Because I trained back home in Finland, I learned my sewing terminology in Finnish. Already before I moved to the U.S., I picked up a lot of English vocabulary from my hobby sewing. My favorites were earlier historical eras, though, which resulted in a curious melange of terms and terminology.
Nowadays whenever I make construction notes on my projects they usually end up a mix of Finnish and English terms and abbreviations, even though I try to stick with one language only.
To keep adding to my English vocabulary, I draw from both physical and online resources. I read guidebooks and keep binders where I file tearaways and printouts. I’ve also started bookmarking online resources.
Below are some sites I’ve found useful for learning the terminology for various aspects of textile work.
- All Sewn Up: Millinery, Dressmaking, Clothing and Costume – a digital collection of 1907-1940s millinery, dressmaking, clothing and costume books from UW-Madison
- Antonio Ratti Textile Center and Reference Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art – high-quality images and research on historical textiles from around the world
- Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel & Certain Piece Goods – care label terminology by the Federal Trade Commission
- Costume Construction – basic terminology lists for fabrics, tools, patterns, design principles and more for theater costuming by Leslie Robison-Greene (University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada) and Scott R. Robinson (Central Washington University)
- Fabric Glossary – an extensive A to Z list of material, pattern and weave terms and more at Fabric.com
- FiberTutor – intro to manufactured fibers (synthetic fibers) by American Fiber Manufacturers Association
- A Glossary of Quilting Terms – an A to W glossary with some images by Susan Druding at equilters.com
- Glossary of Textile Manufcturing on Wikipedia – an A to Z glossary with links
- Regulations, Mandatory Standards and Bans – a list of regulated products by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including some fibers and chemicals relevant to fabric production
- Zip a Bag, Chapter 1 – zipper part vocabulary with great photos by LiEr (Lorraine) at ikat bag
Do you have favorites you’d like to add?
Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.