Industrial Sewing Glossary of Terms
Back-tack — A few stitches taken in reverse to secure a line of stitching.
Bar Tack — A group of closely sewn stitchs (back and forth from side to side a la zig zag)
Binding – Encasing the raw edges of a materials with another piece of fabric.
Butt- to bring two edges of fabric together so that they touch.
Chainstitch —A stitch that interloops the needle thread(s) with a bottom looper thread on the underside of the seam. Most main seams sewn in woven apparel are sewn with this stitch formation.
Coverstitch — A stitch, often used to seam knitwear, which consists of at least two needle threads, a looper thread and a top thread passing over the edge of the material. Spun or textured polyester thread is generally used to form these stitches.
Denier — A thread numbering system used primarily for continuous filament threads. The gram weight of 9,000 meters of thread. The lower the denier, the finer the thread.
Greige (pronounced: Gray) Goods – Knitted or woven fabrics of all fibers in an unfinished state, after they have been woven or knitted and before dyeing or finishing.
Gusset — A bit of fabric sewn into a seamline to provide depth to the sewn product.
Hem–to bottom edge of fabric which is sewn to hide frayed edges.
Lockstitch –A stitch formed by interlocking needle threads with a bobbin thread. This is the most common stitch formed on industrial sewing machines.
Merrow — A stitch made by a wide range of machines for edging, as well as machines for butted seams that typically utilize anywhere from 3 to 6 threads for a variety of sewing operations.
Nap – the “fuzzy” part of a fabric that is usually directional in nature
Non-woven fabric — A fabric not woven or knitted from thread or yarn. Non-woven fabrics, include fake leather and suede, felt, various interfacings.
Notch – A small cut into the seam allowance which will allow fabric to bend at curves and corners.
Nylon — A strong synthetic fiber formed into a filament for use in thread making and other applications. It has good strength, excellent abrasion resistance and is washable. DO NOT throw that sucker into the dryer, though!!
Safety Stitch — A stitch formation that incorporates both chainstitch and overedge.
Seam allowance –The fabric between the edge of the fabric and the line of stitching, usually about ¼” – 5/8″ in most cases.
Selvage – the edge along the side that doesn’t unravel. Sometimes there’s writing up the side. Even though the cut edge is nice and neat, it’s not a good idea to include that in your cut piece because it doesn’t hang or wash like the rest of the fabric.