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Apparel Terms

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

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Glossary of Terms

Term Description
A-line A garment with sloping sides, the widest part being
at the hemline
Alter To change 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 Decorative pieces of fabric applied by hand or
machine
Armhole The opening in a garment for the arm
Armscye It is commonly known as Armhole
Backstitch A small hand stitch that looks like machine stitching
on the right side, but with stitches overlapping 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
buttonhole
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 fibers in one yarn or different
yams in one fabric, each lending its own
characteristics of 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
Cap sleeve 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
Center front The position of the pattern or garment at the exact
the center 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, buttonholes
and furnishings.
Cord seam A seam with a corded effect which is produced by
turning both seam edges to one side and then
stitching 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 body curves.
Design lines Lines or seams that add design and make the
garment different.
Drape Soft folds of fabric 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 center
line.
Eyelet A small hole in a garment finished by hand or a
metal ring 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.
Fastenings 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 closing 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
a machine, that is drawn up to form even fullness.
Gingham Plain weave fabric constructed with colored woven
check pattern.
Godets A shaped or pleated section of material inserted
into garments.
Gore A skirt section that is shaping up to 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 loosely from the neck or from the waist
in the case of skirts.
Loop A fastening which extends beyond the finished edge,
used for closings with no overlap. Can be made
of thread, cord or fabric.
Machine basting A temporary machine stitching using the longest
machine stitch.
Marking Transferring all necessary 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.
Pintucks 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.
Puff sleeves 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 up to the
neckline giving a loose and comfortable fit.
Ravel Yans drew 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 the 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 thumb and forefingers of the
left hand and hemming is done to hold the roll in
place
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 of 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 of 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 transfer 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 joining, 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
underlayer
Yardage The amount of fabric needed to make a particular
garment
Yoke Separately made shoulder piece of bodice or the
top of a skirt
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