Here is a basic run-down of terms you’ll run across while sewing, and what they mean/how to do them…I’ll keep adding to this list
Backstitching – Whenever you start (or finish) sewing anything, except for a baste stitch, you need to backstitch. Depending on your machine, you typically have a button, or knob, or lever, that will do this for you. You are basically sewing backward over the same stitches to keep them secure so they don’t come undone.
Baste – or Basting Stitch – This is sewing with the longest Stitch Length that your machine can do, or by hand if that’s what you prefer. To make ruffles, gather in sleeves, or just to see how something will look when it’s sewn together, you use a baste stitch. This stitch is made to come out, so it’s not permanent or secure.
Ease – This is what is designed into clothes so that you have freedom of movement, as well as the ability to put things on and off. Ease changes depending on the garment type, fabric, and style.
Hem – This is the bottom edge of garments, pillows, or anything that needs a finished edge. It can vary in width and finish style, so it depends on what the look you want is, or what the instructions say.
Interfacing – There are 2 kinds of interfacing, fusible and sew-in. Fusible is something you iron onto the back side of your fabric, where sew-in is sewn onto the back of your fabric. Interfacing helps give structure to fabrics, so it’s used on light fabrics, or on pieces of garments that need reinforcing (so they don’t stretch) like collars, sleeve cuffs, and other things.
Notions – These are the extra things you need to buy for patterns. Basically anything except fabric, like zippers, thread, buttons, snaps, hooks, elastic, etc.
Seam Allowance – When sewing, this is the amount of fabric from the edge of your fabric to your stitch line. Pattern standards are typically 5/8” but you should always make sure
Stitch Length – When sewing on a machine, you can change the stitch length so they are really close, or spread far apart. Typically, you will sew between 2-3 on stitch length.
Stitch Width – When you are doing a zig-zag stitch on a machine, you can change the width of the “zags” to be really close together, or really far apart.