10 Basic Sewing Terms You Should Know

If you feel you’re trying to learn a new language while engaging in a new hobby, we hear you. That’s why we’ve put together this list of basic terminology to help you understand as you work on your sewing projects.

1. Seam Allowance

To put it in simple terms, the seam allowance is just the fabric between the seam and the edge. There’s really no right or wrong size as they can be as small as 1/4-inch or up to several inches wide. It generally just depends on your project.

2. Lining

A lining is the layer of material underneath the outward fabric. An example of when you might need a lining is with a special type of clothing or even with throw blankets. Usually, linings are meant to add warmth or softness to your sewing projects.

3. Seam

This one is super easy to remember. A seam is just where two pieces of fabric are sewn together. After you’ve used a needle and thread by hand or your sewing machine, the finished product includes at least one or more seams.

4. Quilting

While most people think that quilting is the process of making blankets, there’s more to it than that. Quilting is the process of sewing multiple smaller pieces of fabric together in a pattern to create a bigger piece. That’s why you can have wall hangings or even potholders that are quilted.

5. Hem

A hem is the edge of fabric that has been turned under and sewn in place. If you’re making clothing or apparel pieces with natural, eco-friendly fabrics, you’ll want to make sure you’re planning to hem the edges for a finished look.

6. Selvedge

This is the finished edge of a piece of fabric that keeps it from unraveling. If you purchase material from our online fabric store, you’ll notice that the edges are all nice and even. Most commercial fabrics have some sort of selvedge.

7. Bias Grain

Bias grain is a direction of cutting fabric that’s in a 45-degree angle. Often, this is done to give the fabric a better drape as part of an apparel piece or other article of clothing. The alternate terminology to know when reading a pattern include straight grain (horizontal) and cross grain (vertical). 

8. Notions

Notions can be one of two different things. First, they can be adornments to sewing projects, like buttons or rhinestones. Second, they can be called sewing notions, which are simply accessories and sewing materials that make the process easier.

9. Seam Ripper

It has been said that a seam ripper is the best friend of someone starting to sew. This handy little tool helps you take out what you’ve just sewn and start all over again. Thick of it as like whiteout for creating with fabric.

10. Back Stitch

To back stitch means to go back over what you’ve already sewn. Often, this is what you do when you’re finishing a seam or other line in a particular project.

Check Out Our Selection of Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Now that you know more about these popular sewing terms, you can tackle your own projects. Nature’s Fabrics offers a full selection of natural fabrics such as bamboo designed to help you create beautiful quilts, home accessories, clothing items, and so much more. Check out our inventory now to pick out your new favorite.

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