Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Right side / Wrong side

In the world of sewing, understanding the concept of right side and wrong side is essential for achieving professional-looking results. The terms “right side” and “wrong siderefer to the visible and non-visible sides of a fabric, respectively. As a seamstress or pattern maker, discerning between the two is crucial for proper fabric handling, pattern layout and creating garments with impeccable finishes. In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify the meaning of right side and wrong side, explore how to identify them and discuss their practical applications in the sewing process.

Right Side and Wrong Side: Unveiling the Fabric’s Dual Nature

Defining Right Side and Wrong Side

  • The right side of a fabric is the intended visible side, typically showcasing the fabric’s pattern, texture, or design.
  • The wrong side, also known as the back side or reverse side, is the non-visible, often less finished side of the fabric.

Identifying the Right Side

  1. Print or Design:
  • Fabrics with prints, patterns, or motives usually have a more vibrant or detailed side, which is the right side.
  • Look for elements like a clearer print, more defined colors, or a distinct pattern orientation.
  1. Finish and Texture:
  • Some fabrics have different finishes or textures on each side, with the right side having a smoother or more polished feel.
  • Run your fingers across the fabric to compare the texture and choose the smoother side as the right side.
  1. Selvage:
  • The selvage is the tightly woven edge of the fabric, often featuring information such as brand name, designer or fabric content.
  • The right side is usually found on the opposite side of the selvage.

Practical Applications of Right Side and Wrong Side

  1. Pattern Layout:

When using sewing patterns, it’s important to align the pattern pieces according to the instructions and mark the right side on each piece. This ensures accurate garment construction and consistent design placement.

  1. Seam Alignment:

When joining fabric pieces together, it is crucial to align the right sides of the fabric to achieve a clean and seamless finish. Pin or baste the fabric with the right sides facing each other before stitching.

  1. Finishing Techniques:

Finishing techniques such as hems, facings and bindings are typically applied to the wrong side of the fabric to conceal raw edges and create a neat appearance on the right side.

Care and Handling

  1. Fabric Preparation:

Before cutting and sewing, it’s advisable to pre-wash or pre-treat the fabric according to its care instructions. This step helps to prevent shrinkage or color bleeding and ensures consistent behavior between the right and wrong sides.

  1. Marking and Labeling:

To avoid confusion during the sewing process, mark the wrong side of the fabric or label the pattern pieces accordingly. Use removable fabric markers, pins, or masking tape to clearly distinguish between the two sides.


Understanding the difference between the right side and wrong side of fabric is essential for successful garment construction. By identifying the right side through design elements, texture, and selvage, you can ensure proper pattern layout, seam alignment, and finishing techniques. Take the time to handle and care for your fabric, and make clear markings to avoid confusion. With this knowledge, you’ll create beautifully constructed garments that showcase the fabric’s intended design and achieve professional-level sewing results.

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Melissa Villegas
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