Sewing or stitching is the fastening of cloth, leather, furs, bark, or other flexible materials, using needle and thread. Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). Sewing predates the weaving of cloth.

Sewing is used primarily to produce clothing and household furnishings such as curtains, bedclothes, upholstery, and table linens. It is also used for sails, bellows, skin boats, banners, and other items shaped out of flexible materials such as canvas and leather.

Most sewing in the industrial world is done by machines. Pieces of a garment are often first tacked together. The machine has a complex set of gears and arms that pierces thread through the layers of the cloth and semi-securely interlocks the thread.

Some people sew clothes for themselves and their families. More often home sewers sew to repair clothes, such as mending a torn seam or replacing a loose button. A person who sews for a living is known as a seamstress (from "seams-mistress") or seamster (from "seams-master"), dressmaker, tailor, or garment worker.

"Plain" sewing is done for functional reasons: making or mending clothing or household linens. "Fancy" sewing is primarily decorative, including techniques such as shirring, smocking, embroidery, or quilting.

Sewing is the foundation for many needle arts and crafts, such as applique, canvas work, and patchwork.

While sewing is often seen as a low-skill job, the task of designing good-looking three-dimensional shapes from non-stretching two-dimensional fabric generally requires extensive hands-on knowledge of the design and principles of mathematical manifolds. Flat sheets of fabric with holes and slits cut into the fabric can curve and fold in 3D space in extensively complex ways that require a high level of skill and experience to manipulate into a smooth, ripple-free design. Aligning and orienting patterns printed or woven into the fabric further complicates the design process. Once a clothing designer with these skills has created the initial product, the fabric can then be cut using templates and sewn by manual laborers or machines.

eam allowance

Seam allowance is the area between the edge of the fabric and the line of stitching. It is usually 1.5 cm away from the edge of the fabric.

Occupations requiring sewing

* Bookbinder
* Cobbler
* Corsetier
* Draper
* Dressmaker
* Glover
* Hatter
* Milliner
* Parachute rigger
* Quilter
* Sailmaker
* Seamstress
* Tailor
* Taxidermist
* Upholsterer

ewing tools and accessories

*stitching awl
*dress form
*dressmaker's or tailor's shears
*measuring tape
*pattern weights
*rotary cutter
*seam ripper
*sewing table
*tailor's chalk
*tracing paper
*tracing wheel
*wax, often beeswax
*sewing box

Notions (objects sewn into garments or soft goods)


*button (buttons can be sew-through or have shanks.)
*chinese frog
*hook-and-loop tape (often known by brand name Velcro)

Finishing and embellishment

*beaded fringe & trim
*trims (fringe, beaded fringe, ribbons, lace, sequin tape)

List of stitches

The two main stitches that sewing machines make of which the others are derivatives are lockstitch and chain stitch.
* back tack
* backstitch - a sturdy hand stitch for seams and decoration
* basting stitch (or tacking) - for reinforcement
* blanket stitch
* blind stitch (or hem stitch) - a type of slip stitch used for inconspicuous hems
* buttonhole stitch
* chain stitch - hand or machine stitch for seams or decoration
* cross-stitch - usually used for decoration, but may also be used for seams
* darning stitch
* embroidery stitch
* hemming stitch
* lockstitch - machine stitch, also called straight stitch
* overhand stitch
* overlock
* pad stitch
* padding stitch
* running stitch - a hand stitch for seams and gathering
* sailmakers stitch
* slip stitch - a hand stitch for fastening two pieces of fabric together from the right side without the thread showing
* stretch stitch
* topstitch
* whipstitch (or oversewing or overcast stitch) - for protecting edges
* zig-zag stitch

ee also

*Sewing machine


* cite book |author=Elissa Meyrich |title=Sew Fast Sew Easy: All You Need to Know When You Start to Sew |publisher=St. Martin's Griffin|location=New York |year=2002 |ISBN-10: 0312269099 ISBN-13: 978-0312269098
* cite book |author=Susan Huxley |title=Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry: Proven Methods to Help You Sew Like the Pros |publisher=Rodale Publishing|location=New York |year=1999 |ISBN-10: 0875969801 | ISBN-13: 978-0875969800
* "Singer: The New Sewing Essentials" by The Editors of Creative Publishing International ISBN 0-86573-308-2

External links

* [ Vintage Sewing Reference Library] (free online access to public domain sewing books)

* [ History of Industrial Sewing]
* [ American Sewing Guild]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sewing — Sew ing, n. 1. The act or occupation of one who sews. [1913 Webster] 2. That which is sewed with the needle. [1913 Webster] {Sewing horse} (Harness making), a clamp, operated by the foot, for holding pieces of leather while being sewed. {Sewing… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sewing — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Magdalene Sewing (1898–1952), Kommunal und Landespolitikerin (CDU) Werner Sewing (1951–2011), deutscher Architekturtheoretiker Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sewing — [sō′iŋ] n. 1. the act or occupation of a person who sews 2. material or items sewn or to be sewn …   English World dictionary

  • sewing — noun VERB + SEWING ▪ do ▪ I haven t done any sewing for a long time. ▪ take in ▪ She took in sewing to supplement her income. SEWING + NOUN ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • sewing — [[t]so͟ʊɪŋ[/t]] 1) N UNCOUNT Sewing is the activity of making or mending clothes or other things using a needle and thread. Her mother had always done all the sewing. 2) N UNCOUNT Sewing is clothes or other things that are being sewn. We all got… …   English dictionary

  • Sewing — Sew Sew, v. t. [imp. {Sewed}; p. p. {Sewed}, rarely {Sewn}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Sewing}.] [OE. sewen, sowen, AS. si[ o]wian, s[=i]wian; akin to OHG. siuwan, Icel. s?ja, Sw. sy, Dan. sye, Goth. siujan, Lith. siuti, Russ, shite, L. ssuere, Gr. ????,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sewing — noun a) The action of the verb to sew. She put down her sewing and went to answer the door. b) Something that is being or has been sewn. The sewing has come undone on this seam …   Wiktionary

  • sewing — Synonyms and related words: Smyth sewing, applique, backing, baste, bibliopegy, bind, binder board, binding, book cloth, book cover, book jacket, bookbinding, bookcase, buttonhole, case, casemaking, casing in, collating, collating mark, cover,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • sewing — sew|ing [ˈsəuıŋ US ˈsou ] n [U] 1.) the activity or skill of making or repairing clothes or decorating cloth with a needle and thread 2.) something you are sewing ▪ Imogen sighed and picked up her sewing …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sewing — sew|ing [ souıŋ ] noun uncount * work you do with cloth using a needle and THREAD or a sewing machine, especially making or repairing something a. things such as clothes or curtains that you make or repair using a needle and THREAD or a sewing… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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