Can You Answer These Sewing Trivia Questions?
By: Zoe Samuel
About This Quiz
Sewing is one of those skills that is deemed to be very feminine, but really shouldn't be associated with a particular gender. After all, few people sew better than military men who are generally taken to be the very height of masculinity. Sewing isn't just about embroidering pretty things onto fabric, after all; it is also about being able to fend for yourself as an adult. If you need to take your coat to the cleaners or your shirt to your mother's house every time there is a tear in the lining or a button that looks likely to part ways with the garment, then you truly are in a pickle. Sewing is simply one of those things that you have to be able to do, like cooking a basic meal or driving a car.
However, just because you know the basics doesn't mean you're an expert. Only someone with a good sewing knowledge base will be able to ace this quiz about types of stitches, machines you might use for sewing, types of thread, needles and other tools, and of course, handy tricks to get away with not working too hard but still ensuring you haven't cut any corners. Let's get started!
What are the feed dogs?
Needles that hold a fabric in place.
Teeth on a sewing machine that hold the fabric in the right place.
Feed dogs help to align the fabric and free your hands to do other things. They are like the rollers on a printing press.
Pins with blunt ends, used when pinning garments on a live person.
What is the name for the sewn and folded edge of a garment?
A hem is designed to prevent fraying by tucking the edge of the fabric under itself and then securing it. It's like the telomere on the end of a strand of DNA!
What is the name for the stitches that are visible on the outside of the garment?
As this stitch is visible, topstitch is usually the most precise. Sometimes it is decorative, with a bold colored thread or special pattern.
What is the wrong side?
Trick question - there is no such thing!
The side of the fabric without the print.
Fabric usually has a side that is meant to face outward and a side that is meant to face inward. The wrong side shouldn't end up on the outside!
The non-pointy end of the needle.
What is the right name for a folded wedge of fabric designed to help tailoring over a curve?
A dart is designed to make a dress fit perfectly. It adds curve to match the human form and creates a nice flattering shape.
What natural substance is put on thread to stiffen it for hand sewing?
Beeswax won't change the essence of a thread, but it makes it smoother and thus more manageable. Think of it like gel or conditioner.
What is it called when a length of fabric is taken up to stitch it to a shorter length?
Gathering is named for how it looks as though you literally gathered up the fabric in a hand and then it stayed in place. It's a good way to create a different look in an otherwise boring piece.
Where on a pair of pants or trousers is the inseam?
The inseam runs from the inside of your ankle to the groin. Finding out what length it is has to be the most awkward part of getting measured for clothing.
What is it called when stitching in an X-pattern?
Cross stitch is one of the first ones you learn as a child. It's very easy to do and very hard to unpick by mistake! Plus, it's pretty.
What is a thimble for?
Nothing, it's an old holdover.
Protecting your thumb or fingertip.
A thimble is worn on the fingertip to avoid poking yourself. It's something that sounds silly until you've stuck your own finger a few times!
You put pins through it to avoid losing them.
What is a finger press?
When you flatten a hem temporarily using the warmth of your fingers.
Finger pressing sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does! You can temporarily shape fabric using just your hands.
When you catch your finger in the sewing machine.
A pattern that is as thick as a finger.
A flat section of a garment that is as thick as a finger.
What is the line called where two pieces of fabric are held together by thread?
Seams are the places where pieces of fabric meet. They are truly the faultlines of sewing - in that, if you get them wrong, whatever you're making will be a natural disaster.
What is a decoration made by adding fabric or lace designs to the surface of a garment?
Applique means adding a whole new piece as decoration. This distinguishes it from embroidery, in which the thread itself is the decoration.
What is the name for unbleached cotton?
Muslin is a versatile fabric that used to be very commonly used for dresses. You might also have used it to make a little net for a lemon that you squeeze onto your food!
What do notches tell the sewer?
This is where two seams should meet.
Notches are little marks on a clothing pattern, designed to help in lining up the two pieces. That way, you don't end up with two pieces that are mis-aligned.
What is basting?
Basting is a cooking term, but it's also a sewing term! It's a big, rather imprecise stitch you put in to hold things in place while you sew.
When you put the juices on the chicken. Isn't this a sewing quiz?
What is pique?
Cotton woven to have a special texture.
Pique is a way of weaving that causes a three-dimensional texture to the cotton. Cotton is very fine, so this is hard to do well.
When you sew something so awful that you have a fit.
Linen that has been bleached twice.
Wool that has been ironed.
Which part of a garment is the bodice?
Bodice doesn't just mean corsets, made to sound less fearsome. It's also the part of a dress that covers the torso, no matter what it's made of.
What does the presser foot do on a sewing machine?
Keep the bulk of the garment away from where you are sewing.
Hold the fabric to the feed dogs.
The presser foot is a flat piece that keeps the fabric against the teeth. It's basically like putting wood in a vice!
Make sure the thread stays tight.
Nothing, it's just a feature left over from older machines.
What is the fabric around an elastic, cording or boning called?
Casing is reinforced fabric so that the structure underneath doesn't come out. For example, you might use casing around the boning in a corset to keep the shape of it in place.
What is the armscye on a garment?
The hand end of the sleeve.
Where the sleeve attaches to the bodice.
The armscye is where the shoulder meets the sleeve. If this is badly tailored, your shirt will ride up or simply tear when you move.
The length of the sleeve.
What garments are made by a milliner?
Millinery is the making of hats. Hats often involve more sewing than people realize!
What name is given to the fine netting commonly used for wedding veils?
Tulle is cotton at its most glamorous. It's common in veils, as well as in petticoats and evening gowns.
What do you thread using a bodkin?
A bodkin is used to thread elastic. It's a big flat needle-like tool. You've heard the word in Shakespeare and now you know what it means!
What function does a pleat serve?
It means the wearer of a garment can move more freely.
Letting the same piece of fabric cover both a wider and narrower section of a person or item, so it lays nicely.
Pleats can be for decoration but they can also be functional. A pleat is a way of making fabric fit on two areas of different sizes without going to the trouble of cutting it and putting in a dart.
It's a way to make a garment smaller after the fact.
What is the amount of give in the fabric, relative to the wearer's size?
Ease is a measure of how much you can move in the garment. Some fabrics achieve this by stretch, others by tailoring. Others do it by a mix of the two.
What is the shank of a button?
A piece that sticks out from the back, to attach it to the fabric.
Most buttons have holes to attach them, but some of them have a shank. It's a little stem that sticks out from the back and can make the button easier to attach.
What is it called when one type of fabric is on top of another, often with the top layer being somewhat transparent?
Overlay is usually translucent, while the layer underneath should be more opaque. Getting the two layers to move well together and actually be the same size is one of the great challenges of sewing.
What is a stitch called that looks like a spiral wrapped around the edge of the fabric?
This stitch looks like a spiraling binder, as if on a notebook. It's both secure and decorative!
What is the "rise" of a pair of trousers or pants?
How high up the torso the waistband sits.
The distance from the crotch seam to the waistband.
The rise is one of those dimensions that you'd never bother to measure on yourself. However, if you put on a pair of slacks that has too small a rise for you... well, you're going to know about it.
The length from waistband to ankle hem.
How far below the ankle they fall.
What is a triangular piece of fabric added to a skirt to make it fuller?
A godet is actually a type of pleat. It helps add fullness to a skirt, thus giving it more movement and drama.
What is the bias of the fabric?
When it doesn't consider both sides.
The diagonal to the grain.
A bias cut dress is thus one that is cut diagonally to the grain of the fabric. This affects the way it drapes, making it more flattering.
The perpendicular to the grain.
The same way as the grain.
What is the name for the two directions of thread or yarn in a fabric?
The warp and weft are the X and Y axes of the fabric. Sometimes you can see them, as in a piece of thick and luxurious wool. Other times you can't, as in a piece of fancy 800-thread-count cotton.
What is a placket?
The inner lining of a pocket.
Overlapping fabric that contains the buttonholes.
A placket is the little extra piece of fabric that adds stability to the part of your shirt that has buttonholes. Two common types are conventional and French front.
A pocket that sticks out intentionally, instead of being hidden or lying flat.
What is special about a dolman sleeve?
It is made of the same piece of fabric as the bodice.
A dolman sleeve is made of a continuous piece of fabric along with the rest of the garment. That's not common; if you look at most of your clothes, you will see that the sleeve is its own piece.
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