Glossary by nikeborome



Quilting is an ancient craft and is well known all over the world. It has its roots back in
the early 18th century. Based on the quilting history, it was originated from America.

The name quilt refers to a coverlet which is made up of up to three layers and the act of
stitching all the three layers together as one. Likewise, the term quilter refers to a
person who does or makes the quilt.

Album Quilt - Quilt made of many different blocks. If the blocks are
signed with embroidery or ink, the quilt is an autograph or signature quilt.

Amish Quilt - These quilts use large, simple geometric shapes, sewn
with vivid jewel tone and black solid fabrics. The hand quilting is the
highlight of the quilt. Based on traditional designs by the Amish.

Anchor Piece - Small piece of fabric used when chain piecing to move
the machine easily from piece to piece

Appliqué - Sewing small pieces of fabric onto a larger background fabric
in a decorative design.

Background Fabric - The fabric used as the background to appliqué
shapes or the patches that will appear as the background in pieced blocks.

Backing - The back fabric of a quilt, generally plain as opposed to the
pieced top.

Baltimore Album Quilt - These are album quilts made using pictorial
blocks, sewn with detailed appliqué.
Bargello Quilt - A style of quilt piecing, based on the Bargello
needlepoint. The many strips of rectangles are arranged offset to wave
across the quilt top.

Basting - Temporarily holding the three layers of a quilt (top, batting and
backing) together while quilting. Basting can be done with running stitches
in an easily-seen contrasting color, curved safety pins (pin-basting), spray
adhesive, a tacking gun, or fusible batting.

Basting Stitch - Long running stitches used to temporarily hold the fabric
in place. They are removed after the sewing or quilting is complete.

Batik - This fabric is dyed over wax resist in simple patterns.

Batting - The cotton, polyester or wool filling in a quilt between the top
pieced layer and the backing.

Bearding - The movement of batting fibers through the weave of the
fabric in the quilt top, resulting in a fuzzy look on the surface of the quilt.
This most often happens with cheaper polyester batting. To help prevent
batting, coat your thread with beeswax or use coated/mercerized thread.
This is also help to prevent breakage and knotting in the thread. You can
also use silicon spray on the fabric.

Beeswax - It was traditionally used to strengthen thread for hand quilting.
Though it is not required when using quilting thread, it can strengthen
regular sewing thread, if you need to match a color not available in quilting

Betweens - Shorter, thinner needles used to in hand quilting or to finish
quilting. They come in sizes from 8-12, with larger numbers shorter and

Bias - Direction running diagonally across the fabric grain or at a 45
degree angle to the straight grain. Bias cuts provide more stretch in the

Bias Grain - The diagonal (45°) direction along the fabric which has
stretch. Care should be taken when cutting and sewing on the bias grain.
Bias Stems - Strips of fabric cut on the bias and sewn in half lengthwise.
They are used for curved stems in appliqué and to outline Celtic designs.

Big Stitch - Longer running stick using perle cotton in a contrasting color.

Binding - A strip of fabric folded double and sewn over the edges of the
quilt layers. The binding provides stability and is often also a decorative
accent. This is the most common way to finish a quilt edge. Bias binding or
French Double Fold binding is done with fabric cut on the bias and is
especially useful for binding curves.

Blind-Stitch - The stitch used to appliqué and to finish the binding. This
stitch is almost invisible.

Block - These are the most basic units of a quilt and can be appliquéd,
pieced, or plain.

Blocking - A method for squaring up a block, unit or patch. Sewing on the
line drawn allows for a more accurate finished quilt top.

Bluework - See Redwork.

Borders - Fabric strips (pieced, appliquéd or plain) that are used to frame
the center part of the quilt.

Broadcloth - A lightweight, plain weave cotton fabric in solid colors. It
has a slight crosswise rib and a lustrous surface resembling poplin.

Broderie Perse - This appliqué technique uses floral print fabrics,
usually re-arranged into a bouquet design.

Calico - A lightweight, plain weave cotton fabric with a small print design
on contrasting background.

Cathedral Window Quilt - A folded patchwork technique.
Celtic Quilt - These quilts use bias strips appliquéd in Celtic Knot
Chain piecing (assembly piecing) - Continuous machine stitching of
each piece of the quilt without cutting threads between each seam. This
method is faster and saves thread.

Cheater’s cloth - A pre-printed fabric which mimics the look of appliquéd
or pieced quilt top.

Charm Quilt (scrap quilt) - A quilt made of many, many small pieces
of different fabric, ideally with no two pieces alike. Charm quilts are often
accomplished through quilter exchanges.

Clamshell - A kind of quilting filling pattern with overlapping circular
shapes, reminiscent of fish scales.

Contemporary Quilt - Any quilt that is nontraditional in style.

Corner Squares - The squares at the four corners of a sashed block or
bordered quilt.

Corner Triangle - A triangle sewn to the corner of a square or rectangle.
A quick method is to start with square.

Crazy Patch - A block sewn onto a foundation with irregular shaped
patches, using fabrics like velvet, silk, brocade, etc.

Crazy Quilt - A quilt made from blocks with no set pattern or design and
irregular or scrap fabric pieces. They are often heavily embellished with

Cross Hatching - A quilting filling pattern made by diagonal lines an
equal distance apart in one direction and then in the opposite direction to
form square or diamond shapes.

Crosswise Grain - The grain of the fabric that runs perpendicular (90°)
to the selvage edges.

Curved Piecing - A piecing method that involves sewing a convex edge
into a concave edge.
Darning Foot - A sewing machine attachment that is especially useful for
free motion quilting as it holds the fabric down only when the needle is
coming out of the fabric.

Decorative Stitches - Embroidery stitches used alone or in combination
with other stitches to decorate or embellish. Used most: the crazy patch.

Design Wall - A place on a wall used to hang units of a quilt. This allows
the quilter the ability to stand back and view the design before sewing. A
flannel sheet or flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth, hung on a wall works great.

Directional Print - Fabric with an obvious direction, such as stripes.

Double Corner Triangles - A triangle sewn to two corners of a square
rectangle. The triangles meet in the center. A quick method is to start with

Drafting - Designing a block or quilt on graph paper.

Ease - To seam together two different sized pieces by stretching or
bunching slightly.

Echo Quilting - Type of quilting where repeating, radiating stitches run
around and mirror specific shapes in the quilt.

Embellishments - Additions to a base fabric(s), added after the sewing
is complete. It can be the addition of embroidery, charms, buttons, lace,

English Paper Piecing - A quilt made using precut paper shapes. The
fabric is basted over the shapes and then whip-stitched together.

Fabric Stash - A collection of fabric.

Fat Quarter - A unit of measurement in quilting made by cutting a half
yard in half again vertically, yielding a piece measuring around 18” by 22”,
instead of the normal 9” x 42” quarter-yard cut.
Feed Dog - The teeth under the plate of the sewing machine that help
move the fabric while it is being sewn.

Feed Sacks - Printed fabric that sold as the sackcloth that would hold
flour, grain, seeds, etc.

Finger Pressing - Using your fingernail to temporarily crease the seam
edge flat.

Finished Size - The final size of a sewn block without seam allowances.
For example, a 6” finished size would be cut to 6.5” to allow for ¼” seam

Foundation Piecing - Assembling a block by sewing pieces onto a
muslin or plain fabric foundation, which adds bulk to the quilt. In foundation
paper piecing, tear away paper is used to make quilting easier but reduce
the bulk.

Four-Patch - A block design with two units sewn on top of two units to
make a four-part block.

Free-Motion Quilting - A machine method of quilting with you
controlling the movement of the quilt. The darning foot is used with the feed
dogs lowered.

Freezer Paper - A white paper having a wax coating on one side. It is
used in quilting as a template. It stays on fabric when pressed and is easily
removed and reused. Available at a grocery store.

Friendship Quilt - See Album Quilt.

Fusible Web - It is a paper-backed web that bonds two fabrics together.
It is used as a quick easy method of appliqué. The edges can be stitched
with a button hole, satin or zigzag stitch.

Fussy Cut - Carefully cutting around a motif.
Glazed Finish (Bonded Finish) - This thin resin often applied to
thread helps to prevent bearding or shifting of the fibers when used on

Grain - The warp (lengthwise) and weft (crosswise) threads of a fabric.
The crosswise grain, the weft, perpendicular to the selvage stretches more.

Half-Square Triangles - Two triangles sewn together to make a
square. A quick method is to start with squares.

Hand Piecing - Patchwork pieces sewn together by hand.
Hand Quilting - Hand sewing the three layers of a quilt together in a
design, by using a small even running stitch.

Hanging Sleeve - A 3 to 4” sleeve or tube sewn on the back of a quilt to
facilitate hanging.

Hawaiian Quilt - These quilts use a paper-cut design on the whole quilt

Homespun Fabric - Fabric that has a looser weave to look hand woven.

(Quilting) Hoop - Like an embroidery hoop but larger, this pair of plastic
or wooden rings helps to keep the layers of a quilt taut during quilting.

Interfacing - A lightweight, non-woven stabilizer used for an appliqué
method. The fusible kind can be used for holding your appliqué in place as
you stitch.

In-The-Ditch - Quilting stitches at the edge of appliqué or close to the
seams of a block (the ditch).

Label - A fabric label with the information about the quilt (e.g. quilt maker,
date, etc.) printed on with a permanent fabric pen, embroidery or computer.
Every quilt should have a label.

Lap Quilting - Assembling a quilt by completing all three layers of a
block one at a time by hand and then joining all the blocks together.
Lattice Strips (Sashing) - Strips of fabric between blocks in a quilt

Lengthwise Grain - The grain of the fabric that runs parallel to the
selvage edges.

Loft - The thickness, resilience, and height of quilt batting. Lower loft
batting better shows off the quilting stitches.

Log Cabin - A popular block pattern in which narrow rectangles of fabric
surround a center square.

Machine Piecing - Sewing patchwork by using a sewing machine. It is
faster than hand piecing.

Machine Quilting - Quilting your quilt using your sewing machine.

Main Print - A multi-colored print fabric. Choose one you love, and then
choose your other fabrics from the colors of this fabric.

Marking Quilt Top - Temporarily marking the quilt design before
quilting. Methods vary, but include chalk, light pencils, masking tape, etc.

Matching Points - Pinning units together so the points that should align
at the seam line are sewn that way.

Matching Straight Seams - Pinning units together so the seams that
should align at the seam line are sewn that way.

Meander Quilting - Random quilting stitches moving fluidly across the
quilt but not overlapping

Medallion Quilt - A quilt with a large, central motif surrounded by many

Miniature Quilts - Mini quilts made with traditional blocks in much
smaller sizes. Block sizes are 4" or smaller. The quilt sizes are 24" or
Miter/Mitering - A method to create a smooth quilting corner with a
diagonal, 45 degree seam from the corner point to the inside seam

Mitered Corner - Joining two borders, at the corner, with a 45° angle to
make a 90° corner.

Motif - The main element of the design. Usually in the center of the quilt.
Muslin - A light to medium weight, plain weave, stiff, unfinished cotton

Mystery Quilt - A quilt project, done in steps, without knowing what the
final quilt looks like. A good group project.

Needle-Punched Batting - To prevent bearding and shitting of the
batting within the quilt, this type of batting is punched through with barbed
needles to lock the fibers in place (much like in needle felting).

Needleturn Appliqué - In this type of hand appliqué, the seam
allowance of the appliqué shape is turned under with a needle as the piece
is being attached to background.

Nine-Patch - A block design with 3 rows of 3 units to make up a nine-
patch block.

Novelty Print - A fabric printed with larger pictures in a theme.
One Patch Quilts - Quilts made with a repeating single shape.

On-Point - In this arrangement, the blocks of the quilt are turned 45
degrees, so that corners are pointing up and down and the square seems
to be sitting on a point (like a diamond).

Outline Quilting - Quilting done around a design, outlining it. The
stitches are very close to the seam. It is also known as In-the-Ditch and

Paper Piecing - Using paper templates of shapes to assist you with
cutting and piecing accurately
Partial Seam - A seam, sewn part of the way and finished later.
Patches - Cut pieces of fabric. These are joined to other patches or units
to create a quilt block.

Patchwork - The sewing of small pieces of fabric together, in a design to
make a quilt top.

Piecing - Sewing pieces together to make a whole quilt. The quilt is called
a pieced or patchwork quilt.

Piping - A way of finishing or embellishing an edge of a quilt center or the
quilt edge.

Prairie Points - These are fabric triangles (squares of fabric folded over
into triangles) used as a decorative finish for quilt edges.

Pressing - Using a dry iron, in an up and down motion only and using
some pressure. This prevents stretching the fabric.

Pressing Sheet - A sheet that protects your project and your iron.

Quarter-Square Triangle - Four triangles sewn together to make a
square. A quick method is to start with squares.

Quick Cutting - See Rotary Cutting.

Quillow - A special kind of quilt that serves as a sleeping bag with pillow,
and folds up into a carrying bag. Quillows make great gifts for kids.

Quilt Design - The pattern used to quilt the layers together to form a

Quilt Guild - An organization of people who appreciate quilts and quilting.
They inspire, teach and help.

Quilt Sandwich - The three layers of a quilt. The middle batting is
sandwiched between the quilt top and the backing fabric.
Quilt Top - The top layer of a quilt. It usually has been pieced or
appliquéd, but can also be a whole piece of fabric.

Quilting - The stitches that hold the three layers of a quilt together.
Quilting is done in a planned design to enhance the quilt top design further.

Quilting Feet - Offered with most sewing machines, these special feet
measure ¼” from needle point to inner edge of the foot, making it easier to
sew a ¼” seam in quilting.

Quilt Frame - A large, free-standing frame that holds the layers of a quilt
in place. Some can be used for basting.

Raw-Edge - The un-sewn edge of fabric

Redwork - Quilt blocks prepared with a design done in outline embroidery
stitching, with Turkey red embroidery floss. There is also a blue version
known as Bluework.

Reverse Appliqué - A method of appliqué where patches are stitched
under the appliqué design.

Rotary Cutting - A quick fabric cutting method that uses a mat, rotary
cutter and grid ruler. It revolutionized quilting in the 1980's.

Round Robin - Done with a group of usually 6 quilters'. Each sews her
own centre motif and then these are passed around the group, with each
quilter adding a border or row. The quilt is a surprise when it arrives back to
the original quilter.

Salvage/selvedge - The ¼" to ½" edges of the fabric that is tightly
woven. They should not be included in your quilt. The colored dots on the
selvage are handy for picking matching fabrics.

Sampler Quilt - A quilt made of different block patterns.

Sandwich - Describes the three layers of the quilt: top, batting, and
Sashiko - Quilting done with embroidery floss and used as a design
element. It originated in Japan.

Sashing - See Lattice Strips

Satin stitch - a tight zigzag stitch with very small stitch lengths (just
above 0)

Sawtooth Edging - See Prairie Points

Scrap Quilts - A quilt made of many different fabrics. It is a great way to
use up some of your scraps.

Scraps - Smaller pieces of fabric leftover after cutting fabric.

Seam Allowance - amount of extra fabric added to allow for a seam or
the area between the seam stitching and the cut edge.

Seminole Patchwork - A strip patchwork technique that takes cut strip
sets and sews them back together by offsetting or staggering them. The
band of patchwork is then sewn to other bands. It looks intricate.

Setting - The arrangement of blocks and borders to form the quilt top.

Set-In Patch - A method of sewing patches with a "Y" joint.
Setting Squares - See Corner Squares.
Setting Triangles - The filler triangle patches that are used around the
edge and in the corners of a quilt top, when an on-point setting is used.

Settings - The way you arrange your blocks into a design. This includes
how you place your blocks (horizontally or on-point), sashing, blocks set
beside each other, creating a secondary pattern or alternating with a plain
or different block.

Sewing Line - The drawn line you sew along. It is an accurate piecing
Sharps - Short, thin needles with a very sharp tip primarily used for

Signature Quilts - See Album Quilts.

Sleeve - A tube of fabric sewn across the top edge of the back of a quilt.
This allows the quilted wall hanging to be hung on the wall with a rod.

Square-Up - Trimming the raw edges of a block or patch down to the
measurement it should be. Do this by straightening the edges and making
sure the corners are 90°.

Stained Glass Quilt - A quilt made with bias strips to resemble a piece
of stained glass.

Stash- A quilter’s collection of fabric

Stay-Stitching - A stitch 1/8 inch from permanent line of stitching on a
curve to keep the curve from distorting

Stencil - A design cut in plastic, in narrow slots that helps with the
marking of the quilting design on the quilt top.

Stenciled Quilts - Quilts with block designs that have been stenciled
with fabric paint.

Stippling - Irregular quilting stitches set very close together to create
texture and fill background space

Stitch In The Ditch - quilting is exactly on the seams so that it
"disappears" into the quilt and is not really visible from the front.

String Piecing - Strips of fabric sewn together on a base foundation
fabric. They are cut into shapes to become units in a block; or a block. This
is good for using up long, thin scrap pieces.

Strip - A long thin piece of fabric cut selvage to selvage. They are sewn
into strip sets and later cut down into units.
Strip Piecing - Sewing strips of fabric together, into strip sets, then cut
down into smaller units. They are rearranged to make a pattern. It is a
quick piecing method.

Strip Set - Strips of fabrics sewn together.

Summer Quilt - A quilt with a top and backing but no batting or filling

Tacking/Tack - temporary stitching to hold material until final stitching is

Tack Stitch - Stitches sewn over each other to hold in place.

Tacking Gun - A tool for basting which inserts a plastic piece into the
three quilt layers to hold them together.

Tea Dye - Dying fabric using tea. It gives the fabric an aged look.

Template - Shape made from cardboard, plastic or freezer paper used to
help cut out fabric or transfer a design.

Tied Quilt - Instead of quilting stitches, knotted strings or ties hold the
three layers of the quilt together

Tone-on-Tone - A fabric that has a subtle print in the same color as the

Trapunto - Closely sewn lines of stitching are stuffed with batting to make
them appear raised from the surface of the quilt

UFO/WIP - Un-Finished Products/Works in Progress

Unfinished Size - The size of the block raw edge to raw edge before

Unit - Patches sewn together, making up part of the block.

Wadding - See Batting
Wall Hanging or Wall Quilt - A quilt made to be hung on a wall.

Walking Foot - a special foot for your sewing machine that assists in
moving several layers of fabric or slippery fabric

Warp (Lengthwise Grain) - Threads running the length of a woven

Watercolor Quilt - In this style of quilt, small floral squares build up a
subtle, varied design

Whole - Cloth Quilt - A quilt using one fabric (usually solid white) as a
top, quilted with an intricate design.

Weft (Cross Grain) - Thread running perpendicular to the warp, from
selvedge to selvedge

Zinger - Small border added just outside the assembled quilt top to add
attention to the center

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