Interfacing and interlining are both unsung, invisible, yet essential ingredients in the tailoring and dressmaking processes. Interfacing is the extra layer of fabric that is set between the under-side of a garment — at a collar, cuff or pocket — where added strength and stiffness is needed. Interlining is the layer between the top, outer fabric and a garment’s lining, which again gives shape or strength.
Hobble skirts do what the name implies — make striding down the catwalk or further almost impossible. They first became popular in the early 1910s, when the skirt was often ankle length, tapering even narrower below the knees and causing its wearer to hobble. This knee-long corset might have been restrictive, but it had its moment; not only did it avoid ladies’ skirts from blowing up in an unbecoming fashion, it was a popular signature style of the great Parisian designer Paul Poiret.
Herringbone is the name of a very distinct twill fabric, woven in chevron print. Herringbone is a zigzag that reverses every few rows to produce a pattern like a herringbone’s skeleton — hence the name. It is a popular print pattern in in gentlemen’s suits, high fashion and also sportswear. Think the Duke of Windsor meets Christian Dior.
Hems lie at the end of a piece of cloth, where the fabric has been folded and sewn into place to prevent the material from fraying or loosing its shape. The process of hemming uses small, nearly invisible stitches to catch the fabric and hold it securely in place. A hem’s length also often defines the silhouette of the entire outfit, from mini to maxi.
Harem pants are long, baggy pants that are fitted at the ankle. They were originally known as a harem skirt and were introduced to western fashion circles in 1910 by the Parisian designer, Paul Poiret. Harem pants were inspired by Middle Eastern styles that date back much further that the early 20th century, however. At the time, the Harem pant was considered a controversial way of introducing trousers into a woman’s wardrobe. Poiret was inspired by images of the harems of sultans to create a style that was as shocking as it was liberating.
Handkerchief hems are when the hemline of a dress or a skirt is made up of panels of fabric that fall in points — like the corners of a handkerchief. The technique is particularly suited to bias cutting, drawing the eye away from the hips and thighs and creating the illusion of an elongated lower half of the body.
H-Line was one of the silhouettes introduced by Christian Dior. This silhouette was introduced in 1954 and, as the letter ‘H’ implies, was straight with a slight accent on the waist (the bar of the ‘H’). It was popular for emphasising length in the leg, making it a feminine shape, rather than something square and boxy.