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Sewing Glossary

Appliqué: attaching a small piece of fabric to a larger piece of fabric, to create a desired design or embellishment. Fabric may be attached using hand stitching or machine stitching.

Backstitching: sewing in reverse and forward over the same stitches to lock the end of a line of sewing. Backstitching prevents the stitching from coming unsewn.

Bias grain: the thread line that is at a forty five degree angle to the lengthwise and crosswise grain of the fabric.

Fat Quarter: a piece of fabric measuring 18×22 inches. It is wider than a traditional quarter cut of fabric that measures 9×44 inches.

Free motion: sewing without the machine feeding the fabric. A darning foot is used with the feed dogs are lowered on the sewing machine, allowing totally free movement of the fabric.

Pressing: is the process of gently lifting the iron as you move to a new pressing area, so the fabric grain is distorted.

Stay stitching: a single line of stitching, through one layer of fabric, to stabilize the fabric, preventing it from becoming stretched or distorted. Stay stitching is usually called for on the edge of a piece of fabric that has a bias cut to it which would allow the fabric to easily become distorted.

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