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Glossary embroidery & apparel decoration terms

There are 17 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition

The use of fabrics sewn onto one another for decoration that adds dimension and texture. Designs with applique are economical because they reduce the amount of embroidery stitches needed to fill the design area.


A woven or nonwoven support material added to the back of the fabric being embroidered. It can be hooped with the item or placed between the machine throat plate and the hooped garment. It comes in various weights in three types- tearaway, cutaway and washaway. Backing is often called stabilizer.


Collection of thread between goods and needle plate that resembles a bird's nest. It's formation prevents free movement of goods and may be caused by inadequate tensioning of the top thread or flagging goods.


Spool or reel that holds the bobbin thread, which forms secure stitches on the underside of the fabric. A special lightweight embroidery thread is generally used when sewing out embroidery designs.


A form of embroidery in which a loop stitch is formed on the topside of the fabric. Heavy yarns made of wool, cotton, or acrylic are used. Some designs are digitized to look like chenille.


A series of zig-zag stitches placed closely together to form a column. Also known as a satin stitch.


Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Machine embroidery, arising in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, mimics hand embroidery, especially in the use of chain stitches, but the "satin stitch" and hemming stitches of machine work rely on the use of multiple threads and resemble hand work in their appearance, not their construction.

Aliases (separate with |): embroidered

A series of running stitches commonly combined to cover large areas. Different fill patterns can be created by altering the angle, length and repeat sequence of the stitches.


Graphics (from Greek γραφικός graphikos) are visual presentations on some surface, such as a wall, canvas, computer screen, paper, or stone to brand, inform, illustrate, or entertain. Examples are photographs, drawings, Line Art, graphs, diagrams, typography, numbers, symbols, geometric designs, maps, engineering drawings, or other images. Graphics often combine text, illustration, and color. Graphic design may consist of the deliberate selection, creation, or arrangement of typography alone, as in a brochure, flier, poster, web site, or book without any other element. Clarity or effective communication may be the objective, association with other cultural elements may be sought, or merely, the creation of a distinctive style.

Graphics can be functional or artistic. The latter can be a recorded version, such as a photograph, or an interpretation by a scientist to highlight essential features, or an artist, in which case the distinction with imaginary graphics may become blurred.


Embroidery sewing machines come with hoops that attach to embroidery sewing machines. Hooping is putting the fabric into an embroidery sewing machine hoop. Stabilizing and tightness are very important. Unlike hand embroidery, the fabric MUST stay in the same position while the sewing machine embroiders the design. If the fabric moves, the design will not stitch out correctly. The border not lining up with the rest of the design is a common tell tale that the fabric moved. The simplest way to think of hooping, is that the hoop is acting as your presser foot as the embroidery sewing machine stitches the design.


A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a cypher (e.g. a royal cypher) and is not a monogram.[1]

Aliases (separate with |): monogrammed|monogramming|monogramming,

this is the term given to digitizing( Artwork is converted into a series of commands to be read by an embroidery machine's computer.) in the early years it was referred to as punching


The term simply means that the fiber that makes up the fabric is sent through a process where it is spun before it is knitted or fabricated into the final product. Spinning the fibers creates a fabric that is generally more durable and softer, making it ideal for many clothing and linen fabrics.


A series of single stitches forming a line. One stitch which goes Point A to Point B. A running stitch is often used for fine details, outlining, and underlay. Consists of one stitch between two points. Used for outlining and fine detail. Also known as a walk or bean stitch.


Fine cord of natural or synthetic material made from two or more filaments twisted together and used for stitching. Machine embroidery threads come in rayon, which has a high sheen; cotton, which has a duller finish than rayon but is available in very fine deniers; polyester, which is strong and colorfast; metallics, which have a high luster and are composed of a synthetic core wrapped in metal foil; and acrylic, which has rayon's sheen.

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