The most basic stitch on the sewing machine. It is simply a running straight stitch, its main function is sewing two pieces of fabric together, but it has a lot of other functions like decorative top stitches, stitching a pocket on, sewing down collars or waistbands, edge stitches and more. To see more applications for the straight stitch click here
As in the name a zig zag stitch is a stitch that zig zags from left to right. This stitch is most commonly used as a seam finish in woven fabrics to ensure the fabric doesn’t unravel, or it is very commonly used for sewing two pieces of stretchy fabric together, like the seam in a t-shirt. It is very useful for sewing in jersey fabrics if you don’t own an overlocker/serger as the zig zag stitch has some “elasticity” unlike the straight stitch which is very rigid. To see more applications for the zig zag stitch click here
On a lot of modern sewing machines they have different types of “overlock” stitches. These stitches are used similarly to the zig zag stitch, but can look a bit more professional and protect your fabric from fraying even more than the zig zag. Since there are many types it’s best if you look it up in the manual to the sewing machine you are using and finding the one that suits your needs best. You can read about some different types here
An overlocker is a type of sewing machine that uses multiple threads (usually 3 to 4) and it creates a professional looking edge as it cuts it while casting threads around it. The 3 thread is usually used for securing edges and the 4 thread for sewing to pieces of jersey fabric together. Most household overlockers can do both. Overlockers are faster than using a zig zag or an overlock stitch on your regular sewing machine, but it is also a whole new machine you have to buy, store and learn how to use so if you don’t have one don’t stress about it until you maybe have gotten very familiar with your regular sewing machine. You can reads loads more about overlockers here
A seam is simply a method of sewing two pieces of fabric together. There are many types of seams that can work for the type of project you are working on. We always tell you our recommendation in the guide but if you are interested to learn more click here.
Seam allowance is the space between the stitch and the edge of the fabric. The seam allowance will always be marked on your pattern and it can vary from garment to garment so make sure to pay attention when you are cutting out your pattern. Normally the seam allowance for woven fabrics is 1cm and for jersey fabrics it’s 0,75cm (because this is the standard width of a 4 thread overlock). Remember you can always add extra seam allowance to your woven garments in case you want to increase the size later.
Woven refers to woven fabrics, put shortly not stretchy. There are many different types of weaves with different properties depending on your project or aesthetic goal. This is something you will learn about bit by bit and you can always ask about this in your local fabric shop. You can read a bit more here.