Fashion Glossary - Embellishments




Beads  Beads

Description: Glass beads (or seed beads) that can be sewn onto fabric, hand sewn.
Uses: Adorn dresses, add sparkle, create emphasis
Care:  Hand wash or spot clean. Dry cleaning (as well as perfume, deodorant and alcohol based produces) can remove color. Most gowns provide extra in case some are lost
Alteration Tips: Beads are strung in groups and care must be taken when hemming, etc. to not break the strand.
Expert Advice: Take extra care with beaded gowns as they are hand created designs and can be easily damaged. Be careful not to remove the color with your beauty products.



Lace  Lace

Description: Lightweight open weave, open spaces created by patterns are integrated throughout the fabric.
Uses: Use as trim or embellishment is popular, but some gowns are made entirely of lace. Popular for use in bridal wear, but also common for prom, mother-of-the-bride, etc.
Care:  Dry Clean, spot treat, iron or steam
Alteration Tips: Very delicate, must be handle gently.  Moderately difficult to sew.
Expert Advice: Contrasting linings can give lace dresses a beautiful layered color effect. You'll find subtle hue differences in bridal and more bold options for prom wear.



Sequins  Sequins

Description: Small, shiny disk used to decorated clothing.
Uses: Sequins are used as embellishments for gowns, they sparkle/shine causing a beautiful, fluid effect.  Great for pageant and performances.
Care:  Do not wash, spot treat. Dry cleaning (as well as perfume, deodorant and alcohol based produces) can remove color. Most gowns provide extra in case some are lost.
Alteration Tips: Hand sewing is necessary in altering a fully sequined gown, as you can break the needle if you sew on a machine.  (Sequins can be removed and then re-attached after alterations)
Expert Advice: Truly make a statement in a fully sequined gown! Take extra care with sequined gowns as they are hand created designs and can be easily damaged. Be careful not to remove the color with your beauty products.



Embroidery  Embroidery

Description: A decorated fabric with a treaded design.
Uses: A rich way to embellish a gown with colored or metallic thread.  Sometimes embellished with beads. 
Care:  Spot treat, do not wash
Alteration Tips: Easy to alter. Usually it will not effect the alteration, unless the embroidery is near a seam.
Expert Advice: Choose embroidered details on your gown if you want a rich look in subtle, bold or metallic colorations.




Description: An artificial gem or diamond that is faceted and sparkles.
Uses: To decorate a garment. Great for flashy or sophisticated details. Very popular in pageant, prom or bridal.
Care:  Stones are easily replaceable, most gowns provide extra in case some are lost.
Alteration Tips: If rhinestones are effected in the alterations, simply remove and re-stitch where needed.
Expert Advice: Even a few rhinestones can make your dress more glamorous. Clusters of them give you a stunning look!



Glitter  Glitter

Description: Tiny pieces of decorative sparkle material (plastic, metallic finish).
Uses: Can be attached to certain areas of a gown for a sparkly effect or incorporated with other embellishments such as embroidery.
Care:  Do not wash.  Do not rub the material, as glitter can easily be removed.
Alteration Tips: Fairly easy to alter, but make cause some problems when using a sewing machine.
Expert Advice: An inexpensive way to add glitz to your gown.



Appliqué  Appliqué

Description: Decorative needlework done on one piece of fabric that is then applied to another.
Uses: Used to embellish gowns similar to embroidery. Popular is bridal wear.
Care:  Spot treat, do not wash
Alteration Tips: Easy to alter, usually it will not effect the overall alterations (can often be removed), unless the applique is near a seam.
Expert Advice: Appliques add dimension to your dress with lace or floral elements.



Buttons  Buttons

Description: Usually disked shaped knob used for fastening two parts of a garment together.
Uses: Used to fasten one part of a garment to another by inserting the button in slit or loop, or for decoration.
Care:  Spot treat
Alteration Tips: Buttons can easily be moved for fitting.
Expert Advice: Buttons give bridal gowns a classic look when they line the back or side zipper (even if they are faux).



Bow  Bow

Description: A knot shaped with two loops and two loose ends.
Uses: To tie a sash or for decoration.
Care: Spot clean, can easily be re-tied
Alteration Tips: Can be easily moved or tied for the best fit.
Expert Advice: Bows let you get the perfect fit for your corset back gown or add a feminine element to any dress.



Belt  Belt

Description: A strip or band that is flexible and worn around the waist or hips.
Uses: To support clothing or for decoration, to accent the waist.
Care: Spot treat (care depends greatly on fabric or material)
Alteration Tips: Slotted belts are easily adjustable. Fitted belts can be cut and re-sewn for fitting purposes.
Expert Advice: Use a belt to accent your best feature or to help hide a flaw by placing it at the appropriate height (i.e.: empire, natural, low, hips). Give a dress new character just by adding a belt!



Sash  Sash

Description: A ribbon or strip worn around the waist, hips, etc.
Uses: For decorative purposes or as part of the garment.
Care: Spot clean
Alteration Tips: Probably won't need to be altered (if self-tying), but can be cut and re-sewn for fitting purposes
Expert Advice: Add character to your dress with a simple sash in coordinating or contrasting colors and/or fabrics.



Piping  Piping

Description: A thin cording covered in fabric.
Uses: Used for edging or finishing a seam or hemline.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: When hemming, the garment must be taken up from the next seam above the piping if the detail wants to be kept.
Expert Advice: Coordinating piping adds great texture to a gown, while contrasting piping gives you a completely new look.



Crochet  Crochet

Description: A hooked needle is used to make a series of loops into a patterned fabric out of yarn.
Uses: Crocheted work can be sewn onto a garment for embellishment or a dresses can be made out of it.
Care: Spot treat, Can be carefully hand washed (depending on embellishments), do not tumble dry, lay flat and mold back to original shape.
Alteration Tips: Do not cut unless the yarns have been tired off or the entire piece will unravel. Can be sewn with a machine to take in a garment. 
  Loose tension and the correct stitches are necessary because the fabric moves and stretches.
Expert Advice: Crocheted gowns have a hand-made feel.



Brooch  Brooch

Description: A pin with a decorative metallic design, rhinestones, or jewels. A piece of jewelry.
Uses: Worn to embellish women's clothing.
Care: Remove to treat fabric. Can clean with proper metal cleaner as needed, when appropriate.
Alteration Tips: Usually independent of the garment, can be placed or removed as needed.
Expert Advice: Add a touch of glamour to your dress with a sparkling brooch. You can even wear it again on another piece of clothing!



Jewels  Jewels

Description: An artificial stone cut with facets with a flat back glued onto fabric or set in metal that is sewn onto fabric.
Uses: Used to embellish a garment, has sparkling/shiny detail.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: Can be easily removed and re-sewn or glued in place.
Expert Advice: Large colored jewels give your dress a unique touch and you'll likely be able to find coordinated jeweled shoes.



Feathers  Feathers

Description: An artificial or real bird feather, a rod fringed with many barbs.
Uses: To adorn a gown. Jackets or shawls are sometimes made from them.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: Can be easily removed and re-sewn when altering.
Expert Advice: Feathers give pageant and formal gowns a textured, flowing accent.



Banding  Banding

Description: A strip of fabric that varies in width.
Uses: Used to hem or decorate a garment.
Care: Spot treat
Alteration Tips: If the banding is used to accent the hemline, the gown must be taken up from the next seam up so the banding will not be affected.
Expert Advice: Choose a dress with banding that accents your best features such as at the empire bodice or at the low waist.


Fabrics - Embellishments - Bodices - Sleeves - Waistlines - Skirts - Backs - Style Details