Definition of sew in English:



  • 1 Join, fasten, or repair (something) by making stitches with a needle and thread or a sewing machine.

    ‘she sewed the seams and hemmed the border’
    [no object] ‘I don't even sew very well’
    • ‘Pockets are roughly sewn or simply ripped out and the pre-worn look includes frayed edges, rips, cuts and laser-etched age marks.’
    • ‘Fold the remaining two pieces of ribbon in half, and sew the folded ends just inside of where you stitched the strap.’
    • ‘The doctors had sewn the wound shut, but some of the seams were not holding.’
    • ‘I have managed to get good stitches on light fabric, but when I was sewing a patch it caused these loops and tangles.’
    • ‘She rips apart the leather item and sews the pieces by hand into something totally different.’
    • ‘I've attached the sleeve on both sides and have sewn the side seam on one side.’
    • ‘Jacob Davis, a tailor from Nevada, took large pieces of denim and sewed them together with metal thread, to make what we now know today as jeans.’
    • ‘While his mother and sister spent their days sewing, the boy completed elementary and secondary school.’
    • ‘They are then sewn together and dyed if necessary.’
    • ‘‘You can talk to Rei while I stitch her up,’ Anzuko replied, still sewing the wound.’
    • ‘Her mother was a seamstress and her older sister sewed for Catalina.’
    • ‘Next, sew the lining exactly as you sewed the vest itself, again leaving the side seams open.’
    • ‘The school has 50 sewing machines, all the girls are taught to sew and the school makes some money from garments made to order.’
    • ‘These patchwork blocks are sewn into strips, then joined with plain-fabric strips.’
    • ‘I hated sewing, but merely joined in the gossip of the ladies as they sewed the cloth.’
    • ‘On the armhole seams, I sewed them as usual, setting in the sleeves to the garment, right sides together.’
    • ‘The upper part was sewn with vertical stitching to delineate the bodice.’
    • ‘And, as I usually sat sewing with my sisters and my mother, I often had time for such idle daydreams.’
    • ‘Charles had finished sewing the wound and was now cleaning the needle.’
    • ‘The children all had to design the costumes and then cut, stitch and sew the old clothes bought from charity shops into their new form during their weekly sessions.’
    stitch, machine stitch
    seam, hem, tack, baste
    attach, fasten
    darn, mend, repair, patch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial]Attach (something) to something else by sewing.
      ‘she could sew the veil on properly in the morning’
      • ‘Officers say they found the drugs hidden in special panels sewn into his tracksuit trousers.’
      • ‘But even with that decision made there's the question of precisely which name-tag should be sewn into their coats.’
      • ‘She'd threatened to sew on elastic strips and attach them to the sleeves of his coat, but Mike begged her not to.’
      • ‘He is seen in a cemetery, a yellow star sewn onto his jacket, searching for familiar names.’
      • ‘Use a French seam to sew the sheer side panels to either side of the center panel.’
      • ‘After the care and instructions label and separate brand label are sewn to the inside of the front panel, side seams on the leg and torso are closed and the garment is turned over.’
      • ‘Coded tags similar to the washing instructions already sewn into clothes could be attached to garments by manufacturers.’
      • ‘If the cloth is glued to the frame, sew it on with thread of the same color.’
      • ‘A Velcro tab is sewn into the inside of the hood to attach a pacifier.’
      • ‘She had on a white, sheer veil with pearls sewn into the hem.’
      • ‘Finally, the attendant picked up the pacifier, attached it to a ribbon, and sewed it to the child's shirt.’
      • ‘Medallions and appliqués are made with furs and hair of different colors and then sewn onto the clothing.’
    2. 1.2Make (a garment) by sewing.
      ‘the two sisters sewed their own dresses’
      • ‘He had long, flowing green hair and a long, brambly beard, wore a tight tunic, and had a mantle that was sewn with the finest white ermine fur.’
      • ‘She always wore the ugly sweaters her mother sewed her.’
      • ‘She had never owned a pair of gloves or any dress but those sewn by her or her mother's hands.’
      • ‘First she intended to sew herself a dress mainly to wear around the house.’
      • ‘Still, she grudgingly sews bell-bottom pants for her son and his friends.’
      • ‘The gowns my mother had sewn for me are hardly suited for Christopher's home.’
      • ‘The men teach their sons hunting and fishing skills, as well as how to sew their own simple garments.’
      • ‘Flustered by the woman's attitude, Francesca had hurriedly selected a sample of pale buttercup silk as the material from which she would like her dress to be sewn.’
      • ‘While courting Jeremy's mother in the fifties, he sewed her a dress for every date they had.’
      • ‘I then continued to resume the folding of various frocks and dresses that were mainly sewed by myself.’
      • ‘Her straw-blonde hair was in a plain bun, and she wore a matching bonnet and dress she had sewn herself.’
      • ‘Phyllis Toews sews a variety of fabric goods which she will sell at the Friedensfeld craft sale.’
      • ‘Balzano coaches her kids, sews their outfits from scratch and even drives the tour bus.’
      • ‘Call me lazy, but I don't really want to grow my own cotton, spin my own thread, weave my own cloth, and sew a shirt out of it.’
      • ‘Sid speaks up and points out that Aunt Polly used white thread to sew Tom's shirt, but now the thread is black.’
      • ‘One day, Ivana had found an abundant amount of leftover purple fabric and red ribbon and had sewn a very elegant dress for her.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • sew something up

    • 1Bring something to a favourable conclusion.

      ‘they had the match sewn up by half-time’
      • ‘Stand-in captain Kevin Nolan sewed things up in stoppage time with a clinical finish to give Bolton their first league victory in three games.’
      • ‘With any other challengers dropping like flies from contention, defeat of the Isle of Wight, plus another away win after, would likely sew it up for the West Lothian collective.’
      • ‘Lightowler and Stones sewed it up for the leaders in the doubles against Wrigley and Lawson.’
      • ‘He added that the costs associated with the transaction would be ‘relatively immaterial’ and that ‘it will take a couple months to sew it up.’’
      • ‘Two drop goals sewed the game up with five minutes left and a late interception try merely gave the scoreline a flattering look.’
      • ‘Having said that we have got to try to sew games up.’
      • ‘Town spurned a fine chance to sew it up with five minutes remaining when Stephen Cross was put clear by substitute Sean Pooley but shot wide with only the keeper to beat.’
      • ‘Ilkley sewed things up with a great try after Smith released Nulty.’
      • ‘The plan worked, for with just two minutes to go Foster made up for his earlier miss by sewing the game up when he hit his second and Boro's third to round off a competent and winning performance.’
      • ‘Two minutes later, Dave Nelson sewed the game up for Thackley following a quick throw-in from Declan Corby.’
      conclude, complete, bring to a conclusion, clinch, settle, establish, work out, resolve, decide, secure, tie up, wrap up, put the finishing touches to, set the seal on, seal, confirm
      secure, clinch, pull off, bring off, settle, conclude, bring to a successful conclusion, complete, finalize, tie up, seal, set the seal on
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Achieve exclusive control over something.
        ‘the courier market has been more or less sewn up by two companies’
        secure, clinch, pull off, bring off, settle, conclude, bring to a successful conclusion, complete, finalize, tie up, seal, set the seal on
        View synonyms


Old English siwan, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin suere and Greek suein.