What is a “yoke”? “A scant quarter”? or a
Maybe you can remember sitting in a group of
people and wondering what language they were talking. It sure
did not seam like English, but it did not sound much like any
other language either. There are many fields of endeavor,
hobbies, and interest with their own special terms like the
Over the years, the language of sewing or
sewing vocabulary has become a bit easier, but every once in a
while somebody says something that just leaves me bewildered.
If you are new to sewing or quilting, you probably understand.
Sewing definitions for the sewing vocabulary are vital to the
sewer or quilter.
There is a whole sewing vocabulary that is
used by people who enjoy sewing and quilting. Sometimes it
takes years to learn all the ins and outs of this language.
While the words themselves sometimes sound familiar, they often
have very specific meanings only understood by avid sewers. It
is important to have the right sewing definitions to understand
what is going on.
When you hear the word “Yoke”, you might
think the person is from Texas as I am, and is not properly
pronouncing the word “joke”. You might even think you are
suppose to laugh when you hear the word, but it is no joking
matter. To an avid seamstress the word yoke is as commonplace
as a shirt or dress. Indeed, yoke means the part of a garment
running horizontally across it. It includes panels such as
garment pieces covering shoulder, waist, midriff, or back.
If you heard a couple of older ladies
talking about how important it is to use a “scant quarter”, you
might imagine they were quite fugal, penny pinching, maybe even
skinflints. If you overheard one of them say something like,
“without a scant quarter foot, you just can’t make good seam
allowances”, you might feel a bit dizzy. To the avid quilter,
however, it all makes perfect sense. A “scant quarter” has
nothing to do with money, how absurd. Any quilter knows that
you can use a special sewing machine presser foot called a
scant quarter to give you a perfect quarter inch seam allowance
when piecing quilt blocks together. Oops, I apologize, if this
still seams strange to you, maybe you need to follow my
mother’s old adage: “If you really want to know look it up in
Years ago, when I first heard a salesman use
the word “serged edge”, it made no sense to me. Later, I asked
an experienced seamstress what the salesman was talking about.
She explained that this was simply a way to overcast the edge
of a fabric so that it would not ravel under use. Since then, I
have learned quite a bit more about different kinds of serged
edges and how to make them on a serger as well as a sewing
machine, but the learning process can be a challenge.
Sure To Check Out
This is where My Sewing Dictionary comes in.
Over the years, I started collecting words that were special to
sewing and quilting. It is amazing how many different sewing
terms and quilting terms there really are. As I collected these
terms, I would ask people to define them for me. I would look
them up in regular dictionaries, and try to put them into my
own simplified words. Eventually, I collected over 3,000 words
that form what I call the sewing language. There are likely a
bunch more too. Sewing terminology includes many words that are
used exclusively in sewing or quilting, and many words that
have special meanings in sewing vocabulary.
There are many fields of endeavor, hobbies,
and interests with their own special words, find out what these
words mean from experts in the field. It will give you
confidence and satisfaction. .If you want to master the
language of sewing and quilting, you might start your own word
collection. Ask your sewing teacher for help or look up the
words in a specialized dictionary instead of trying to figure
them out from the maze in an ordinary dictionary. There are
many sewing glossaries available on the internet, and there are
a few specialized dictionaries available to help you master the
language of sewing. Check out the all new My Sewing Dictionary and the
My Sewing Dictionary
Software for all of our sewing vocabulary.