Sewing Terms For Your Sewing Success

This is a collection of some common sewing terms starting with "C".



This is a tunnel used to thread elastic or drawstring through. You will often see casing on the waist of a piece of clothing.

Chain Stitch:

This stitch looks a lot like the links of a chain, having a straight stitch on top and resembling a crocheted chain stitch on the bottom.

Clean Finish:

Finish the edges with a serger or a machine stitch to prevent the fabric from fraying.

Contour Dart:

This resembles a double-pointed dart. Use this dart to give some shape at the waist of a dress or jacket. If you'd like more information on darts and how to sew them, read this excellent article The Virtues of Darts by Sheri McKillop of Unique Solutions.


This is a trim created by covering a cord with strips of fabric cut on the bias.

This is a trim created by covering a cord with strips of fabric cut on the bias. Cording often finishes the edges of home decor items such as pillows or on clothing.

Covered Button:

A button that is covered with a fabric that coordinates with your project. There are kits available which include instructions, the button base, shank, and pattern needed to cut the fabric for the button. Button kits are available for many button sizes.

Craft Knife:

A sharp pen-like utility knife available in various sizes, ideal for cutting materials such as paper and plastic. Perhaps the most common brand is The X-acto™ knife. The blades are usually changed rather that sharpened. Craft knives and their replacement blades are available in craft stores and hardware stores.

Cross Stitch:

This stitch is formed by having two stitches cross each other in the form of an X. It is used to temporarily hold pieces of fabric together during construction. 

It's also a popular embroidery technique.

Crosswise Grain:

This is the perpendicular weave of the fabric in relation to the selvage edges. It has a bit more stretch than the straight grain of the fabric.

Curtain Weight:

This is generally a drapery sewing term referring to a small specially designed weight for curtains and drapes. 

It is inserted into the hem of a drape to improve how the drapes hang.


This is a chalk wedge temporarily marking your fabric. It is useful for indicating pattern markings, design lines or marking clothing alterations. The chalk marks can be easily removed after finishing sewing. In fact, it tends to rub off easily so be aware of just how temporary it can be! This chalk is also available in pencil form.

Cutting Line:

This sewing term is the line on the sewing pattern used to cut the pattern and fabric out. Often patterns have various cutting lines, each indicating a different size. Follow the cutting line that matches the size you need.

Cutting Mat:

This is a special mat designed with a self-healing surface for cutting using your rotary cutter or craft knife. It protects your tabletop and your blades against damage.

Sewing Terminology


B Continued




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