Terms of the Trade

A-line - skirt silhouette in the shape of the letter A


Basque - Skirt yoke
Bateau neckline - Boat neckline, slightly curved neckline following the collar bone, as in the shape of a boat
Batwing sleeve - Dolman sleeve
Bell sleeve or skirt- Sleeve or skirt shape that flares in the lower portion like a bell
Bishop sleeve - Sleeve shape that is full in the lower portion, and gathered into a band at the wrist.
Blouson - Bloused effect, fullness is gathered and falls over a seam, as in a blouse over a skirt waistline
Box Pleat - a pleat arrangement formed by folds turned away from each other, with their underfolds meeting on the inside.  The reverse of an inverted pleat
Break line - roll line, or line where a lapel folds
Break point - the point at which the break line meets the front edge
Bridle tape - tape inserted at the roll line of a lapel to prevent stretching
Butterfly sleeve - a flared short sleeve


Calico - cheap cotton fabric used for making mock-ups/toiles/muslins, or an actual mock-up/toile/muslin
Cap sleeve - Very short sleeve that caps the shoulder but does not extend under the arm
Contour dart - tapers upward and downward from the waist
Convertible collar - Notched collar that can be worn open with lapels, or buttoned to the neck
Crew neck - A high round neckline close to the neck
Crumb-catcher - A bodice that stands away from the body above the bust
Cowl - soft drape of fabric, frequently at neckline


Decollete - A low cut neckline revealing the cleavage
Dirndl Skirt - A full skirt made of a rectangular panel gathered fully onto a waistband
Dolman sleeve - Type of sleeve with a deep armhole tapering towards a narrow cuff, it may be of kimono or set-in type

Edgestitching - Topstitching 1-2mm from the finished edge
Empire line - High waistline situated under the bust

Fall - Part of the collar outside the roll line that falls away from the neck
Flat collar - a collar with little roll, the neck edge is similar to the garment neck edge, eg a peter pan collar
Flounce - A flared panel cut in a circular shape, when sewn the attached edge lies flat and the free edge is flared
Foreseam - the front seam of a two-piece sleeve
French cuff - A sleeve cuff style that folds back on itself, and fastens with cufflinks
French dart - begins at the side seam and extends diagonally from the waist or hip to the bust, incorporating bust dart and waist dart in one.

Gathering - gathers are the irregular folds formed when a long piece is drawn up to fit a shorter piece, to form a ruffle, or other design detail creating fullness.  Distinct from pleating
Godet - Triangular insert of fabric that adds fullness, commonly at a skirt hemline
Gore - Skirt panel that is usually wider at lower edge, Skirts can be 4 gore, 6 gore, 8 gore or more
Gorge line - On a tailored collar, this is seam between the front and the collar, and shows on the outside of the garment between the collar and lapel
Gusset - Insert of fabric, often triangular or diamond shaped, to aid movement, eg underarm gusset

Halter neck - Neckline with a strap extending from side fronts around the neck, with a backless bodice
Hindseam - The back seam of a two-piece sleeve

Inverted Pleat - a pleat arrangement of two fold turned towards each other and meeting on the outside, the reverse of a box pleat

Jewel neckline - Round neckline situated at the natural neckline
Jet Pockets - Pocket opening is reinforced with narrow strips, either double jet or single jet

Keyhole neckline - A neckline with an additional opening below it, forming an oval or triangular keyhole
Kimono or Magyar sleeve - a style of sleeve cut in one with the bodice, a gusset may be inserted to increase the range of movement of the arm.  Distinct from the Japanese kimono sleeve.
Knife pleat - a pressed fold of fabric, either single or in series, folded to one side.

Lantern Sleeve - Sleeve that flares out, with a tapered section towards the cuff, in the shape of a lantern
Lapels - On a jacket or shirt, the part of the front that folds back to form a continuation of the collar
Leg-of-Mutton sleeve - a sleeve style that is full and gathered at the upper arm, and tapers at the lower arm

Magyar Sleeve - see Kimono Sleeve
Mandarin Collar - Small stand collar extending from the natural neckline
Muslin - American term for calico

Nehru Jacket - Suit jacket with a mandarin collar made famous by J Nehru, PM of India.

Peplum - separate flared panel extending from waist to hips
Petal sleeve - a two-piece sleeve with an opening that overlaps similar to flower petals
Peter Pan Collar - Flat collar with rounded front corners
Plunge neckline - Deep V neckline cut to bustline or below
Portrait neckline - wide neckline that frames the face
Princess Line - Garment with vertical panel seams that incorporate shaping rather than darts alone.
Puff sleeve - a short sleeve style that is gathered at the shoulder and also gathered at the bottom  edge

Raglan sleeve - a style of sleeve where the underarm seam extends to the neckline, rather than the shoulder point
Raised neckline - a neckline extending above the natural neckline, often darted and shaped to the neck.
Ready to Wear - Ready made garments produced to a standard size range
Roll Line - Line where collar or lapel naturally folds over on itself
Roll Collar - any collar that forms a roll around the neck
Ruching - a technique where both sides of a panel are gathered, and discretely applied to another panel eg a bodice front, to form an overall 3D effect of fine ripples
Ruffle - an edging or inserted piece that is rectangular in shape and gathered on to it's foundation piece

Scoop neckline - Deep U shaped neckline
Seam slippage - (grinning) a fault where fabric threads pull apart at a seam under strain.
Set-in sleeve - most common sleeve style, where a shaped sleeve is set in to a bodice armhole
Shawl Collar - collar style where the collar and lapel are cut in one piece
Sheath Dress - Fitted dress with a straight skirt
Shift Dress - Loosely fitted dress with a straight skirt
Shirring - Usually parallel rows of stitching with shirring elastic in the bobbin, causing a gathered panel that is easily stretched
Shirt Dress - Dress with shirt-style bodice, may button to hem
Sleeve Head - Upper part of a set-in sleeve that sews into the armhole
Stand - part of the collar inside the roll line that faces the neck when worn
Stand collar - any collar that stands up from the neckline
Surplice bodice - Wrap or cross-over bodice
Sweetheart neckline - front neckline is shaped similar to the lower part of a heart

Toile - Calico cloth or calico mock-up, Muslin
Top Collar - Outer part of a collar that is seen when worn
Top Sleeve - Outer part of a two piece sleeve that includes the sleeve head
Turtleneck - High close fitting collar that turns over on itself

Under Collar - Part of the collar that lies underneath the top collar and is not seen when worn
Under Sleeve - Underarm part of a two piece sleeve


Vent - an overlapping opening in a seam, eg a sleeve vent in a two-piece sleeve, a back vent in a jacket or skirt
V-neck - Neckline in the shape of the letter V


Yoke - Usually fitted part of a top or skirt from which the rest of the garment hangs