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Backing The back layer of the quilt. Usually requires two widths of fabric (WOF) sewn together along the selvages to accommodate the width of the quilt.


Basting Temporary, long stitches that hold layers of fabric together until construction is completed. These stitches are longer, so that they can be removed easily when construction is complete.


Batting The middle layer of the quilt, between the quilt top and quilt backing. This layer provides warmth and is usually made of cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester, wool, silk, or bamboo.


Bias The bias grain runs on the 45 degree angle to the selvages. Bias cut fabric must be handle carefully, as it stretches easily. Fabric is sometimes cut on bias in order to provide a little stretch, or ease, when sewing around curves.  A bias cut can also result when cutting shapes such as triangles that will be pieced together in a quilt. 


Binding A strip of fabric sewn over the edge of a quilt to enclose the raw edges. The binding encases the raw edges of the quilt.


 Blind Stitch An invisible stitch often used to hand sew the binding on a quilt.


Block A unit of a quilt usually made up of smaller pieces of fabric sewn together to make a design.  Blocks are used together to make the quilt top.


Border A border is a strip of fabric sewn around all four edges of the quilt top and serves as a frame for the main design. They vary in width, depending on the project.  Not all quilts have a border. 


Chain Piecing A method of “speed piecing” your quilt top. Segments of the quilt are sewn together one after the other without stopping to cut the thread.


Charm Pack A package of 5” squares of coordinating fabric.  Most fabric manufacturers package charm packs in 42 pieces from a collection of fabric with some duplicates, depending of the number of prints in a collection.


English Paper Piecing (EPP) A technique of hand piecing a quilt by stabilizing the fabric over a paper template. Many English paper pieced quilts use the hexagon shaped template. The hexagon patches are hand-sewn together to form a design called the Grandmother’s Flower Garden.


Fat Quarter (FQ) A half-yard of fabric cut in half vertically.  The result is a ¼ yard, but the measurement is 18” x 22” , rather than 9” x 44”.  This allows for cutting larger blocks of fabric.


Flying Geese A common unit of patchwork made by piecing two triangles on the side of a large triangle to create a rectangular piece of patchwork resembling a “flying geese”. There are several shortcut methods of creating multiple geese at a time.


Foundation Piecing A method of piecing that uses paper or muslin as a foundation for assembling a block. The foundation stabilizes the fabric during sewing and ensures accurate blocks.


Free-Motion-Quilting Quilting on a domestic sewing machine using a quilting foot with the feed dogs down, allowing the quilter to move the quilt freely in different directions to form a unique design or  stitching pattern.  This is done after the quilt sandwich is basted together.


Fussy Cut Cutting your piece of fabric to intentionally capture a specific design in the fabric, rather that from a strip of fabric cut with no attention given to the design on the fabric. Referred to as “fussy” because the process takes a little longer since you typically are trying to center the design into the piece you are cutting.


Half-Square Triangle (HST) A 90 degree triangle formed when a square is cut in half one time diagonally.


In-the-Ditch A technique of quilting where you stitch the quilt sandwich along the seams where the quilt top was pieced. This emphasizes the blocks or shapes in the quilt .  Also referred to as Stitch-in-the-Ditch.


Jelly Roll A collection of 2-1/2” x 44” fabric strips, packaged together in a roll.  Most fabric companies include 42 pre-cut strips in one roll from the same collection of fabric, so that all the pieces coordinate.


Layer Cake A 42 piece bundle of 10” x 10” squares from a fabric collection. These are generally pre-cut by the fabric company.


Loft A term describing the thickness of batting used in quilts. A “high loft” is usually thicker and fluffier, while a “low loft” is thinner and more compact.


Long Arm Quilting Quilting done on an extremely large machine.  The throat of the machine is much longer, allowing for larger span of movement for quilting either by free-motion, or by computer aided quilting.


Mitered Corner A corner where two pieces come together at a 45 degree angle, such as a border or binding on a quilt.


Mug Rug A mini quilt used as coaster.


Paper Piecing A technique of machine stitching your fabric directly to a piece of paper. Also referred to as Foundation Paper Piecing (not to be confused with English Paper Piecing).


Patchwork The process of sewing small pieces of fabric together to make a design for your quilt top.


Pre-Cut Fabric Coordinating fabric bundles pre-cut by the fabric manufacturer – Charm packs, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Fat Quarters are examples.


Quilt Guild An organization of quilters who come together to share their love of quilting. Guilds usually have monthly meetings where they host guest speakers, hold swaps, have ‘show and tell’, work on charity quilts, and plan larger events such as sew-ins, retreats, and annual quilt shows, and community service projects.


Quilting The process is stitching together three layers of a quilt.


Quilt Sandwich The three layers of a quilt – top, batting, backing.


Quilt Top The top layer of a quilt sandwich.


Raw Edge The unsewn edge of a piece of fabric.


Rotary Cutter A cutting tool that has a round circular blade attached to a handle that is used for cutting fabric on a cutting mat.


Seam Allowance The space between the edge of the fabric and the seam.  In quilting it is usual ¼”. In dressmaking, it is usually 5/8”.


Selvage The outer edge of a woven fabric where the weft usually turns and goes back up through the warp.  It is more dense usually 1/3” – ½” and is include in the width of fabric (WOF) measurement, but is usually trimmed off and not used.  Some fabric companies have started printing decorative selvages and have made them desirable for collecting for various projects.


Stash Refers to a quilter’s collection of fabrics – not necessarily purchased with a specific project in mind, but rather to have on hand.


Stitch in the Ditch See “In the Ditch”.


Template A shape cut from plastic or cardboard and used as a pattern for tracing pieces of a quilt pattern for cutting fabric. Some patterns include a paper template if a special shape is required. Many quilters make their own plastic or cardboard template from the paper ones included in the pattern to have a sturdier template for cutting their fabric.  Acrylic templates are available for more popular shapes.


Walking Foot A special foot for the sewing machine that helps feed the layers of a quilt through the sewing machine with more ease.