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General Interest



Below is a collection of tailoring/apparel terminologies and their definitions


Alteration hand: Tailor who specialises in making alterations and adjustments to clothing in the final stages of preparation.

Arm Scye: The arm hole of a garment, where the sleeve is attached

Baste: Garment loosely assembled for first fitting

Beeswax: Wax produced by bees. Often used to give added strength to thread when making bespoke clothing

Bespoke: A garment custom - made from scratch to a customers specific measurements and requirements. Its origin dates back to the days when a customer ordering a garment would select and reserve a cloth that was then “bespoken” or “spoken for”

Binding: This is a narrow strip of fabric or tape used to cover the raw edges of a garment. It can be on the inside where it won’t be seen, or on the outside to show as decoration.

Blazer: Casual jacket made from woollen cloth. Can be single or double breasted, originally navy in colour it can now be brightly coloured or striped

Blind Hemming: Hemming stitches that cannot be seen from the outside of the garment.

Body canvas: Pure wool, and sometimes linen, canvas used in the structure inside a gentlemen's jacket, waistcoat or overcoat to give substance and assist in shaping

Button down collar:  A shirt collar, usually narrow, that buttons over the tie. Not suitable for formal occasions

Canvases: The inner material used in a garment to give it shape. Canvasses include linen, horsehair, hemps, jutes and many more

Cashmere: Luxurious fibre from the undercoat or under layer of the Asiatic Falconeri goat

Chambray / End on end: End on end has the same properties as poplin (see Poplin), the only difference is that end on end features lighter coloured weft threads running in a horizontal direction on the shirt, giving it a subtle two-tone effect.

Classic collar: Most popular style of shirt collar where the wings are cut straight and point downward

Cloth: A general term applied to fabrics

Coat maker: Tailor who specialises in making jackets

Cuff: A turned up hem, as found at the bottom of the leg of trousers or at end of shirt sleeve.

Cummerbund: A broad waist sash, usually pleated, which is often worn with black tie

Cut-away collar:  Style of shirt collar that is more cutaway towards the shoulder- the degree varies. Also referred to as Windsor collar

Cutter: Person who measures and fits the customer and then makes a pattern from the measurements and observations of the customer's figure and posture

Dolly: Fabric covered wooden structure used in tailoring as base for pressing

Double cuff: See French cuff

Drape: The way a fabric hangs in folds

Dye: The use of a substance to add colour to fabrics or fibres

Dyeing: The process of applying colour to a textile product by soaking it in a coloured solution

Ease: The difference between the body measurement and the pattern. Ease differs according to the type and style of garment. For standard ease allowances.

Edge Stitching: A decorative straight stitch along the edge of a garment. Also useful for keeping the edges of collars sharp. It is usually about 1/16" or 1 mm from the edge of the garment.

Fabric: Yarns or fibres coming together in long lengths

Fibres: Fine hair like structures, which can be natural or synthetic or regenerated, long (filament) or short (staple)

Flannel: Derived from the Welsh name for wool, flannel is made from woollen yarn that is slightly twisted in the spinning and of open texture

Fusing: Use of chemicals and heat to weld the interlinings to the outer fabric of a garment, as distinct from the superior methodology of stitching used by bespoke tailors

French cuff: Style of cuff on a dress or formal shirt, which is folded back and then closed with cufflinks rather than buttons. Also known as double cuffs

Gabardine: Name given to a woven twill fabric, originally made from wool. Usually used for outerwear

Gorge: The point where the collar is attached to the lapel forming the notch

Harris Tweed: Name given to a type of woven tweed fabric, woven on the Isle of Harris in Scotland. Key characteristics are its subtle colours and hard handle.

Hem: The bit you turn up at the bottom of a garment to stop it fraying.

Interlinings: Jacketing lining made of a variety of fibres depending on usage and weight. Often pure silk, viscose, satin or polyester.

Linen: Natural vegetable-based fibre

Loom: Machine used to produce cloth by weaving

Lustre: Term used to describe the intensity with which light shines on a piece of fibre

Made to measure: Garment made from a pre-existing stock pattern that is altered, usually by machine, to fit the customer's measurements

Master tailor: Individual who employs tailors

Melton: Felt like cloth used to complete the under collar on a jacket or coat

Merino wool:  Fine, silky and super soft it is the finest grade of commercial sheep's wool available

Mohair: Luxurious lustrous and durable fibre produced by Angora goats

Nylon: Synthetic fibre also known as polyamide

Off the rack (peg): Finished clothing item sold in standard sizes

Oxford: A more rugged fabric woven from a heavier yarn. The threads in the warp (the vertical threads in the weave) are yarn dyed and are not as thick as those in the weft (horizontal threads), which are left a natural shade of white.

Pattern: Template used for the cutting out of pieces of fabric for a garment. A well-cut pattern is essential if the finished garment is to be of top quality (also see Cutter)

Pinpoint: Features the same weaving as Oxford, but with finer threads and tighter weave.

Pleat: Fold of fabric generally pressed flat to allow extra room in garment

Pocketing: Fabric used to make pockets for suits and coats

Poplin / Broadcloth: This tightly woven fabric has a fine hand and is ideal for dress shirts. Broadcloth and Poplin have the same weave and look. Poplins are usually woven with a finer yarn and have a softer hand.

Pressing: The art of pressing is different from the art of ironing, most importantly, one usually uses a dampened pressing cloth rather than steam, and the iron is picked up off the cloth and moved, rather than rubbed back and forth.

Puckering: Tendency of cloth to gather in runs, often apparent on the lapel and trouser seams and most common in fused apparel (see fusing)

Rayon: Textile fibre or fabric made from regenerated cellulose (viscose)

Selvage: The woven edge of the fabric, where the weft threads bend round to go in the other direction.

Satin:  Silk fabric with glossy surface on one side

Savile Row: Street in the West End of London that is the home of bespoke tailoring

Shirting: Fabric from which shirts are made. Can include cotton, twill, flannel, voile, silk, chambray and linen

Shoulder pads: These are shaped pads of felt or foam, put in the shoulders of garments to give them shape.

Silk: Fabric spun from silk thread, which in turn is sourced from silk worms

Single cuff: Cuff normally found on business and long sleeve casual shirts

Spinning: Process of making fibres into yarns

Taper:  To become narrower, as in a trouser leg that is narrower at the ankle than the knee.

Toile: This is a garment made from cheap fabric, used to ‘prove’ a pattern: you make this version up to ensure that the pattern fits: any alterations can be transferred to the pattern before cutting out the real version. The American term is ‘muslin’.

Tuxedo: American term for a single or double-breasted jacket for formal or semi formal evening occasions

Trimmer: Individual who gathers and prepares various fabrics and items that go into the making of a bespoke garment

Trimmings: The raw materials that in addition to cloth make up the suit

Trouser maker: Specialist tailor who makes trousers

Tweed: Rough twilled woollen weaves and cloths used for suits, jackets and overcoats originally produced in Scotland

Twill: Strong, woven fabric characterised by a diagonal weave

Vent: Slit in the back of a jacket or coat

Voile:  Thin semi transparent cotton, woollen or silken material used in the making of shirts

Warp:  Vertical threads of a woven fabric

Weft: Horizontal threads of a woven fabric

White on white / Dobby: These fabrics are woven on a special loom to create a self design in stripes, checks, geometric patterns and more.

Windsor collar: Very cut away style of shirt collar, which also known as a cut away collar

Wool: Natural fibre coming from sheep, goats, alpacas, vicuna etc

Woollen: Cloth woven from both long and short-stapled fibres. Often seen in a flannel cloth

Worsted: Lightweight cloth made of long staple combed woollen yarn, originally named after the village of Worsted near Norwich in England, a centre for worsted weaving

Yarn count: Term used to denote the size/weight of yarn.

Yarns:  Length of fibres and/or filaments with or without twist
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