Sewing Terms: The Forgotten, the Misspelled, the Mispronounced, and a Wrongly Cut Fabric

Hi all!  Be warned that this is a short venting post.  If you think I’m wrong in my assumptions and presumptions, please tell me so. Because I have not stopped learning, and will never stop.

Forgotten Fabric:

SiBonne or Si-Bonne

The other day at my fashion sewing group meeting, another attendee asked whether “si bonne” or sibonne fabric was still available; sibonne was an underlining fabric back in the day.  Roz of Sew Much Fabric was asked about the definition, who defined it as a light fabric similar to china silk. That satisfied our curiosity but I wanted to know more.  I searched in my fabric dictionary books with no results.  I googled the term, and was immediately corrected that it’s spelled with an s and not a c.  Anyhow, the only information found was this Etsy seller’s page who is defining si-bonne as a “vintage rayon organdy” lining fabric from the 1960s; the package is being sold there for $20.  Anyone who can define and has used si-bonne, please let us know in the comments.

Re-named Sewing Term:


Tory Burch Fall 19 _FIO0053
Tory Burch Fall 2019 Coat is “tailored” to perfection for the model.  On me, it will have to be “altered” to fit.  Photo from

Whatever happened to the word “alteration” in garment sewing-speak?  Well, it is now being called ‘tailoring”, as in “tailoring a ready-made jacket so it fits better”.   Who is going around changing the terms?

Mispronounced Sewing Terms:

 Presser Foot 

Presser foot
Image from

It is not a “pressure” foot, y’all.  The correct pronunciation is PRESSER foot. Ask any sewing machine dealer.

Haute Couture

Haute Couture

It kills me when actual experts mispronounce Haute Couture as “hot” couture. It actually rhymes with “oat”.  Don’t believe it? Listen to the pronunciation on a YouTube video by Oxford Dictionaries.

And, for fun, images below are from Zuhair Murad (left) and Valentino (right) Spring 2019 Couture shows. Images from




Cutting Fur As If it’s Cotton

Here I’m cutting fake fur backing only, from the wrong side with small snips. Wanna see the post? Click here

“Misdeed” may be a strong term for this. Nevertheless, I’ve cut and made a fur jacket and did not have a mess on my hands at all. Why?  I marked the back of the pattern piece (cut single and not folded). Cut from the wrong side, using small sharp scissors and a short snipping action to cut the backing and not the fur. Separate the cut pieces by pulling apart gently – there will be very little fur to clean up.  If you use the usual hacking technique, fur will fly…

Sigh. Yes, change happens, but certain words and actions should not be changed needlessly.  Can you think of anything related to sewing which is now identified or done differently, or even has a different connotation?

Hey, I’m going west for a week.  Will see you on the other side of the week (as certain media pundit hosts like to say).


13 thoughts on “Sewing Terms: The Forgotten, the Misspelled, the Mispronounced, and a Wrongly Cut Fabric

  1. Well, one step forward (the fur cutting) and a few back (sibonne? will ask around). Altering is not tailoring, though in this use it strikes me as correct. Taking a tailored item (a complex build like a jacket or a coat) and tailoring it to fit you, somehow makes more sense to me than altering it. Which seams like taking one thing and making it another. Hm. This might be my problem, not yours…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In a past life, I occasionally “altered” a tailored jacket to fit someone a little better. I’ve also “tailored” a jacket from a piece of fabric. You’re right, this must be a personal viewpoint.


    1. I believe it is palate cleanser, and taken from the world of cuisine. A “palate cleanser” is a very small and simple course, often a little bowl of citrusy sherbet, between two more complex and probably heavier courses, at a multi-course meal. It “cleanses the palate”, or freshens the interior of the the mouth, so that your tastebuds are sort of “reset” and ready to appreciate fresh flavors. So a “palate cleansing project” in sewing is a small, fast project that clears your mind and freshens your appetite for complex, more challenging sewing.


    2. Maria, see Sara’s comment for a “palate” description :).
      A “palette’ with two t’s is a collection of colors, like an artist’s palette 🎨. Or, a designer’s palette where colors coordinate in a collection.
      A “pallet” is a base made of slats of wood.


  2. Thanks Samina for a very interesting post of questions. I was ‘gifted’ some Si Bonne! a number of years ago. Not knowing its value, I used it for gift bags for a class. My dear friend, Gisele, who trained in all things sewing in France was aghast. She informed me it was highly desired as an interlining, lining and even used in home dec. I love the feeling of this fabric and bemoan my loss. I do have small piece left and did a burn test. It is definitely rayon. However, Gisele has some in her stash from years ago and it is Sibonne Plus (one word) and reads 100% poly. She said her product was made by Armo. My product does not indicate a manufacturer. So, we have the same name, spelled as a one word and as two words. One is poly and the other rayon. I have not touched her Sibonne, but mine is a bit heavier than china silk. I’m happy to procure a sample of hers. My Si Bonne! label looks like the one in the etsy post.

    As for Tailor vs alterations, I am an alteration specialist. I can alter a tailored jacket but I am not a tailor. When I had a yellow page ad (long time ago), there was no heading for alterations, only tailor. On social media sites, there is also no option for alteration, only tailors. My take is that we are forced to claim ourselves as tailors. btw I have tailored many garments for myself and I have also altered the fit.

    Pressure vs Presser. Absolutely Presser foot which offers pressure on the fabric and that is quite a tongue twister when teaching.

    And finally Haute Couture is HOT’ but should not pronounced the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was very excited to find your definition of si-bonne lining material. I just found some is a bag of material from my mother. She had written on a small piece the name of the material. I am lining a small bag for my daughter for her wedding and this will be perfect!


  4. I’m 72 years old and have been sewing since I was a child. I just came across some SiBonne scraps in my stash while looking for Pellon to use in face masks. It’s a light silky lining fabric. I think I used it in a jacket back in the 70’s. Apparently it’s not being made any more.


  5. I just found some si bonne fabric in my vintage textile bin, that id completely forgotten about. It’s very thin rayon ( you can see my fingers through it) and almost has a sheen to it. I wish I could attach a pic.


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