Stef's adventures in craftiness

Some of my favourite words

Sewing, knitting and weaving have their own jargon to describe materials and gadgetry, often stretching back to cottage industries in old England. Like all jargon, some of it is logical, some of it sounds like jibberish, and some is just plain fun to say. Some of my favourites I’ve encountered so far:

Feed dogs: little metal teeth on the sewing machine below and on either side of the needle that feed the fabric through from front to back whilst the needle goes up and down, so you’re not stitching in the one place.

Drop feed dogs: An instruction to lower the feed dogs for things like darning and embroidery so you can push the fabric through yourself at your own rate and direction.

Weft: the thread that weaves across (90 degrees) and around the warp (lengthwise) thread in a woven fabric.

Worsted: a yarn or cloth made from long straight parallel fibres. Also medium weight yarn for knitting.

Scrim: synthetic netting fabric added to cotton quilt filling to support the fibres.

Bobbin: the little second thread holder in the sewing machine that holds thread for the bottom side of the fabric, so that the stitching happens using two threads at a time joining from opposite sides of the fabric.

Walking foot: a sewing machine ‘presser foot’ comes in a various forms and presses down on the top side of the fabric opposite the feed dogs to hold it in place. A walking foot is a slightly fierce looking version that has also has feed dogs so it can ‘walk’ across the fabric to hold layers (e.g. a quilt) together so they feed through evenly without slipping across each other.

Walking foot (from hoppo bumpo)

I’m on the lookout for more words.


2 responses

  1. I like to come up with my own definitions.

    Feed dogs: genetically engineered dogs whose coat grows naturally into a ravelled thread you can run directly into the sewing machine

    Drop feed dogs: a command often shouted at them when trying to sew and they are running around getting in the way. “Drop feed dogs!”

    Weft: the opposite of Wight

    Worsted: a slang term originating from “Bratwurst” describing what happens to a feed dog when its coat runs out and it gets caught in the sewing machine.

    Scrim: the line of little old ladies waiting outside spotlight at 8am on the first day of the post christmas sales

    Bobbin: what stef does when she is sewing and listening to music at the same time

    July 16, 2010 at 14:02

  2. Stef

    Yes those definitions are much better!
    You’re definitely more comedic than me 🙂

    July 16, 2010 at 14:04

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