Glossary of Crafty Terms and Tools

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Acetate is transparent plastic film with a variety of uses, e.g. behind apertures, either for shaker cards or to make embellishments appear to hang unsupported; for stamping or mounting outline stickers, so they can then be painted with glitter glues and glass paints.

Acid-Free Paper: Paper with a neutral or basic pH level (7.0 to 9.0), is less prone to yellowing or deterioration, and will not harm photographs that are attached to it. During production, acid-free paper may be treated with a mild base (usually calcium or magnesium bicarbonate) to neutralize the natural acids occurring in wood pulp, and it may also be buffered to prevent the formation of additional acids as may develop from the application of sizing.

Acrylic Paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water, or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

Adhesive is any substance applied to one surface, or both surfaces, of two separate items that binds them together and resists their separation. There are many different types of adhesives used in crafting including: tape, glue, epoxy, glue sticks, hot glue, rubber cement and spray adhesives.

Airbrush is a compressed air tool shaped like a pen that dispenses a fine mist of paint, ink or dye. Used in illustration and re-touching photos, as well as in crafts, to achieve a graduated tone.

Air Mail Paper is paper made in the lightest substance while ensuring reasonable strength and a good surface, to minimize postage costs. Generally produced in white, off-white or pale blue, and usually below 40 grams per square meter. Some non-airmail lightweight bonds are still known as airmail papers.

Alcohol Ink is permanent, fast drying, transparent, acid-free dye inks specially formulated to create a vibrant, polished stone look. Can be used on glossy paper, dominoes, metal, foil, shrink plastic, glass and other slick surfaces and are particularly useful in the creation of Altered Art designs.

Alter is a term used to change or revise a pattern or garment to fit an individual.

Altered Art is collaging, stamping, embellishing, and otherwise altering a craft to reflect an artistic idea or narrative.

Altered Book is a found book, embellished through collaging, stamping, or other decoration to express an artistic idea or narrative.

Angel Hair is material made from the fusing of fine fibers. Used mainly as a backing material, normally sold in sheets.

Antique Embossing is a technique of creating an aged surface using rubber stamping materials.

Antiquing is a more involved form of distressing in which the crafter works to create an antique appearance, such as using historical ink or paint colors and faux finishes. May require many steps.

Antistatic Pad is used to eliminate static and clear small particles away. Swipe over the area to clean.

Aperture Cards were originally used for cross-stitch. Now they’re widely used for Iris folding and many other techniques, apertures come in all shapes and sizes.

Appliqué is an added decorative element, as in needlework, made by cutting pieces of one material and applying them to another.

Archival paper is an especially permanent, durable acid-free paper. Archival paper is used for publications of high legal, historical, or significant value. Often, cotton rag paper is used for archival purposes, as it is not made from wood-based pulp. Thus, “archival paper” is sometimes broken down into two categories:

  • Conservation-grade — acid-free, buffered paper made from wood-based pulp.
  • Archival-grade (also Museum-grade) — cotton rag paper made from cotton pulp.

Armscye is a dressmaking term for an arm-hole, where the sleeve is attached.

Arrowhead Stitch is a small, triangular stitch used on a seam to add strength at points of strain.

Art deco is a style of design and decoration popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s characterized by designs that are geometric and use highly intense colors, to reflect the rise of commerce, industry and mass production.

Art nouveau is a decorative art movement that emerged in the late nineteenth century, characterized by dense asymmetrical ornamentation in sinuous forms, it is often symbolic and strangely erotic.

Austrian Blind is a long gathered blind, which is ruched at the bottom.

Awl is a point-tipped tool for pushing out corners when fabric is turned the right way.


Backing is a quilting term for the back layer of fabric used in a quilt, wall hanging etc.

Backstitch is worked by hand or machine. This is a strengthening stitch. By hand it’s formed by overlapping stitches; first stitch up to the front of work, then go back behind the first needle position and then up again in front and repeat along the row. On a machine use the reverse stitch lever at the beginning and end of a row of stitches to secure in place.

Ballpoint Needles is designed to use with knit and stretch fabrics, these needles have slightly rounded tips, which part the fibers of fabrics rather than piercing them, to prevent damage.

Basecoat is the first layer of paint applied, usually a neutral color to provide a consistent background.

Base Line is the line on which the main part of a letter (excluding ascender and descender) rests.

Batik is a technique for dyeing fabric by which the parts of the fabric are covered with removable wax to prevent absorption of the dye.

Batten is a length of wood to attach to a quilt, blind, pelmet or valance to a window frame.

Batting is a flat material used to stuff and pad, usually cotton, wool or fiberfill. (Also known as wadding).

Basting or Tacking is large stitching to temporarily join fabric pieces. It’s removed once the permanent stitching is done. Basting can be done by hand or machine.

Beads are glass, wood, plastic, clay or ceramic shapes with a hole through the center, often spherical or crystal shaped.

Beading is ornamenting an item or fabric with ion with beads. Also called beadwork.

Beading pins are straight pins with enlarged heads, used for securing beads to a surface.

Bias is the stretchiest part of the fabric. The true bias is 45 degrees (diagonally) from straight of grain (selvedge).

Bias Bindings/Tapes are strips of fabric cut on the bias and then used to bind and hide raw edges of the main project. Bias binding is usually folded with long edges to the middle.

Bible Paper or India Paper is very thin printing paper, originally made specifically for bibles and prayer books but now also used for other commercial purposes where many pages are required with an overall low volume.

Binding is attaching printed materials between covers, as in a book.

Blanket Stitch is used to neaten the edge of buttonholes and fabrics, blanket stitch is formed by stitching from the front to the back of work and looping the thread around the needle so that a line of thread is on the edge. Can be done by machine or hand.

Bleed is, in printing or painting, a feathery effect caused by ink or paint spreading from the image into the paper.

Blending is a soft, gradual transition from one color or tone to another.

Blender Pen is a felt-tip marker filled with a clear solvent, used to soften or blend colors on a surface. There is a water-based version used for blending water-soluble paints and inks.

Blind is a single fabric panel with a fixed heading, which pulls up from the bottom.

Blind Hem Stitch is the aim to hem without any visible stitching. This is achieved by taking up just one or two fibers from the garment fabric and more from the hem allowance. Machine blind hemming may leave a ladder-like stitch on the right side, but is virtually invisible if a good thread match is used. Machine blind hemming stitches a straight row in hem allowance, and then a catch stitch into garment every two to three stitches. Also known as Catch Stitch.

Block is a quilting term referring to the individual unit used in a quilt top.

Blockprint and Blockprinting is a relief print made from wood blocks. Oldest of all the relief processes, this was the universal means of illustrating books and magazines in the nineteenth century.

Blotting is gently pressing a brush against a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Blowpipe is used in glassblowing and other crafts, e.g. to move ink about on the surface of a liquid before transferring to cloth or paper.

Bobbin is a spool or reel that holds the lower thread in a sewing machine; this thread combines with top thread to form stitches on the fabric. The bobbin thread shows on the underside.

Bobbin Case is the unit holding the bobbin in place in a sewing machine.

Bobbin Embroidery are designs worked with the fabric positioned facedown with the specialty thread wound onto the bobbin. Use for threads that are too heavy or thick for the needle.

Bobbling or Pilling is the term used to describe the tiny fabric balls that occur after repeated wear. They can be removed with a fabric shaver. The better the quality of fabric, the less it will bobble.

Bodice is the part of the garment that fits the torso (running from shoulder to waist).

Bolt fabric is stored on a roll known as a bolt, with the right sides folded together lengthwise on the bolt.

Bonding is the joining of two fabrics with a bonding agent.

Boning is thin nylon, plastic or metal strips used to stiffen and shape close-fitting garments such as bodices.

Bookbinding is the craft of fastening loose leaves together to make a book.

Border Print is a fabric with a definite print or design along one selvedge to be used around the hem. Sari fabric frequently has a border print.

Box Pleats is formed by two pleats folded away from each other.

Bradawl is a tool used to punch or skewer holes into objects or materials.

Brads are paper fasteners with two prongs at the back. They are available in a range of sizes, colors and shapes.

Braid is a flat decorative trim.

Bone Folder or Burnisher is a flat piece of plastic or Teflon round at one end and pointed at the other. It is used for scoring and folding paper, and burnishing.

Brayer is a small rubber “rolling pin” used to smooth surfaces, flatten paper, or apply paints or inks.

Bristol board is a high quality heavy weight drawing paper, sometimes made with cotton fiber prepared or glued together, usually with a caliper thickness of 0.006″ and up, used for many types of two-dimensional artwork.

Brush Marker is a water-based marking pen with a long, broad tip for coloring in stamp images, or for coloring directly onto the stamp.

Brushless Watercolor is the art of making watercolor pictures without using brushes. A rubber stamp is colored (with ink or pens) and then the stamp is lightly spritzed with water before the image is stamped.

Buffered Paper during manufacturing, a buffering agent such as calcium carbonate or magnesium bicarbonate can be added to paper to neutralize acid contaminants. Such papers have a pH of 8.5.

Bugle Bead is a tubular glass or plastic bead sewn onto clothing for decoration, or used for trimming and card making.

Bullion is a thick, twisted decorative fringe.

Burnish is to rub or polish to a smooth, glossy finish.

Bust Line is the horizontal line running across the back and around the fullest part of the bust. It’s important to get this measurement correct when sizing patterns.

Bust Point is marked on paper patterns where the fullest part of the bust should fit.

Button come in many different shapes, styles and colors. There are also many buttons that are made specifically for scrapbooking. They are thin, flat and can be attached with fibers, threads or adhesives.

Buttonhole is a bound slit in the fabric to allow buttons to pass through for fastening.

Buttonhole Stitch is a hand-stitch used to neaten and strengthen the raw edges of buttonholes. Resembles satin stitch. Most modern machines stitch buttonholes automatically.


Caliper is a tool for measuring the distance between two opposing sides of an object or objects. In crafts, it is used to measure the thickness of paper, in thousandths of an inch.

Calligraphy is the art of creating beautiful or elegant handwriting.

Cameo is a piece of dimensional jewelry or decoration, which features a raised image of a person, animal or scene.

Capped Sleeve is a very short sleeve that does not extend below the under arm level.

Cardmaking is creating greetings cards by hand: this is now a popular hobby among those who seek to be creative and achieve a worthwhile result without this necessarily proving too demanding in terms of heavy workload, outlay or artistic skill (although cardmaking accommodates these highly creative people, also); and who wish to produce something a little different for a special occasion, to express affection for another; or work to their own advantage in planning a wedding, for example (hand-crafting their own invitations, favors and the rest as part of a complete stationery set). Some cardmakers form their own small businesses, making a sometimes-modest return on their creative efforts privately, at craft fairs and similar.

Card Sketch is a template used to create a greeting card.

Card Stock is a sturdy paper, available in a variety of weights, colors and textures.

Cased Heading is a channel at the curtain top, which enables you to thread a curtain rod through.

Casein is colored pigment with a milk-based binder, which can be applied opaque or as a thin glaze.

Casing is a channel created between two pieces of fabric by stitching above and below the required width to hold elastic, ribbon ties, a length of dowelling or a curtain rod.

Casting Resin is a clear, polyurethane liquid that hardens to a clear solid plastic when mixed with a chemical catalyst. It is used to embed objects in a molded shape, or to add a thick protective coating to a surface.

Catch Stitch See Blind Hem Stitch.

Cello Bags are made from thin transparent material used to protect and display handmade cards.

Cellophane is a thin transparent material used as a moisture-proof wrapping.

Ceramics refers to all forms of clay, although modern use allows other non-metallic materials. Uses include making jewelry and ornaments.

Ceramic Paint is a solvent-based opaque color for crockery, glass, metal and other non-porous surfaces.

Chalk is acid-free chalk that is usually applied with an eye shadow-type applicator or cotton swab to add dimension to die cuts, torn edges and cards etc.

Chapbook is any small book.

Chemical Stability materials, which are chemically stable, are not easily decomposed or otherwise modified chemically which is desirable for use in preservation as it resists chemical degradation over time. Also known as archival quality.

Chinese Collar is a short unfolded stand-up collar, which starts at the neckline and stands vertically 2-3 cm (also known as a Mandarin collar).

Clapper is a wooden pressing aid, with angled sides to help press tailored garments as they’re sewn, providing crisp edges, points and curves.

Clay is a naturally occurring material, composed primarily of fine-grained minerals such as hydrated silicates of aluminum, which is malleable for sculpting and hardens when dried or fired.

Clean Finish is a term used to describe the way the raw edge is finished if not being stitched later: Stitch 6 mm from the edge and press to wrong side then stitch down.

Clear Rubber Stamps are supplied on a clear carrier sheet. This makes storing your stamps easy and lets you see the designs more clearly. The clear stamps cling to an acrylic block (supplied separately), so you can position them to your own taste. Spelling out words and phrases is easy using the alphabet sets, so you can really personalize your greetings when cardmaking. Clear stamps are made from photopolymer, which is hardened through exposure to UV light. You may find your stamps yellow if exposed to light over a period of time. This is natural reaction and will not affect the quality of the stamp.

Cleat is a two-pronged hook, which is fixed to one side of the window frame to secure the cords when a blind is pulled up.

Clip is a term used to trim inside curve to allow seams to lie flat. Clip seam allowance at a slight angle close to but not through the seam stitching.

Clip Art generally refers to simple, line-art or illustrations that can be used for a variety of decorative purposes. For an exhausting history of the term, visit Wikipedia.

Cloisonné is decorative metal work in which metal filaments are fused to the surface of an object to outline a design that is then filled in with enamel paste.

Coiling is the process of rolling clay into strands, which are then wound into a variety of shapes.

Cold Pressed is a paper with slight surface texture produced by pressing the finished sheet between cold cylinders.

Collage is papers, found objects or other ephemera glued to a flat surface.

Color Wheel is a flat, circular chart with wedge-shaped segments of different colors, usually primary and intermediate hues. Related (or analogous) colors tend to be shown adjacent, with complementary colors shown opposite (and sometimes known as opposite colors). Helps show the artist or crafter how to mix primary colors to create new colors. Also used in house décor.

Collar Stand is a tailored shirt usually has a collar stand around the neck placed between the actual collar and the shirt. This stand raises the collar so its finished edge will fall smoothly back over the neck edge.

Complementary Colors are hues that lie opposite each other on the Color Wheel. Also known as Opposite Color or Contrasting Color.

Concertina is paper, card or other material repeatedly folded one way, then the other, to produce a 3D zigzag result.

Concertina Book is a continuous run of pages between covers, with concertina-like folding formats including pasting folded pages back-to-back.

Confetti is a collection of small pieces of colored paper or plastic, traditionally used at weddings. These can be stuck to cards or decorative crafts to give them a sense of celebration.

Conservation is the protection and wise use of natural resources to ensure long-term benefit and continuing availability to future generations. In craft, this is reflected by the use of recycled papers and similar resources.

Contrasting Color are hues that lies opposite each other on the Color Wheel. Also known as Opposite Color or Complementary Color.

Construction Paper is an economical, coarse and sturdy paper that comes in a variety of sizes and colors.

Contact Adhesives are used in strong bonds with high shear-resistance like laminates, such as bonding Formica to a wooden counter. Contact adhesives must be applied to both surfaces and allowed some time to dry before the two surfaces are pushed together. Some contact adhesives require as long as 24 hours to dry before the surfaces are to be held together. It is usually not necessary to apply pressure for a long time, so there is less need for clamps.

Contact Paper or Adhesive Vinyl is a sturdy, self-adhesive plastic film, sold in rolls or by the foot. There are many colors and patterns, but the clear version is excellent for laminating and protecting paper.

Cording is a twisted rope used in piping or as a drawstring. Cording can be covered with bias fabric strips to make piping.

Corner Punch is used for cutting corner shapes.

Corner Rounder is used for rounding off corners.

Corrugated Card is strong cardstock typically made of three layers, with two smooth outer layers and a central inner layer compressed into a dense, corrugated structure.

Covered Button is a button covered with fabric; usually to match the garment.

Combination Rods is where two or three curtain tracks share one set of brackets. They’re used to give windows a layered look.

Contours are shaped pattern pieces cut on a curve, which helps garments fit better, such as contour waistbands.

Cornice is another name for a Pelmet.

Cottage Blind is a curtain, which fits the bottom half of a window but lets in the light at the top.

Crackle Finish is a three-step painting process that results in an aged, weathered appearance.

Craquelure is the pattern of fine cracks that appear in varnish over time. The effect can be imitated to give a surface an aged appearance.

Craft Knife is a short, sharp cutting blade mounted on a pen-like metal handle. Many types and sizes of blades and handles are available.

Crimper is a tool that operates much like a mangle or clothes wringer that wrinkles paper into a corrugated texture.

Crochet is needlework made by looping thread with a hooked needle, usually for ornaments, appliqués and fringes.

Crop is to trim away the unwanted parts of an image.

Cross Grain is cut at right angles to the grain line, across the grain. Border prints are usually cut this way.

Cross Stitch is two stitches that cross each other diagonally to form one stitch in the shape of a cross. Usually done by hand but nowadays some machines offer this as a stitch.

Crossways Fold is a width-ways fold of fabric, which accommodates wider pattern pieces.

Curved Seam is a seam stitched by machine with two differently shaped edges that, when joined, shape the garment. Used at the bust, waist and hip areas. Also known as a Princess Seam.

Cut-running Pliers are used primarily in glass cutting, with curved jaws to ensure even pressure when achieving a curved edge to cut glass.

Cut Width is the width of fabric needed including seams and hems.

Cutting Line is found on paper patterns. This is the outermost dark line marked with the size.

Cutting Mats are self-healing cutting mats are used when using a craft knife to protect the surface you’re working on. They can also be used to tape stencils etc. down, to stop them from moving about while in use.


Dart is a tapered fold in a garment/pattern to allow for fullness, usually in the bust, waist and back, which helps to shape garments to body contours.

Dauber is a round, miniature stamp pad, which can be dabbed onto a stamp to apply ink.

Deckle Edges are the untrimmed feathered edge feature on a sheet of paper, technically the edge which is the result of sheets being torn when wet. Deckle-edged Scissors deliberately produce a fancy cut to edge items like invitations or announcements.

Decorative-Edge Scissors are scissors with patterned blades for cutting paper or fabric.

Decoupage is the Victorian craft of cutting out images or motifs from paper, gluing them to a surface, and covering them with a protective coating such as varnish.

Debossing is the opposite of embossing; the design is indented in to the paper or material.

Density is the number of stitches used in a particular area.

Die is a device used for cutting out, forming, or stamping material.

Die Cut is a method for punching out shapes from paper or fabric, by using a die.

Dimensional Paint is thick acrylic paint traditionally used on fabric but sticks well to most surfaces. It usually comes in squeeze bottles and is available in many colors and styles, including glitter and glow-in-the-dark. Also Known As: fabric paint, puffy paint or foam paint.

Direct Inking Method is when ink is applied directly to paper using the surface of the inkpad.

Directional Stitching 1. All sewing lines follow the direction of the fabric grain – also known as stroking the cat (to find the direction of the grain, run finger along cut edge and stitch in direction in which fibers curl smoothly). 2. In dressmaking, directional stitching refers to stitching every seam in the same direction, i.e.: all seams waist to hem in order to prevent seams puckering or stretching. 3. On a sewing machine, this refers to multi-directional stitching including side to side (not just forwards and backwards). TIP: Some commercial patterns print directional arrows for stay stitching – follow these where applicable to avoid unwanted stretching.

Distressing is the activity of making an item appear older and more worn, this is a popular design style giving a rustic, one-off, vintage look. Can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as wood, glass, metal, plastic and paint. There are a number of methods, by which the finish is intentionally destroyed or manipulated to look less than perfect, such as sanding, crumpling, inking, tearing and so on.

Dolman Sleeve is an extension of the bodice and can be loose or close fitting (also known as Kimono sleeve) although dolman sleeves tend to be longer and closer fitting whilst Kimono sleeves tend to have a wide square look with a looser fit.

Doodling is a method of embellishing by using pens or brushes to create swirls and decorative shapes traditionally done freehand but templates and stencils are increasingly available to assist those less certain of their artistic abilities! Particularly popular in scrapbooking.

Double Hem is folding the fabric over twice in equal amounts – 5 cm double hems need 10 cm of fabric.

Double Sided Tape can either come flat like normal sticky tape or as foam for 3D work. They’re used to secure papers and non-adhesive embellishments down to your chosen surface.

Dough Craft is the art of sculpting ornaments and other models from dough, allowing these to dry and harden.

Dowelling is a circular length of wood/plastic attached to the back of a blind to keep the fabric flat.

Dry Brushing is applying chalk or paint to a brush or sponge and removing most of it by wiping/dabbing it on a piece of paper or rag before using it. This prevents the paint from bleeding under the edges of a stencil, and chalk from looking to dark.

Dry Embossing or Relief Embossing is achieving a raised image on paper by placing the paper over a stencil, and rubbing with a stylus or using embossing folders.

Drying Adhesives are one of two types of adhesives that harden by drying: solvent-based adhesives and polymer dispersion adhesives, also known as emulsion adhesives.

Solvent-based adhesives are a mixture of ingredients, usually polymers, dissolved in a solvent. White glue, contact adhesives and rubber cements are members of the drying adhesive family. As the solvent evaporates, the adhesive hardens. Depending on the chemical composition of the adhesive, they will adhere to different materials to greater or lesser degrees.

Polymer dispersion adhesives are milky-white dispersions often based on polyvinyl acetate. They are used extensively in the woodworking and packaging industries. They are also used with fabrics and fabric-based components.

Dye Ink is water-based ink found in basic ink pads.


Ease is the amount of excess provided for ease of movement in a garment. There is often wearing ease AND designer ease. Wearing ease is calculated to allow garments to move with the body etc. Designer ease is the style element and varies according to the designer’s wishes.

Ease Stitch is simply a row of slightly longer than usual stitches just within seam allowance. It is used to make a larger or curved piece of fabric fit on to another by evenly pulling in the extra fabric without making any gathers or tucks in the larger piece of fabric.

Edge Punch is a device for applying an attractive edge to card or paper by repetitive punching of a uniform decorative pattern.

Edge Stitching is a row of stitching on the edge of a garment, usually about 2-3 mm from edge.

Embedding is a process whereby an object is placed inside another. Used in soap-making, candle-making and others.

Embellish is an addition of decorative stitching, appliqué and trims to a sewing project or garment.

Embellishment is an addition to decorate a handmade card or scrapbook page, e.g. toppers, jewels, buttons, or just about anything small and decorative.

Emblem is an embroidered design or motif with a neatened edge.

Embossed Paper is paper on which a raised or depressed design has been produced by pressure, generally from an engraved or otherwise patterned image.

Embossing is a technique used in stamping to create a shiny raised image using embossing inkpads, powders and pastes.

Embossing Gun or Heat Tool is a heating tool that directs hot air to a specific area. The hot air melts embossing powder, creating a slightly raised surface on the design.

Embossing Ink is a thick, slow-drying ink used for heat embossing, such as Versamark. It can be either clear or have a light pastel tint.

Embossing Pad can be used for both embossing and chalking techniques in stamping. Being slightly tinted so you can see where you’re stamping, these pads allow for you to add color of your choice over the top.

Embossing Paste is a paste used in conjunction with brass stencils to create a 3D image of the stencil design. Can be colored when dry or alternatively iridescent powders or acrylics may be mixed with the wet paste to produce unusual and beautiful effects.

Embossing Powder is a quick-melting, colored powder used to create a raised design in rubber-stamping. It is sprinkled on a wet, inked design, and then heated with a hot-air embossing gun, which bonds the powder to the surface. Available in many colors and granulations.

Embossing Tinsel is embossing powder, which contains metallic tinsel type confetti or particles

Embroidery is decorative stitches used to create a pattern on fabric.

Encaustic Painting or Hot Wax Painting is using heated beeswax infused with colored pigments. The resulting paste is then applied to a surface such as wood or canvas, where it can be sculpted with metal tools, brushes and heating tools. Other materials can be layered in the wax for a collage design.

Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a surface, by cutting grooves into it.

Entredeux is a French word for ‘between two’ – this is a lacy trim or stitch that has heavily embroidered holes. Entredeux tape is used in between two fabric pieces to provide a decorative joining piece. Entredeux stitch can be made using a wing needle, which leaves holes as it stitches.

Envelope Curtains are static and don’t pull back and the bottom inside corners are pinned back to let light in.

Ephemera is anything short-lived. In crafting, it means paper materials that were created for a single practical purpose, with no thought that they would be saved or preserved. Artists may use ephemera, such as vintage postcards, stamps, advertising, or other illustrated material, in their collages or other artwork.

Epoxy is an adhesive composed of two liquids, a resin and a hardener, that when mixed together, harden to form a strong bond. Epoxy is suitable for bonding porous and non-porous materials.

Exemplar is something that serves as a model to be copied. In crafting, an exemplar is most often an alphabet in a decorative lettering style.

Extender or Retarder is a product added to paint to slow its drying time or vary its transparency.

Eyelets are fasteners with holes in the middle that once attached to paper, card or fabric can have threads etc. passed through the middle. They need to be secured to your chosen surface with an eyelet setting tool, such as an Eyelet Punch or Eyelet Setter, or other similar metals tools for applying eyelets.


Fabric Ink is permanent ink made specifically for stamping on fabrics.

Fabric Markers is similar to regular markers. You can use these markers to make designs on fabric. Once heat set, it makes a permanent design and is machine washable.

Fabric Paint is permanent paint made specifically for painting on fabric.

Face is the outside or ‘right’ side of a fabric, the side you see when the garment is finished.

Facing is a garment section that is turned to the inside to hide raw edges of seams without hems, such as necklines, front edges, armholes.

Fat Quarter is originally a quilting term but also used for wearable art. Fat Quarters are cut differently and measure a ‘squared’ ¼ yard of fabric (18 x 22”) rather than the usual long cut across the width ¼ yard (approx. 9 x 45”).

Faux Finish is a decorative painting that imitates the look of a natural material such as marble, wood or yak hide.

Feather Art is using colorful birds’ feathers to decorate arts and crafts by cutting and gluing.

Feather Stitch is a machine stitch used to join non-fraying pieces of fabrics to each other.

Feed Dogs are the teeth under the throat plate on a sewing machine that go up and down to move the fabric along whilst sewing.

Felt is a heavy, non-fraying, fabric generally made from wool with other manufactured fibers. The fibers are locked together in a process utilizing heat, moisture, and pressure to form a compact material.

Felting is the process of transforming wool into a dense cloth by bonding and shrinking the fibers together.

Felt Side is the topside of the paper, usually providing the best printing results.

Festoon Blind is a blind that is ruched from top to bottom.

Fiber is a natural or synthetic filament, as of cotton or nylon, capable of being spun into yarn or trim.

Fill Stitch is a group of running stitches, which are used to cover an area of fabric. Embroideries use fill stitches to create texture and shading.

Findings is a term that originates from jewelry making to describe the pieces of metal – such as headpins, clasps and connectors – used to complete items such as necklaces or bracelets. Findings can also be used with card making, for example as an alternative way of fixing charms.

Finger Pressing is used on small areas of fabric, simply use your fingers to flatten the seams open.

Finial is a decorative end for a curtain pole.

Finish is the way in which an item’s surface is finished off. Finishes range from rough to smooth, glossy to matt.

Finished Width is the actual width after the treatment is finished and all allowances have been used.

Finishing is the term used to finish off the edge of garments, such as neatening seam allowances, removing excess stabilizers etc.

First Generation Stamping is the first impression made with a stamp after inking.

Fix Stitch or Lock Stitch are small stitches on the spot that are done at the start and end of a seam to stop it unraveling.

Fixative is a sprayed-on sealer, like lacquer, used over pastels, charcoal and watercolors to prevent smudging.

Flagging happens to fabric that has been hooped incorrectly which causes an up and down motion resulting in thread birdnesting and does not allow stitches to form correctly.

Flat-felled Seam is a very durable seam created by sewing the wrong sides of the fabric together and then trimming one of the seams and turning the other seam allowance under and stitching over the trimmed seam. Good for jeans and reinforced seams.

Flat-nosed Pliers are pliers with flat, tapered jaws to make twisting and curling easy, particularly wire. Also available with smooth jaws to avoid marking the wire.

Floats are long satin stitches that lay on the top of a design.

Floral Arts / Flowercraft is the art of producing decorative designs and displays by arranging flowers and related items.

Flower Pressing collect your flowers, stems, seed pods etc., place them in the flower press and soon you have your pressed flower ready to make all sorts of things such as pictures, decorating cards and writing paper.

Flush Cutters are sharp wire cutters that leave a clean cut, requiring no filing.

Foam Core or Foam Board is a stiff, resilient and lightweight board of polystyrene foam laminated with paper on both of its sides. It is manufactured in several thicknesses (3/16″ is most common) and many colors.

Foil or Metal Sheet) is typically used for embossing, foil is available in many different colors, although the most popular are gold, silver & copper.

Foil Stamp is foil made of metal or similar available in various colors, sometimes embossed; (2) method of printing that releases foil from its backing when stamped with a heated die. Also known as hot foil stamp or block print.

Fold Line indicates that a paper pattern piece needs to be placed on the fold of the fabric so that two identical halves are cut as one, thus avoiding center seams.

Found Objects are common items that an artist or crafter collects in daily life for using in craft projects.

Frame is the holding device for an embroidery hoop.

Free Motion is embroidery that is done free hand by lowering the feed dogs on the sewing machine, so that the work can be moved in any direction at any speed. Usually worked with the fabric in a hoop and using a darning or embroidery foot. Stitch length is determined by how quickly the work is moved, quickly for long stitches, slowly for small stitches.

French Seam is a seam finish that encloses the raw edges so that the reverse side is neat. It is very useful for transparent fabrics or unlined curtains, jackets etc. where the reverse might be seen. To create, stitch a 1 cm seam with WRONG sides together. Trim to 3mm, turn through and press with seam on fold and RIGHT sides together. Stitch again taking 6mm seam. Press again.

Frill is a longer length of fabric gathered or pleated onto an edge for decoration.

Frog Fastening is a narrow fabric tube which forms a loop to fasten with a round button. Also know as a ‘Rouleau Loop’.

Fullness Ratio is the ratio of fabric width to the width of the window. Curtains are usually at least twice the window width.

Fused Glass is a decorative glass created by stacking thin sheets of glass and fusing them together in a kiln (1100 degrees to 1500 degrees).

Fusible is the term used to describe a fine mist of adhesive on fabric or interfacings that when pressed with hot iron, sticks them to another fabric.

Fussy Cutting is anytime you use your scissors to cut out designs from printed paper, stamped images or computer printed images.

French Curve is a tool used for creating curves for pattern design.


Gather is a technique for gathering longer lengths of fabric into a smaller length. Used to create fullness or allow several pieces of fabric of different lengths to fit together. This is done by stitching one or two rows of long basting stitch and leaving long threads at either end. If working on a sewing machine, pull up bobbin thread.

Gauge in wire or sheet metal, the measurement of its thickness. In fabric, the number of stitches and rows per square inch.

Gel Medium or Polymer Medium is a thick, colorless liquid, used as a paint additive, protective finish, or adhesive.

Gel Pens are gel inked ballpoint pens. They come in many different sizes and in a huge variety of colors. They are primarily used for thin patterns or writing, but can be used for coloring small areas in a specific color.

Gesso is a thick white fluid, made from chalk or plaster and glue. It is used to prepare surfaces for painting or gilding.

Gilding is applying a thin metallic foil, like gold leaf, to a surface. This usually requires an adhesive called size, which is applied and left to dry until it is tacky.

Gilding Glass Cutters/Glass Nippers are used with mosaics or stained glass work, this tool cuts glass with a single-edged steel wheel.

Glassine is a smooth, semi-transparent paper.

Glaze is a transparent, diluted layer of paint used to accentuate textures or modify the overall color.

Glitter is tiny metal fragments available in a huge array of colors and thicknesses to add sine and sparkle to crafting projects.

Glitter Glue is a wet glue that comes pre-mixed with glitter particles, and can be directly applied to add highlights to projects, or painted onto card, acetate or funky foam to make it glittery. Glitter glue is available in lots of different colors, and in two types: standard glitter glue contains identifiable pieces of glitter; pearlescent glue contains very fine particles that give it a shimmery finish.

Gloss is a reflective, shiny, surface. In crafting, it can be achieved through the choice of materials or the addition of glossy coatings such as varnish.

Glue Dots are extremely sticky round dots of glue used to hold on embellishments such as buttons or heavy metal pieces. Also very useful in sticking things to papers and materials that are normally stick-resistant.

Glue Stick is a round stick of solid glue which is used to adhere embellishments to scrapbook pages, cards, tags, etc.

Glue Gun is a very handy electrical appliance for those who wish to apply embellishments. You need to insert glue sticks, which the glue gun heats. You can then apply the glue in intricate places. To use the gun, you just push a glue stick into the glue stick feeder and squeeze the trigger. As you squeeze, the glue stick will travel down the barrel where it will melt and flow out of the nozzle.

Godets are usually triangularly shaped fabric inserts added to increase the swing and fullness of a skirt or dress.

Gold leaf is an extremely thin sheet of gold (or composite metal) used for gilding. It is commonly applied to a surface with a liquid adhesive called gold size.

Gold leaf wax is non-tarnishing metallic dust suspended in a soft paste wax. Apply with a finger, brush or cloth to any surface and buff with a soft cloth. It can be thinned with turpentine.

Gouache is an opaque, water-soluble paint usually made from Gum Arabic and pigments.

Grade Seam eliminates bulk from the seams; trim the outer seam allowances to 6 mm and the under seam allowance to a scant 3 mm.

Grain Line is the direction in which the threads are woven. The straight grain runs parallel to the fabric selvedge. Crosswise grain runs at right angles to the selvedge (across the width).

Grammage is the term used to denote the weight of paper or board; the measurement used is the weight of a single sheet of one square meter, expressed in grams per square meter (g/m2).

Grommet is a ring or eyelet of metal, often used to reinforce a hole.

Grout is cement-type material used between tiles on mosaics (and other projects) to strengthen the hold, increasing the permanence of the finished product. Available in a variety of colors.

Grout Sealer is a transparent liquid applied to a finished mosaic to protect it.

Grozing Pliers are pliers with rough, arched jaws, used to cut and trim glass.

Guide Stitches are stitches used to align embroideries when using several hoops or that assist in fabric placement for appliqué.

Guillotine is a cutter used to cut the edge of paper in a straight line or decorative design. It enables you to cut large areas precisely and in seconds.

Gum Arabic is a water-soluble, glossy, pigmentable medium derived from the Acacia tree. It improves the bonding qualities of inks and watercolors.

Gusset is a piece of fabric sewn into the seam line to provide fullness.

Gutting is a scrapbooking term for removing to save the unseen piece of card or paper covered by another part of the layout.


Halo and Loop is a method of mounting stamps using Velcro instead of wood.

Handmade Paper is paper made by spreading wet wood or paper pulp on a porous screen in a mold, pressing and drying the resulting mat.

Hand Building is a term to identify any type of manual manipulation of clay. Coil and slab techniques are among the most common.

Hand Milling is the process of creating a harder soap by taking a bar of handmade soap and grating, melting and remolding it.

Handle is a term used to describe how the fabric feels in the hand. Use of interfacing should not change the ‘handle’.

Header is the extra fabric above a cased heading which forms a frill.

Header Tape is a wide woven tape that has slots for curtains hooks and includes the gathering cords. There are many different types of header tape which pull up to make perfect pleats, goblet pleats etc.

Heat Embossing is an embossing technique using a stamp, embossing or pigment ink pad, embossing powder, and a heat source.

Heat Gun is a tool that produces intense hot air allowing for projects to be heated. Mainly known for use with embossing techniques.

Hem is the fabric which is turned up on the edge of the garment to provide a neat finished edge.

Hem Allowance is the amount of fabric allowed for the hemming.

Hemp Cord is used primarily for macramé, this cord (created from hemp) resists fraying and holds knots well.

High Bust is the measurement taken above the full bust measurement under the arms and around the back and chest. If this measurement is more than 5 cm larger than the full bust measurement then dress, jacket and top pattern size should be selected by the high bust size and alterations made to fit the fuller cup.

Highlight is to use a lighter shade of paint in a particular area.

Hip Point is the point on the pattern where the hip comes. This is usually 18 – 23 cm from the waist.

Holographic is the pattern produced on a photosensitive medium that has been exposed by holography and then photographically developed. Holographic card is widely used in crafts.

Hong Kong Seam is a seam finishing method of binding the seam allowance to encase raw edges. On lightweight fabrics, both seam allowances can be pressed to one side and then bound together. On medium and heavier weight fabrics, press seam open and bind each seam allowance separately.

Hook and Eye is a two-part closure that consists of a hook and a loop.

Hoop is made up of two rings, one slightly smaller than the other, that fit together to clamp fabric tightly in place. Used for embroidery and free motion stitching.

Hot Adhesives, also known as hot melt adhesives, are thermoplastics applied in molten form, which solidify on cooling to form strong bonds between a wide range of materials. Ethylene-vinyl acetate-based hot-melts are particularly popular for crafts because of their ease of use and the wide range of common materials they can join. A glue gun is one method of applying hot adhesives.

Hot Pressed is a paper surface that is smooth, produced by pressing a finished sheet through hot cylinders.

Hue is a color or shade, expressed particularly by its position on the color wheel.

Huffing is blowing on an inked stamp to keep it moist before stamping. This process can extend the ink to allow a second impression without re-inking.


In-seam is the inside leg seam that runs from crotch to hem.

Index is the image that is on top of a stamp.

Ink is a liquid containing various pigments and/or dyes used for coloring a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are used extensively in letterpress and lithographic printing. Ink is a complex medium, comprising solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescers, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink’s carrier, colorants, and other additives are used to control flow, thickness, and appearance of the ink when dry.

Intaglio is a sunken-relief, otherwise known as intaglio or sometimes hollow-relief, is a method of sculpting which entails carving or etching an image into the surface of a flat piece of stone, metal, glass or wood. This method creates a relief, which is effectively a negative of the usual bas-relief type. This method can be achieved with rubber stamps by stamping into a soft surface such polymer clay, UTEE or gently heated foam.

Interfacing is a fine fabric used between layers of fabric in a garment to provide stability and shape. Used in cuffs, collars, plackets, waist bands. It comes in two types, sew in or iron-on (fusible) and in different weights and colors. The aim is to use a weight that will add stability but not change the ‘handle’ of the fabric.

Interlining is another fabric layer, usually cut and sewn as one with main fabric, to provide support to main fabric. Also known as Underlining.

Inverted Pleat is two pleats folded towards each other and butting up together at the top. Sometimes the resulting inverted pleat has a contrast fabric under the folds.

Iridescent means varying in color when seen in different lights or from different angles.

Iris Folding is the card making technique using folded strips of paper to fill an aperture in an overlapping spiral. It is called iris folding because the center of the design resembles the iris of a camera or eye. Strips of paper are folded & laid over a pattern.


Jabot is the tail section of Swags and Tails in window treatments.

Joss Paper is gold and silver paper burned by the Chinese in spiritual ceremonies.

Journal (Journaling) is writing on a scrapbooking layout describing the subject of the page, for instance the people or events in the photographs on the page. It can also be thoughts and sentiments about the layout.

Jumper is the name for a small plastic device for ‘jumping’ over thicker seams with the sewing machine such as jean hems. Also known as a Hump Jumper.

Jump Stitch is the long stitch or thread between embroidery stitches in machine embroidery, formed when the stitching moves to another area of the design before continuing. The jump stitches should be cut away once the design is stitched out.


Kick Pleats are similar to box pleats but folds are further apart and don’t butt together at the back.

Kimono is a term used to describe a traditional Japanese dress. The basic kimono is a square-cut body with square-cut sleeves and has remained much the same since the 10th century.

Kimono Sleeve is an extension of the bodice and can be loose or close fitting (also known as Dolman sleeve). Kimono sleeves tend to have a wide square look with a looser fitting.

Kinetic Cards is the name applied to any three-dimensional or movable card, which covers pop-up cards, and cards with, flaps, pull-tabs, pop-outs, pull-downs, and more, each of which performs in a different manner.

Kneading is manipulating clay with the hand resulting in a uniform texture.

Knife Pleats is a row of folds all in the same direction.

Kraft Paper is strong and relatively coarse, Kraft paper is usually a brown color but can be bleached white. It is used for paper grocery bags, corrugated cardboard, large envelopes and other packaging.


Laid Paper is paper with a grid texture and strong grain running in the direction of the sheet.

Lambrequin is a pelmet, which extends down the side of the window.

Laminator is a tool or machine that bonds a thin sheet of plastic to paper or fabric, creating a protective, glossy surface. They can also be used to apply foil to paper.

Layering or Matting is when you place either card or paper of increasing sizes around an image to create a frame.

Layout is the arrangement of heading, text, and artwork on a page.

Light Box or Light Table is a tool for viewing transparencies or for tracing images. It is a box containing a light source (usually sunlight fluorescent) and a translucent glass or plastic surface.

Lightfastness is the speed at which pigments in inks, paints or materials fade in strong light.

Lignin is a natural bonding agent in plants – while lignin isn’t an acid, it releases acids as it deteriorates. If you have paper that’s acid free, it may still contain lignin and become acidic over time. When manufacturing scrapbooking papers the lignin is removed during processing so that the papers become safe.

Lining is used to finish the inside of a garment to hide seam construction, prevents ‘see-through’ and helps garments to hang better.

Lock Stitch or Fix Stitch and Loop stitch are the small stitches on the spot that are done at the start and end of an embroidery or seam to stop it unraveling.

Loom State refers to fabric that is straight from the loom. Loom state cloth will shrink, and needs to be prewashed before using.

Loop Stitch See Lock Stitch.


Machine Tacking is done by machine using the longest stitch length available to temporarily hold fabric in position before stitching permanently (see Basting).

Machine Embroidery is decorative stitching created by using in-built stitches on a sewing machine such as satin stitch and zigzag. Mid to top range machines have a number of embroidery stitches built-in. The term also denotes embroidered designs, motifs and pictures.

Macramé is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Fibers are knotted into patterns to make decorations or embellishments.

Magic Motifs are double sided glue motifs for use with glitter or transfer foil.

Malachiteis is a green banded mineral that is usually cut into cabochons and beads as it is a fairly soft mineral measuring 3.5 – 4 on the Mohs scale. It can be found worldwide but is mainly mined in the Urals and Israel.

Mandarin Collar is a short unfolded stand-up collar, which starts at the neckline and stands vertically 2-3 cm (also known as a Chinese collar).

Marble Paper is paper that has been marbled or marbleized, a process involving submerging the paper in a water solution containing non-soluble inks or paints (grated oil pastels will work, too) floating on the surface which stick to the paper in marble patterns when the paper is removed from the water.

Marbling paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to marble or other stone, hence the name. The patterns are the result of color floated on either plain water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferred to a sheet of paper (or other surfaces such as fabric). This decorative material has been used to cover a variety of surfaces for several centuries. It is often employed as a writing surface for calligraphy, and especially book covers and endpapers in bookbinding and stationery. Part of its appeal is that each print is a unique monoprint.

Marker, Marking Pen or Felt-Tipped Pen is a writing instrument that delivers ink through a porous felt tip.

Marking is temporary marks made on fabric to aid positioning of pockets, buttonholes and darts etc. Also used in embroidery to determine how to hoop fabric.

Mask is a paper cut-out of either a stamped image or a template stuck temporarily down to a project surface to hide the image behind, letting you carry on with your work without touching this image. The mask is then removed again at the end.

Masking Fluid is a latex liquid with added pigmentation for masking areas of work needing protection when color/ink is applied.

Masking Tape is adhesive tape made of paper backed with a relatively weak adhesive. It is used often in painting, to protect unpainted areas.

Matte Finish or Flat finish is a surface or coating that is dull or non-glossy.

Matting is when you place either card or paper of increasing sizes around an image to create a frame. It visually separates the image from the background and is good for using colors to compliment the image.

Medium is the component of paint in which the pigment is dispersed.

Metafil is a needle with an elongated eye for use with metallic decorative threads.

Metal Embossing or Repoussage is creating a raised design on thin metal sheets by hammering or pressing from the reverse side.

Metal Scriber is a tool for marking lines on metal, or for embossing.

Metallic Paint is tiny metal flakes suspended in a translucent paint or other an aqueous binder. Metallic paint can be subject to tarnishing, so it should be coated with a protective gel medium.

Methyl Cellulose or Wallpaper Paste is a thick, spreadable adhesive, which dries clear. It is used for archival mounting and paper maché.

Mineral Spirits is an inexpensive paint thinner, which cleans brushes, thins paint, cleans furniture, and removes wax often used as a substitute for turpentine.

Mitre is a method of neatly folding fabric or trim at corners.

Mitring is a way of folding the excess seam allowance to achieve a less bulky, sharp corner.

Mixed Media is the craft technique of using several different media, such as paint, paper, rubber stamps or inks on a single surface.

Mod Podge™ is the Brand name for PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate, the base of white craft glue) gel medium, specially formulated for use in decoupaging.

Mod-Roc Plaster Bandage is a plaster and resin based, hard and lightweight plaster bandage which smoothes well – ideal for body casting, 3D work and scenery – after priming will take acrylic paints well for subsequent decoration.

Monograms are letters, usually initials, embroidered for decoration.

Montage is a collage made of photographs or illustrations.

Mosaic is an art medium in which small pieces of colored glass, stone, or ceramic tile called tessera are embedded in a background material such as plaster or mortar.

Motif is a distinctive and recurring form, shape, figure, appliqué, etc., in a design, as in a painting or on clothing.

Mounting used to create dimension to your card by making several impressions of your image, saving the first impression as your base and cutting apart subsequent impressions for areas of the design you want to build up. Mounting or “layering” pieces can be done with double-sided foam tape or hot glue. If you want to mount a piece without giving it dimension use regular double-sided tape.

Mulberry Paper is Japanese Paper made from Kozo which is the fibers of the Mulberry Tree. The paper can be torn to create a feathered-effect edge.

Multigrids are stainless steel plates, each grid with a different design used for parchment crafts.

Mylar is transparent or opaque polyester film often used as a protective covering for photos and album pages.


Nap or Pile describes fabrics with surface texture. Determine whether a fabric has nap by brushing the fabric in one direction to see whether it changes color or shade when brushed one way or the other. NB: It is sometimes hard to determine if the fabric is very light. If it is textured or has a one-way pattern, follow the ‘with nap’ layout which requires all pattern pieces to be placed in the same direction so the pile or nap will all run from top to bottom etc.

Needle Threader is a tool with a looped wire, which pulls the thread through the needle eye.

Nib is the tapered or sharpened writing tip of a pen or quill.

Notch There are two types of Notch in sewing: 1. Triangular or diamond shaped marks on the cutting lines of paper patterns used to match seams together at sides, back and front etc. 2. Triangular shapes cut OUT of outer curved seam allowances once a seam is stitched, so that when turned through the fabric will lie flat.

Notions is the American term used to describe haberdashery; frequently used on paper patterns.


Opaque is a non-transparent or non-translucent surface or coating.

Opposite Colors are hues that lies opposite each other (i.e. that which it complements) on the Color Wheel. Also known as Complementary Color or Contrasting Color.

Overlock is an overcast stitch which encases the edge and helps neaten raw edges. Also known as ‘serging.’

Overlocker is a purpose-made sewing machine that overlocks fabric, cutting the edge and sewing in the same pass. Can be 3-8 threads and can be used for a variety of creative stitching as well as overlocking edges. Also known as Sergers.

Ox Gall Liquid is a transparent extender for watercolors, which improves flow with a pen or brush.


Paper Maché is a craft construction material consisting of small pieces of absorbent paper (like newsprint) stuck together with a wet paste like glue, starch, wheat paste or wallpaper paste. The crafted object becomes solid when the paste dries.

Paper Tole is the art of handcrafting three-dimensional pictures using layered elements from multiple, identical flat prints. The most intricate application of this technique involves layering and shaping the paper pieces to achieve depth and shadow.

Parchment or Vellum is a hard finished paper that resembles animal skin, used for documents, such as awards. A favorite of calligraphers because of its smooth, buttery texture.

Pastel is a chalk-like art medium in the form of a stick, made from powdered pigment and a binder. A fixative, like lacquer, must be applied to the finished artwork prevent smudging. The word pastel is also used to indicate a pale tint of a color.

Paste-up is assembling the individual elements of a final print layout.

Patina is a film, often blue/green, that forms on copper and bronze as a result of the oxidation of the copper due to weathering. Various chemical treatments will induce colored patinas on new metal work, and it is often imitated in antiquing and painting techniques.

Pattern is the template needed to create an item. Commercial patterns provide tissue pieces.

Pattern Layout is a diagram found on commercial pattern instruction sheets which indicate how to lay out pattern pieces on the fabric.

Pattern Match describes the technique of matching patterns on right and left edges, for drapes etc. and is used when working with specifically patterned fabric, checks or plaids. Cut each piece on a single layer of fabric. Lay cut piece next to remaining fabric so that next section can be placed with pattern matching at key points (bust, hip etc.). Remember when cutting two of same pattern piece, the pattern piece should be flipped over for the second one to ensure a left and right.

Pelmet is a decorative way of concealing curtain tops and tracks. This is usually a flat panel, which can be painted or covered with fabric.

Pelmet Board is a horizontal wooden shelf from which a pelmet or valance is hung.

Peplum is a flared ‘skirt’ attached to jacket or top at waist creating a fuller style at hem.

Peter Pan Collar is a small, flat round cornered collar without a stand. It is popular for women’s and children’s garments.

Petersham is a heavy-duty waist banding, usually black and reinforced with a line of stitching to prevent it folding or rolling when worn.

Pick Stitch is a decorative hand stitch used on collars, cuffs, front facings etc. An alternative to top-stitching.

Pile is the surface texture to fabric. Only some fabrics, like velvet, have a visible pile; when brushed it will look a different color. When cutting out, ensure all pattern pieces are laid in the same direction on the fabric so that the pile is going in its natural direction. (Also known as Nap).

Pilling or Bobbling is the term used to describe the tiny fabric balls that occur after repeated wear. They can be removed with a fabric shaver. The better the quality of fabric, the less it will pill.

Pintucks are raised very narrow tucks or pleats in fabric that add decorative detail.

Piping is a decorative cord with flange or plain cord which can be covered with bias binding and then sewn in seams to create a crisp neat edging. Used in dressmaking and soft furnishings. (See cording).

Pivot is a way of turning the fabric without losing the stitch position; leave the needle in the fabric, raise presser foot and turn fabric to new stitching position. Lower presser foot and continue.

Placket is an additional section of fabric that is added to openings such as neck, sleeve or cuff.

Plastron is a chest piece of interfacing that fills the hollow between shoulder and bust. The shape varies depending on the bust size. It is usually made from tailor’s canvas and interfacing.

Pleat is a fold in fabric that is inverted or folded outward to make tucks in the fabric. They reduce a wide amount of fabric to a narrow amount whilst adding fullness. Pleats can be left open, or partially sewn.

Ply is a single layer of paper.

Point Turner is a tool with a pointed end used to push out points and corners.

Polymer Clay is malleable modeling clay that is hardened by baking.

Polymer Medium is a protective acrylic liquid used as an adhesive for light- to middle-weight papers or as a varnish for decoupage. It is available in gloss and matte finishes.

Poppas or Snap Fasteners are fastenings with male and female parts that clip together to hold two fabric edges in place. They need to be hand sewn in place.

Pounce, Pouncing or Stippling is creating the effect of texture by lightly and randomly applying paint with a brush or sponge, allowing background color to show through. In calligraphy, pounce is a fine powder used to absorb grease from paper.

Pre-Shrinking it is advisable to pre-wash fabrics before making up into garments or furnishings to pre-shrink and wash out any treatments. Pre-washing can also mean that fabric becomes washable when made into a garment as the shrinking has already been done!

Pressing involves placing the iron on the fabric, holding for a moment, lifting and replacing on another section – without moving the iron back and forth as you do when ironing.

Pressing Cloth is a clean cloth that is placed over fabric whilst pressing and ironing to prevent marking. This can be used damp for steam pressing or dry. An organza press cloth is ideal as it withstands most temperatures and is transparent.

Pressing Ham is a ‘ham’ shaped stuffed cushion used to support the fabric to the right shape whilst ironing for curved areas such as darts, sleeves and princess seams. Also known as a dressmaker’s or tailor’s ham.

Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives form a bond by the application of light pressure to marry the adhesive with the adherend. These adhesives are designed for either permanent or removable applications.

Prick Stitch is a stitch used on fabrics such as velvet, it is a very small backstitch sewn with right side uppermost. Hand zip insertion is often done with prick stitch.

Primer is the initial coating or color, prior to final painting that provides the surface with the right absorbency and color.

Princess Seam is a seam stitched by machine with two different shaped edges that when joined shapes the garment. Used at bust and waist and hip areas. (See ‘Curved Seam’).

Puckering is caused by tight stitches on the fabric usually the result of incorrect tension or stitch length, seams that are cut on bias inaccurately or a needle that is the wrong size.

PVA or Polyvinyl acetate is the chemical base of archival white glue that dries transparent. Mixed with gel medium, it becomes water resistant. It is commonly used as an adhesive and also coating for decoupage.


Quadrille Paper or Graph Paper is paper that is printed with a faint grid pattern, used for design layouts and embroidery patterns.

Quilling is a type of ornamental craftwork involving the shaping of paper, fabric, or glass into delicate pleats or folds.

Quilt Binding is a strip of fabric that is sewn on the edges of a quilt to cover the raw edges of the quilt top, batting, and backing.

Quilting is the craft of assembling two layers of cloth filled with a plush material and binding them together with stitched designs.


Rag Paper is paper made from 50% to 100% cotton or linen fiber.

Raglan Sleeve is attached to the garment by a seam that runs diagonally down the front neckline to the underarm and up to the back of the neckline.

Raw edge is the edge of the fabric that has not been stitched or finished.

Ream is 500 sheets of paper.

Recycled Paper is paper made from post-consumer waste paper, which as been chemically processed, bleached, and reduced to pulp.

Reinforce is a term used to describe stitching over an area again to strengthen the seam. Used in areas of most stress such as crotch.

Repoussage is creating a raised design on thin metal sheets by hammering or pressing from the reverse side.

Resizing is the ability to change the scale of a design or pattern to fit.

Reverse Appliqué is a piece of fabric used behind a design where the front fabric will be cut away to reveal the fabric beneath it.

Revere Collar is a flat V-shaped collar often found on blouses.

Ribbon is a narrow strip of woven fabric, often silk, used as a decorative trimming on clothing, packages and crafts. There are several varieties of ribbon:

  • Brocade: heavyweight silk, usually patterned.
  • Chiffon: lightweight, gauzy taffeta.
  • Grosgrain: ribbed crosswise.
  • Jacquard: a weave with an intricate, variegated pattern.
  • Moiré: a weave with a subtle luster or water effect.
  • Ombré: blended stripes of color that give a two-toned or multi-colored effect.
  • Organdy: lightweight, translucent, of silk, cotton or rayon.
  • Satin: glossy, close-woven silk.
  • Taffeta:lightweight, smooth silk.
  • Velvet: silk, with a short, close nap of erect threads resulting in a soft texture. Sometimes woven on a cotton backing.
  • Wired: wire is woven into the outside edges of the ribbon so the ribbon will hold a shape for bows and twists.

Rice Paper is any of several lightweight Oriental papers. It can possibly contain rice straw or rice starch.

Right side is the side of fabric that you wish to use as the outside; the side with printing or design. For some fabrics, such as linen, silk or polyester, it is difficult to distinguish the right or wrong side, in which case it doesn’t matter.

Rise is the distance from hip to waist. Rise measurement is taken from the waist down to the upper leg side when making trousers.

Rolled Collar is softly rolled where it folds down from the stand (as opposed to a collar with a pressed crease at the fold).

Rolled Hem is a very narrow hem finish. Fold raw edge under 3 mm and stitch. Trim close to fold, turn under again along. stitching and stitch again. Alternatively, use a rolled hem foot on a sewing machine which rolls the hem through the foot prior to stitching.

Rotary Cutter is a cutting tool which is ideal for cutting long straight lengths of fabric. Looks like a pizza cutter with a circular blade.

Rouleau Loop or Frog Fastening is a narrow fabric tube, which forms a loop to fasten a round button.

Rubber Stamping is imprinting a design or text on a surface using ink applied to a piece of rubber or similar material that is carved or molded into a relief of the design.

Ruffle is a decorative gathered trim made from a piece of fabric usually cut on the bias.

Running Stitch is an easy hand stitch used to hold layers together. Made by running the needle through to back and up to front repeatedly along the seam line. There are gaps between stitching on both sides.


Satin Stitch is a shortened, closely stitched zigzag stitch which creates a close line of stitches to cover raw edges. Used as a decorative stitch or to attach appliqués.

Scrapbooking is preserving pictures, clippings, or other mementos in an artistic manner by mounting them in books.

Scumbling is semi-opaque or thinned colors loosely sponged or brushed over a surface so that some of the color beneath shows through.

Sealer is a protective coating applied to surface before and after painting, which prevents chemical reactions between the paints and the surfaces.

Seam Allowance is the piece of fabric between the fabric edge and the stitching. This is usually 15 mm for dressmaking and 6 mm for crafts.

Seam Line is the line on which to sew when putting a garment together. It is this seam line that must be matched when putting the garment together and not the raw edges.

Seam Ripper is a little cutting tool used to undo seam stitching. Frequently found in a sewing machine’s tool kit.

Selvage is the bound side edges of the fabric which doesn’t fray.

Separating Zip is a zipper that comes apart so the garment can open completely. Used on jackets and sportswear.

Sequin is a small shiny disk of plastic, often sewn on cloth in mass quantities as decoration.

Serging or Overlocking is an overcast stitch which encases the edge and helps to neaten raw edges.

Set-in Sleeve is set into the armhole with a seam on the shoulder end (also known as a mounted sleeve).

Sew-through Button is a flat button with holes through to sew onto the garment. Use on lightweight garments.

Shade is a darker color made by adding black.

Shank Button is a button which has a loop on the back to provide space between itself and the garment. This shank enables fabric to pass through button and lay flat.

Shirring is rows of machine gathering to take in fullness.

Shoulder Pads are felt or foam shaped pads that are inserted into the shoulders of garments to give shape. Especially used in tailored garments and come in perform shapes and sizes.

Silicone Rubber Sealant or Adhesive is strong adhesive that can also be used to create raised, embossed texture to a surface.

Sizing is a liquid additive during paper-making or applied to paper after it has been formed, which conditions the paper surface and controls the paper’s ink absorbency. Sizing materials include rosin, glue, gelatin, or starch. In gold leafing, size is the adhesive used for applying the leaf.

Slash refers to a cut opening in the garment e.g. neckline or pocket.

Slip Stitch is a stitch used to turn under edges and to close gaps left for turning garments through. Stitches are barely visible on the right side.

Slit is an open part of a seam on a garment which is found on skirts.

Snap Fasteners or Poppas have two components that snap together to fasten. Each half is attached to fabric pieces that need to be opened.

Snips are small cutting tool like scissors used to cut thread.

Soldering is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting a filler metal (solder) – a key element of jewelry making and metal crafts.

Spool is the thread holder on a sewing machine (also known as thread spindle) OR a reel of thread.

Specialty Threads are threads used for embroidery that have a special effect. This can be metallic, neon, variegated, thicker woolen threads etc. Usually made from synthetic materials like rayons and metallics.

Spindle is the thread holder on a sewing machine. Also known as the thread spool.

Stabilizer is woven or nonwoven material used to prevent fabric puckering when stitching dense designs such as embroideries or when stitching on stretch fabrics. These come in lots of different styles including fusible, soluble, tear-away and in various weights.

Stamp Positioner is a tool like a T-square, used for positioning rubber stamp images.

Stash is a collection of fabrics awaiting use!

Stay Stitching is a line of stitching done to stabilize fabric and prevent it from unwanted stretching prior to seaming. Usually done just inside the seam line on curved edges.

Stencil is a template made by cutting a design in a stiff material like paper, plastic, cardboard, or metal. It is affixed to a surface and paint or ink is brushed or pounced over the stencil to create the design on the surface below.

Stippling is a drawing technique consisting of many small dots or flecks to construct the image; technique of using small dots to simulate varying degrees of solidity or shading; to paint, engrave, or draw by means of dots or small touches of the brush, pen, or other tool.

Stitch in the Ditch is a method of attaching facings or bias binding to the underside by stitching on the RIGHT side, stitching in the previous seam line by pulling fabric tight to left and right.

Straight Grain is what the grain line follows: the warp threads.

Straight Stitch are single forward stitches.

Stroking the Cat is stitching in the direction of the grain (to find the direction of the grain, run finger along cut edge and stitch in direction in which fibers curl smoothly).


Tacking See Basting.

Tagboard or Posterboard is a lightweight cardboard that comes in a variety of colors and sizes.

Tailor’s Tack is a way of marking placement points on garments for buttonholes, darts, pockets etc. A hand stitch, use a double length of thread to make two very loose loopy stitches through tissue pattern and both fabric layers. Snip the loops and pull fabric apart gently, snipping thread between layers so that some thread is in both fabric pieces. Always use a contrasting thread so Tailor’s Tacks can be seen easily.

Tape Pen is an applicator for glue which will produce a line like double sided tape. Easy to use. Available in permanent & repositionable.

Tea Bag Folding originated in Holland. Credit for its origin is given to a woman named Tiny van der Plaas. Sitting at her table, worrying about a birthday card for her sister that she had forgotten to pick up, Tiny van der Plaas began folding her fruit tea bag envelope. This gave her an idea and, also, gave birth to tea bag folding.

Tea Dyeing is imitating the look of aged, yellowed paper or fabric by soaking it in strong tea for an hour, drying and pressing it. Darker spots can be created by letting the teabag sit on the paper for 15 minutes. Scented teas like herbal or spice teas will leave a lingering aroma.

Tearing exposes a feathered edge. If using colored paper with a white core, this edge can be colored with chalks, paints & pens.

Tempera is an ancient paint formula of pigments, water, and organic gum (egg yolk) or glue, which delivered a luminous matte finish on frescoes and wood. Modern tempera, also known as poster paint, is an opaque, water-based paint that is water soluble even after drying.

Template is a pattern or gauge use for reproducing a design or cut.

Tension is the tautness of the stitch, which comes from the pressure being exerted between the needle and bobbin. On a sewing machine there are two types of tension – thread and bobbin.

Tint is a lighter color made by adding white.

Tissue Paper is a lightweight, translucent paper.

Toile is a garment made from cheap fabric such as Calico and is used to ‘prove’ a pattern and to make sure the pattern fits perfectly. This is important to do when using expensive and delicate fabrics where alterations would mark like silk wedding dresses.

Tone is lighter or darker variations of a specific color.

Topper is usually a self-adhesive embellishment for making quick & easy handmade cards.

Topstitching is a row of stitching that should be visible on the finished garment. Topstitching can be decorative and/or functional as it also serves to hold facings in place.

Tracing paper is a lightweight, translucent paper, heavier than tissue paper, used for transferring designs by tracing.

Tracing wheel is used with carbon paper, it is a little serrated wheel that when rolled over the carbon paper, transfers the color to fabric to mark placement lines for darts, pleats etc.

Transfer Foil is used with glue, double sided tape of glue shapes such as Magic Motifs. It adheres to the glue leaving a foiled shape behind.

Transfer Glaze is a water-based glaze which binds pictures (printed inks) into a plastic film which can then be put on a new surface. Can be used to transfer photocopied photographs, text and images to most fabrics including canvas making it of great use to altered art enthusiasts.

Transfer Medium or Transfer Solution is a powerful solvent that reactivates the ink in toner-based photocopies, enabling the image to be transferred to paper, fabric or a hard surface.

Translucent is between transparent and opaque; objects can be seen through it but without clarity.

Transparent Tape is a strip of clear plastic film backed with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

Trim 1) Thin decorative strip such as ribbon or lace that is placed on a garment. 2) Term used to describe cutting away excess fabric from seam allowances.

Trimmer is a paper trimmer allows you to cut paper and card straight and to certain lengths. Most trimmers have built in rulers so you measure out and cut exactly the length you need.

Triple Embossing is achieved when a rubber stamp is pressed into hot UTEE to leave a debossed image (so called because it normally takes at least 3 layers of UTEE to get a nice thickness to stamp into).

Trompe l’oeil is French for “fool the eye.” A two-dimensional representation that is so naturalistic that it looks actual or real (three-dimensional). This form of painting was first used by the Romans thousands of years ago in frescoes and murals.

Tuck is a larger version of Pintuck – a fold in fabric that is stitched down.

Turn of the Cloth refers to the amount of fabric that is taken up in the fold when fabric is folded into two or turned through to right side. Particularly important to consider when dealing with bulky fabrics.

Twill is a medium weight, ribbed fabric usually made from cotton and polyester. Can be decorated with rubber stamping or printed on via a P.C. to create personalized messages.

Typography is the arrangement and appearance of characters in printed matter.

Tyvek Fabric is sheets of bonded spun polythene fibers. It will bubble and distort when heated, resulting in an alligator-skin texture.


Undercoat is the first layer of paint applied; usually a neutral color to provide a consistent background.

Underlining is the lining used to add body to a garment, placed between main fabric and interfacing. Also known as Interlining.

Under Stitching is a row of stitching through seam allowances and facings, very close to seam that attaches facing to main garment. Used to stop lining or facings from rolling out.

Universal Needle is a needle which has a slightly rounded tip. Used for woven and knit fabrics.

Unryu or Dragon Paper is a strong, lightweight acid-free paper with a swirled texture, used in origami and paper crafting.

Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE) is a large grain embossing powder. When this powder is melted a bumpy texture is created. You can keep adding layers and heat each layer as you go which will smooth out this bumpy look and give the effect of a glazed surface.


Varnish is a protective coating used over a finished painting or object. Varnishes are available in water-base or oil base varieties, as well as glossy or matte finishes.

Velcro is a brand name for hook and look tape used as fastening. One strip has tiny hooks and the other a soft surface to snag the hooks.

Vellum is a heavy weight, translucent drawing or crafting paper.

Verdigris is a film, often blue/green, that forms on copper and bronze as a result of the oxidation of the copper due to weathering. Various chemical treatments will induce colored patinas on new metal work, and it is often imitated in antiquing and painting techniques.

Versamark: is a clear ink which creates a translucent effect. Can also be used as embossing ink.

View is found on paper patterns and refers to the variations in style of the garment.


Wadding or Batting is a flat material used to stuff and pad, usually cotton, wool or fiberfill.

Walking Foot is a presser foot for a sewing machine that allows even sewing over lots of layers or thicker fabric as it helps to grip the fabric layers and ‘walks’ it through when sewing. It has moving ‘teeth’ on the foot that work in unison with the feed dogs of the machine.

Walnut Ink is derived from walnut shells, this ink is available as a liquid or a crystalline colorant to be mixed with water.

Warp is the term describing the way the threads run lengthways through a woven fabric. Also known as ‘lengthwise grain’.

Wash is a thin layer of diluted paint or ink.

Waterbrushes are artist size paintbrushes with a built in water reservoir enabling the user to create watercolor effects easily and mess free. Suitable for use with watercolor pencils, aqua crayons, H2Os and inkpads. Several sizes available to cover background painting and more detailed designs.

Watercolor is a water-based, translucent paint usually made from pigments, gum Arabic, and water.

Watercolor Board is a piece of 100% cotton rag watercolor paper, stretched and affixed to a rigid ply board.

Watercolor Paper is a 100% cotton rag paper that comes in multiple weights and surface textures.

Watercolor Pencils are a watercolor medium in pencil form. Can be used as an ordinary colored pencil or mixed with water to create watercolor paint. Used to color in stamped images, create backgrounds or general watercolor effects.

Waterleaf is an absorbent paper, like blotter paper.

Watermark is the translucent design or name that is visible when paper is held to the light.

Waterslide Decals are images that are printed on a clear film on a backing paper. You soak the decal in water to release the backing, and you “slide” the image onto a surface where it dries and adheres.

Wearable Art is clothing, jewelry an accessories that have been decorated or embellished.

Weft is a term describing the way the threads run at right angles to the length of a woven fabric. Also known as ‘cross grain’.

Welt is a method for covering raw edges of a pocket. This is the visible part of the binding on a buttonhole or pocket opening that looks like a lip.

Wheat Paste or Wallpaper Paste is a liquid adhesive made from flour and water, and commonly used book binding, decoupage, collage, and paper maché.

Whipstitch is a strong over-edged hand stitch used for joining two edges together.

Wing Needle is a wide wing shaped needle which is flared at the sides to purposefully leave holes in fabric as it stitches. Use a wing needle on woven fabrics for heirloom stitching.

Wire flexible copper wire available in a variety of colors and thicknesses.

Woodcut is an ancient technique of making prints from a relief surface. The designs are made by carving into the wood’s grain.

Wrong Side is the side of the fabric without the design – the side to be used as under or inside.


Xyron is a machine that applies adhesive to pages and can also laminate.

Xyron Personal Cutter (XPC) is an electric machine that cuts shapes (similar to a die cutter, but more versatile).

Xerographic Paper is paper made to reproduce well in copy machines and laser printers.


Yixing (pronounced ee-shing) is a purple pottery clay named after a city in Jiangsu province, eastern China.

Yuzen is colorful Japanese hand-dyeing technique where each pattern is drawn by hand, often creating unique designs or very limited series.


Zigzag Stitch is a stitch that goes diagonally side to side to produce a decorative finish to a seam or join two layers next to each other.