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Sewing Vocabulary - Nap to Overlock

Nap – A design feature of fabric that requires all parts of the sewn item to be cut in the same direction. This may either be necessary because 1) the fabric has a pile that has a definite difference between “up” and “down” such as corduroy or velvet or 2) a printed directional design.

Narrow goods – Fabric woven on narrow looms with a maximum width of 27”.

Nonwoven fabric – This is fabric that is bonded together into a web rather than knitted or woven such as Ultrasuede.

Notches – Small cuts (slits or wedges) made in the edges of garment pieces to show how they should be aligned; this helps to ensure construction is done correctly. Commercial home-sewing patterns use dark triangles or diamonds for match points.

Notions – Required materials beyond the fabric and pattern necessary to producing a garment such as elastic, zippers, interfacing, buttons, thread, etc.

Nylon – Nylon was the first synthetic fiber that was manufactured. It is wrinkle-resistant and easy to wash while being stain-resistant.

Oilcloth – Fabric that is made to be waterproof by treating it with linseed oil varnish.

Opaque – When something is opaque, such as fabric, you cannot see through it.

Organdy – A lightweight, transparent cotton cloth with a stiff finish.

Overlock – A stitch that casts over the seam edge to finish the seam and prevent the fabric from raveling. There are specialized sewing machines called sergers that primarily do this stitch.

Oxidation – Air exposure which can alter dye colors and weaken some fibers.

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