Sewing Terms Glossary

Confused about sewing terms? This page contains an alphabetical list of terms and is growing everyday.


Backstitching: Sewing in the opposite direction in order to secure the seam. Many sewing machines will have a backstitching lever.


Casing: Folded over piece of fabric that “encases” something, such as a cord or piece of elastic.


Dart: These are folds sewn into the fabric and help provide a 3-dimensional shape.


Hem: The edge of the fabric that is turned under and sewn. It prevents the fabric from fraying and adds a more polished look to the final product.


Interfacing: Fabric that is placed between the two outer layers in order to provide form or stiffness.


Raw edge: Unhemmed edge of the fabric

Right side: The side of the fabric that will be facing outward in the finished product. Also known as “face.”

Right sides together: Whichever sides of the fabric that you want to be facing outwards in the final product should be sewn while facing each other.


Seam allowance: This is the extra fabric that you cut out to give you a place to sew the fabric together. It is the difference between the edge of the fabric and the line where you sew and is not seen in the final product.

Serging: A technique of binding of the edge of a piece of fabric in order to prevent fraying.

Straight stitch: The most basic stitch, it simply runs straight across the fabric. It’s useful for attaching two pieces of fabric or doing a folded hem.


Wrong side: The side of the fabric that is facing inward in the finished product.


Zigzag stitch: As indicated by its name, this stich zigzags across the fabric. It’s useful in sewing things such as buttonhole edges and stretchy fabrics.

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