This glossary is an ever expanding and evolving document. Many of these terms have multiple definitions or different meanings in different industries. For the sake of clarity we will define these terms in the way in which we refer to them on this site.
Bias refers to a diagonal line across fabric. In a woven fabric without stretch the fabric will stretch on the diagonal. Usually at a 45 degree angle to the selvage.
1) A narrow tape cut on the bias can be used for facings, edge trimming, and hemming due to it's ability to stretch around curves.
2) A garment cut on the bias will have stretch, cling, and drape differently than if it were cut straight on the grain.
Bone Casing is a flat woven tubular tape that is sewn into garments down the sides for the boning to be inserted. It keeps the boning in place and ads a complete layer of protection for the garment from the boning. The Bone Casing is always paired with a narrower size of boning.
Brocade is a type of fabric with a multi color design woven into the fabric. It can be made in various fibers from silks to polyesters.
Buckram is a stiff cloth, made of cotton or linen, used in clothing and hats. Buckram is treated with starch, which allows it to be softened with steam or in water, shaped, then dry and re-harden in the new shape. Buckram comes in a variety of weights and stiffnesses.
A Busk is the rigid closure in the front of a corset. They are made of two long pieces of steel that can withstand the tension of corset lacing, one with eyes and the other with posts. They are available in a variety of lengths and widths. A wooden busk is a single piece that does not offer a opening, just rigidity.
Although it sounds like it might be the punchline to a dirty joke...
A Chicago Screw is a two part fastener that screws together. They can be used in clothing, belts, books, metal, and many more applications. They come in a variety of sizes and finishes.
A Cincher, or Waist Cincher, refers to a type of corset that focuses on the waistline. It does not go up over the bust line or extend over the hips. This is the best style for tight lacing.
Concho refers to any ornament placed on a garment. They can be sewn on, screwed in, or riveted to a garment or belt. Initially they were made in silver with a decorative image.
Coutil is woven cotton fabric created specifically for making corsets. It is tightly woven for strength and resistance to stretching.
Douppioni is a silk fabric woven from threads from two united cocoons. It will have visible horizontal lines or slubs, some quite nubby. They are part of the natural beauty of the silk. Douppioni is lustrous and often woven with different colors as the warp and weft creating an iridescent effect.
A Die is a metal tool used to apply grommets, rivets, and snaps. Most Dies have a top and bottom piece, and for snaps up to 4 different pieces. Some Die sets are mounted into large presses, some can be used with a rubber mallet and set by hand.
An Eyelet is used for reinforcing an eyehole in fabric. An Eyelet is a one piece small metal tube with one flared end, when pressed with a die the tube splits in multiple places and rolls outward around the fabric. They are typically smaller than grommets and washers and not as durable.
Fusion Coated Boning is very rigid coated carbon steel. The Fusion Coated Boning offers very little flex, it is ideal to use as a reinforcer under a busk. Dry clean only.
Galvanized refers to steel or iron coated in zinc to prevent rusting.
Grommets and Washers are similar to eyelets used for reinforcing an eyehole in fabric. Grommets are metal tubes with a flare on one side. The Washer is the flare without the tube. When put through an eyehole in fabric the grommet gets pressed with a die and rolls around the washer. They are much sturdier and offer a cleaner finish than one piece eyelets.
Grosgrain is a type of ribbon characterized by its ribbed appearance. Grosgrain has a more matte appearance than satin ribbon, it is tightly woven and very strong.
A Gross is twelve dozen, which is 144 pieces.
Hoop Boning is a covered or coated metal boning used in making hoop skirts. It is sold in 12 yard rolls, on average this will make one hoop skirt. If making a very large skirt you may need two rolls. When placed in the channels you must overlap the boning by a few inches to prevent your skirt from being teardrop shaped. If cleaning is necessary, dry clean only.
1) Horsehair braid is a narrow tape used in hems and is actually nylon. It can be used for fluted hems, curved hems, as a light weight stabilizer, and as a facing.
2) Horsehair as an interfacing is woven with horse's mane and tail hair and is used in mens suitings and hats.
Interfacing is a textile used on the inside of a garment to stiffen the fabric, strengthen the fabric, and/or keep fabrics from stretching. They are available woven, knit, and non-woven, also fusible or sew in.
Interlining is a layer of a garment between the face and the lining. It is used to stiffen, strengthen, and to prevent stretching. It can be made from a variety of different fabrics. Interlinings are also flat lined to sheer fabrics to hide seam allowances.
Jacquard is a type of fabric with a design or pattern woven into it. It is named for the Jacquard loom that creates the intricate patterns.
Leather Punches or Metal Punches are hardened metal tools with a design in one end. Placed on Leather or Metal and hit with a hammer the design gets impressed. They are available in various alphabet fonts, numbers, and designs.
Lacing Bones are rigid steel bones with pre-drilled holes coated to prevent rusting. Used in pairs for lacing a corset without using grommets. Dry clean only.
1) The lining conceals the raw edges of seams, and other aspects of construction. Lining a garment strengthens it and helps to extend the life of the garment.
2) Lining also refers to the many fabrics used solely for lining garments.
Millinery refers to the art of hat making. Millinery Wire is used to give shape to a hat. It is easy to cut and shape with needle nosed pliers. It is often used with buckram to provide extra shaping. It is used in the outer brim of hats so they can be shaped and where right angles are formed at the top of flat toped hats such as top hats.
Overbust refers to a style of corset that literally covers the bust line. As opposed to an underbust style that ends at the ribs below the bust line.
Petersham is a woven edge ribbon made of 100% rayon. It is washable and dry-cleanable and will remain colorfast. The scalloped woven edge allows the ribbon to be easily shaped for hat making and crafts.
Plastic Boning is a lighter weight alternative to metal boning. It is often used in costuming. Plastic Boning can be cut with sheers if necessary. Garments with plastic boning can be hand washed or gently machine washed.
And let's not forget it's the only boning recommended for garments worn in high voltage environments.
Plastic Flex Stays are a very light weight alternative to spiral steel boning. They are shaped like an opaque zig zag or ric-rac. Hand wash.
Power Net is a nylon-spandex material. It is used in undergarments such as bras and girdles. It has a four way stretch.
Reed boning is made from the bark of the rattan palm. It is a great stiffener for those who want to use true period supplies! Reed boning was used in corsets dating around the 16th Century. This boning is lightweight and allows air to move through the corset while its being worn and conforms very comfortably to the body. Hand wash only.
Rigilene Boning is specially created for giving shape and support to strapless garments, theatrical costumes, evening wear, beachwear, soft toys, and wherever a light boning is needed. Rigilene Boning is easy to cut and sew by hand or machine, you can zig zag right over it. Rigilene Boning is flexible, durable, and will not crack. Safe to wash or dry clean.
A Rivet is a two part metal fastener that reinforces seams or holds multiple layers of fabrics together. They are set with a die and a mallet, and some elbow grease.
The Screw Post is the back side of a Chicago Screw, it holds the front of the screw in place from the back or wrong side of the garment with a flat base.
Sizing is a liquid stiffener applied to the fibers in the weaving process of fabrics.
A spike is a pointed cone shaped ornament for garments, belts, hats, or anywhere you need a little attitude. Spikes have a back with a flat base and they screw together through fabric or leather. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes.
Spiral steel boning is made of hardened, galvenized, spring steel round wire. It is coiled and flattened. Spiral steel boning offers flex on two axis. It offers support with flexibility and recovery. It can be used on straight or curved seams. Dry clean only.
Spoon busks are a center front closure used in corsets. The bottom is wider and curved inward like a spoon. The intent was to keep the abdomen tightly in the corset. They were introduced in 1879. Dry clean only.
In leather crafting a spot, like a stud, is a metal ornament with a pronged back. The prongs need to go through pre-formed slits in leather or fabric and then be bent down to secure the spot in place.
Spring Steel is a variety of steel with a very high strength. Even with significant bending and twisting it will return to it's original shape.
Stainless Steel contains chromium oxide to prevent rusting.
1) Another term for steel boning used in corsetry.
2) During the 18th and early 19th century a corset was also called "a pair of stays" in England. Stays were used to support the breasts, flatten the midriff, improve posture, and provide back support.
Steampunk is a lifestyle combining many genres. The Steampunk style of dress combines various elements including pieces with a nod to the Victorian era, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic looks. Form and function are key, re-purposed tools as decorations, and modern technology hidden in wooden boxes with antique brass gears spinning away are but a small part. There are many artists, musicians, writers, and film makers utilizing aspects of the Steampunk movement.
1) Studs are decorative metal pieces that can be applied to fabric or leather. They have prongs on the bottom/back that are pushed through the fabric or leather and pressed inward to hold them on tightly. They are available in many finishes, sizes, and shapes.
2) Hunky man. Come on, you were thinking it too!
Swing Clasps are a two part fastener, one side has the loop or eye and the other side has a curved arm that sings under the loop to create a closure. They can be either sewn on or riveted for more strength.
1) Twill is a type of fabric woven with raised ribs in diagonal parallel ribs. Most commonly seen in denim. It is typically cotton or a polyester-cotton blend. It is durable and washable.
2) Twill Tape is a narrow tape that is woven in a twill or herringbone pattern. It is very sturdy and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used to reinforce the waist line of corsets, as a casing for boning, to protect fabrics from metal hardware, and to reinforce fabrics where rivets, grommets, or other decorations are placed.
Underbust refers to any number of styles of corsets that do not cover the bust line. They can be as short as a cincher or extend longer over the hips.
Underwires are metal semi-circles sewn into channels in bras to offer more support and shaping.
Waist Training is a practice of reducing the waist through corsetry. Typically one would wear a corset 24/7 aside from bathing. While sleeping some prefer to wear a wide belt, but others prefer to wear a corset at all times. If interested you must do thorough research before beginning this practice. You will need to pay attention to diet and restricted movement. You should plan on starting with at least two corsets so that they can be cleaned without interrupting your training. Once you are comfortably closed into your first set of corsets you will need to get two more created. Unless you've lost weight your second and subsequent pairs of corsets will retain the same or similar rib and hip measurements, and just the waist will be reduced.
White Bone is made of hardened, spring steel with a white nylon coating to prevent rusting. It is very durable yet flexible. The nylon coating is highly resistant to washing detergents and is safe to dry clean.