The following glossary describes terminology used on this site and in the machine embroidery industry.

Term or PhraseDescription
applique (design)A design technique that incorporates pieces of fabric into the design as a fill area or background.
applique (patch)Designs stitched onto fabric for the purpose of sewing the finished piece onto another object as a patch.
backingStabilizing material used underneath the fabric being embroidered to help prevent fabric shift and registration issues.
bean stitchAlso called triple stitch. Three stitches are placed between two points, creating a bolder line, commonly used for outlining objects or details.
birdnestMessy collection of bobbin and/or top thread, usually between the embroidered material and the machine throat plate, or inside the bobbin area.
bobbinIn sewing and embroidery, the spool of thread which is usually below the working surface that provides the bottom side of the lockstitch.
digitizingThe act of converting analog or physical products to digital form.
For embroidery, this is the act of creating the digital file that a computerized embroidery machine uses to stitch-out a design.
fill stitchArea of a design covered by sequence of run stitches in successive rows laid parallel to each other. Fill stitches may contain variable length run stitches for randomness or to create a noticeable pattern.
flatbedEmbroidery machine that uses a table-top surface to support the product being stitched. The product must be able to lay flat for stitching. Common in consumer and some industrial machines. Commercial and industrial machines may come with a table to attach to the machine.
free armEmbroidery machine with an open stitching area, except a narrow housing below the needle for the bobbin, similar to a free-arm sewing machine. Some free arm embroidery machines will have a table adapter for flatbed use.
hoopUsually a circular or rectangle (with round corners) device used to hold materials being embroidered; attaching to the machine's pantograph.
hoop burnMarks left on materials after the hoop is removed. Usually temporary, but sometimes permanent damage occurs.
jump stitchMoving from one design element to the next design element without cutting the thread.
lockstitchStitching method that uses two threads, one above the material and one below the material, in a fashion such that the top thread is looped around the bottom thread locking it in place.
pantographPart of the embroidery machine that moves the hooped product for stitching.
punchingThe act of creating design punch cards for embroidery machines, prior to being computerized.
Modern digitizing is sometimes referred to as punching.
registrationThe correct alignment of design elements, particularly noted between fill areas and outline objects.
running StitchSingle stitch; typically in sequence to form thin lines and fine details.
satin stitchClosely laid zigzag stitches forming a column of seemingly parallel stitches.
spoolThe cylindrical device which sewing and embroidery thread is wound for storage before use.
stitchLength of thread used between two penetration points of the material in sewing and embroidery.
stitch-countLiteral number of stitches.
In embroidery, gives total number of stitches in an entire design.
In sewing, commonly used to describe number of stitches per linear inch.
stitch-outThe act of or physical product created by stitching an embroidery design.
tensionTightness in the thread supply system, preventing slack and ensuring a proper stitch.
triple stitchAlso called bean stitch. Three stitches are placed between two points, creating a bolder line, commonly used for outlining objects or details.
underlayLight density stitches in embroidery designs to attach the top fabric to the stabilizing material before the area is filled with other stitches. Underlay stitches are sometimes used to hold down loft or nap in some fabrics.