All The Dressmaking Terms You Need To Know

| 1 min read

Entering a new hobby and getting to grips with new terminology can be daunting, so we have created this short glossary of common dressmaking terms, including tools and terms found on patterns. Whether you are a beginner looking to learn the basics or a professional dressmaker seeking to expand your knowledge, this glossary will help you navigate the world of dressmaking with ease.


A sewing technique used to secure the beginning and end of a seam.


A temporary stitch used to hold fabric pieces in place before sewing the final seam.


A diagonal line across the grain of the fabric, often used to create a stretchy edge on a garment.


The small spool of thread that fits inside the sewing machine and holds the bottom thread.


A slit in the fabric that is reinforced and used to fasten a button.


A piece of fabric used to finish the raw edges of a garment opening, such as a neckline or armhole.


A technique used to create fullness in fabric by drawing it together with a thread.


The edge of a garment that is folded over and sewn to prevent fraying.


A layer of fabric added to the inside of a garment to give it structure and stability.


The act of using an iron to smooth fabric and seams for a professional finish.


The line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together.


A specific way of sewing used to create a decorative or functional effect, such as the zigzag stitch or French seam.


A decorative stitch sewn on the right side of the fabric, often used to highlight a seam or edge.


Decorative elements such as lace, ribbon, or fringe added to a garment for extra flair.


A sewing technique used to sew a facing or lining to the inside of a garment to prevent it from rolling outward.

Terms found on a pattern


The direction in which the fabric should be aligned when cutting out the pattern pieces.


Small marks on the pattern that help you align pieces of fabric correctly.

Seam allowance

The extra fabric added to the pattern pieces to allow for seams.


A fold of fabric sewn into a garment to give it shape.


A fold of fabric that is stitched down to create fullness or shape.

Fold line

The line on a pattern where the fabric should be folded.

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Dressmaking Tools


Used to cut fabric and pattern pieces.

Tape measure

Used to measure body parts and fabric lengths.


Used to hold pattern pieces and fabric in place while sewing.

Seam ripper

Used to remove stitches when making mistakes.

Sewing machine

Used to sew fabric pieces together quickly and accurately.


Used to press fabric and seams for a professional finish.


A long, pointed tool used for threading elastic or ribbon through a casing.

Chalk or marking pen

Used to mark the fabric with pattern pieces or notes.


Used for hand sewing and for use in a sewing machine.


A small cap worn on the finger to protect it when pushing a needle through thick fabric.

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