Uncommon Abbreviations

There are a number of phrases I use repeatedly and tire of writing them out each time.  Please check this page first if you see an usual abreviation.  It’s probably something I made up.

BWL = Back Waist Length Adjustment/Alteration

Done at the pattern stage a specified amount is folded out (for me usually 1″ is removed ) from the length of the pattern at one of the “alter length here” lines.  It’s also part of petiting.  Some people need to petite through the armscye.  I need to petite just above the waist.  By removing 1″ the waist and hip shaping are moved upward and now correspond to my waist and hip.  This is not the same as the alteration for Scoliosis.  In scoliosis, the back puddles just above the hip and on up into the waist area.  In scioliosis, the hem will be almost even.  When petiting the fabric hangs up where the body is short i.e someone “short” between bust and shoulder will find fabric puddling above the bust in the front and above the shoulders in the back and the bust area may appear to be too small (yes while at the same time you have excess just above it). Since my “shortness” is above the waist (also referred to as short waisted) the puddling occurs above the waist in both front and back above the waist. The hip and waist appear too small but all the issues disappear when the BWL is applied.

DTM = Delta Textile Medium

A glue like substance applied over colored medium which keeps the medium from washing out of the garment.

FFS = Faux Felled Seam  Serged with 4 threads, pressed to one side and top stitched.  Gives the appearance of a felled seam with no where near the work.  I believe the industry calls this something else. If that is true, I will be deleting this entry.

NSA =  Narrow Shoulder Alteration

Can be confused with petiting because there will be some puddling of fabric in the center front of the garment. It can be positively diagnosed because every garment will appear to be at least slightly drop shoulderd and all sleeves will be too long. The NSA is essentially a dart which is removed in the center of the shoulder both front and back. My front NSA is usually longer, i.e. the front apex extends about 3-4″ longer than the back. That’s because at my age I’m also developing the rounded back commonly seen in the elderly.  I seldom need to perform the Rounded Back Alteration because the NSA also fixes that issue. How much do you need to dart out?  I usually remove 1″.  To determine you measure the pattern shoulder (less seam allowances) and compare with your own shoulder.  The difference is what you remove

PBA = Protruding B utt Alteration

An uncommon pattern alteration that adds width and depth across the hip. See blog post  here.

SA = Seam Allowances

Big 4 standard is 5/8″. Several pattern companies uses 3/8″ and a few use 1/4″.  Some patterns may specify variable seam allowance widths.  I use a scant 3/8″ because my serger and sewing machine both sew at a scant 3/8″.  I find this 3/8″ SA reduces the amount of trimming and clipping I need and occasionally is exactly perfect for creating a pattern which fits on the amount of fabric that I have. When first fitting a pattern, I do use the 5/8 and then trim to 3/8 during serging. My TNT’s are all altered to use a 3/8″ SA

SAS = Steam A Seam

A commercial product that I’m addicted to. I use it in place of pins. I find that it’s especially valuable in turing and securing the small SA on pockets; also wonderful for securing pockets, trim, anything in place for stitching.  SAS is responsible for controlling the fluting I experienced in knit hems. I also would not put in a zipper without SAS.  SAS holds the zipper and fabric together for perfect zipper application.  SAS will hold any edges that tend to stretch during sewing. The light version washes away after a few trips through the laundry.

SOG = Straight of Grain

TNT = Tried and True

Patterns which have been made at least once and can be relied upon to provide a garment which requires minimal tweaking to get the fit right for me.

Under 2’s

Fabric cuts less than 2 yards long. Most are remnants from other projects but some were specifically purchased in those lengths.

WFO = Walmart Fabric Orgy or 0rgies.

  • When Walmart made it’s great expansion across America and finally came to towns near me, one of it’s greatest attractions was the Sewing and Crafts departments. Specifically the $1 tables.  The $1 tables were a subject of great debate, both praise and condemnation.  I’m fairly sure Walmart put several fabric stores out of business. Truth is our budgets only have so much money.  If we’re spending the money at Walmart on $1 fabric, we don’t have the money to spend at XYZ Fabric store on $20+ fabric. Fabric stores weren’t the only victims of Walmart expansionism.  There was therefore great resentment towards Walmart and many attacks, not all, unwarranted.
  • Some folks couldn’t believe that $1 had once been quality fabric.  Even one of the clerks assured me, with great authoritative manner that “all” Walmart bolts had something wrong.  The lady standing next to me looked at her bolt and started to put it away when I spoke up.  I don’t remember the exact conversation but I did make mention that manufacturing had left America and many of these bolts had been filling warehouses because it was too costly to send them overseas, be stitched by 3rd world starving and sent back to American consumers. I also mentioned the Designer Bolts issue and well known phenomenon of “over runs” i.e. the buyer purchased too d@mn much fabric to start with. (Bad buyer.)  I’m also sure I mentioned that markup was often 300% to 500% of original cost  By this time the clerk was admitting that yes these were “wrong” things that could be the reason the bolts were here and of course, the lady next to me looks again at her bolt and decides to buy the 1/4 yard she originally desired.
  • I bought in 5 yard increments.  I had no idea what I was going to do, but I was fairly sure, even without the burn test, that I was handling rayons, woolens, pima cottons as well as the run-of-the-mill and questionable polyester.  For the price of $1/yard, I was willing to take them home, launder and see just what I did have.  So I bought fabric.  I was particular about color.  DH and I had agreed about a color scheme for the house.  That relieves him of the chore of shopping for home dec fabrics with me.  I also had “my colors”   I’d had an experience with a doctor which convinced me that my colors did indeed flatter me and so I stick to purchasing my colors.  My colors are spring colors.  They are usually available only in the spring whereas I need clothing all year round.  Anytime I found my colors, especially if it was wool or a good poly simulating wool, it came home with me in dress suit quantities.
  • Ah those days were truly wonderful.  I only shopped at Walmart once a month (I had to drive 50+ miles one way) and I never hesitated to buy 5 yards of any fabric which appealed to me.  It was wonderful.  Never in my life have I purchased and possessed so much fabric and most of it was good fabric.  Yes I did have the bad purchase and some of that poly was nasty once the sizing washed out of it. But mostly, especially while in Walmart, I felt in some sort of blissful haze as I looked at and selected from tables 20 feet wide, 60 feet long and piled 4 foot high.  If I looked around, there was always at least one other person in the same haze.
  • Ah yes, the Walmart Fabric 0rgy.  That was in the days when Walmart was making money.  Now Walmart has eliminated fabric from most of their stores and very little quality fabric is to be found.  Oh and Walmart, they aren’t making as much money anymore.  Wonder if there’s any connection

WB Waist band

WRT Wedding Ring Test. Testing to determine the sheerness of a fabric by holding your hand beneath the fabric.  If the wedding ring is visible, the intended garment will need adaptations for modesty sake.

WSS  Water Soluble Stabilizer  A fabric like substance that dissolves when placed in water.  Developed for home embroidery it’s been adopted by other fabric processes including dressmaking. Very handy for stabilizing buttonholes, decorative stitches and other tricky sewing.

WST  Water Soluble Thread  Like WSS this is a product with dissolves when placed in water but is in thread form.  I use for basting garments together prior to fitting. I use a 3mm stitch length. That’s enough to hold the layers together but long enough to rip out easily.  I pull the regular thread the WST breaks.  Sometimes I spritz with water before ripping; sometimes I steam iron; sometimes I just grab the thread and pull.   I keep a bobbin filled with this product. It is quicker to switch bobbins that rethread the machine.