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Common sewing & craft terms

Right Sides Together (RST): The right side of the fabric is the side that will show on the outside of your finished project. A quilting cotton, for example, has its design printed on the right side of the fabric.

Wrong Side Together (WST): The wrong side of a fabric is the side that will be on the inside of a project. If it is a printed fabric, the wrong side is usually left blank.

Clip: A small snip made in the seam allowance to allow the fabric to curve with a seam. A clip meets, but does not go through, the stitching line.

Ease: Slightly gathering a longer piece of fabric while sewing it to a shorter length of fabric, with no puckers or gathers appearing in the final seam line

Grade Seam: Trimming one layer of fabric when the seam allowances will be stacked to reduce the bulk in the seam allowance. The seam allowance that will lay against the outermost fabric should be the shorter half.

Finger Press: Using the heat from your fingers to gently press a seam open or to the side


Baste: Long stitches used to temporarily hold fabric in together or in place before sewing a final seam. It is usually removed after a final seam is sewn.

Topstitch: Stitching done on the top of a project near a seam line or fabric fold, and can help the seam lay flat. Usually decorative with a medium stitch length.

Edgestitch: A line of stitching done very close to a seam line on the right side of the fabric.

Zigzag: A 2-step stitch that forms a “V” at regular intervals. It is used to finish edges, apply elastic, and sew knit fabrics.

Backstitch: Reversing the direction of sewing for a least 3 stitches to lock the beginning and end of a seam line in place.

Blind Stitch: Done by hand or machine, this stitch catches only a few threads of fabric from the right side of a garment, to produce stitching found only on the wrong side of the project. It is most often used for making an invisible hem.

Flat-fell Seam: Stack and press the two seam allowances. Trim the fabric on the bottom seam allowance to ¼”. Then, fold the top fabric over the bottom fabric, encasing its raw edge, and stitch along the edge.