July 30, 2009

Translating sewing terms

Last week, I send fellow sewing blogger Melissa a parcel to help get her through her time in hospital. Although she's back home now, it did reach her and I'm happy she liked it.
One of the things I sent her was a list translations of sewing related term from Dutch to English. She suggested that I'd put that list here as well for the benefit of those who, like her, enjoy patterns from Knipmode (or FIMI, Ottobre or one of those frumpy Dutch sewing magazines the names of which I always forget).
So here is it:


jurk dress

broek trousers

rok skirt

shirt/top top

blouse blouse/shirt

overhemd buttondown/shirt


hals neck

borst chest

taille waist

heup(en) hip(s)

been (benen) leg(s)

arm(en) arm(s)

schouder(s) shoulder(s)


stof fabric

katoen cotton

wol wool

linnen linen

zijde silk

voering lining


fournituren notions/habadashery

rits zipper

garen/draad thread

knoop (knopen) button(s)

drukker(s) snap(s)

gesp(en) buckle(s)

lint ribbon

band tape


patroondelen pattern pieces

voor front

achter back

mouw sleeve

lengte length

wijdte width

beleg facing

naald needle

tweelingnaald twin needle

afwerking finishing

rekbaar stretchy (if the describtion doesn't mention 'jersey' or 'tricot' this usually refers to wovens with some stretch)

ben. stof abbreviation of 'benodigde stof'= 'fabric needed' used by Knipmode

This is by no means a complete list but it's kind of hard for me to guess which terms would help and which would be useless. So if you are using Dutch sewing magazines without knowing the language, and you come across any words that might explain things better but are not in my list, please leave a comment. Just state the words you need to have translated and I'll try to explain them and make updates of this list.


  1. Thank you! This is helpful for me!

  2. Thank you--this is very helpful!

    Rose in SV

  3. Great have printed this off!! I have a couple of Burda and Naai mode magazines , that I bought when I was on holiday in Amsterdam and Utrecht. Most times, I can work out the garment construction from the technical drawings, however, I have been stumped by a few sewing techniques and Google translate, hasn't been that helpful at giving me the English equivalent. So thank you for sharing this!!!

  4. I forgot to mention, please could you add the translations for the words for other fabric and haberdashery related items : jersey (knit) fabric, corduroy fabric, bias binding, cotton twill tape, hooks, ribbons, pattern paper, dressmakers' wheel, tailor's chalk, elastic (regular and clear types), sew on interfacing, fusible (iron-on) interfacing. Thanks.