Are you finding yourself needing to know a sewing term in another language? Did you find some vintage sewing books that are not in your language and could use a little help knowing what they say? Perhaps this list of English, Spanish and French sewing terms will help!
Why would anyone need this list if they have the internet in which to search? That’s a valid question! But sometimes a word means something in the general language but is used to mean something different in sewing. One such word that comes to mind is scallop. Ordinarily, it’s a shellfish. But in sewing it’s a specific design feature. For that reason, and others, I decided to share this list. I hope it’s useful to you.
Anyone who knows me knows I got my love of sewing from my Mom. She passed away a few years back and I miss her dearly. But daily I am reminded of her in so many ways. The other day I found a list that she had cut out from one of her paper patterns. It was a list of sewing terms in 3 languages: English, Spanish and French. I am guessing she cut it out for her own use, as her native language was Spanish. She was 31 years old when we moved to the United States. She did not speak the language but quickly learned it. I’m so proud of my Mama. =) These lists were routinely included in commercial paper patterns back in the 70’s. I’ve not seen them in a while so I wanted to save this list.
Although my native language is also Spanish, I now consider English my preferred language. I was 8 when we moved. So while I speak Spanish fluently, sewing-specific terms are best known to me in English. I found some of the words in Spanish to be new to me. It was interesting to see the corresponding words in French as well. I took French in High School and still remember a good portion of what I learned.
In Mom’s younger years in Cuba, it was customary for young ladies to learn sewing, in addition to etiquette and manners. A well-bred young lady would be able to sew, not only for herself but for her husband and children when those came along. I am so happy that I have several of Mom’s books that she learned from. It’s amazing to me that these books are decades old and still in great shape. And full of such detailed sewing techniques! I’m happy to have this list of sewing vocabulary to refer to next time I go through the books. For they are all in Spanish.
A note about the list – The Spanish and French words do not include any of the accents/marks. I typed this up using a keyboard set to English so it wasn’t easy for me to insert the appropriate accent/marks when needed in Spanish or French. Please forgive me for that and keep it in mind when reading the list.
Without further delay, here’s a link to the list.