Textiles Technology


Pattern symbols 1

Lengthen and shorten lines - these must be adjusted before using the pattern to maintain the proportion of a garment. Fold into a pleat to shorten the length, cut and spread to increase length

Straight grain arrow - must be placed parallel to the selvedge of the fabric so that the grain runs correctly and the product hangs properly or lies flat

Place on fold arrow - the edge indicated has to be against a fold of the fabric, as the piece is symmetrical and need to open out

Cutting line - this is the line to cut along

Stitching line - this hows where the stitching should be when joining sections of fabric (the usual amount allowed for a seam is 1.5cm)

Seam allowance - this is the distance between the cutting line and the stitching line, usually 1.5cm on a commercial pattern

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Pattern symbols 2

Dot - indicates a position (for example a dart, gathers, pleats, tucks, pocket, end of a zip)

Notch - indicates which pieces fit together and how they need to be aligned. Can also be used to indicate the position of gathers.

Centre line - indicates the centre front or centre back of a garment

Button and buttonhole position - shows where to work the buttonhole and stitch the button for correct spacing. These can be adjusted if required.

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Disposal of Fullness: Darts, Pleats


The position of a dart is marked by dots on a pattern piece. A triangular section of fabric is removed by a row of stitching, the wide end at the edge of the fabric tapering to a point. Darts are often used as waistlines on trousers and skirts, and at the bust of blouses and dresses. A double-pointed dart may be used in a one-piece dress, releasing fullness at the bust and hip, and taking it in at the waist. Darts give a smooth effect.


These are fold in the fabric, and can be wither pressed using an iron, or stitched partr way down their length. If they are made in a thermoplastic fabric the pleats can be heat-set in place so when washed at a low temperature they remain in place. There are three main types of pleat: knife pleats, box pleats, and inverted pleats. Pleats can be foundin skirts at the waistband or towards the hem to allow easier movement, at a cuff, or on bedding valance.

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Disposal of Fullness: Gathers


Gathers are tine tucks created in fabric. If the gathers are worked on a sewing machine, a longer stitch length should be used, and the top tension loosened slightly. One row of stitching line, and another worked in the seam allowance, on the right side of the fabric. The ends of the stitching are not fastened off but left loose, so that the bobbin thread can be pulled up to gather the fabric. The stitching should be pulled from both ends of the rows until the fabric is gathered to the required amount. A pin is then put in the fabric at each end of the stitching and the thread wrapped around it in a figure of eight. The gathers should be evened out between the pins and can be joined to another piece of fabric. The gathering can also be worked by hand - double thread adds strength so that the thread does not snap when it is pulled up. Large anounts of gathering should be done in sections, or a ruffler attachment can be used on the sewing machine. Gathers are often found at the waistband of skirts, sleeve heads, cuffs, on frills and yokes as well as bedding valance. They give a soft floating effect.

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Disposal of Fullness: Tucks, Elastic in a Casing


Tucks are usually narrower than pleats, are not pressed along their length. They are usually held in place by a row of stitching across the top of the tuck or by being joined to another piece of fabric. They are often found at the waistband of trousers or in the back of a shirt. Pin tucks are very narrow tucks stitched in place down their entire length and are more of a decorative feature than a method of disposal of fullness

The use of Elasic in a Casing

A casing is a tube formed in a piece of fabric, usually at an edge. Elastic or a drawstring can be threaded through the tube to pull the fabric in. Elastic in a casing is often used at a cuff or a waistband, or a at the bottom of jogging bottoms. The fabric is pulled in, but the elastic strethes to allow more flexibility. A drawstring in a casing allows the size to be adjusted, pulled up tighter or ledt looser depending on requirements. This is used at the waistband of coats and jackets as well as at the top of a rucksack. Casings can also be made using bias binding.

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6 Types of Decorative Techniques

  1. Quilting - Trapunto, Italian quilting
  2. Applique
  3. Free Machine Embroidery
  4. Computer-controlled Embroidery (CAM)
  5. Patchwork
  6. Image Transfer
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