The Clothing Glossary: our edit
The Clothing Glossary: our edit

What Does that Garment Description Mean? Our Clothing Glossary

The Clothing Glossary: Pintucks
The clothing glossary: a pintuck is a fold of fabric that has been stitched into place.

With many of us searching and shopping for fashion online more and more, we find ourselves turning to the garment description provided by the store to help guide our purchasing decision.

However there are often terms about garment features that may have us feeling confused. What do they mean? We’ve pulled out some common terms used in the fashion industry so you can quickly upskill on your sewing lingo and add to your glossary!


Cover Stitching: A coverstitch is the twin or triple needle stitching that you’ll usually see on most garments. The ‘outside’ of the stitch looks like straight parallel rows of stitching, whereas the underside looks like loops with a diagonal cross stitch in them that essentially covers up the raw edge of the hem. While the loopy side is generally on the underside of a garment, there are times that it may be used as a design feature with the stitch featuring on the outside.

Pintuck: A pintuck is a fold of fabric that has been stitched into place. They give a decorative effect to fabric, much like a pleat, and are generally very narrow. You’ll often see them on the bodice of a blouse or dress.

Binding: Binding can be used as both a noun or a verb. It refers to the finishing of a seam or hem on a garment, and involves rolling or pressing then stitching on edging or trim. There are also styles of binding that add a more decorative finish.

Binding: the finishing of a seam or hem on a garment
Binding: the finishing of a seam or hem on a garment

Piping: This term refers to a trim or embellishment that consists of a strip of fabric that is folded over a cord so that it has the appearance of a thin ‘pipe’. It is then used to trim the edges of fabric – you’ll most likely be familiar with piping on furniture or cushions.

Pocketing: Pockets are a small pouch that is sewn into or on clothing, so that it can then be used for carrying small items. When it comes to sewing and fashion there are a number different pocket styles. Some popular types include: patch – a pocket that is sewn on the exterior of garment, jetted – a pocket made by cutting through the garment, then the edges are bound and fabric attached to the back of the garment to form a bag, welt – similar to the jet however there is an extended flat that covers the pocket opening, angled – this has a shaped flap that is set into the garment like an inverted welt.

Pocketing: yes, it is what you think it is - a pocket!
Pocketing: yes, it is what you think it is – a pocket!

Keyhole: This style of buttonhole is used for thicker or larger buttons on jackets and coats in particular. It has a rounded end to accommodate the larger button.

Embellishments: An embellishment is anything that is added to a garment for decorative purposes. For example, it could be studs, beads, fringing, sequins, lace, buttons, buckles, zippers or embroidery.

Beautiful embellished beadwork features on the Sara Pearl Trim Cardigan
Beautiful embellished beadwork features on the Sara Pearl Trim Cardigan

Pleats: A pleat is a fold of cloth, secured in place with stitching. It can be used in isolation or there may be multiple pleats, generally used to gather a wider piece of fabric into a smaller circumference. It’s common to see full pleated skirts.

Embroidery: Embroidery is the use of decorative designs on fabric or garments, created with stitchwork or machine needlework, to add additional aesthetically pleasing details.

Embroidery: read our recent blog post here.
Embroidery: read our recent blog post here. Featured above, the blush denim jacket with silver embroidery.

Applique: An applique is a cutout design that is sewn or ironed onto another piece of material to produce a decorative feature on a garment. It may be placed anywhere on a garment, but is often used as a decoration for hems.

These are just some of the common terms that are likely to pop up pretty regularly when you’re looking at fashion online. Hopefully this glossary has helped to fill in a few gaps in your fashion lingo repertoire.

Are there any more that have you stumped? Comment below and we’ll answer your queries!

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