Can You Name All of These Sewing Terms?

By: Lauren Lubas

Can You Name All of These Sewing Terms?
Image: Anouk de Maar / Cultura / Getty Images

About This Quiz

For years, most people thought of sewing as a hobby that older women were into. However, with the release of "Project Runway," people started to realize that sewing is actually really cool. You can create basically anything that you can imagine, as long as you know how to create the pattern, and you can create things that others have imagined by using their patterns. Not only that, you can save a lot of money if you know how to sew – you don't have to worry about buying new clothes every year, because you can mend them yourself with your sewing machine or a needle and thread. These days sewing is making a comeback, and if you are on the bandwagon with the greatest stitchers of our time, you should know some of the most important terms that are involved in sewing. 

Whether you consider yourself a master of stitching or you are new to this game, this quiz is right up your alley. Let's see if you have what it takes to match (or beat) some of the greatest tailors of our time. If you can name all of these sewing terms, you're in the lead. Take this quiz to test your sewing skills.

When you mess up a stitch or you have to remove a seam, what would you use?
Pinking shears
Seam ripper
Seam rippers have been around for ages, because their design allows you to make clean cuts to thread without damaging the surrounding material. This little tool can be found in nearly any sewing kit and is a must-have for tailors around the world.
Rotary cutter
Measuring tape

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What do you use to protect your fingers while sewing?
Gloves
Needle
Thimble
Thimbles are most often used for hand sewing or hand embroidering. These little finger protectors not only keep your fingers safe, but they also help you push needles through tough fabrics.
Thread

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What items would you use to ensure that your fabric stays in place until you sew it?
Needles
Staples
Seam gauges
Pins
Pins haven't changed much in design over the decades. They are used to keep two pieces of material together while you sew, to ensure that you are sewing your project together as intended.

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Which of these is NOT a notion?
Zipper
Thread
Button
Pillow
Notions are the different accessories that you would use to complete a project, in addition to the fabric. The pillow, in this situation, is the finished product, while the zipper, thread and buttons are all items you would use to create that pillow.

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Which cutting tool looks very much like a pizza cutter?
Rotary cutter
A rotary cutter is a great tool that gives you a more precise and even cut, because it doesn't require you to start and stop your cut as you are going, like regular fabric scissors do. This tool is best used on a flat surface with a plastic ruler.
Circle slicer
Pinking shears
Seam ripper

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What is another name for fabric scissors?
Fabric cutters
Fabric slicers
Scissor cutters
Fabric shears
There is a running joke on the internet among crafters and sewers about family members using fabric shears to cut paper and other things, but the truth is, it isn't a joke. Fabric shears can be expensive! When you use fabric shears on other materials, they become dull and useless for fabrics.

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While you are marking a place you want to cut on a piece of fabric, what is the best tool to use?
Tailor's chalk
Tailor's chalk is water soluble, so it is perfect for marking areas on fabric. This chalk gives you a clear line where you can make your cuts or add patches to clothing. It will wash out in a single wash or with a splash of water.
Sharpie
Scissors
Seam ripper

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What would you use a seam gauge for?
Separating seams
Cutting seams
Measuring seams
A seam gauge is used as a ruler for measuring seams or while you're hemming pants. This tool may feature a blunt point that's useful for pushing out corners when you turn fabric right side out.
Finding seams

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Which of these is NOT considered a fabric?
Denim
Satin
Cotton
Chipboard
Chipboard is exactly what its name suggests – it's a board. Denim, satin and cotton are all fabrics that are used for many basic sewing projects. Denim can be difficult to work with, because it is the most tightly woven fabric of the list. However, satin has a tendency to snag, and it's slippery.

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What stitch would you make to create a buttonhole?
Buttonhole stitch
The buttonhole stitch is very much like embroidery. To create a buttonhole, choose the proper settings on your sewing machine and stitch a reinforced outline for the buttonhole; then carefully cut a slit inside the buttonhole stitching, using a seam ripper, shears or an actual buttonhole cutter.
Pocket stitch
Stick stitch
Whip stitch

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What is interfacing used for?
Covering pillows
Stuffing pillows
Maintaining the structure of a fabric
Interfacing is not visible on a garment when it is finished. It is a material that is used to stabilize and support fabric, in order to help garments keep their shape. Fusible interfacing actually melds with the fabric when heat is applied.
Threading machines

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Where would you find the spool pin on your machine?
At the top
On the top of a sewing machine, you will find the spool pin. It is the part of the machine that holds the spool of thread in place to ensure that it is evenly threaded into the machine.
Under the presser foot
Next to the feed dogs
Under the table

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Which type of fabric is made from plants?
Cotton
Cotton is a natural, sustainable fabric that is made strictly from cotton plants. These plants have fibers that surround seeds, and before the invention of the cotton gin, cotton was a very expensive product.
Fleece
Wool
Nylon

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What stitch looks like pinking shear cuts?
Zigzag stitch
Zigzag stitches are most often used on fabric edges that have a tendency to fray. Of course, zigzag stitches can also be used for ornamental work, appliques and visible edging on sleeves and such.
Brase stitch
Copic stitch
Backyard stitch

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What is needlework?
Using a sewing machine
Decorative hand sewing
Needlework is normally done by hand. Embroidery is one well-known type of needlework, used to make fancy designs on clothing, pillows or art for framing. Appliques are sometimes applied using hand needlework as well.
Pinning fabric
Patching clothes

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What is topstitching normally used for?
Creating seams
Decoration
Topstitching is usually found parallel to the seam, and it is generally used to create a nice finished look to a garment. Topstitching can also be used to give a garment a little more shape.
Buttons
Hiding errors

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Can you name the hand stitch that looks like dashes?
Walking stitch
Bouncing stitch
Running stitch
With a running stitch, you're constantly moving forward with your stitching. The over and under stitch creates a line of small dashes. The running baste stitch will give you longer dashes and longer breaks between thread.
Jumping stitch

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Can you name the technique that helps make fabric look fuller?
Frogging
Gathering
Gathering fabric adds fullness or ruffles to a garment. One easy way to gather fabric is to loosely baste stitch along the edge to be gathered, then pull those threads to evenly bunch up – or gather – the fabric.
Hemming
Interfacing

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If you don't have a seam ripper, what can you use to cut seams apart cleanly?
Razor blade
A rotary cutter for seams seems like a really bad idea. You could damage the fabric or accidentally hurt yourself. One trick that tailors try if they don't have a seam ripper is using a razor blade. However, it is important to go slowly and avoid damaging the material.
Pinking shears
Needle
Rotary cutter

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Why would you pleat something?
To add style and give to a garment
Pleating is the act of folding fabric over on itself in specific measured amounts, then sewing and ironing those folds in place for a finished look. Pleated pants and skirts tend to go in and out of style.
To prepare it for sewing
To repair it
To open it

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What is the raw edge of a piece of fabric?
The side that doesn't have a pattern
The side that has been cut but not hemmed
When you read a pattern that mentions a raw edge, make sure you look for the edge of the fabric that has been cut from the original bolt, and also be sure that the edge of the fabric hasn't been sewn yet.
The side that is hemmed
The side that is finished

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What is a nap – in sewing?
The texture of a fabric
A fabric's nap is a texture that has direction. This is important because if you are using different pieces of the same fabric, you want to make sure they are all running the same direction. Otherwise, one leg of your new velvet pants may appear to be a different color than the other!
A break
A seam
A needle

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Do you know what a fat quarter is?
A piece of fabric to help let out clothes
A piece of fabric that's half a yard long
A fat quarter is equivalent to a standard quarter yard of fabric in square inches, but the dimensions are different. While a standard quarter yard is 9 inches by the width of the fabric on the bolt, a fat quarter is 18 inches by half the width of the fabric on the bolt. Sometimes that dimension is just what's needed to complete a project.
A piece of cotton
A yard of fabric

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In sewing, which side is the wrong side?
The flat side of a pin
The back side of the sewing machine
The underside of a fabric
If you're reading a pattern, you may see the terms "right side" and "wrong side." These are meant to help you figure out how fabric pieces should be cut, pinned and sewn together. Obviously, the prettiest or patterned side of the fabric should show when you strut your stuff in a new garment.
The patterned side of the fabric

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Where would you find a match point?
On a pattern
The match points on a pattern show you where two pieces of fabric should meet when they're pinned, then sewn together. Some patterns have numbers here and others have letters or symbols, depending on the type and age of the pattern.
On the underside of a piece of fabric
On a sewing machine
On a pin cushion

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On a sewing machine, what is the presser foot?
The part that holds down the fabric so it doesn't slip
On most sewing machines, it's possible to remove and change the presser foot, based on the type of stitch you wish to make – perhaps zigzag or buttonhole stitches, for example. Each presser foot has a different use. The presser foot holds the fabric in place in order to avoid slippage and messed up stitches.
The part where you select your stitch
The part you press to start the machine
The bobbin case

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What is another word for a serger?
Overlocker
A serger is a specialty machine that helps you make clean edges on fabrics. You can spot a serger because it generally has multiple spools on the top, unlike a regular sewing machine that just has one.
Machine
Quilter
Embroidery machine

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What is the bobbin used for?
Holds additional thread
A bobbin is found in the bobbin compartment, below the presser foot of the sewing machine. The bobbin thread matches the spooled thread for most sewing projects, and it joins with the spooled thread to make stitches.
Makes perfect stitches
Aligns the hems
Hems the pants

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Which stitch will give you a line of Xs?
Back stitch
Catch stitch
A catch stitch is a hand sewing stitch that looks like a row of uneven Xs next to each other. This stitch is generally used to keep layers of fabric close together, especially linings.
Pitch stitch
Baste stitch

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What would you use a staystitch for?
To prevent fabric from stretching out of shape
A staystitch is generally used near the curved edges of a garment, especially the neckline, to prevent stretching. This helps keep your finished creation looking new and fitting properly.
To keep things in place
To hold two pieces of fabric together
To give you a nice decoration

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What hand stitch gives you a straight line with no gaps?
Over stitch
Running stitch
Under stitch
Back stitch
The back stitch is most often used in embroidery, but it can also be used in hand sewing. This stitch is mostly used to ensure that two pieces of fabric are sewn together tightly, without the risk of slipping.

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Where would you find the termination point?
Where the garment ends
Where the threading needs to be replaced
Where two seams meet
The termination point is found on garments where two seams meet. It is called the termination point because the seams end where they meet. When the seams end, they are terminated.
A hole that needs to be patched

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Do you know what a seam allowance is?
Opening seams
Splitting seams
Additional material under the seam
The seam allowance is the extra fabric on the underside of a seam, because of course the seam stitches can't run right along the edge of the fabric. This seam allowance is usually finished on the edges so that it won't unravel.
Additional material over the seam

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When would you use a measuring tape?
To measure people
Measuring tape in a sewing kit is very flexible (unlike a ruler). It is used to measure around your waistline, arms, legs, neck, etc., before you cut and sew your fabric, so that the finished garment will fit perfectly.
To measure patterns
To measure fabric
To measure machines

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What would you use a tuck for?
Embroidery
Holding two pieces of fabric together while pinning
Decoration
A tuck is a folded over piece of fabric, or a small pleat, that is sewn in place. While the main use for this is to give something a more appealing look, it can also be used to help shape clothes or any sewing project.
Cutting fabric

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