A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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419.—Sewers, Stitchers, Sewing Machinists (not elsewhere enumerated)

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babies' milliner ; infants' milliner
makes and trims babies' hats and bonnets, usually of silk and wool fabrics, by hand or machine; in small firms, also cuts out bonnet; cf. milliner (408).
bagger ; edger, edge stitcher
sews, by machine, round edges of garment, thus enabling under-basting stitches to be pulled out.
binder, blanket
binds edges of blankets with coloured silks or ribbon by feeding edge against guide under needle of overlooking or blanket stitching machine, or with ribbon under needle of ordinary power sewing machine.
binder, hat leather ; bracherer
oversews binding of cord or thin cane on edge of hat leather bands by special brachering machine.
binder (hosiery)
operates a power-driven machine which automatically stitches braid to the cut edges of knitted goods.
binder, mat
strengthens and makes neat the edges of mats and Axminster, Brussels and tapestry carpets by stitching on tape or similar woven fabric with sewing machine, employing plain hem stitch, herring boned hem or blanket stitch according to quality of carpet; cf. fringer (carpets and rugs).
binder (rubber boots and shoes) ; sewer (rubber boots and shoes)
feeds and operates power sewing machine, the two bobbins of which feed thread and other bindings, to bind edges of boots and shoes.
binder (tailoring)
sews, by hand or machine, band or binding to tops of trousers and edges of coats and waistcoats, to give extra strength.
body maker (shirts, etc.)
operates a power machine stitching seams of shirt and vest-bodies; inserts gussets, makes and puts in sleeves and stitches in yokes; sometimes also fells, using single needle machine; cf. feller (shirts) and seamer.
see binder, hat leather.
trims, or embroiders, garment with braid, according to transfer, by hand or machine, after other processes are complete.
as for machinist.
button holer, button hole maker, button hole worker
cuts button hole in fabric by hand with scissors or with mallet and chisel; sews round cut edges by hand with button hole stitch, usually enclosing a piece of gimp or cord for stiffening purposes; fastens off at one end with a bar of stitching, see barrer-off (429); see also machinist, button hole; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., collar button holer, cuff button holer.
case maker
sews up scams by hand, or by treadle or power-driven sewing machine, three sides of featherbed, cushion, etc., covers; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., bolster case maker, cushion case maker, mattress case maker, pillow case maker.
centre maker (shirts) ; front machinist, front maker
machines front or centre of shirt; does front pleating, when required, by arranging tucks and stitching them by machine.
cloth piecer (textile mill)
sews together, with gadging needle, pieces of cloth to form one piece, preparatory to washing, dyeing and bleaching processes in textile mills.
cockade maker
works emblems, rosettes, etc., by sowing textile or wire threads on to cloth foundation to form a design; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., military cockade maker.
collar maker, shirt
sews together, by treadle or power driven machine, strips of linen or other material cut out for making collars or cuffs, neckbands and wristbands of shirts.
collar runner
assembles plies or folds of fabric and stitches, usually on power machine, first row of inside stitches, in preparation for collar to he "turned out," or reversed, for final sewing.
colour maker
works in colour loft of H.M. Dockyard, machining up bunting and flags for the port.
corder (upholstery)
sews cords, tassels, etc., on to cushions, curtains and upholstered furniture covers by hand or machine.
coverer of coat hangers
winds strip of material bandage-fashion round wooden coat-hanger, and stitches it in place; or makes two stalls by cutting out and sewing strips of material, draws one on at each end of hanger, and sews them together round base of hook; sometimes pads hanger with cotton wool.
cravat maker
a tie maker q.v. who sews linings on to ready-folded cravats, both inside out, with a foundation of buckram between; when sewn turns cravat and lining right side out.
a machinist q.v. who finishes handkerchiefs, hemming remaining two sides, left by runner-up q.v., and gives neat finish to each of four corners; sometimes also does running up.
cuff maker
sews together strips of linen or other material received from cutter for making linen cuffs, by hand or machine; cf. shirt collar maker.
daily sewing woman
as for sewing maid.
darner (not in textile mill)
mends torn or defective material or garments, by hand or machine; interweaves self-coloured thread both ways in damaged area of fabric, reproducing the pattern both as to weave and colour as far as possible.
drawn thread worker
cuts and draws out warp or weft threads over certain sections of material, and with needle and thread, gathers remaining weft or warp threads according to pattern supplied by designer.
dungaree maker
a sewing machinist q.v. who makes up pieces of blue cotton material, known as "dungaree," which have been cut to required size and shape, into overalls for engineers, plumbers, etc.
see bagger.
eiderdown maker
makes eiderdown bed quilts of silk, satin, or cotton material; machines sides, leaving openings through which down or feathers may be inserted, and stuffs them with down or imitation feathers; sews them with quilt stitch to keep the down in place, see quilter, and inserts eyelet holes for ventilation.
envelope worker
a fabric hand q.v. who stitches sections of fabric for airship gasbag together on treadle sewing machine; fits stitched sections on to sectional frame of airship and stitches by hand final joining of section; may also apply dope with brush to fabric on completed section.
fabric hand, fabric worker ; wing coverer
bastes, and sews fabric (linen) used in covering aeroplane wings and in making airship gas envelopes; cf. canvas stitcher.
feller (hosiery, etc.)
a chain stitcher q.v. who fells, (i.e. sews down edges of seam flat to material), in a felling machine seams of knitted fabrics, which have been joined and seamed in overlocking machine; guides fabric under felling needle, which is driven by treadle or power.
feller (shirts) ; seamer, side seamer
sews down to body of shirts, edges of fabric after seaming, cf. body maker (shirts, etc.), by hand or, more usually,- by power-driven single or twin needle sewing machine.
fine drawer (clothes repairing)
sews, by hand, garments or parts of garments with invisible stitch, i.e. fine drawing, used for very fine materials; cf. invisible mender.
finisher (neckties)
see tie knotter.
finisher (shirts) ; needle hand, needlewoman
finishes off shirts, overalls, etc., by sewing on collar bands, cuffs, buttons, etc., on power machine, and making button holes, by hand or machine; work often subdivided and operative specifically designated, e.g., collar finisher, cuff finisher.
a machinist q.v. who makes frills for ornamenting or finishing articles of clothing by machining cut lengths of material.
(i) operates power-driven fringing machine, which laces yarn through material, draws it out to i fringe length, and finishes it off by cutting it;
(ii) makes and knots fringe to material, by hand;
(iii) ornaments articles by sewing on fringe, by hand or machine.
fringer (carpets, rugs, etc.), rug fringer
sews fringes to carpets and rugs, by hand or machine; cf. fringer, mat binder.
fringer, shawl
attaches loose threads of cotton, silk or wool to end of scarf or shawl with a crochet hook; cf. fringer.
front maker, front machinist
see centre maker.
handkerchief maker
takes piece of linen or other material which ,has already been cut and (if necessary) thread-drawn, and stitches it (plain, hem, or spoke stitch) on a power-driven machine.
hems, or turns raw edge of material under and sews down edge of fold or hem, by hand or machine; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., carpet hemmer, hand hemmer or, handkerchief hemmer, hemming machinist, machine hemmer, narrow hemmer, plain hemmer, shirt collar hemmer; in shirt making, also inserts gussets or rents.
ornaments articles, by hemming them by hand or machine, with an open stitch called hemstitch, i.e., pulls out several threads of fabric adjoining inner edge of hem and draws together in groups the cross threads by successive stitches.
hosiery milliner, fancy hosiery milliner
knits, by hand or power-driven machine, woollen hats or trimmings for hats.
infants' milliner
see babies' milliner.
joiner (lace)
a stitcher q.v. who joins one length of lace to another, either by hand or by machine.
kilter (machine)
see tucker.
sews leather inside caps with special machine.
liner, liner-in (tailoring)
stitches linings, by hand or machine, into garments.
see overlooker.
machine binder (cork hats)
attaches binding round edges of cork helmets by sewing machine.
machinist, sewing machinist
sews seams, hems, etc., by hand-, treadle-, or power-worked machine, guiding material under needle along a line which is usually marked by tacking stitches; sometimes also attaches trimmings, tapes, braids, lace, etc. by machine sewing; by means of specialised machines or by special machine attachments on ordinary sewing machines may perform gathering, quilting, tucking and other operations; sometimes specifically designated according to kind of work, machine, etc., e.g. blouse machinist, carpet machinist, children's costume machinist, cloth machinist, cuff machinist, d'oyley machinist, duchesse set machinist, flag machinist, foot machinist, hand machinist, horse clothing machinist, horse rug and blanket machinist, mantle machinist, millinery machinist, oilskin machinist, overlook machinist, power machinist, rubber or i n din rubber machinist (flexible belts, etc.), silk bag machinist, surgical hosiery machinist, tie machinist, upholsterer's machinist.
machinist, button-hole
a buttonholer q.v. who makes button-holes with a button-hole machine; may cut hole with scissors or with mallet and chisel, or cutting may he done by punch in the machine; manipulates edges of hole under needle of machine; in buttonholing thin or loose materials, hole may he cut by hand or machine after machine sewing.
machinist, press cloth
see mender, press cloth.
machinist, spoker
see stitcher, spoke.
machinist, tuck net
machines tucks in finished net, on power or treadle sewing machine, with a multiple-tuck attachment.
maker, maker-up
a sewer or sewing machinist q.v. who makes, i.e. joins together, by hand and/or machine, component parts of articles of dress and other textile goods, already cut to shape by cutter (403); may also sew on trimmings, burtons, etc.; usually specifically designated, e.g. apron maker, baby linen maker, bag maker (not leather), belt maker, bib maker, body maker q.v., bow maker, camisole maker, canopy maker, case maker q.v., centre maker q.v., cockade maker q.v., shirt collar maker q.v., colour maker q.v., cravat maker q.v., cuff maker q.v., dressing gown maker, dungaree maker q.v., eiderdown maker q.v., elastic brace maker, fichu maker, flag maker, flounce maker, front maker q.v., gaiter maker (not leather), garter maker, handkerchief maker q.v., infants' robe maker, ironholder maker, lining maker, mattress case maker, necktie maker, overall maker, pad maker q.v., part maker q.v., pinafore maker, piping maker q.v., pyjama maker, rainproof garment maker, scarf maker, servant's cap maker, shirt maker, shroud maker, slop maker, stock maker, .surplice maker, tick maker, underclothing maker, valance maker.
maker-up, hosiery maker-up
see seamer (hosiery).
mender, invisible ; piquiere, rentrayeuse, stoppeur
repairs tears, by hand, using stoating, finedrawing, or rentering process, according to kind of tear and material.
mender, press cloth; wrapper mender
press cloth machinist, press doth sewer; mends, by machine, press cloths or wrappers used in expression of oil from seed by hydraulic process or filtering of slip in pottery works.
mender, sheet (wool bales)
repairs rents, sews on patches, cuts away ragged edges and roughly hems them, using sewing machine where practicable.
needle hand
(i) (tarpaulin, canvas, etc., work) see palm and needle hand;
(ii) (shirts, etc.) see finisher (shirts).
needle woman
(i) (baths) keeps towels and costumes in good repair, by hand sewing, darning, patching and use of sewing machine;
(ii) (domestic) see sewing maid;
(iii) laundries) see remaker;
(iv) (Post Office) a sewer q.v. who is engaged on sewing duties in Stores Department;
(v) (shirts) see finisher.
needle worker
general term for any worker engaged in sewing trades, e.g., finisher (shirts); sometimes refers more especially to hand sewers engaged in sewing fine needlework; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. art needle worker (407) plain needle worker.
overlocker ; lockerer, overlock stitcher
guides cut edges and seams of knitted fabrics under needles of power-driven overlook machine, thereby joining them together in neat fashion with an overlook stitch.
pad maker
(i) a machinist q.v., who stitches three sides of pads which are then ready to be filled with down, etc.; usually done by mattress case maker;
(ii) makes felt or jute pads to cover wire mattresses; sews binding round edge and fixes brass eyelets and cords, using hand or power sewing machines;
(iii) cuts out and stitches together pads of canvas, lining, wadding, etc., for padded parts of tailored garments.
palm and needle hand ; palm stitcher
sews various coarse materials, using a thick thread with a stout needle, pushed through material by7 means of a metal disc attached to the pal in of the hand by a leather strap.
part maker (ties, etc.)
makes and lines small parts of made-up ties and bows, by hand or machine, mainly using slip-stitch.
piecer-up (clothing)
machines together linings, after they have been cut by lining cutter (403) q.v.
piping maker (trimming)
fits up, by attaching materials required, and regulating tensions, and tends a machine (like a braid plaiting machine), driven by steam or electricity, used in plaiting two or more folds of cloth, yarn or silk round a core of cord, to make "piping" for use in decorating furniture, or in dressmaking and drapery trades.
see mender, invisible.
preparer of collars and wristbands
a machinist q.v. who performs first machine sewing operations on shirt collars and wristbands, ready for sewing on to shirt.
quilter, quilting machinist
sews, by means of a special attachment on a sewing machine, or by a three-needle machine, several layers of material or two layers enclosing wadding or other padding, the whole being thus firmly quilted or stitched in lines or patterns; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. canvas quilter, sail-cloth quilter.
quilter (mattresses) ; mattress stitcher
stitches sides of mattresses by machine, in such a way as to give them "gathered " appearance, and to strengthen them.
remaker (laundries, etc.) ; needlewoman
a sewer q.v. who restitches articles which have been unpicked for cleaning or dyeing.
see mender, invisible.
repairer (laundries)
a sewer q.v. who repairs articles torn during process of cleaning.
a machinist q.v. who hems the two raw edges of handkerchief material cut from the length or along two opposite sides of material for better class handkerchiefs, ready for crosser q.v.
scalloper, underclothing scalloper
stitches, by hand or machine, with buttonhole stitch, following the line of a scallop design which has been impressed on the edge of the fabric; cuts away with scissors, superfluous material dose up to .stitch.
seamer, French
a machinist q.v. who sews a seam that is automatically folded in to hide stitches.
seamer (hosiery)
(i) seamstress; sews parts of knitted fabrics together, by hand, with needle and thread;
(ii) hosiery maker-up, maker-up; guides knitted fabrics under stitching needles of a power-driven seaming machine, to join them together; keeps needles supplied with thread from shuttles; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., German seamer.
seamer, point; point machine seamer ; point stitcher
a seamer (hosiery) q.v. engaged on a point seaming power machine, which joins two selvedged edges by sewing together weft loop to weft loop.
seamer (shirts), side seamer
see feller (shirts).
seamstress, sempstress
used generally to cover any sewing worker or machinist, more particularly one who does sewing work in connection with any institutions such as a charity institution or a railway department; cf. sewing maid.
seamstress, masonic
a seamstress q.v. engaged on stitching work connected with masonic aprons, collars, and cuffs, by hand or machine; cf. masonic embroiderer (407).
general term for any person joining or fastening together textile materials with needle and thread (making or repairing) by hand or by machine, in a factory, shop, laundry, an institution, private house, etc.; cf. machinist, and seamstress; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. felt sewer.
sewer, button
sews on to garments, e.g. coats, trousers, etc., buttons, by hand or machine, usually "bagging" them on, i.e. sews them through forepart and canvas without catching through facing; sometimes also makes buttonholes; cf. buttoner (420).
sewer (calendering and finishing) ; stitcher-on (calendering)
stitches by hand, after it has passed through calendering machines, loose ends of cloth which have come undone in any other process.
sewer, cloth (textile mill); sewer-down (grey cloth)
see stitcher (grey cloth).
sewer, fine
a machinist q.v. who works power sewing machine with two needles for double row of stitching on rubber shoes; cf. binder (rubber boots and shoes).
sewer, hand; general hand sewer
a sewer q.v. who chiefly sews by hand, but usually also uses hand or treadle sewing machine.
sewer, lining
sews up, or seams up, linings, and stitches them into garments, etc.; cf. machinist and closer (404).
sewer, mantle; gas mantle sewer, incandescent mantle sewer
sews, usually by hand, asbestos loop on top of upright gas mantles; or ties asbestos round ring of inverted mantles, pleats bottom of mantle, ties it in, and fastens it with needle and thread, sewer, piece (textile dyeing, etc.); piece stitcher; joins, by hand or machine sewing, pieces of cloth, end to end, in preparation for dyeing in a beck, or rope form.
sewer (presscloths)
see mender, presscloth.
sewer, print (textile printing) ; print stitcher
sews together, by machine, different lengths of cloth which are to be printed as one piece.
sewer (rubber boots and shoes)
see binder (rubber boots and shoes).
sewer-on, trimming
sews buttons, trimmings, etc., on shoes or slippers, by hand or by machine.
sews up, usually by hand, fourth side of down quilts and mattresses, after stuffing has been inserted.
sewing maid ; needle woman, seamstress
darns, renovates, and converts household linen in hotels, boarding houses, institutes, clubs, private houses, etc.; in some places, also makes dresses, etc.; may also mark articles of dress going to laundry.
shirt front hand, shirt front maker
makes up, by hand and machine, from pieces of material cut by cutter, fronts for dress shirts, etc.; sews or machines shirt fronts into shirts.
(i) finishes cloth piece in folded form by stitching folds together, by hand, with a silk thread to hold them in position;
(ii) sews selvedges of cloth pieces with different coloured threads of silk or of mercerised cotton; cf. stitcher (grey cloth).
sleever (not tailor's)
sews together, by machine, pieces of material already cut to shape for making sleeves.
trims smock frocks, overalls, etc., giving effect known as smocking (a system of gathering), by sewing with honeycomb stitch, by hand or machine.
sou'wester maker
a waterproof garment maker q.v. specialising on waterproof hats, sou'westers, etc. stayer (hosiery); stitches, by hand, along an open seam usually in button hole stitch for strengthening purposes; obsolescent.
(i) general term mainly used to indicate a sewer q.v. when the threadwork is intended to be visible in the finished article;
(ii) in some trades used in sense of sewing machinist q.v.
stitcher, bag ; twiner
sews up ends of bales, mouths of bags, sacks, etc., by hand, in packing and export warehouses.
stitcher, canvas
sews, by hand, with strong thread, canvas screens in fuselage and outer covering of envelope of airship.
stitcher, chain (hosiery)
stitches bands and trimmings to shirts, drawers, vests, etc., by power sewing machine.
stitcher, edge
see bagger.
stitcher, floss
sews by hand, simple designs on hose with floss silk thread.
stitcher (grey cloth) ; cloth sewer, sewer-down (grey cloth), sewer, whipper, whipping girl
(i) stitches together, by hand or by machine, ends of those pieces of cloth which have to be passed through the one machine in bleaching process, thereby making possible one operation on one length of material;
(ii) stitch marker; sometimes also stitches distinguishing marks upon various pieces; cf. marker (grey cloth) (399).
stitcher, hand (braces)
stitches on leather tabs and elastic web to metal parts of braces, by hand.
stitcher (hosiery)
a seamer (hosiery) q.v. who stitches together, by hand, edges of knitted fabric to form feet of seamed hose.
stitcher, mattress
see quilter (mattresses).
stitcher, overlock
see overlocker.
stitcher, palm
see palm and needle hand.
stitcher, piece
see sewer, piece.
stitcher, point
see seamer, point.
stitcher, print
see sewer, print.
stitcher, spoke ; spoker machinist
a machinist q.v. who operates spoke stitching machine which makes a wide hemstitch, larger holes being produced than those made in ordinary hemstitch; threads may be drawn, prior to use of machine to increase effect.
stitcher, white room (textile finishing) ; whipper, whipping girl
as for stitcher (grey cloth), stitching together lengths of material for passage through singeing machine.
stitcher and stringer ; stringer
a fabric worker q.v. who secures canvas by sewing and lacing into position as required, on fuselage covering and partitions of aeroplane fuselage.
stitcher-on (calendering)
see sewer (calendering).
stitch marker
see stitcher (grey cloth).
see mender, invisible.
see stitcher and stringer.
striping hand (hosiery machinery)
a machinist q.v. who sews into position on men's pants, etc., sateen banding, by means of rows of stitches, striping, or who does similar work upon other hosiery goods.
suspender hand, suspender maker
assembles, and stitches, by hand or machine, various parts of ladies' suspenders; in small firms, cuts elastic to required lengths; sometimes also sews suspenders on to bottom binding of corset, by hand or machine; also makes men's sock suspenders.
tacker, bar
baists or tacks round buttonholes of tailored garments, to keep parts together before holes are cut; usually done by hand, but in cheaper work may be done by machine.
tacker (hosiery)
tacks labels on to folded and paired hosiery with needle and thread; joins hose into pairs, by tacking tops with needle and thread.
tacker (tailoring)
puts in tacks, i.e. numerous fine, permanent stitches, at pocket ends and other parts of a garment, to prevent tearing away; cf. baister (404).
tambourer (textile mill)
marks or embroiders cloth, either in grey (unbleached) or in finished state, by stitching thereon (by hand or with tambouring machine) a design, trade mark, letters, figures, or other distinguishing marks; cf. tambour worker (407).
tambour worker (lace finishing)
works a design on a plain net background, by hand, with a small hook, resembling a crochet hook; cf. tambour worker (407).
taper, taping machinist
(i) machine stitches tape round scalloped edges of lace curtains;
(ii) sews tapes over seams of unlined cloth caps, by power or treadle machine.
tassel hand, tassel maker
covers a shaped mould of wood, cardboard or buckram with material and fringe or with a number of threads to form a tassel; inserts silk or other material for tassel through hole in centre of mould, and stitches to mould, by hand.
tie knotter, tie maker ; finisher (neckties)
makes ties, bows, stocks, and cravats, by sewing together, by hand or machine, material and lining after they have been cut out; knots, and sews into position, bows and cravats; is sometimes a home worker.
tie slipper
slip-stitches together, by hand, edges or long ties, after they have been turned and lined.
top sewer
closes, usually by hand sewing, corners of handkerchiefs, tea cloths, tray cloths, etc., left open by spoking or hem-stitching; in Lancashire trade, often done by finisher q.v.
treadle minder (textile mill)
a stitcher (grey cloth) q.v. who operates a treadle stitching machine.
(i) sews on to finished garments, e.g. dresses, blouses, underclothing, by hand or machine, braid, lace, embroidery or other decorative trimmings;
(ii) inserts neckbands on shirts, by hand or power machine, and adds cuffs or wristbands.
tucker, machine tucker
(i) makes folds or tucks in shirts, pyjamas, etc., by hand sewing or sewing machine;
(ii) kilter (machine); makes decorative tucks in blouses, dresses, etc., usually by means of gathering and tucking sewing machine.
twiller (blankets and cloth)
see whipper.
see stitcher, bag.
waterproof garment maker
a machinist q.v. who sews together oiled, rubberised or weather-proofed material which has previously been cut out to shape of various garments; seams may or may not be also cemented with rubber solution; cf. waterproof garment maker (608).
weather hat maker
a waterproof garment maker q.v. who specialises on waterproof or all weather cloth hats.
welling hand
mends second-hand clothing, bought by a wholesale dealer for re-sale; sews in and finishes off new linings, sews on buttons, hooks, etc.; re-makes buttonholes; cf. clobberer (428).
welter, welting machinist
welts hose or other knitted garments by turning down a portion at edge of garment, by hand, over an attachment adjusted to size of turning required and joining it to remainder by stitching it in a power-driven sewing machine.
whipper, whipping girl
(i) twiller; whips, or binds, selvedge of cloth, on a small machine, to prevent fraying;
(ii) see stitcher (grey cloth);
(iii) see stitcher, white room.
wing coverer
see fabric hand.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.