Sewing Glossary–P is for pattern (part I)

Notice the safety pins holding the layers together, as this quilt is being quilted.

Pattern: The design on a fabric or the paper templates (cutting guides) used to cut out the fabric so that it can be made into a finished product.

Pattern weights: Special, small weights used to hold the pattern onto the fabric. Used instead of straight pins. Some people prefer using pattern weights rather than pinning, because the weights take less time to position and remove.

Pile: Some fabrics such as corduroy and velvet have pile—a noticeable texture which adds to the attractiveness of the fabric. Pile fabrics should be cut according to the with the nap lay out given in sewing patterns.

Pinking shears: Pinking shears have a serrated edge which makes v-shaped notches along the cut edge of the fabric. Pinking seam allowances prevents them from raveling. Pinking the seam allowance of a collar or other curved garment part is a neat substitution for notching the fabric, because it allows the fabric to spread out and curve smoothly, in the same way notches do.

Pins: Straight pins are an essential sewing notion. They are used to pin the pattern to the fabric and to pin baste. Straight pins come in several lengths. Straight pins are sometimes difficult to see in a heavily piled fabric; straight pins with colorful ball heads are easier to see than regular pins. Safety pins may also be helpful, especially when basting quilt layers.

Pin tucking: Rows of narrow vertical folds of fabric sewn in place. Pin tucking is used on blouses and little girls’ dresses for a decorative touch.

Piping: Piping is a cord encased in bias tape; it is used as a decorative edge for pillows, cushions, and other items.