Seams, Stitches and Topstitches | Technical Vocabulary Series

Technical Vocabulary

Seam, Stitch, Topstitch... What are They?

Differences between Seams and Stitches

Bound Hem
Does it happen to you that you stay thinking when they talk about seams, stitches, and topstitching?

If answering this question takes you more than 3 seconds, you should read this article.
A bad explanation or interpretation of a message can make your work much harder
This article will help you to speak professionally, and to gain confidence when talking with your colleagues, clients, and suppliers.

Seam vs. Stitch

What is a Stitch?

A stitch is a loop of thread made by a needle, which pulls it through fabric to create a stitching line.

A stitching line is a sequence of stitches that usually holds two pieces of fabric together (or more).

Depending on the fabric quality and the purpose of the seam, you can use different stitches: lock stitch, chain stitch, overlock stitch, cover stitch, etc.
A topstitch is a seam line that is visible from the right side of the fabric.
​Its function can be ornamental, as well as to reinforce the seam and keep the seam allowance stable.

What is a Seam?

A seam is the result of sewing a line of stitches in order to join two or more pieces of fabric (construction seams), or to make a finishing on the edge of a fabric (hems and finishes).

There are many types of seams, which differ from each other in their structure (the way that the fabric is placed or fold).
Some of the most common seams are French Seam, Welt Seam, Open Seam, and Bounded Seam, just to name a few.

Talking properly is more useful than what you think…
it helps optimise time and resources, improves communication
with your team, and allows you to think more clearly.

Speaking and understanding properly are faculties that can be learned through the use of a proper vocabulary and training: the more you practice, the better you will communicate.


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Belu Chi | ​Technical Designer


My mum taught me to sew when I was 15.
​I used to make skirts in every single colour, andt my girlfriends loved them! I later studied Industrial Design, specialized in clothing… and that’s where it all began.

Picture        Picture

This article is also published at Seampedia.

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