Sewing terminology in different countries

As I’ve mentioned before, we have as a family recently relocated to a different country. North America to be exact. Coming from South Africa, I have learned one way of speaking. But now, being in North America, I need to learn new terminology for everything, including sewing terminology.

Sewing terminology is very different on the two continents and I’m sure around the world as well. What you call one thing in South Africa is called something completely different in North America.

The main problem with not knowing the correct terminology is that when you walk into a shop to buy something and you ask for help, the assistant does not know what you are asking as your sewing terminology differs. You know exactly what you are asking but the assistant does not. This creates problems and frustrations on both ends.

To overcome this problem, I have compiled a list of sewing terminology that is used differently and that I came across.

Terminology used in SA – Terminology used in North America

Sewing machine – sewing machine (that one stays the same at least!)

Overlocker – Serger

Sewing scissors – Sewing shears

Base pattern – Sloper

Base pattern – basic block pattern

Material – Fabric

Material shop – Fabric store

More sewing terminology differences will be posted as I come across them.

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