Maine, United States


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


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

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.

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.

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

Staystitch: Sew within the seam allowance with a regular straight stitch. It is used to stabilize edges to prevent distortion.

Stitch in the Ditch: Sewing directly beside a seam line so the new stitching line is hidden down in the “ditch” of the seam. Commonly used as a quilting technique or for applying bias binding.  

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.

Understitch: Press facing or pocket and seam allowance away from garment. Sew the seam allowances and fabric together, ⅛" [3 mm] away from the seam on pocket or facing. Used to keep facings and pockets from from rolling to the outside of a garment.

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

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. 

embroidery stitches

Backstitch: Working from right to left, bring the needle up through the fabric. Insert the needle behind your starting point, creating your desired stitch length, and bring the needle up past your starting point, maintaining an even stitch length. To make the next stitch, insert the needle into your original starting point, and bring it out the same stitch length from the end of the newest stitch.

Blanket Stitch: To begin, bring the needle out of your work and reinsert it to create your stitch width, not quite pulling all of your thread through the fabric. Bring the needle back up at a point that is directly above your second needle hole and sitting parallel to your first needle hole. Carry the thread loop under your needle and gently pull the thread up through the fabric.

Chain Stitch: Bring your needle up out of your fabric, and reinsert your needle in or near your first exit point, leaving the thread slack. Guide your needle back up out of the fabric, making your desired stitch length. Lay your thread under your needle and pull your thread through your fabric, making a chain link. Repeat this, always inserting your needle into each chain stitch’s first exit point.

Couch Stitch: Couching is laying a decorative thread (called a laid thread) down and stitching it in place with another thread (called the couching thread). Bring your couching thread to the front of the fabric under the laid thread, and wrap it over your laid thread to make a small vertical stitch. Insert it into the fabric and bring the needle to the front again a small distance away, under the laid thread again. Continue stitching to hold down the laid thread.

Fern Stitch: Draw three vertical lines and bring the needle up through the fabric along the middle line, toward the top. Beginning with the right-hand stitch first, make three straight stitches that share the same starting needle hole, meeting both side lines and being formed along the middle line. After making three stitches, bring the needle up through the fabric farther down the middle line (it should be the same distance as the length of your middle stitch) and create the left and right angled stitches. The center stitch should be made last, connecting the first and second groups of stitches.

Fishbone Stitch: For this stitch, the threads cross slightly at the center to make a plaited effect. Begin by bringing the needle up at the tip of your shape, and reinsert it along the middle line to make a short straight stitch. Bring the needle back up on the left side of your first needle hole, and insert it again to the right of the center line to slightly cross over your first stitch. The needle should be brought back up to the right of the first stitch, and then crossed over again to the left of the center line below the second stitch. Continue this until the shape is filled. 

Freestyle Cross Stitch: Using two stitches that cross perpendicularly, this stitch is made similarly to a traditional cross stitch, except with more variation in the stitch size and length, and made wherever needed, without regard to the fabric weave. The needle is brought up and then back down to form one half the angled stitch, and then back up and down again to cross over the first stitch. Keep the stitch that crosses on top going the same direction throughout your sewn piece.

French Knot: Bring the needle up where you would like to place your knot. Wrap the thread around the needle twice, holding the thread taut. Insert the needle close to your starting point, holding the thread against the needle with your thumb and forefinger, while pulling the needle and thread through to create a knot.

Horizontal Satin Stitch: A satin stitch that is created with horizontal stitches (see Satin Stitch).

Lazy Daisy Stitch: (see Chain Stitch) Begin the same way as the chain stitch and bring your needle up out of your fabric, and reinsert your needle in or near your first exit point, leaving the thread slack. Guide your needle back up out of the fabric but inside the loop, making your desired stitch length and a single chain link. Place your needle back in the fabric just outside the loop of the thread, making a small stitch to tack down the chain. Bring the needle back up again wherever you desire the next stitch to be sewn.

Naive Cross Stitch: (see Freestyle Cross Stitch)

Running Stitch: Work from right to left, and bring the needle in and out of the fabric evenly. Create  several stitches, then pull the thread through and continue to stitch along your line.

Satin Stitch: Staying on your drawn line, bring your needle up through the fabric and insert it in a straight line directly across from where your needle left the fabric. Bring the point of the needle back up from below your original exit point. For the best results, each stitch should be no longer than ½” (12 mm).

Single Stitch: (see Straight Stitch) Make a single straight stitch.

Slip Stitch:  This stitch is sewn to be invisible on the right side of your project. Bring the thread and needle up through a fold in your fabric. Directly across from the fold, pick up a few threads of fabric with the needle facing left. Reinsert the needle into the fold of fabric to the left of where you picked up threads and pass the needle farther up the fold. Continue to make stitches toward the left, evenly picking up threads and passing the needle consistent distances down your seam.

Split Stitch: Create a single small straight stitch. Bring the needle back up through the center of your first stitch, going through the thread to split it, creating a new stitch that matches the length of the first one.

Straight Stitch: Bring the needle out to the front of the work, and reinsert the needle to make a stitch that is the required length.

Vertical Satin Stitch: A satin stitch that is created with vertical stitches (see Satin Stitch).

Whip Stitch: A shallow slanted stitch that casts over the edge of fabric and can be used for edge finishing or seaming. The needle is brought through the fabric layer(s) at a right angle, and then moved down to the left of the first stitch and brought back through the fabric.

Whipped Backstitch: (see Backstitch) After creating a line of large back stitching, whip thread over and under the back stitches without going through the fabric.

(click here for illustrations of embroidery stitches)


Alternating cable cast on

Backward loop cast on: *Wrap yarn around left thumb from front to back and secure in palm with other fingers. Insert needle upwards through strand on thumb. Slip loop from thumb onto right hand (RH) needle, pulling yarn to tighten; repeat (rep) from * for indicated number of stitches (sts). 

Cable cast on: Place a slipknot on Left Hand (LH) needle and k1, slip new stitch (st) onto LH needle; *insert RH needle between first 2 sts on LH needle, k1 from this position, leave the first st on LH needle and slip new st onto LH needle. Rep from * for desired number of sts.

Crochet Chain cast on: With crochet hook, make a slip knot loop. Holding the knitting needle in your left hand, and the crochet hook in your right hand, bring the yarn behind the needle. *With the crochet hook in front of the needle, wrap the yarn over the needle and the hook, and pull loop through. 1 st has been cast on the needle. Bring the yarn back between the needle and hook and repeat from * until you have cast on the required number of stitches less one. For the final stitch, transfer the loop from the crochet hook to the needle.

Crochet Provisional cast on: With waste yarn, begin (beg) with slipknot on crochet hook. *Wrap yarn around knitting needle counter-clockwise, then use crochet hook to draw yarn through loop on hook; repeat (rep) from * for desired number of sts. Fasten off.

Garter stitch flat: Knit every row.

Garter stitch in the rnd: Rnd 1: Purl. Rnd 2: Knit. Rep Rnds 1 and 2 for garter stitch (st) in the rnd.


Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off

Judy's magic cast on

Kitchener stitch

Long-tail cast on

Long-tail Tubular cast on

Picking up stitches purlwise

Provisional cast on


Sloped bind off

Stockinette stitch flat: Knit on right side (RS), purl on wrong side (WS).

Stockinette stitch in the round (rnd): Knit every round (rnd).

Sunday Short Rows

Three-needle bind off: Divide sts evenly over 2 needles; with the RS of garment pcs together (to form ridge on inside of garment), hold the needles parallel. With a third needle knit the first st of front and back needles together, *knit next st from each needle together, (2 sts on RH needle), bind off (BO) 1 st; rep from * until all sts are BO.

Tubular bind off


Wrap and Turn (w&t) Short Rows: (RS) Slip the next st to the RH needle and bring the yarn to the front of work between the needles. Slip st back to the LH needle. Turn, and bring yarn to front between the needles, ready to work next row. (WS) Slip the next st to the RH needle and bring the yarn to the back of the work between the needles. Slip st back to the LH needle. Turn and bring yarn to back between the needles, ready to work next row. 


ch: chain 

dc: double crochet 

dtr (double treble crochet): Yo three times, pull up thread in indicated space, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] four times 

hdc: half double crochet 

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sl st: slip stitch

sp: space

Learn To Crochet

pie recipe links (issue No. 2 / FAUNA)

King Arthur Flour Sparkling White Sugar

NY Cake - Leaf Fondant & Pie Cutter