Thursday, December 31, 2009

French Sewing Glossary

I started this glossary in this post. I am pulling it out as a separate blog entry. I am continually adding to it as I use the Au Bonheur patterns.

Please let me know if you find any errors or come across any phrases that should be added. Thanks!
  • avantbras - forearm
  • bâtir - to baste
  • boutons/boutonnières - buttons/buttonholes ("1 bouton pour la taille" = "1 button for the waistband")
  • boutons pression - snaps (the kind you press, or hammer, that show from the front, not the sew-on type)
  • les bretelles - straps
  • coté - side ("Fermer les cotés..." = "Close the sides..." or "...du coté plat de la poche..." = "... the flat side of the pocket..."). I also saw it used to describe a side gusset, on the tee pattern with the 4 hanging points that are tied into knots.
  • coucher - to place ("Coucher les coutures vers la poche." = "Place the seams towards the pocket.")
  • ceinture - waistband; also belt or sash
  • chevaucher - overlap
  • col - collar
  • col châle - shawl collar
  • coutures - seams
  • couture(s) du cote - side seam(s)
  • couture(s) de dessous de bras - underarm seam(s)
  • cranter - to notch
  • dessus - top ("sur dessus de poche" = "on top of the pocket", "dessus de manche" = "upper sleeve")
  • dessous - below ("dessous de manche" = "under sleeve")
  • devant - front
  • doublure - lining
  • dos - back
  • droit fil - straight of grain
  • emmanchure - armhole
  • empiècement - yoke. Note that in the directions for the skirt I made with the twisted drape, they refer to the drape pattern piece as an "empiècement." My French friend thought this strange. She said usually an empiècement refers to a sewn-in yoke, like on a cowboy shirt. :)
  • en piquant - (while) catching
  • éncarter - press ("éncarter les coutures au fer" = "press seams open")
  • encolure - neckline
  • endroit - right ("endroit con endroit" = "right side to right side")
  • endroit du patron - right side of pattern
  • endroit du tissu - right side of fabric
  • entoiler - to interface
  • entoilage - interfacing
  • entoilage thermocollant - fusible interfacing
  • entoiler - to interface ("entoiler les parementures" = "interface the facings")
  • entournure - armhole
  • l'entrejambe - inside leg ("fermer l'entrejambe" = "close the inside leg seam (from ankle to ankle)")
  • envers du tissu - wrong side of fabric
  • les épaules - the shoulders ("assembler les épaules" = "sew the shoulder seams")
  • double epaisseur - double thickness
  • épingler - to pin
  • faufiler - to baste
  • le fil - thread ("1 fil de couleur contrastante épais" = "1 [spool of] topstitching thread in a contrasting color")
  • finition - finishing
  • les flèches - arrows ("coucher les plis selon les flèches du patron" = "form the tucks according to the arrows on the pattern")
  • fond - background ("fond de poche devant" = "front pocket back", as in a front jeans pocket)
  • la fourche - crotch ("fermer la fourche" = "close the crotch seam (from bellybutton to bottom)") [Thanks to Birdmommy for clarifying the difference between l'entrejambe and la fourche!]
  • le genou - knee
  • de hanches - hipline
  • haut - top
  • jupe - skirt
  • lainage - wool ("tissu type lainage" = "wool type fabric")
  • lisiere - selvedge
  • liens - ties ("faire 4 liens" = "make 4 ties")
  • ligne de pliure - fold line
  • ligne de taille - waistline
  • largeur pied de biche - the width of the presser foot
  • maintenir - to tack (hold temporarily)
  • manche - sleeve
  • milieu - center ("faire la couture milieu dos" = sew the center back seam)
  • les œillets - eyelets, as in the metal kind you press, or hammer ("Poser l'œillet selon repère du patron." = "Apply the metal eyelet at the location indicated on the pattern.")
  • ourlet(s) - hem(s)
  • pantalon - pants
  • la parement - facing
  • parmenture - facing
  • parmenture du meme tissu - self facing
  • parmenture de la talle - waistline facing
  • passepoil - piping
  • patron(s) - pattern(s)
  • des pattes de boutonnage - buttonhole placket (or tab) ("Entoiler la moitié des pattes de boutonnage" - "interface half of the buttonhole placket")
  • le pince/les pinces - dart/darts ("fermer les pinces" = "close the darts)
  • piquer - to stitch/sew
  • piquer le bord - edgestitch
  • piqure de soutien - staystitch
  • plaquer - flatten ("plaquer la poche" = "flatten the pocket")
  • les plis - tucks or folds ("piquer les plis" = "sew the tucks")
  • pliure - to fold ("dans le pli" = "on the fold")
  • pointe de poitrine - bust point
  • poche(s) - pocket(s)
  • rabattre - to fold ("puis rabattre les plis" = "then fold the tucks")
  • rep - ribbed fabric made from silk, cotton, or wool (ie: 1m de reps pour les liens)
  • repasser - to iron ("repasser pour aplatir" = "iron flat")
  • les repères - marks ("utilisant les repères B et A" = "using marks B and A")
  • revers - reverse, as in reverse side of the fabric ("pull á col revers" = "pullover with reverse collar"). Also used to describe something that turns back on itself, such as a lapel, a cuff that is formed by folding back the sleeve hem, or a pocket that has a turned-down element.
  • scotcher - tape ("scotcher les pièces 6a and 6b..." = "tape pattern pieces 6a and 6b...")
  • le serre cordon - cord stopper (for round elastic)
  • simple epaisseur - single thickness
  • sous-piquer - understitch
  • surjet - whipstitch
  • surpique - topstitch
  • surpique nervure / surpiquées nervurées - topstitch the seam(s) close to the edge (edgestitch)
  • soufflet - gusset
  • tissu - fabric
  • tissu fantaisie - literally translates to "fancy fabric", but is used to mean "novelty fabric" or "contrasting fabric"
  • tissu souple - "supple" or "pliant" fabric - I think they mean knit fabric, but maybe drapey wovens as well
  • tissu uni - solid color fabric
  • triplure - underlining
  • valeur - amount or width ("surpiquer valeur pied de biche" = "topstitch the width of the presser foot")
  • veste - jacket
  • volant - flounce or ruffle
  • zip - zipper; this is not the "official" word for zipper, which is "fermeture éclair", but is used by these patterns ("le zip invisible" = "invisible zipper")
There is also a sewing glossary available through the Japan Couture Addicts site.

15 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you! Though I lived in Brussels for 6 years and had the fantastic experience of studying with a wonderful woman who worked in Chanel's workshop, my French is long-forgotten.

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  2. Thanks so much, Re. Can you tell how much fun I am having??? lol How lucky to actually work with an actual "la Petite Main". I bet she had stories galore to tell you. I would want to just sit at her feet and absorb...

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  3. What a wonderful resource! One thing I'm not sure about is "avant-bras". I believe that means "forearm" so probably not biceps. Can you check on that?
    Thanks!

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  4. You are quite right, Cathi. I have corrected it. Thanks!

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  5. I just had my first experience making an ABdPM pattern. Your glossary was extremely helpful, especially with pied de biche which translated everywhere else as "crowbar" :-)
    Here are few words to add:
    bretelles - straps
    passepoil - piping
    rep - ribbed fabric made from silk, cotton, or wool (ie: 1m de reps pour les liens)

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  6. Thanks for a wonderful resource! After your enabling :) I bought a couple of ABdPM patterns. While Google did a good job translating, your reference was particularly helpful with the sewing/construction side of things where Google was talking about horses and other nonsense. :) Thanks!!

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  7. I forgot to say, what I found most helpful was the way you gave examples of the word in a sentence. I found many of these same sentences/phrases in my sewing instructions. It was wonderful to be able to translate these common sewing techniques so easily. Thanks

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  8. Very helpful glossary! Found a few that came in handy. You may want to add to your definition of revers. Usually it's something that's turned back on itself or turned down such as a lapel, a turned sleeve cuff or a folded pocket cuff. You'd think they'd have more than one word for all those! If you'd like can also add:
    ceinture - belt or sash
    emmanchure - armhole
    empiecement - yoke
    encolure - neckline
    volant - flounce or ruffle

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  9. Thanks, anonymous! Some of those I had already, but I added the new info.

    I have entournure as armhole and you provided emmanchure as armhole. Can anyone shed light on the difference?

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  10. Thanks so much for this glossary! I have just bought a book by Astrid Le Provost Intemporels pour bebes to make clothes for a new grand daughter. My french is rusty and I have never learned technical terms anyway so it has been a challenge. You can see them if you search for Citronille. She also has adult patterns though I haven't tried these.
    I checked the two words you have in my Collins/Roberts dictionary and they both mean armhole.

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  11. Merci beaucoup! I am sewing doll clothes from a book I picked up in Paris last year and although I speak French I am having trouble with some of the sewing terminology!

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    1. You are most welcome, Maureen! If you come up with additional terms to include, please let me know!

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  12. What is "molleton"? Google translation says duffel, but that doesn't make sense in my instructions. It says to cut 2 of tissu (or fabric) and 2 of molleton. This glossary has been very helpful, Thank you!

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    1. It's felt, or fleece. Like maybe a Pellon-type fleece or batting. Whatcha makin'? :)

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  13. Thanks, I was thinking it was batting but I wasn't sure. I'm making a carrier for art supplies for my nephews and neices for Christmas. Thanks!

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