Common Sewing Terms For Your Sewing Success

Here's some more sewing terms that you will often come across. If you would like to jump ahead to look for others , all terms are listed in alphabetical order. Please see the Alphabetical Sewing Terms links at the bottom of this page.

B (Continued)

Blanket Stitch:

This is a decorative machine or hand stitch used for finishing a fabric’s edge. This stitch was traditionally used to finish a blanket's edge but it's now more commonly used for decorative purposes.

This stitch is also often used to attach appliqué pieces. It works best on medium to heavyweight fabrics, such as bedding and blankets. It is also used as a decorative finish on edges of jackets. I have worked my example below in embroidery floss.


This sewing term refers to the mixture of fibers in a fabric designed to improve handling and durability of that particular fabric. For example, a cotton/polyester blend fabric:

1. washes and wears well (because of the cotton fibers)

2. breathes (again because of the cotton)

3. doesn’t wrinkle as much as just cotton (because of the polyester)

Blind Hem Stitch:

This is a tiny stitch (usually used for hemming) done either by hand or machine. It does not show from the right side of the fabric

Blind Tuck:

This tuck is sewn so close the tucks next to it that the stitching lines are not visible.


A Spool or reel that holds the thread located beneath the plate of a sewing machine. As the sewing machine sews, this lower thread from the bobbin forms the underside of a stitch as it joins with the upper thread.


This is the part of a woman's clothing that covers her body from the neck to the waist.


A Needlelike tool with a blunt end useful for threading elastics and drawstrings through a casing.

TIP: A sturdy safety pin often works as well.


A roll of fabric measured to a specific length.


Narrow strips of either plastic, nylon or metal sewn into clothing. Boning provides extra support in stiffening and shaping areas such as seams. You will see boning in close fitting bodices. These strips are available in various widths.

Box Pleat:

A flat pleat made on the back side of the fabric by folding fabric back on itself to make a fold, then repeating on the other side so that two equally sized pleats fold in toward each other.


This is a woven decorative trim used on cushions, drapes and clothing.


An object usually found on clothing used as a fastener by slipping the attached button through a hole (buttonhole) or a loop. Buttons are made of many materials but plastic is the most common and economical button available. Buttons may also simply serve a decorative purpose.


This is an opening in fabric where buttons are inserted for fastening. Machine stitched buttonholes use a close zigzag stitch while handmade buttonholes finish the raw edges of the buttonhole with a small hand stitch called a buttonhole stitch. There are several styles:

1. Standard Rectangle

2. Rounded

3. Keyhole

Button Shank:

This is the stem found on some buttons which allows the button to accommodate the fabric thickness of a buttonhole.

Buttonhole Chisel:

This small sharp chisel is used to cut cleanly through a machine stitched buttonhole. Use a mat or wooden board to protect surfaces.

buttonhole chisel


Buckram is a stiff cloth made of cotton (or occasionally linen). It gets its stiffness by being treated with various compounds such as pyroxylin. We see buckram used in the headings of drapes to give the pleats their body. It also is used to give an item such as ball caps their firm shape. You'll find buckram in the drapery section of a fabric store. This is one of those common drapery sewing terms.

Sewing Terminology

A - B

B Continued




Return To The Sewing Terminology Page
Return To The Top Of This Sewing Terms Page
Go To Home Page