Beginner Quilting Terms

Beginner Quilting Terms

If you are anything like Nathan or myself (Siera), then you know nothing about quilting. Kea gets so excited when she talks to us about quilting, but it is so difficult for me to follow her. For our benefit, and yours, Kea has put together a simple list of words for beginners. We hope that this helps you on your journey to sew something wonderful.

Beginning Quilter Terms

Adornments: Little sussies you have to buy for your sewing room to stare out in the designing

process. They hold no real value but cuteness.

Appliqué: Small piecing of fabric sewn to the background of a quilt. Often used to adorn a quilt

project with flowers or designs.

Backing: The back of a quilting project.

Basting: Either stitches or adhesive used to hold the quilt top, batting, and backing together as it

is being quilted.

Batting: The “filling” of a quilt. Usually made of cotton or polyester.

Bias: The diagonal direction across the fabric at a 45degree angle. This is very stretchy and has

the potential to misform your piecing.

Binding: A thin strip of fabric doubled to be sewn over the raw edges of a quilt.

Block: Most quilts are made with a series of blocks sewn from piecing fabric together.

BOM: block of the month

Border: Strips of fabric used to frame the quilt top

Chain Piecing: At the sewing machine, chain piecing is the practice of sewing multiple block

piecing one right after the other. An assembly line of sewing.

Charm Pack: A precut bundle of 5 inch squares, usually 40-42 pieces, that showcases a fabric

designers line of fabric.

Cutting Mat: A self healing mat used in cutting fabric.

Directional Fabric: A fabric design that has a defined top, bottom, left, and right.

English Paper Piecing (EPP): The vintage art of sewing paper in a numerical order on top of

fabric to create a very unique design.

Fabric Eighth: A piece of fabric measuring approximately 9” x 18” A fabric 1/8th is typically a half

of a Fat Quarter

Fat Quarter (FQ): A piece of fabric measuring approximately 18” x 22” A fat quarter is typically a


yard cut along the folded edge.

Feed Dogs: Located on your sewing machine, the feed dogs allow the fabric to feed under the

needle and feet

Finger Pressing: Using your fingers to press a seam open, to the right or left without using


Free Motion Foot: an attachment on the sewing machine used to freely move the quilt to design

a beautiful stitched quilt.

Fusibles: Various webs and interfacings which can be ironed or stitched onto fabric to give it

more stability.

Grain: Lengthwise and Crosswise threads of a fabric.

HST: Half Square Triangles

Jelly Roll: It’s not just a donut! A manufactured roll of 2 1/2 inch strips, usually 40-42,

showcasing the fabric from a designers line.

Long Arm Quilting: A quilting machine used to quilt a large, or small, quilt.

Mason Jars: a staple in storing bits and bobs in your sewing room.

Mitered Corner: A corner that is joined at a 45degree angle

Pressing Spray: (also known as Starch) used to stiffen a pieced block or fabric during the

ironing process.

Quilt Top: The top layer of a quilt

Receipts: a piece of paper you hide from your husband so he doesn’t know how much you

spend on fabric.

Rotary Cutter: A cutting tool that has a round blade and used to glide and cut.

Ruler: A heavy plastic grid lined guide to accurately cut fabric.

Sashing: small strips of fabric or piecing used to frame individual quilt blocks on the quilt top

Scrap Quilt: making the most use out of all of your leftover fabric pieces from previous quilts or


Stash: A pretty layout of folded fabric to make yourself look organized. Usually too pretty to cut.

Stash (The real one): a cluster of fabric you’ve hoarded over the years and hope no-one sees.

Template: A shape used as a pattern for tracing or cutting with your rotary tool

Walking Foot: A particular foot for the sewing machine that works along with the feed dogs to

pull the top layer and bottom layer of a project evenly under the machine.

WIP: Work in Progress

WOF: Width of Fabric