glossary of terms discover our passion through our fabrics, textures and crafts.
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satin stitch Used for pictorial detailing such as flora and fauna. Straight, long stitches worked closely together either vertically or at an angle to fill a large area. Characterized by its satiny surface.

seed beads Colored or clear, seed beads are tiny beads made of crystal, plastic or glass. Used in jewelry or as embellishment for garments or accessories, they add a luminescent quality to the piece. The care label of a garment will generally indicate whether or not special care is required for laundering an item decorated with seed beads.

semiprecious Gemstones are generally divided into two categories— precious and semiprecious. Precious stones are diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Semiprecious stones are too plentiful to be considered rare (jade, garnet and tourmaline), but are still more valuable than manmade imitation stones. Some feel these stones give the wearer a closer connection to the Earth, and believe they possess restorative properties.

sequin A small, shiny, iridescent pierced disk in metal or plastic sewn onto garments for decorative effect to cover a portion or entire surface area. It’s usually larger, faceted and more reflective than a paillette.

shearling The skin and wool of a shearling (a year-old sheep that has been sheared once) or a newly sheared sheep or lamb that is removed and then tanned.

shell The inside of most seashells are coated with a thin, shiny layer called the nacre—the same stuff pearls are made of. When light plays off the nacre, it shows a range of colors. Some of the best-known shells used in fashion are abalone, akoya, mother-of-pearl and mussel, although there is a wide range of available varieties, as well as synthetic alternatives.

sherpa As the garment is woven, the outside of this cotton-backed fabric is brushed with a wire brush to give the garment a very soft "fuzzy" feel.

smocking Detailing created by gathering fabric with stitches that cross each other diagonally. Often done with colored embroidery thread, it’s a vintage sewing technique that you may remember from your favorite childhood party dress.

smoky topaz This is, in fact, smoky quartz. The two are often confused, but genuine smoky topaz is extremely rare and the most precious is wine-yellow in color. Smoky quartz is a transparent variety of crystalline quartz in colors that range from deep, dark sable brown to a lighter smoky version. In British history, Queen Elizabeth I’s court spiritualist’s crystal ball was made of smoky quartz. It is also the national gem of Scotland, whose national scepter includes a large smoky quartz stone on its top.

soft-ribbed cotton A fine-ribbed cotton knit using altering wales.

soutache Also known as a Russian braid, it’s a flat narrow braid in a herringbone pattern. It’s used for trimming and embroidery, and is applied in rows, or more often, in complex ornamental patterns to decorate areas of a garment. Most often used on jackets, hems of skirts and dresses.

space dyed A yarn dyeing or printing process where individual strands receive more than one color at irregular intervals. It produces an effect that appears unorganized or random in design.

sterling silver A lustrous metal that contains 92.5 parts silver and 7.5 parts copper or other base metals (copper increases its hardness). It is more valuable than base metals due to the purity of its makeup, which also makes it a hypoallergenic choice.

stretch baby terry A soft, luxurious blend of cotton and either Lycra® or spandex. It has a smooth face and a looped back that is soft, comfortable and definitely not as hot as a sweatshirt.

stretch indigo-dyed Tencel®. Eco-friendly Tencel (derived from wood pulp and harvested in a nontoxic way) is dyed to imitate indigo denim. It has the wonderful ease and drape of tencel, and the carefree charm of denim. Combined with stretch, you will truly enter the comfort zone.

suede Leather, usually lambskin, pigskin or splits of cowhide that have been buffed with an emery wheel on the flesh side to raise a slight nap. Suede drapes beautifully and has a wonderfully soft texture. To protect it, professional leather cleaning is recommended. Suede achieves a wonderful lived-in patina with age.

summertime cotton A J. Jill term for soft, lightweight cotton infused with Lycra® spandex for ease and rumple resistance. It is slightly textured and slubby, giving it a relaxed yet refined attitude.

Swiss dot (also called "dotted swiss") Sheer cotton accented with small fabric dots, of the same or contrasting color, spaced at regular intervals. The dots are created by weaving small circles of extra yarn into the fabric. The dots are then cut to create tufted "dots." A familiar fabric from childhood party dresses, it has a lovely, romantic feel.