October 25, 2009

Sewing terms that are odd

Almost every hobby has a few technical terms that are often confusing, odd and just plain awful; sewing is no different. I guess most of the stranger terms come from times before electricity or from other languages.

One term that can be confusing is the word "baste." To cooks that means to spoon juices over a main dish while cooking it. To those who sew is means to use long straight stitches to attach one piece of fabric to another to hold those fabrics in place before permanent stitching is done. Basting is also used to produce gathers too.

A term that often makes me cringe is the word "frock." In England the word frock is used to describe a dress. In the nineteenth century the word frock was used to describe a man's hunting/riding jacket. Whenever I hear the word frock it conjurers up visuals of peasant garb of the 1700's, which is one of the original meanings of the word. The word frock is rarely used in the USA, I wonder why.

Next up is the term "overcast." To us that sew, to overcast is to sew the edges of the fabric with a whip stitch to prevent unraveling of the fabric. Overcast to non-sewing savvy people is what the weather is when it is cloudy.

Terms are also being introduced into sewing as technology progresses. Digitizing for example for those sew is what is done to turn a photo, drawing or other artwork into a digital file so that an embroidery machine can understand it and sew out a pattern from it. To those who are just artists, it means to take a drawing or work of art and just make it into a computer file for display on a screen.

I would love to read about what terms are confusing to you or what you have found odd in the world of sewing. Leave a comment.

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