims to a sewing project or garment.
Embellishment: Addition to decorate a handmade card or scrapbook page, e.g. toppers, jewels, buttons, or just about anything small and decorative.
Emblem: Embroidered design or motif with a neatened edge.
Embossed Paper: Paper on which a raised or depressed design has been produced by pressure, generally from an engraved or otherwise patterned image.
Embossing: Embossing is a technique used in stamping to create a shiny raised image using embossing ink pads, powders and pastes .
Embossing Ink: A thick, slow-drying ink used for heat embossing, such as Versamark. It can be either clear or have a light pastel tint.
Embossing Pad: Embossing pads can be used for both embossing and chalking techniques in stamping. Being slightly tinted so you can see where you're stamping, these pads allow for you to add colour of your choice over the top.
Embossing Paste: A paste used in conjunction with brass stencils to create a 3D image of the stencil design. Can be coloured when dry or alternatively irresdescent powders or acylics may be mixed with the wet paste to produce unusual and beautiful effects.
Embossing Powder: A powder which is applied to wet ink of an image and then heated to create a raised edge. Used in rubber stamping to provide a raised glossy effect on a stamped image. It is a fine powder that adheres to wet inks and tacky surfaces like embossing pads. When heated the powder melts leaving the glossy effect.
Embossing Tinsel: Embossing powder which contains metallic tinsel type confetti or particles
Embroidery: Decorative stitches used to create a pattern on fabric.
Encaustic: Painting by means of wax with which the colours are combined, and which is afterwards fused with hot irons, thus fixing the colours.
Engraving: The practice of incising a design on to a surface, by cutting grooves into it.
Entredeux: A French word for ‘between two’ – this is a lacy trim or stitch that has heavily embroidered holes. Entredeux tape is used in between two fabric pieces to provide a decorative joining piece. Entredeux stitch can be made using a wing needle which leaves holes as it stitches.
Envelope Curtains: These curtains are static and don’t pull back and the bottom inside corners are pinned back to let light in.
Ephemera: Ephemera is an item that is momentary in time such as tickets, packaging, leaflets, posters etc which is used as an embellishment on a project.
Epoxy: Two resins that, when mixed together, harden to form a strong bond.
Epoxy Sticker: Embellishment sticker with a hard clear coating.
Eyelets: These are fasteners with holes in the middle that, once attached to paper, card or fabric can have threads etc passed through the middle. They need to be secured to your chosen surface with an eyelet setting tool, such as an Eyelet Punch or Eyelet Setter, or other similar metals tools for applying eyelets.
Fabric Ink: Permanent ink made specifically for stamping on fabrics.
Fabric Markers: Similar to regular markers, you can use these markers to make designs on fabric. Once heat set, it makes a permanent design and is machine washable.
Fabric Paint: Permanent paint made specifically for painting on fabric.
Face: The outside or ‘right’ side of a fabric, the side you see when the garment is finished.
Facing: A garment section that is turned to the inside to hide raw edges of seams without hems, such as necklines, front edges, armholes.
Fat Quarter: Originally a quilting term but also used for wearable art. Fat Quarters are cut differently and measure a ‘squared’ ¼ yard of fabric (18 x 22”) rather than the usual long cut across the width ¼ yard (approx 9 x 45”).
Faux: Describes something made to resemble something else. For example, faux leather means imitation leather; faux marble is a marble-like surface painted on to walls or other surfaces. This is the French word for “false”, often used in fashion.
Feather Art: Using colourful birds’ feathers to decorate arts and crafts by cutting and gluing.
Feather Stitch: A machine stitch used to join non-fraying pieces of fabrics to each other.
Feed Dogs: These are the teeth under the throat plate on a sewing machine that go up and down to move the fabric along whilst sewing.
Felt: A heavy, non-fraying, fabric generally made from wool with other manufactured fibers. The fibers are locked together in a process utilizing heat, moisture, and pressure to form a compact material.
Felting: The process of transforming wool into a dense cloth by bonding and shrinking the fibres together.
Festoon Blind: A blind that is ruched from top to bottom.
Fibre: A natural or synthetic filament, as of cotton or nylon, capable of being spun into yarn or trim.
Fill Stitch: A group of running stitches which are used to cover an area of fabric. Embroideries use fill stitches to create texture and shading.
Findings: A term that originates from jewellery making to describe the pieces of metal – such as headpins, clasps and connectors - used to complete items such as necklaces or bracelets. Findings can also be used with card making, for example as an alternative way of fixing charms.
Finger Pressing: Used on small areas of fabric, simply use your fingers to flatten the seams open.
Finial: A decorative end for a curtain pole.
Finish: The way in which an item's surface is finished off. Finishes range from rough to smooth, glossy to matt.
Finished Width: The actual width after the treatment is finished and all allowances have been used.
Finishing: The term used to finish off the edge of garments, such as neatening seam allowances, removing excess stabilizers etc.
First Generation Stamping: The first impression made with a stamp after inking.
Fix Stitch: Also known as lock stitch, these are small stitches on the spot that are done at the start and end of a seam to stop it unravelling.
Fixative: A sealer sprayed over pictures and projects to protect the surface from smudging, smearing, and running. It is often used over pastels, charcoal, and even to seal water-based paint and chalk. Substance that makes work permanent and prevents fading.
Flagging: This happens to fabric that has been hooped incorrectly which causes an up and down motion resulting in thread birdnesting and does not allow stitches to form correctly.
Flat-felled Seam: A very durable seam created by sewing the wrong sides of the fabric together and then trimming one of the seams and turning the other seam allowance under and stitching over the trimmed seam. Good for jeans and reinforced seams.
Flat-nosed Pliers: Pliers with flat, tapered jaws to make twisting and curling easy, particularly wire. Also available with smooth jaws to avoid marking the wire.
Float: Long satin stitches that lay on the top of a design.
Floral Arts / Flowercraft: The art of producing decorative designs and displays by arranging flowers and related items.
Flower Pressing: Collect your flowers, stems, seed pods etc, place them in the flower press and soon you have your pressed flower ready to make all sorts of things such as pictures, decorating cards and writing paper.
Flush Cutters: Sharp wire cutters that leave a clean cut, requiring no filing.
Foam: Foam is normally supplied in sheets, but can also be bought in pre-cut shapes. Foam can be glued, punched, cut & decorated. Tip: Try heating foam gently with a heat gun, then rubber stamp an image into it.
Foil (also known as Metal Sheet): Typically used for embossing, foil is available in many different colours, although the most popular are gold, silver & copper.
Foil Stamp: Foil made of metal or similar available in various colours, sometimes embossed; (2) method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with a heated die. Also known as hot foil stamp or block print.
Fold Line: This indicates that a paper pattern piece needs to be placed on the fold of the fabric so that two identical halves are cut as one, thus avoiding centre seams.
Four Day Deal (4DD): A chance for you to get a great buy - it launches at 8am each Monday and lasts for four days.
Frame: The holding device for an embroidery hoop.
Free Motion: Embroidery that is done free hand by lowering the feed dogs on the sewing machine, so that the work can be moved in any direction at any speed. Usually worked with the fabric in a hoop and using a darning or embroidery foot. Stitch length is determined by how quickly the work is moved, quickly for long stitches, slowly for small stitches.
French Seam: This is a seam finish that encloses the raw edges so that the reverse side is neat. It is very useful for transparent fabrics or unlined curtains, jackets etc where the reverse might be seen. To create, stitch a 1 cm seam with WRONG sides together. Trim to 3mm, turn through and press with seam on fold and RIGHT sides together. Stitch again taking 6mm seam. Press again.
Frill: A longer length of fabric gathered or pleated onto an edge for decoration.
Frog fastening: A narrow fabric tube which forms a loop to fasten with a round button. Also know as a ‘Rouleau Loop’.
Fullness Ratio: This is the ratio of fabric width to the width of the window. Curtains are usually at least twice the window width.
Fusible: The term used to describe a fine mist of adhesive on fabric or interfacings that when pressed with hot iron, sticks them to another fabric.
French Curve: A tool used for creating curves for pattern design.
Gather: A technique for gathering longer lengths of fabric into a smaller length. Used to create fullness or allow several pieces of fabric of different lengths to fit together. This is done by stitching one or two rows of long basting stitch and leaving long threads at either end. If working on a sewing machine, pull up bobbin thread. TIP: Use a bright contrast thread for basting and gathering so it is easy to see and remove later.
Gauge: In wire or sheet metal, the measurement of its thickness. In fabric, the number of stitches and rows per square inch.
Gel Pen: Gel pens are gel inked ballpoint pens. They come in many different sizes and in a huge variety of colours. They are primarily used for thin patterns or writing, but can be used for colouring small areas in a specific colour.
Gesso: An opaque chalk-like base used to prepare surfaces for painting, lettering, gilding, etc.
Gilding Glass Cutters/Glass Nippers: Used with mosaics or stained glass work, this tool cuts glass with a single-edged steel wheel.
Glassine: A smooth, semi-transparent paper.
Glitter: Glitter are tiny metal fragments available in a huge array of colours and thicknesses to add sine and sparkle to crafting projects.
Glitter Glue: A wet glue that comes pre-mixed with glitter particles, and can be directly applied to add highlights to projects, or painted onto card, acetate or funky foam to make it glittery. Glitter glue is available in lots of different colours, and in two types: standard glitter glue contains identifiable pieces of glitter; pearlescent glue contains very fine particles that give it a shimmery finish.
Gloss: A reflective, shiny, surface. In crafting, it can be achieved through the choice of materials or the addition of glossy coatings such as varnish.
Glue Dots: Extremely sticky round dots of glue used to hold on embellishments such as buttons or heavy metal pieces. Also very useful in sticking things to papers and materials that are normally stick-resistant.
Glue Stick: A round stick of solid glue which is used to adhere embellishments to scrapbook pages, cards, tags, etc.
Glue Gun: A glue gun is a very handy electrical appliance for those who wish to apply embellishments. You need to insert glue sticks which the glue gun heats. You can then apply the glue in intricate places. To use the gun, you just push a glue stick into the glue stick feeder and squeeze the trigger. As you squeeze, the glue stick will travel down the barrel where it will melt and flow out of the nozzle. TIP: Be careful not to touch the nozzle or the glue as it tends to get very hot.
Godets: Usually triangularly shaped fabric inserts added to increase the swing and fullness of a skirt or dress.
Gold Leaf: This is gold flakes that can either come loose or on a sheet that adheres to tacky surfaces.
Grade Seam: This eliminates bulk from the seams; trim the outer seam allowances to 6 mm and the under seam allowance to a scant 3 mm.
Grain line: This is the direction in which the threads are woven. The straight grain runs parallel to the fabric selvedge. Crosswise grain runs at right angles to the selvedge (across the width).
Grammage: The term used to denote the weight of paper or board; the measurement used is the weight of a single sheet of one square meter, expressed in grams per square meter (g/m2).
Grommet: Another name for eyelet or washer: a metal ring used to reinforce a hole.
Grout: Cement-type material used between tiles on mosaics (and other projects) to strengthen the hold, increasing the permanence of the finished product. Available in a variety of colors.
Grout Sealer: a transparent liquid applied to a finished mosaic to protect it.
Grozing Pliers: Pliers with rough, arched jaws, used to cut and trim glass.
Guide Stitch: Stitches used to align embroideries when using several hoops or that assist in fabric placement for appliqué.
Guillotine: A guillotine is a cutter used to cut the edge of paper in a straight line or decorative design. It enables you to cut large areas precisely and in seconds.
Gusset: A piece of fabric sewn into the seamline to provide fullness.
Gutting: Gutting is a scrapbooking term for removing to save the unseen piece of card or paper covered by another part of the layout.
Halo and Loop: A method of mounting stamps using velcro instead of wood.
Hand milling: The process of creating a harder soap by taking a bar of handmade soap and grating, melting and remolding it.
Hand-building: A term to identify any type of manual manipulation of clay. Coil and slab techniques are among the most common.
Handmade Paper: Paper made by hand using a mould (a frame covered with a flat, rigid screen or flexible screen). In both cases the mould is covered by a flat frame called a deckle, to contain the run-off of wet pulp, dipped into a vat of wet pulp, shaken to distribute the fibers evenly and drained of its excess water. The wet mat of fibers remaining in the newly formed sheet is then dried against blankets and may be hot pressed, cold pressed, or air dried.
Handle: term used to describe how the fabric feels in the hand. Use of interfacing should not change the ‘handle’.
Hardware: Equipment for the computer such as digitizer and modem.
Header: The extra fabric above a cased heading which forms a frill.
Header Tape: A wide woven tape that has slots for curtains hooks and includes the gathering cords. There are many different types of header tape which pull up to make perfect pleats, goblet pleats etc.
Heat Embossing: An embossing technique using a stamp, embossing or pigment ink pad, embossing powder, and a heat source.
Heat Gun: A heat gun is a tool that produces intense hot air allowing for projects to be heated. Mainly known for use with embossing techniques.
Hem: The fabric which is turned up on the edge of the garment to provide a neat finished edge.
Hem Allowance: Amount of fabric allowed for the hemming.
Hemp Cord: Used primarily for macramé, this cord (created from hemp) resists fraying and holds knots well.
High Bust: This is the measurement taken above the full bust measurement under the arms and around the back and chest. If this measurement is more than 5 cm larger than the full bust measurement then dress, jacket and top pattern size should be selected by the high bust size and alterations made to fit the fuller cup.
Highlight: To use a lighter shade of paint in a particular area.
Hip Point: The point on the pattern where the hip comes. This is usually 18 – 23 cm from the waist.
Holographic: The pattern produced on a photosensitive medium that has been exposed by holography and then photographically developed. Holographic card is widely used in crafts.
Hong Kong Seam: A seam finishing method of binding the seam allowance to encase raw edges. On lightweight fabrics, both seam allowances can be pressed to one side and then bound together. On medium and heavier weight fabrics, press seam open and bind each seam allowance separately.
Hook and Eye: A two-part closure that consists of a hook and a loop.
Hoop: Made up of two rings, one slightly smaller than the other, that fit together to clamp fabric tightly in place. Used for embroidery and free motion stitching.
Hot Pressed: A paper surface that is smooth, produced by pressing a finished sheet through hot cylinders.
Hue: A colour or shade, expressed particularly by its position on the colour wheel.
Huffing: Blowing on an inked stamp to keep it moist before stamping. This process can extend the ink to allow a second impression without re-inking.
In-seam: The inside leg seam that runs from crotch to hem.
Index: The image that is on top of a stamp.
Ink: An ink is a liquid containing various pigments and/or dyes used for coloring a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are used extensively in letterpress and lithographic printing.Ink is a complex medium, comprising solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescers, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink’s carrier, colourants, and other additives are used to control flow, thickness, and appearance of the ink when dry.
Intaglio: Sunken-relief, otherwise known as intaglio or sometimes hollow-relief, is a method of sculpting which entails carving or etching an image into the surface of a flat piece of stone, metal, glass or wood. This method creates a relief which is effectively a negative of the usual bas-relief type. This method can be achieved with rubber stamps by stamping into a soft surface such a polymer clay, UTEE or gently heated foam.
Interfacing: A fine fabric used between layers of fabric in a garment to provide stability and shape. Used in cuffs, collars, plackets, waistbands. It comes in two types, sew in or iron-on (fusible) and in different weights and colours. The aim is to use a weight that will add stability but not change the ‘handle’ of the fabric.
Interlining: Another fabric layer, usually cut and sewn as one with main fabric, to provide support to main fabric. Also known as Underlining.
Inverted Pleat: Two pleats folded towards each other and butting up together at the top. Sometimes the resulting inverted pleat has a contrast fabric under the folds.
Iridescant: Varying in colour when seen in different lights or from different angles.
Iris Folding: Iris Folding is the card making technique using folded strips of paper to fill an aperture in an overlapping spiral. It it is called iris folding because the center of the design resembles the iris of a camera or eye. Strips of paper are folded & laid over a pattern.
Jabot: The tail section of Swags and Tails in window treatments.
Journal (Journaling): This is writing on a scrapbooking layout describing the subject of the page, for instance the people or events in the photographs on the page. It can also be thoughts and sentiments about the layout.
Jumper: A sweater in the UK, this is the term for a pinafore in the USA. It is also the name for a small plastic device for ‘jumping’ over thicker seams with the sewing machine such as jean hems. Also known as a Hump Jumper.
Jump Stitch: the long stitch or thread between embroidery stitches in machine embroidery, formed when the stitching moves to another area of the design before continuing. The jump stitches should be cut away once the design is stitched out.
Kick Pleats: Similar to box pleats but folds are further apart and don’t butt together at the back.
Kimono: Term used to describe a traditional Japanese dress. The basic kimono is a square-cut body with square-cut sleeves and has remained much the same since the 10th century.
Kimono sleeve: This type of sleeve is an extension of the bodice and can be loose or close fitting (also known as Dolman sleeve). Kimono sleeves tend to have a wide square look with a looser fitting.
Kinetic Cards: The name applied to any three-dimensional or movable card, which covers pop-up cards, and cards with, flaps, pull-tabs, pop-outs, pull-downs, and more, each of which performs in a different manner.
Kneading: Manipulating clay with the hand resulting in a uniform texture.
Knife Pleats: A row of folds all in the same direction.
Kraft Paper: Paper made from a type of chemical wood pulp; it may be bleached or unbleached and produces a strong paper which is used for wrapping and packaging. The term comes from the German word for strong.
Lambrequin: A pelmet which extends down the side of the window.
Layering: Also known as matting, this is when you place either card or paper of increasing sizes around an image to create a frame.
Layout: A layout is a completed scrapbook page.
Light Box: Back-lit frame with a translucent face of plastic or glass used to transmit light through an image for the purpose of tracing and also slide viewing. Used with embossing to view the stencil lines under the sheet of paper.
Lignin: A natural bonding agent in plants - while lignin isn't an acid, it releases acids as it deteriorates. If you have paper that’s acid free, it may still contain lignin and become acidic over time. When manufacturing scrapbooking papers the lignin is removed during processing so that the papers become safe.
Lining: Used to finish the inside of a garment to hide seam construction, prevents ‘see-through’ and helps garments to hang better.
Lock Stitch: Also known as Fix Stitch and Loop stitch, these are the small stitches on the spot that are done at the start and end of an embroidery or seam to stop it unravelling.
Loom State: Refers to fabric that is straight from the loom. Loom state cloth will shrink, and needs to be prewashed before using.
Loop Stitch: See Lock Stitch.
Machine Tacking: This is done by machine using the longest stitch length available to temporarily hold fabric in position before stitching permanently (see Basting).
Machine Embroidery: Decorative stitching created by using in-built stitches on a sewing machine such as satin stitch and zigzag. Mid to top range machines have a number of embroidery stitches built-in. The term also denotes embroidered designs, motifs and pictures.
Macramé/macrame: A form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Fibres are knotted into patterns to make decorations or embellishments.
Magic Motif: Double sided glue motifs for use with glitter or transfer foil.
Malachiteis: A green banded mineral that is usually cut into cabochons and beads as it is a fairly soft mineral measuring 3.5 – 4 on the Mohs scale. It can be found worldwide but is mainly mined in the Urals and Israel.
Mandarin Collar: This is a short unfolded stand-up collar which starts at the neckline and stands vertically 2-3 cm (also known as a Chinese collar).
Marbling: Paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to marble or other stone, hence the name. The patterns are the result of color floated on either plain water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferred to a sheet of paper (or other surfaces such as fabric). This decorative material has been used to cover a variety of surfaces for several centuries. It is often employed as a writing surface for calligraphy, and especially book covers and endpapers in bookbinding and stationery. Part of its appeal is that each print is a unique monoprint.
Marker: A marker is a kind of writing instrument similar to a pen but never having an external ink-source; the tip is typically made of felt and when this is true it can also be called a felt-tipped pen.
Marking: Temporary marks made on fabric to aid positioning of pockets, buttonholes and darts etc. Also used in embroidery to determine how to hoop fabric.
Mask: A paper cut-out of either a stamped image or a template stuck temporarily down to a project surface to hide the image behind, letting you carry on with your work without touching this image. The mask is then removed again at the end.
Masking Fluid: A latex liquid with added pigmentation for masking areas of work needing protection when colour/ink is applied.
Masking Tape: Masking tape is a type of adhesive tape made of easy-to-tear paper that is backed with a relatively weak adhesive. It is used often in painting, to mask off areas that shouldn't be painted. The weak adhesive allows the tape to be removed easily.
Matting: Also known as layering, this is when you place either card or paper of increasing sizes around an image to create a frame. It visually separates the image from the background and is good for using colours to compliment the image.
Metafil: A needle with an elongated eye for use with metallic decorative threads.
Mitre: A method of neatly folding fabric or trim at corners.
Mitring: A way of folding the excess seam allowance to achieve a less bulky, sharp corner.
Mod Podge: An adhesive suitable for just about any surface - can also be used as a sealant when doing decoupage. Mod Podge comes in three finishes, matte, glossy and sparkle.
Mod-Roc Plaster Bandage: A plaster and resin based, hard and lightweight plaster bandage which smoothes well - ideal for body casting, 3D work and scenery - after priming will take acrylic paints well for subsequent decoration.
Monogram: Letters, usually initials, embroidered for decoration.
Motif: A distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, appliqué, etc., in a design, as in a painting or on clothing.
Mounting:Create dimension to your card by making several impressions of your image, saving the first impression as your base and cutting apart subsequent impressions for areas of the design you want to build up. Mounting or "layering" pieces can be done with double sided foam tape or hot glue. If you want to mount a piece without giving it dimension use regular double sided tape.
Mulberry Paper: Japanese Paper made from Kozo which is the fibres of the Mulberry Tree. The paper can be torn to create a feathered-effect edge.
Multigrids: stainless steel plates, each grid with a different design used for parchment crafts.
Nap: Also known as Pile, this describes fabrics with surface texture. Determine whether a fabric has nap by brushing the fabric in one direction to see whether it changes colour or shade when brushed one way or the other. NB: It is sometimes hard to determine if the fabric is very light. If it is textured or has a one-way pattern, follow the ‘with nap’ layout which requires all pattern pieces to be placed in the same direction so the pile or nap will all run from top to bottom etc.
Needle threader: A tool with a looped wire which pulls the thread through the needle eye.
Network: The method of linking computer to digitizer to embroidery machine using a modem.
Nib: The tapered or sharpened writing tip of a pen or quill.
Notch: There are two types of Notch in sewing: 1. Triangular or diamond shaped marks on the cutting lines of paper patterns used to match seams together at sides, back and front etc. 2. Triangular shapes cut OUT of outer curved seam allowances once a seam is stitched, so that when turned through the fabric will lie flat.
Notions: The American term used to describe haberdashery; frequently used on paper patterns.
One Day Wonder: A selected product cut to an amazing price - it goes on sale on at 8am and lasts until midnight.
Opposite Colour: Hues that lies opposite each other (i.e. that which it complements) on the Colour Wheel (see above). Also known as Complementary Colour or Contrasting Colour.
Overlock: An overcast stitch which encases the edge and helps neaten raw edges. Also known as ‘serging.’
Overlocker: A purpose-made sewing machine that overlocks fabric, cutting the edge and sewing in the same pass. Can be 3-8 threads and can be used for a variety of creative stitching as well as overlocking edges. Also known as Sergers.
Pattern: The template needed to create an item. Commercial patterns provide tissue pieces.
Pattern Layout: Diagram found on commercial pattern instruction sheets which indicate how to lay out pattern pieces on the fabric.
Pattern Match: This describes the technique of matching patterns on right and left edges, for drapes etc and is used when working with specifically patterned fabric, checks or plaids. Cut each piece on a single layer of fabric. Lay cut piece next to remaining fabric so that next section can be placed with pattern matching at key points (bust, hip etc). Remember when cutting two of same pattern piece, the pattern piece should be flipped over for the second one to ensure a left and right.
Pelmet: A decorative way of concealing curtain tops and tracks. This is usually a flat panel which can be painted or covered with fabric.
Pelmet Board: A horizontal wooden shelf from which a pelmet or valance is hung.
Peplum: A flared 'skirt' attached to jacket or top at waist creating a fuller style at hem.
Peter Pan Collar: This is a small, flat round cornered collar without a stand. It is popular for women's and children's garments.
Petersham: A heavy duty waistbanding, usually black and reinforced with a line of stitching to prevent it folding or rolling when worn.
Pick of the Day (POD): A selected product cut to an amazing price - it goes on sale on Tuesdays at 9pm and lasts for 24 hours.
Pick of the Week (POW): A selected product cut to an amazing price - it goes on sale at noon on Fridays and lasts a whole week.
Pick Stitch: This is a decorative hand stitch used on collars, cuffs, front facings etc. An alternative to top stitching.
Pile: Surface texture to fabric. Only some fabrics, like velvet, have a visible pile; when brushed it will look a different colour. When cutting out, ensure all pattern pieces are laid in the same direction on the fabric so that the pile is going in it's natural direction. (Also known as Nap).
Pilling: also known as bobbling, this is the term used to describe the tiny fabric balls that occur after repeated wear. They can be removed with a fabric shaver. The better the quality of fabric, the less it will pill.
Pintuck: Raised very narrow tucks or pleats in fabric that add decorative detail.
Piping: A decorative cord with flange or plain cord which can be covered with bias binding and then sewn in seams to create a crisp neat edging. Used in dressmaking and soft furnishings. (See cording).
Pivot: A way of turning the fabric without losing the stitch position; leave the needle in the fabric, raise presser foot and turn fabric to new stitching position. Lower presser foot and continue.
Placket: An additional section of fabric that is added to openings such as neck, sleeve or cuff.
Plastron: A chest piece of interfacing that fills the hollow between shoulder and bust. The shape varies depending on the bust size. It is usually made from tailor's canvas and interfacing.
Pleat: A fold in fabric that is inverted or folded outward to make tucks in the fabric. They reduce a wide amount of fabric to a narrow amount whilst adding fullness. Pleats can be left open, or partially sewn.
Point Turner: A tool with a pointed end used to push out points and corners.
Poppas: A fastening with male and female parts that clip together to hold two fabric edges in place. They need to be hand sewn in place. (Also known as Snap Fasteners)
Pre-shrinking: It is advisable to pre-wash fabrics before making up into garments or furnishings to pre-shrink and wash out any treatments. Pre-washing can also mean that fabric becomes washable when made into a garment as the shrinking has already been done!
Pressing: Pressing involves placing the iron on the fabric, holding for a moment, lifting and replacing on another section – without moving the iron back and forth as you do when ironing.
Pressing Cloth: A clean cloth that is placed over fabric whilst pressing and ironing to prevent marking. This can be used damp for steam pressing or dry. An organza press cloth is ideal as it withstands most temperatures and is transparent.
Pressing Ham: This ‘ham’ shaped stuffed cushion is used to support the fabric to the right shape whilst ironing for curved areas such as darts, sleeves and princess seams. Also known as a dressmaker’s or tailor’s ham.
Prick Stitch: A stitch used on fabrics such as velvet, it is a very small backstitch sewn with right side uppermost. Hand zip insertion is often done with prick stitch.
Princess Seam: A seam stitched by machine with two different shaped edges that when joined shapes the garment. Used at bust and waist and hip areas. (See ‘Curved Seam’).
Puckering: This is caused by tight stitches on the fabric usually the result of incorrect tension or stitch length, seams that are cut on bias inaccurately or a needle that is the wrong size.
Quilting: The process of creating a quilt or to the sewing of two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material. A quilter is the name given to someone who works at quilting. Quilting can be done by hand or by sewing machine.
Raglan Sleeve: This type of sleeve is attached to the garment by a seam that runs diagonally down the front neckline to the underarm and up to the back of the neckline.
Raw edge: The edge of the fabric that has not been stitched or finished.
Reinforce: A term used to describe stitching over an area again to strengthen the seam. Used in areas of most stress such as crotch.
Reverse Appliqué: A piece of fabric used behind a design where the front fabric will be cut away to reveal the fabric beneath it. (Also known as Back Appliqué)
Resizing: The ability to change the scale of a design or pattern to fit.
Right side: The side of fabric that you wish to use as the outside; the side with printing or design. For some fabrics, such as linen, silk or polyester, it is difficult to distinguish the right or wrong side, in which case it doesn’t matter.TIP: If it is difficult to tell right from wrong side, decide which you want to call right and mark all pattern pieces with chalk or pins so that every piece will be sewn correctly with the same side as right (useful to ensure right and left pieces, sleeves etc or where there is a very slight difference only visible in daylight!)
Revere Collar: Flat V-shaped collar often found on blouses.
Rise: This is the distance from hip to waist. Rise measurement is taken from the waist down to the upper leg side when making trousers.
Rolled Collar: This type of collar is softly rolled where it folds down from the stand (as opposed to a collar with a pressed crease at the fold).
Rolled Hem: A very narrow hem finish. Fold raw edge under 3 mm and stitch. Trim close to fold, turn under again along. stitching and stitch again. Alternatively, use a rolled hem foot on a sewing machine which rolls the hem through the foot prior to stitching.
Rotary Cutter: A cutting tool which is ideal for cutting long straight lengths of fabric. Looks like a pizza cutter with a circular blade.
Rouleau Loop: A narrow fabric tube which forms a loop to fasten a round button. Also know as a ‘Frog Fastening’.
Ruffle: A decorative gathered trim made from a piece of fabric usually cut on the bias.
Running Stitch: An easy hand stitch used to hold layers together. Made by running the needle through to back and up to front repeatedly along the seam line. There are gaps between stitching on both sides.
Satin Stitch: This is a shortened, closely stitched zigzag stitch which creates a close line of stitches to cover raw edges. Used as a decorative stitch or to attach appliqués.
Seam Allowance: The piece of fabric between the fabric edge and the stitching. This is usually 15 mm for dressmaking and 6 mm for crafts.
Seam Line: The line on which to sew when putting a garment together. It is this seam line that must be matched when putting the garment together and not the raw edges.
Seam Ripper: Also known as a ‘quick unpick, this is a little cutting tool used to undo seam stitching. Frequently found in a sewing machine’s tool kit.
Selvedge: This is the bound side edges of the fabric which doesn’t fray. (In the USA it is spelt Selvage)
Separating Zip: Also known as Open-ended zip, this zipper comes apart so the garment can open completely. Used on jackets and sportswear.
Serging: An overcast stitch which encases the edge and helps to neaten raw edges. Also known as ‘overlocking’.
Set-in Sleeve: This type of sleeve is set into the armhole with a seam on the shoulder end (also known as a mounted sleeve).
Sew-through Button: A flat button with holes through to sew onto the garment. Use on lightweight garments.
Shade: The lightness or darkness of a colour.
Shank Button: A button which has a loop on the back to provide space between itself and the garment. This shank enables fabric to pass through button and lay flat.
Shirring: Rows of machine gathering to take in fullness.
Shoulder Pads: Felt or foam shaped pads that are inserted into the shoulders of garments to give shape. Especially used in tailored garments and come in perform shapes and sizes.
Slash: Refers to a cut opening in the garment e.g. neckline or pocket.
Slip Stitch:A stitch used to turn under edges and to close gaps left for turning garments through. Stitches are barely visible on the right side.
Slit: An open part of a seam on a garment which is found on skirts.
Snap Fasteners: Also known as poppas, they have two components that snap together to fasten. Each half is attached to fabric pieces that need to be opened.
Snips: Small cutting tool like scissors used to cut thread.
Soldering: A process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting a filler metal (solder) - a key element of jewellery making and metal crafts.
Spool: The thread holder on a sewing machine (also known as thread spindle) OR a reel of thread.
Software: These are computer programs and cards rather than hardware which includes modems and digitizers.
Speciality Threads: These are threads used for embroidery that have a special effect. This can be metallic, neon, variegated, thicker woollen threads etc. Usually made from synthetic materials like rayons and metallics.
Spindle: The thread holder on a sewing machine. Also known as the thread spool.
Stabiliser: Woven or non woven material used to prevent fabric puckering when stitching dense designs such as embroideries or when stitching on stretch fabrics. These come in lots of different styles including fusible, soluble, tearaway and in various weights.
Stash: Collection of fabrics awaiting use!
Stay Stitching: This is a line of stitching done to stabilise fabric and prevent it from unwanted stretching prior to seaming. Usually done just inside the seam line on curved edges.
Stitch in the Ditch: This is a method of attaching facings or bias binding to the underside by stitching on the RIGHT side, stitching in the previous seam line by pulling fabric tight to left and right.
Straight Grain: This is what the grain line follows: the warp threads.
Straight Stitch: These are single forward stitches.
Stroking the Cat: Stitching in the direction of the grain (to find the direction of the grain, run finger along cut edge and stitch in direction in which fibres curl smoothly).
Tacking: See Basting.
Tailor’s tack: A way of marking placement points on garments for buttonholes, darts, pockets etc. A hand stitch, use a double length of thread to make two very loose loopy stitches through tissue pattern and both fabric layers. Snip the loops and pull fabric apart gently, snipping thread between layers so that some thread is in both fabric pieces. Always use a contrasting thread so Tailor’s Tacks can be seen easily.
Tape Pen: Applicator for glue which will produce a line like double sided tape. Easy to use. Available in permanent & repositionable.
Tea Bag Folding: Tea bag folding originated in Holland. Credit for its origin is given to a woman named Tiny van der Plaas. Sitting at her table, worrying about a birthday card for her sister that she had forgotten to pick up, Tiny van der Plaas began folding her fruit tea bag envelope. This gave her an idea and, also, gave birth to tea bag folding.
Tearing: Tearing paper exposes a feathered edge. If using coloured paper with a white core, this edge can be coloured with chalks, paints & pens.
Template: A sheet, usually of soft or hard plastic, with cut-out shapes that you can use to trace or cut identical shapes from paper or other materials.
Tension: Tautness of the stitch which comes from the pressure being exerted between the needle and bobbin. On a sewing machine there are two types of tension - thread and bobbin.
Toile: This is a garment made from cheap fabric such as Calico and is used to ‘prove’ a pattern and to make sure the pattern fits perfectly. This is important to do when using expensive and delicate fabrics where alterations would mark like silk wedding dresses.
Tone: Lighter or darker variations of a specific colour.
Top Stitching: A row of stitching that should be visible on the finished garment. Top stitching can be decorative and/or functional as it also serves to hold facings in place.
Topper: A topper is usually a self adhesive embellishment for making quick & easy handmade cards.
Transfer Foil: Transfer foil is used with glue, double sided tape of glue shapes such as Magic Motifs. It adheres to the glue leaving a foiled shape behind.
Transfer Glaze: A water based glaze which binds pictures (printed inks) into a plastic film which can then be put on a new surface. Can be used to transfer photocopied photographs, text and images to most fabrics including canvas making it of great use to altered art enthusiasts.
Tuck: A larger version of Pintuck – a fold in fabric that is stitched down.
Turn of the Cloth: This refers to the amount of fabric that is taken up in the fold when fabric is folded into two or turned through to right side. Particularly important to consider when dealing with bulky fabrics.
Tracing wheel: Used with carbon paper, it is a little serrated wheel that when rolled over the carbon paper, transfers the colour to fabric to mark placement lines for darts, pleats etc.
Trim: 1) Thin decorative strip such as ribbon or lace that is placed on a garment. 2) Term used to describe cutting away excess fabric from seam allowances.
Trimmer: A Paper trimmer allows you to cut paper and card straight and to certain lengths. Most trimmers have built in rulers so you measure out and cut exactly the length you need.
Triple Embossing: Achieved when a rubber stamp is pressed into hot UTEE to leave a debossed image (so called because it normally takes at least 3 layers of UTEE to get a nice thickness to stamp into).
Twill: A medium weight, ribbed fabric usually made from cotton and polyester. Can be decorated with rubber stamping or printed on via a P.C. to create personalised messages.
Undercoat: The first layer of paint applied; usually a neutral colour to provide a consistent background.
Underlining: Lining used to add body to a garment, placed between main fabric and interfacing. Also known as Interlining.
Under Stitching: A row of stitching through seam allowances and facings, very close to seam that attaches facing to main garment. Used to stop lining or facings from rolling out.
Universal Needle: A needle which has a slightly rounded tip. Used for woven and knit fabrics.
Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE): A large grain embossing powder. When this powder is melted a bumpy texture is created. You can keep adding layers and heat each layer as you go which will smooth out this bumpy look and give the effect of a glazed surface.
Velcro: A brand name for hook and look tape used as fastening. One strip has tiny hooks and the other a soft surface to snag the hooks.
Vellum: Real vellum is made from the skin of young livestock, but the kind usually referred to in crafts and scrapbooking is paper that is specially treated so it has some translucency.
Versamark: A clear ink which creates a translucent effect. Can also be used as embossing ink.
View: Found on paper patterns and refers to the variations in style of the garment.
Wadding: Flat material used to stuff and pad, usually cotton, wool or fiberfill. (Also known as Batting).
Walking Foot: A presser foot for a sewing machine that allows even sewing over lots of layers or thicker fabric as it helps to grip the fabric layers and ‘walks’ it through when sewing. It has moving ‘teeth’ on the foot that work in unison with the feed dogs of the machine.
Warp: Term describing the way the threads run lengthways through a woven fabric. Also known as ‘lengthwise grain’.
Waterbrush: Artist size paintbrushes with a built in water reservoir enabling the user to create watercolour effects easily and mess free. Suitable for use with watercolour pencils, aqua crayons, H2Os and ink pads. Several sizes available to cover background painting and more detailed designs.
Watercolour Paper: A 100-percent cotton rag-quality paper. Comes in light, medium, and heavy weights and surface textures such as hot-pressed (smooth) and cold-pressed (rough).
Watercolour Pencils: Watercolour medium in pencil form. Can be used as a an ordinary coloured pencil or mixed with water to create watercolour paint.Used to colour in stamped images, create backgrounds or general watercolour effects.
The Weekender: A selected product cut to an amazing price - it goes on sale at 9am Saturday and lasts the whole weekend.
Weft: Term describing the way the threads run at right angles to the length of a woven fabric. Also known as ‘cross grain’.
Welt: A method for covering raw edges of a pocket. This is the visible part of the binding on a buttonhole or pocket opening that looks like a lip.
Whipstitch: Strong over-edged hand stitch used for joining two edges together.
Wing Needle: A wide wing shaped needle which is flared at the sides to purposefully leave holes in fabric as it stitches. Use a wing needle on woven fabrics for heirloom stitching.
Wire: Flexible copper wire available in a variety of colours and thicknesses.
Woodcut: An ancient technique of making prints from a relief surface. The designs are made by carving into the wood’s grain.
Wrong Side: This is the side of the fabric without the design – the side to be used as under or inside.
Xyron: A machine that applies adhesive to pages and can also laminate.
Xyron Personal Cutter (XPC): An electric machine that cuts shapes (similar to a die cutter, but more versatile).
Xerographic Paper: Paper made to reproduce well in copy machines and laser printers.
Yixing: Pronounced ee-shing, a purple pottery clay named after a city in Jiangsu province, eastern China.
Yuzen: Colourful Japanese hand-dyeing technique where each pattern is drawn by hand, often creating unique designs or very limited series.
Zigzag Stitch: A stitch that goes diagonally side to side to produce a decorative finish to a seam or join two layers next to each other.