O is for Overlock Stitch


The overlock stitch is a specialized stitch on the sewing machine for giving seams a finished look that keeps the fabric from unraveling.

The overlock stitch is a combination of a straight stitch and a zigzag. It sews backward and forward in a straight line, but between every set of straight stitches, it sews a zigzag.

When I learned how to make clothing, my grandmother taught me to always use pinking shears that cut the edge of the fabric in a zig-zag pattern.  This was to keep the fabric from unraveling.  I hated to use those shears, they were hard to use and hurt my hand.  At the time my grandmother had only a straight stitch sewing machine.  Now, I use the overlock stitch whenever I make clothing.

The overlock stitch mimics a serger which trims and overlocks in one step.  The beauty of having this stitch on a regular sewing machine is that you only need one machine to accomplish both jobs.


N is for Needle, Needlepoint & Notions


Needles come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  There are machine needles and hand sewing needles.  Hand needles are used for all types of embroidery including needlepoint and crewel, candlewicking, needle punch, quilting, and for sewing knitted and crocheted projects together.

Usually, the larger the number size the larger the needle.  Sewing machine needles go from 70 to 90 or 10 through 16 for domestic machines.  The needles are chosen according to the type of project, the weight of the fabric and the kind of thread being used.

Needlepoint is a type of needlework created by following a pattern that has been printed onto a screen like background.  The piece is completely filled in with the yarn or thread used and the piece is usually stapled to a wooden frame for stitching.

Image result for needlepoint images

Notions refer to the tools used for sewing or quilting.  I can tell you that for a quilter notions are a favorite subject for discussion and procurement.  It seems we all want the latest gadget available to make our task as easy as possible.

Notions include scissors, needles, thimbles, thread, rulers, rotary cutters, pins, zippers, elastic, bobbins and bobbin holders…there is an extensive list that goes on and on.


M is for Material


Material in the sewing world is the cloth fabric that is used.  Cotton, polyester, wool, linen, silk, satin, denim, and others are readily available today.  Many fabrics are imported some are still made in this country.  There are chains of stores here JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore to name a few and many many quilt shops where a variety of material can be obtained, along with thread to compliment your projects.

L is for Lockstitch


A lockstitch is the most common mechanical stitch made by a sewing machine.  It differs from a chain stitch in that there is no chain on the underside of the stitched fabric.  Chain stitching machines are mostly handheld or children’s sewing machines.  Most of the industry use only lockstitch machines.

When sewing with a lockstitch the tension must be even on both the top and bottom thread.  It is suitable for stretch fabrics, and any other available fabrics on the market today.

The chain stitch is very good for making bathing suits, and for very stretchy fabric because the chain on the underside has more give to it.



K is for Knit & Knot


Knitting is done with wool or synthetic yarn.  Sweaters, scarves, gloves, mittens, afghans, and many other articles are made by knitting.  The basic stitches of knitting are knit and purl.  Every other stitch is basically a variation of these two basic stitches.

You can also knit using a loom.  There are many options available for whatever you want to make.  It is not necessary to spend a fortune to give knitting a try.  Yarn, knitting needles are inexpensive and there are so many patterns available for free online and on the inside label of yarn.

There are many groups or clubs for knitters.  It is a wonderful way to make new friends and create beautiful pieces.  When my grandchildren were little I used to knit them hats and scarves.  They always loved them.  I lived far from them and I always felt it was like me hugging them all winter long.  🙂

We mention knots here because they are needed to hold the thread in place.  After threading a needle, a small knot is made at the end of the thread.  This keeps the end of the thread from slipping right through the fabric.  Knots are used in hand stitching, not with a sewing machine.  When using a sewing machine backstitching is done by reversing the direction of the fabric as it goes over the feed dogs.


J is for Join


When you are sewing you join the fabric together by stitching.  This is how you create seams in clothing and between blocks when making quilts.  It is a pretty simple concept that can be accomplished by either hand or sewing machine.

However, join also stands for joining sewing and quilting bees, clubs, and guilds.  The fellowship that comes from joining these types of groups is wonderful.  Lasting friendships are often made and cherished.  Both men and women are members.  Very often many of these groups make articles of clothing and quilts for charity.  My guild has several outreach projects that we are involved in.  We make newborn quilts for our community hospital, newborn baby hats, habitat home quilts, lap quilts for area nursing homes, cancer quilts and hats, cognitive therapy quilts for dementia residents, veteran lap quilts, and walker bags.  We are a busy guild and I love this part of my quilting guild.




I is for Inseam, Interfacing, & Iron


An inseam is the seam along the inner length of pants.  In men’s trousers, the sizes are waist measurement first then the inseam length.  For instance 28 x 36.  This is a very important measurement when making pants.

Interfacing is used to give stability to the fabric.  It can be fusible or sew in.  There are many different weights of interfacing so that the weight stabilizes the specific parts of clothing.   Like collars, cuffs, buttonhole areas, etc.  Interfacing is also used when making quilts.  Machine appliqué requires the use of interfacing to keep the applique stable for the machine stitching.  This is used for unfinished edged appliqué.

Irons are used when sewing.  The fabric is washed before being used in quilting, so it must be ironed before cutting so that you get a nice even edge on your fabric.

H is for Hand Stitch, Hem, Hook and Eye, & Hoop


Hand stitch is simply when you sew by hand instead of using a sewing machine.  There are many styles of hand stitching.  Embroidery is one example.

Ahem is a finished edge to clothing.  Hemming can be done by hand or by machine.  With the new computerized sewing machine, the variety of hemming stitches is great.

Hook and Eyes are used to connect two edges of clothing.  It gives a seamless look and many times they are used instead of buttons or zippers.  They are hand sewn onto the fabric.

Lastly, hoops are used for hand and machine embroidery, hand and machine quilting, and many other styles of handwork.  Crewel, cross stitch, needlepoint, etc.