Important sewing terms for all beginners!

I feel like I haven’t posted in forever! It seems like every other week, I or someone in my family come down with something; this past weekend, it was food poisoning (not from my cooking and only three of us, thank goodness); a couple weeks before that, it was bronchitis; before that it was a head cold. Now that Spring is finally here, all the windows are open in my house and we are feeling better! It has definitely been a long Winter! 



Anyway, I figured, since I need to take it easy today (recovering from the food poisoning seems to be taking me a little longer than two of my daughters), I would come up with a list of some of the key sewing words you are bound to come across as a beginner sewer (sewist? which word do you prefer?) and what they mean. I’m trying to put them in alphabetical order, since I couldn’t think of a better way to list them. If I leave something out, or incorrectly define something, please feel free to add it to the comments and I will go back later and edit them in if I can! 

Back-tack (aka backstitch): to reverse direction of the stitches to lock them in. Wicked simple! You just use the reverse button on your machine!

Basting stitch: a long stitch used to temporarily hold pieces together (baste). This can be done by hand or by machine.

Bias tape/binding: looks very nice added to the unfinished edge of fabric. I’ll let The Haby Goddess explain this one! I will openly admit, I have a very strong dislike for bias tape! 

Bolt: a roll of one type and print of fabric. When you go to a fabric store, you choose a bolt of fabric, then have your yardage cut from it. There are different widths of fabric, such 32″, 45″, 54″ and 60″ (I’m sure I missed a few). You will need to choose the fabric type (refer to the pattern you are making, it will always recommend a fabric type/weight for the project), the fabric width and the fabric print. Don’t forget to ask for help when choosing the correct fabric if you need it! 

Dart: a v-shaped marking, used to help shape the fabric to better fit bust or waist curves. Sew It Love It is the place to go for dart instructions!

Edgestitch: to stitch 1/8″ from finished edge of fabric. I believe you don’t usually backstitch unless the pattern tells you to.

Feed dog: the teeth under the plate that “feed” the fabric under the needle to be sewn.

Gather- to make a longer piece of fabric fit a shorter one; to make ruffles. These are also fairly easy to do once you get a little practice! Again, I’ll refer to Ilse, from Sew It Love It! She really knows her stuff! 

Seam allowance: the amount of fabric between the edge of the fabric and your stitches.

Here are some simple tips for beginner sewers/sewists:

  • Always read the instruction manual that comes with your new machine. There could be some very valuable information in there!
  • Follow a maintenance schedule. You want your machine to last for as long as possible, so you need to take care of it!
  • Read a few sewing blogs. They can be very inspirational and informational!
  • Invest in the proper tools! A cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter are very important, not just for quilting! You will also need a measuring tape, thread, bobbins, a stitch ripper, stitch gauge, marking pencil or chalk (specifically made for fabric),  hand sewing needles and of course fabric! I suggest old pillowcases and sheets as practice fabric!
  • HAVE FUN! Try new things and don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help! All sewers/sewists (seriously folks, which stinking word do you prefer??) have been beginners at some point! 

I’m hoping to actually complete my vintage dress that I started awhile ago this week or next at the latest; all I have left to do is the hem, button holes and buttons!

Have a great week everyone! 


Welcome to the Adventure!

I am Destini, of Destini’s Designs and a sewing adventurer! I want to share the new (to me) techniques I’ve discovered, the terms I think every newbie should know and some great free patterns, among other things. 

A lot of what I make is for my girls (I do have three of them, after all) ; but I’ve been feeling pretty adventurous lately, picking patterns for my husband or myself and our apartment, that I have never tried before. I absolutely love that feeling I get when I finish a new pattern, or learn a new technique, don’t you?

I always welcome comments, tips n tricks, and links to other blogs or sites, as long as they are constructive, not destructive! Remember the old adage “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” when leaving a comment! 


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