Glossary of common terms used by people directly or indirectly related to Apparel/Garment/Clothing Industry.


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  1. Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Term Description
A-line A garment with sloping sides, the widest partbeing at the hemline
Alter To change a patterns so that it corresponds to body measurements
Allowance Extra fabric outside the seamline or within the garment to accommodate gathers, ease, tucks and pleats.
Applique Ecorative pieces of fabric applied by hand or machine
Armhole The opening in a garment for the arm
Armscye It is commonly known as Armhole
Back stitch A small hand stitch that looks like machine stitching on the right side, but with stitches over lapping on the wrong side
Bands Strips of fabric, ribbon or bias applied to edges or set into garments to finish or decorate.
Bar A group of cross threads used to stay the ends of a button hole
Basque A woman's tight fitting dress-waist made separate from the skirt and having the waistline finish attached to the waist portion
Basting A long, loose temporary stitch made by hand or machine
Bell sleeve A straight sleeve flaring at the bottom
Bias Any direction in the fabric which does not follow exactly the selvedge or weft yarns. A true bias makes and angle of 450 across the lengthwise and widthwise grain. It has maximum stretch.
Binding A bias strip of material used to enclose a raw edge as a finish or trim
Bishop's sleeve A long, full sleeve gathered onto a narrow cuff
Blend A mixture of different fibres in one yarn or different yams in one fabric, each lending its own characteristics to the fabric
Blind stitch A form of hemming made by catching only one thread of the outer fabric
Braid A woven novelty trim, finished at both edges
Brides The threads of warp or weft connecting parts of the pattern in lace
Buckram A stiff fabric made by impregnating a light-weight open cloth with adhesives and fillers
Cap The top part of a sleeve which is curved to fit the armhole
Capsleeve Extension of the shoulder and upper armhole to cover the top of the arm
Casing A hem with an opening so that ribbon or elastic may be drawn through
Centre front The position of the pattern or garment at the exact centre of the front section of the garment.
Clip A small cut in the seam allowance of a garment which allows a comer or curved area to turn and lie flat.
Closing A placket or any garment opening.
Construction Basic seams that give shape to flat cloth. lines
Co-ordinates A number of garments which match and can be worn together in different combinations.
Cord piping A cord which is encased in bias fabric and used to finish and decorate edges, waistlines, button holes and furnishings.
Cord seam A seam with a corded effect which is produced by turning both seam edges to one side and then stiching through the three thicknesses of material.
Costume Dress belonging to a given country, time and class.
Count of Yarn A number indicating the mass per unit length or the length per unit mass of a yam.
Dart A fold of fabric stitched to a point at one end. Used to fit to body curves.
Design lines Lines or seams that add design and make the garment different.
Drape Soft folds of fabr 7ic controlled by pleats or gathers.
Draped A style in which the fabric is gathered or folded into unpressed pleats to create a soft effect and provide shaping.
Dressform A duplicate of the human form which is useful for fitting or draping a garment.
Ease (a) Extra measurement allowed for comfort. It is the difference between actual body measurement and the size of the garment. (b) To work in excess material that has been allowed for comfort.
Edge stitch A line of stitching placed along an edge, usually decorative finish.
Edging Narrow lace having one finished edge and the other. usually scalloped or indented. Used for trimmings.
End An individual strand of yarn.
Extension Additional fabric jutting out beyond a seam or a centre line.
Eyelet A small hole in a garment finished by hand or a metalring to hold the prong of a buckle. Also for lacing with ribbon and cord.
Facing A shaped or bias piece of self fabric applied to a garment edge as a finish.
Fastenighs Hooks and eyes, press buttons, and zippers used to fasten garments.
Fittings Adjusting the pattern or garment-to fit the individual figure.
Flared A style which is much wider around the lower edge.
Flounce Flared bands of fabric, sometimes gathered and used to decorate edges of garments or used in tiers to make a skirt.
Fly front A colsing which conceals buttons or zippers of trousers.
Fray The threads which come out during the handling of fabric.
Gathering One or two rows of stitching, either by hands or machine, that are drawn up to form even fullness.
Gingham Plain weave fabric constructed with coloured woven check pattern.
Godets A shaped or pleated section of material inserted into garments.
Gore A skirt section that is shaped upto the hip level and then flared out to the hemline.
Grain The direction of threads in a woven fabric. The lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvedge and the cross-wise grain from selvedge to selvedge.
Grey goods Woven fabrics as they leave the loom before being bleached dyed or finished.
Gusset A shaped piece of fabric inserted usually at the underarm of the garment to provide comfort.
Hand finishing The details sewn by hand to finish the garment.
Hem The finish formed by folding back the raw edge of a garment to the wrong side.
Hemline The line designating the finished length of a garment.
Knife pleats Series of-pleats that turn in the same direction. They are usually equal in width and are pressed straight down to the hem.
Layout The arrangement of pattern pieces on the material so as to ensure economical cutting.
Lining A fabric used inside garments. Its edges may be attached to the garment at the seams with slip stitch or it may hang loose from the neck or from the waist in the case of skirts.
Loop A fastening which extends beyond the finished edge, used on closings with no overlap. Can be made with thread, cord or fabric.
Machine basting A temporary machine stitching using the longest machine stitch.
Marking Transferring all necessiary pattern lines or markings to the wrong side of the fabric.
Nap The word means "pile" Pile fabrics should always be cut in one direction only.
Notch A small V-shaped mark or cut, on seam allowance of the pattern pieces.
Opening Term used interchangeably with closing.
Pile Weave of a fabric with upright surface yams such as velvet or velveteen.
Pin tucks Tucks as fine as the width of a pin.
Pinking Jagged cut finish for a raw edge.
Placket A closing or opening in a garment.
Pleats Folds of fabric used to control fullness.
Princess line Seam lines running from shoulder or armhole to the hem with no waist seam.
Pucker To draw up into folds and wrinkles.
Puffsleeves Short sleeves having fullness gathered into the armhole, and into a band or binding at the lower edge.
Raglan A style in which the armhole seams run upto the neckline giving a loose and comforeable fit.
Ravel Yams drawn out along the edge of the fabric.
Ribbon An attractive woven fabric with a lustrous appearance, used for trimming and adornment.
Ricrac A flat, woven braid made in zigzag form
Rip To open a seam by pulling out or cutting the stitching
Rolled hem A kind of hem used on sheer fabrics. The edge is rolled tightly between the thum and forefigers of the left hand and hemming is done to hold the roll in placle
Ruffle A band of fabric that is gathered or pleated and applied to an edge as a trimming
Sag The stretch-that occurs in the bias grain of a garment after hanging or as the effect of strain on any part of a garment
Scallop An edge finish made up of a series of semicircles
Smock A straight garment with a gathered or smocked yoke
Stay A reinforcement in fabric or tape, to hold a part of a garment securely in position
Stay binding A narrow, woven fabric generally used for the covering of seams and the strengthening of garments
Stay stitching A row of stitching worked just inside, the seam allowance and close to the stitching line in order to prevent areas on the bias or curve from stretching
Straight of goods A term used to designate the length-wise in a fabric
Tack To fasten two fabric surfaces together loosely by running stitches
Tailor's tack A stitch used to trarnsfer pattern markings to the fabric
Taper To decrease width gradually and bring to a point
Thread count The number of threads in a square inch of fabric
Top Stitching A line of stitching along the seam line on the right side of a garment, to add strength or design
Trim To cut off ragged edges or a part of a seam allowance to prevent it from being bulky and to give the seam a neat edge
Trimming An ornamental addition used on garments
Tubing A hollow cylinder of fabric used for button loops and decorative trim
Tucks Straight folds of fullness, evenly stitched
Underlap A part of a garment that extends or laps under another part
Underlay An additional piece of fabric placed under a section for the purpose of joiningl, as in a pleat or slot seam
Weave The pattern of interlacing of warp and weft yams in a wove fabric
Wrap The upper part of an opening which overlaps the under layer
Yardage The amount of fabric needed to make a particular garment
Yoke Separately made shoulder piece of bodiece or the top of a skirt