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Orianna2000
01-19-2014, 02:04 AM
We all know that folks in the UK use different expressions and words than those of us in the US. So, I'm writing an article that specifically targets sewing terms that are different. I've compiled a list, but with some of the phrases, I'm not sure whether they're actually British or not, because the person I heard using them originally spoke German, so her English can be a bit off. Can anyone look these over and tell me whether they're true British sewing terms?

And if anyone wants to share their own examples of sewing-related words and phrases that are different in the UK or Europe, that would be fantastic. I'd like to compile as large a glossary as possible for my article.

US vs British (?)


Base Layer vs Fundament
Channels vs Canals (for boning)
Scalloped vs Tabbed
Underneath vs Overneath


Also, my friend once used the term "patent" and it wasn't clear from the context what she meant, so if anyone knows what that is, I'd love to know! (I'm too embarrassed to ask her myself.)

Thanks!

Alessandra Kelley
01-19-2014, 02:17 AM
What, like patent leather?

Siri Kirpal
01-19-2014, 02:57 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Perhaps your friend meant "pattern." My Mom told us that she once went to the store with a friend who wanted to buy a "paten" purely because my Mom wanted to know what a paten was. Pattern. As in sewing pattern. Her friend was from Boston, but even so...

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Cath
01-19-2014, 03:17 AM
You might need to ask your friend, but patent means this (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent) to me. Without the context, it's impossible to know whether or not it's typo.

Have you tried using http://www.google.co.uk to search for sewing terms? You should get different results thank google.com.

mirandashell
01-19-2014, 03:24 AM
Fundament is an old word, isn't it? The only time I've seen it was in a book where a woman was talking about 'er 'usband kicking 'er in 'er fundament'. I assumed it meant arse, I didn't realise it was a clothing term! LOL!

mirandashell
01-19-2014, 03:26 AM
One of the meanings is arse!

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=fundament&rlz=1C1CHFX_enGB512GB512&oq=fundament&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.4460j0j8&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

Orianna2000
01-19-2014, 03:43 AM
With "patent" she was referring to some kind of closure on a wristband. I wondered if it was another word for snap or Velcro, maybe? Or maybe it's a word that doesn't translate from her native language.

Thanks for the tip about Google's UK version, that will be very useful.

Buffysquirrel
01-19-2014, 04:59 AM
If a snap is a two-part metal fastening, we call that a press stud. None of the terms you're querying are familiar to me--not that I'm much into sewing. What area(s) are we talking about anyway? Dressmaking, tailoring, embroidery?

frimble3
01-19-2014, 10:33 AM
I'm not sure whether they're actually British or not, because the person I heard using them originally spoke German, so her English can be a bit off. Can anyone look these over and tell me whether they're true British sewing terms?
US vs British (?)


Base Layer vs Fundament
Channels vs Canals (for boning)
Scalloped vs Tabbed
Underneath vs Overneath


Also, my friend once used the term "patent" and it wasn't clear from the context what she meant, so if anyone knows what that is, I'd love to know! (I'm too embarrassed to ask her myself.)

I'm betting that 'fundament' and 'canals' are just translations of 'base' (fundamental) and 'channel', translations from 'foriegn' not from either version of English.

As to 'patent', with the context you give, I suspect that's short for 'patent fastener', (either a snap or Velcro) as opposed to something you'd just sew yourself, like a buttonhole or gathering. Like 'patent leather' being leather finished by a patented process, this is something you'd have to buy in a store.

Neither British nor American, I think.

Orianna2000
01-19-2014, 11:20 AM
Ah, thanks for the explanation about the patent fastener. It makes sense, although it certainly isn't a term I would use (or any of my American sewing buddies).

To answer Buffy's question, I need terms for sewing in general, but specifically dressmaking and historical costuming. Tailoring and embroidery would be nice bonuses, but not strictly necessary.

skylark
01-19-2014, 02:37 PM
I'm a very occasional sewer, but in the UK "scalloped" would be a sort of edging which is like little curves, not quite a semicircle, next to one another. Very much not square.

Tabbed is square-edged - it's a common way to make the tops of modern curtains, the sort where the curtain is threaded directly onto a pole with no rings or hooks.

girlyswot
01-19-2014, 05:05 PM
US vs British (?)


Base Layer vs Fundament
Channels vs Canals (for boning)
Scalloped vs Tabbed
Underneath vs Overneath

You know, it's not terribly helpful if you're assuming British sewers know what those American terms mean. It's much easier if you describe the thing you're talking about and then I could tell you what a British sewer would call it.

The only thing I can tell you for certain from that list is that 'overneath' is not a word.

Orianna2000
01-19-2014, 05:41 PM
Just for Girlyswot:




US vs British (?)


Base Layer vs Fundament

Base layer is just like it sounds, the first or bottom layer.


Channels vs Canals

Channels are strips of fabric you stitch down on both edges to make a narrow area that holds boning in place, such as for a strapless bodice or corset.

Scalloped vs Tabbed

Scallops are when you cut the edge of the fabric so that it's rounded, in and out. (Edging lace comes this way.) Like so:

)
)
)
)
)



Underneath vs Overneath

Underneath is when something is layered beneath something else.


So it looks like "fundament" is perhaps not a modern British sewing term. "Tabbed" is the same as it is in the US. And "overneath" is just my friend's creative English. That still leaves "canals." Anyone?

And if anyone knows of any sewing terms that are different in the UK, I'd love to hear them! For instance, I know calico and muslin mean different things across the pond. Here, "calico" is a colored print fabric, usually floral, made for quilting, but I'm told that in the UK, "calico" is what we would call "muslin," a plain cotton fabric, either white (bleached) or cream with dark specks in it (unbleached). In the UK, "muslin" is a mockup made to perfect the fit of a garment, not a fabric. What we would call a mockup depends on whether we're feeling down-to-earth (mockup), couture (muslin), or French (toile). The terms are interchangeable.

Old Hack
01-19-2014, 05:52 PM
US vs British (?)


Base Layer vs Fundament
Channels vs Canals (for boning)
Scalloped vs Tabbed
Underneath vs Overneath

I've been sewing all my life, and I've lived in the UK for most of that life.


A base-layer is just that; it might be referred to as a foundation layer, or a lining (very rarely), but I've never heard "fundament" used in this way.



I put boning into a channel, not a canal, but I think there is another word for it which escapes me right now. I'll see if I can remember it.


A scalloped edge is the series of semicircles, as has already been described; a tabbed edge is square, like a castellated edge.


"Overneath" is not a word I've heard before.




Also, my friend once used the term "patent" and it wasn't clear from the context what she meant, so if anyone knows what that is, I'd love to know! (I'm too embarrassed to ask her myself.)

I suspect she was referring to a patent fastener like Velcro, rather than a generic one like hook and loop fastener.

I think there are different US/UK terms for things like interlining, and I'm pretty sure wadding and batting (which refer to the same thing--the padding put into quilts) are US and UK terms but as I use them interchangeably, I'm not quite sure which is which.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of any more help. I will come back to this thread if I think of any more, and I know I've seen more over the years.

girlyswot
01-19-2014, 06:21 PM
It's still not very clear to me what you mean by 'base layer'. Do you mean a separate garment, or a layer of fabric forming the base of a garment?

Underneath with the meaning you describe is not specifically a sewing term in the UK. It can be used for anything that happens to be below something else. Does it have a specific sewing connotation in the US?

I think I'd put boning into a casing, not a channel or a canal.

Old Hack
01-19-2014, 06:25 PM
Casing! That's the word I was after.

girlyswot
01-19-2014, 06:27 PM
In the UK, "muslin" is a mockup made to perfect the fit of a garment, not a fabric.

No, it's both. But it is a different fabric in the UK from what you describe. Very thin, very light, not suitable for a garment. It's often made into squares for use with babies (I'm not really sure what function they serve for babies, not being a mother).

Los Pollos Hermanos
01-19-2014, 06:37 PM
My friends who have babies use muslin squares for mopping up dribble, putting over your shoulder when you're burping the little darlings after a feed and for the first stage of puke mopping!

Other than that, I know nothing about sewing (apart from very basic repairs) so sorry I can't help. I think I took ten years off my needlework teacher's lifespan.

LA*78
01-19-2014, 07:14 PM
[/LIST]


I put boning into a channel, not a canal, but I think there is another word for it which escapes me right now. I'll see if I can remember it.



I'm not sure if it's used in the UK or US, but in Australia we would make a casing for the boning.

I can't really help with comparisons because here we tend to borrow a little from column A, a little from column B...

Alessandra Kelley
01-19-2014, 07:30 PM
Oh, of course!

A "patent fastener" is another name for "press stud" which is the old word for a snap.

It is awfully British, so far as I know, but obsolete.

mirandashell
01-19-2014, 07:31 PM
I think we still call them press studs over here.

Alessandra Kelley
01-19-2014, 07:45 PM
Just for Girlyswot:



So it looks like "fundament" is perhaps not a modern British sewing term. "Tabbed" is the same as it is in the US. And "overneath" is just my friend's creative English. That still leaves "canals." Anyone?

And if anyone knows of any sewing terms that are different in the UK, I'd love to hear them! For instance, I know calico and muslin mean different things across the pond. Here, "calico" is a colored print fabric, usually floral, made for quilting, but I'm told that in the UK, "calico" is what we would call "muslin," a plain cotton fabric, either white (bleached) or cream with dark specks in it (unbleached). In the UK, "muslin" is a mockup made to perfect the fit of a garment, not a fabric. What we would call a mockup depends on whether we're feeling down-to-earth (mockup), couture (muslin), or French (toile). The terms are interchangeable.

The historic meaning of "calico" is inexpensive unbleached cotton fabric from Calcutta. The confusion with the brightly patterned printed cloth started in the early eighteenth century when people referred to brightly printed "linen calicoes" and "silk calicoes" as they did to real cotton calicoes. As far as I know, the UK has stuck with the original meaning while in the US we have the more colloquial, later meaning.

Historically, "muslin" was a finely woven, light near-transparent cotton, said to be originally from Mosul. The UK so far as I know has stuck with the original meaning. In both the US and the UK "a" muslin is a test pattern for clothing sewn together with cheap fabric. I suspect this is how in the US the word muslin came to mean cheap plain cotton instead of the fine transparent stuff it used to be. In the US the word is also applied to cheap cotton gauze used for cooking and cheesemaking.

There are a lot of French terms used in dressmaking, but the joke used to be that no actual French person would understand them. Many American and British dressmakers took on French names and affectations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and they sort of developed their own language of terms.

Alessandra Kelley
01-19-2014, 07:46 PM
I think we still call them press studs over here.

Oh, right. I think it's just "patent fastener" which is obsolete.

Buffysquirrel
01-19-2014, 08:05 PM
Yeah, I would definitely use 'press stud'. Altho I had to look up how to spell it!

Orianna2000
01-19-2014, 10:26 PM
Hmm. Interesting. You learn fascinating stuff all the time, here!

Steve Collins
01-19-2014, 10:55 PM
The separate under-lining on say a skirt or dress in the UK is simply referred to as 'Lining'. Or "It's lined".

ULTRAGOTHA
01-19-2014, 11:37 PM
I think there are different US/UK terms for things like interlining, and I'm pretty sure wadding and batting (which refer to the same thing--the padding put into quilts) are US and UK terms but as I use them interchangeably, I'm not quite sure which is which.

The thinnish layer of material between the quilt top and the quilt bottom is referred to as "batting" in the US, or at least in all the corners of the US I've lived in. It can be synthetic, cotton or wool.

"Batting" is also used in the US to refer to flat pieces of carded wool that can be taken off wool cards and then spun into woolen yarn. A large mechanical carding machine will make larger battings that can be used in a quilt.

I've never heard it referred to as "wadding". To me, wadding would be more what is crammed into channels of a larger quilted piece, like a medieval gambeson (long channels left between a top and bottom layer of strong fabric garment worn like a long coat under metal armor--filling is then rammed into each channel and one word for that could be wadding). You could certainly use batting to fill a gambeson.

ClareGreen
01-20-2014, 01:15 AM
I know a 'press stud' as a 'popper'.

girlyswot
01-21-2014, 02:29 AM
"Batting" is also used in the US to refer to flat pieces of carded wool that can be taken off wool cards and then spun into woolen yarn.

Those are batts in the UK. I've never seen 'batting' for fibre prepared in that way from any of the US spinners I know, either.

Old Hack
01-21-2014, 11:23 AM
Batts or rovings, I think. I'm never sure of the difference. Whatever it is, I've used it for feltmaking.

girlyswot
01-21-2014, 07:52 PM
Batts are carded, light and puffy. Rovings are combed and a bit denser. You'd use batts to spin woollen and rovings to spin worsted. Mostly. For feltmaking, it makes no difference which you use, since all the air gets pummelled out anyway.

Orianna2000
01-22-2014, 09:44 PM
Thanks for the help! I've got enough material that the editor is interested in buying the article, so now I just need to consult with a British sewer to make sure I've got all the terms defined properly. It's the kind of article where a single mistake will result in a slew of complaints, so I have to make sure everything is correct.

Bolero
01-23-2014, 01:11 AM
Arriving maybe a little late.

I'm another UK person for "poppers" - but I am thinking little round ones that you sewed onto the cloth, usually on the inside with the stitching done so it doesn't show. You can also get more commercial ones that are clamped through the cloth - and I'd think of those more as press studs. Have a back of the head memory putting press-studs in the same context as shirts, but that might be a mix up.

I had a tour of a wool spinning factory, and they referred to what came off the carding machine as rovings.

Tabs - if you are doing historic costume - then tabs are the square pieces of cloth, often stiffened, that are sewn round the bottom of male or female doublets.

Orianna2000
01-23-2014, 01:17 AM
Tabs - if you are doing historic costume - then tabs are the square pieces of cloth, often stiffened - that are sewn round the bottom of male or female doublets.
I don't sew for that particular era, so I can't be sure, but I think we call those tabs, as well.

Any other sewers want to chime in? I've got a good list, but there's room for more. Not just sewing terms, but fashion and clothing, too. (It's always funny when a newbie learns what "pants" are in the UK!)

Bolero
01-23-2014, 01:26 AM
Bias binding - strips of cloth cut on the cross to sew over the raw edges of cloth - can, or the last time I looked you could, buy specially prepared collections on card, rather than having to cut the strips yourself.

Gusset - the inset bit to ease underarm and between the legs.

Suspect styles of clothing might have different names - necklines, collars, sleeves and the like - do polo neck, Peter pan collar, puffed sleeves translate for you?

Do you keep your needles, scissors, sewing shears, pins and thread in a sewing box?
Do your needles come in a paper packet? (Or these days also in a cardboard one with a plastic cover on it.)
Is your cotton on plastic reels with the colour label on the end? And is it sold from display racks with all the reels on it, sideways on, so it is a rainbow of colours?
Do you call it an "eye" on the needle?

Dress sizes - that is one size different in the UK. Older sewers probably still work in inches, younger ones will work in centimetres.

Pants - is really an abbreviation of underpants - which is occasionally used in the UK. While you can use pants for women, it is also knickers. Men don't wear knickers, they definitely wear pants - but technically it is usually either Y-fronts or boxer shorts- BUT you wouldn't usually say that in conversation - it would be pants. As in "something ran in the wash and now all my pants are green".

Orianna2000
01-23-2014, 02:01 AM
Bias binding - strips of cloth cut on the cross to sew over the raw edges of cloth - can, or the last time I looked you could, buy specially prepared collections on card, rather than having to cut the strips yourself.

Yup, same here. Although I prefer to make my own. Store-bought binding is made from rather cheap fabric and it only comes in a few colors. However, we don't cut diagonal fabric on the "cross," we cut it on the "bias." For us, cross-grain is perpendicular to the straight grain. Both are straight, just going in opposite directions. If you want something cut diagonally, you cut it on the bias. (Also called the "true bias" if it's exactly a 45 degree angle. I don't know why anyone would cut a non-true bias, though.) Also, we don't usually call it "cloth." It's "fabric" for us, or rarely, "material."


Gusset - the inset bit to ease underarm and between the legs.Same here. It's used a lot in historical garments. Shifts and chemises, in particular, have gussets inserted in the underarms to provide ease of movement.


Suspect styles of clothing might have different names - necklines, collars, sleeves and the like - do polo neck, Peter pan collar, puffed sleeves translate for you?Those are all the same, though I read that you don't have "cuffs" on your trousers or sleeves, you have "turnups." True?


Do you keep your needles, scissors, sewing shears, pins and thread in a sewing box?
Do your needles come in a paper packet? (Or these days also in a cardboard one with a plastic cover on it.)
Is your cotton on plastic reels with the colour label on the end? And is it sold from display racks with all the reels on it, sideways on, so it is a rainbow of colours?
Do you call it an "eye" on the needle?Sewing gear is kept in a box or basket, depending on what's available. Sewing baskets are extremely expensive, so I bought a cheap plastic tackle box.

Different brands of needles are packaged differently. Some are in a cardboard blister pack, where you pop out the needle you want, rather like taking a pill. The brand I usually buy comes in plastic packets with a transparent lid that folds or slides back, revealing the needles. The back panel of the packet varies in color depending on what kind of needles they are. Red for universal, yellow for ballpoint, etc. The free needles that come with a new sewing machine are usually in a foil packet, but you can't buy them that way.

Needles have eyes, yes.

Our thread displays sound just like you describe. Here's the difference, though: we don't call it "cotton." We call it "thread," and it's usually polyester. Used to be a cotton/poly blend, but these days, it's 100% poly. Cotton thread is hard to find, except for quilting thread, which isn't used for normal sewing.


Dress sizes - that is one size different in the UK. Older sewers probably still work in inches, younger ones will work in centimetres.I know European sizing is quite different, but I don't know how it works. I'll need to look that up.

Thanks!

Alessandra Kelley
01-23-2014, 02:09 AM
In the US we call the little wood or plastic cylinders thread is wound on "spools" instead of "reels."

mirandashell
01-23-2014, 02:42 AM
Our hand sewing needles usually come in a folded card packet, folded in three, with the needles tucked in and out of a paper strip. I'll see if I can find a picture.

mirandashell
01-23-2014, 02:45 AM
Here we go:

http://www.scanlansarts.com/items_images/1314597005whitecroft%20embroidery%20crewel%20sewin g%20needles%20300.jpg

Orianna2000
01-23-2014, 03:38 AM
Yup, that looks like how our hand needles come. I haven't bought any in years, because I bought such a large packet last time, so I forgot they're different from the machine needles, as far as packaging.

ULTRAGOTHA
01-23-2014, 04:37 AM
I grew up with bias tape* instead of "bias binding".


*Bias tape is in no way sticky.

Orianna2000
01-23-2014, 05:25 AM
I grew up with bias tape* instead of "bias binding".


The length of bias-cut fabric is called bias tape. Once you use it to bind the edges of your garment or quilt, it's called bias binding. A subtle difference.

Buffysquirrel
01-23-2014, 05:30 AM
Those are all the same, though I read that you don't have "cuffs" on your trousers or sleeves, you have "turnups." True?

Not true for me. Sleeves have cuffs. Trousers have turnups.

Bolero
01-23-2014, 01:38 PM
While I said cross, it should properly be the bias - brain failure - but cross-ways would probably be understood.

Me too on sleeves have cuffs, trousers have turnups - unless they don't - as in trousers (like jeans) which have a hem but no turn-ups. I might refer to the hem on a pair of jeans as "trouser cuffs".
Cuffs can be a little ambiguous as in a cuff is specifically the stiffened piece at the end of the sleeve on a formal shirt, but if you are referring to a tailored jacket, then you refer to the cuffs at the wrist, but it is still a straight sleeve to the cuff. Sleeves which are gathered to an elastic wrist band, or dress sleeves which are straight and hemmed with no cuff - you might say cuff, wristband, at the wrist......

It varies as to cotton/polycotton/polyester for thread - but tends to be loosely referred to as cotton.

European sizes are different from UK sizes as far as I recall - they certainly are for shoe sizes - think they are for clothes but all the print has washed off the size label on the one I looked at. Apart from clothes sizes there is also the difference that Europe has been metric for generations (unless there are countries that aren't and I've missed them) but UK went partially metric in the 1970s and it is mix and match.

A few more clothes naming differences

Vest - Waistcoat.

And a vest is an undergarment that you wear for extra warmth in winter.

Suspenders - Braces

And suspenders are what hold up your stockings (women) or socks (if male and a really snappy dresser who worries about his socks falling down).

And broadening out

A Fancy Dress Party is a Costume Party. If you want someone in formal wear, then you say "Black Tie" - or for really, really formal "White Tie" - which gets you into tail coats not just dinner jackets

Court shoes have high heels - formal wear originally for attending functions at the Royal Court.

For tennis you'd wear plimsoles/gym shoes/trainers depending on preference. (Plymsoles and gym shoes are canvas top, thin-ish rubber sole, usually lace up. Trainers are the thicker soled cushioned heel variety.)

Alessandra Kelley
01-23-2014, 03:07 PM
I can remember being very confused reading in a Peter Wimsey story that he was wearing "pumps" on his feet.

In the US "pumps" is another name for plain high-heeled women's shoes.

I don't know if the word is still current in the UK.

I love the word "plymsoles" for plain old sneakers.

Bolero
01-23-2014, 04:03 PM
:)
I'm not quite sure what pumps are anymore, but I'd assume some sort of soft, casual shoe if I heard that in an English or male context.

Incidentally, suede boots with crepe soles used to be known as brothel creepers, but I think that one is now archaic.
I know suede boots like that as "desert wellies".

I grew up in the south of the UK. One year at primary school the class was taught by a master from the north of England - he always called plimsoles "daps" - which stuck for a while.

Orianna2000
01-23-2014, 04:14 PM
This is very helpful, thank you!

"Pumps" are still what we call high-heeled shoes. There are other names, too, like "Mary Janes," if they have a strap. Or "peep-toes" if they have an open-toe. "Sandals" or (back in the 90s) "strappy" shoes if they're mostly open with straps holding them on.

What about what we could call "flip-flops" or "zories"? These are a flat-bottomed sandal with a thin strap that starts between the first two toes.

mirandashell
01-23-2014, 04:15 PM
Flip-flops.

I always thought daps were Bristolian.

Bolero
01-23-2014, 07:45 PM
Peep-toes I'd vaguely heard - possibly on US TV - strappy, yes that carries over. Also references to "stilletos" if they have stilleto heels.

OK on daps - it was a while ago I last heard it so......

mirandashell
01-23-2014, 08:01 PM
It could be your Northern teacher picked it up from someone he knew from Bristol. Or he spent time in Bristol.

I'm from the Midlands but I say 'your man' instead of 'him' cos I have a lot of Irish friends. And I say 'yoursen' instead of 'yourself' cos I once worked with someone who came from Leeds.

Bolero
01-24-2014, 06:59 PM
True.

I have a bit of a habit of temporarily acquiring accents when talking with someone who has a strong one. Have to be really careful not to sound like I am taking the mick.
e.g. saying Ploog, when I'd normally say Plug - is one I remember doing.

mirandashell
01-24-2014, 08:22 PM
I do it as well. And a lot of the time I'm not aware I'm doing it so it has got me into trouble in the past. My accent is all over the shop cos of the amount of different places I've lived in.