Glossary of Quilting Terms


The method of sewing fabric pieces onto a larger background fabric using machine or hand stitching


When the batting fibers work their way through the top or bottom fabric layers of a quilt. It is often associated with inexpensive polyester battings.


Small, thin needles used for finish quilting. Sizes range from 8 to 12 with the smaller number being a longer length needle.


The diagonal of the fabric weave. A true bias is at a 45 degree angle from the selvage


Color that will not wash out, rub off or fade with normal use

Directional Print

A fabric with a printed pattern that has a definite "up" and "down", or grain.

Fat Eighth

A piece of fabric 9" by half the width of fabric (9" by approximately 22")

Fat Quarter

A piece of fabric 18" by half the width of fabric (18" by approximately 22")


The direction of the fabric along the warp and weft threads. When aligning templates "with the grain" they should be parallel to the warp (length) of the yardage


Also known as "gray goods". Refers to woven textiles as they come from the loom, before they are dyed or printed and sold as finished goods.


A reference to the thickness and resilience of batting. A high loft batting is thicker and fluffier than a low loft batting

Mitered Corner

Usually of a border, a corner that is joined at a 45 degree angle (like a picture frame)


A plain undyed cotton fabric available bleached or unbleached

Novelty Print

A fabric printed with whimsical designs. Also called "conversation" prints and "craft" prints.

Pin Baste

To use safety pins to temporarily hold together a quilt top, batting, and quilt backing so you may sew/quilt it


The formation of groups of short or broken fibers on the surface of a fabric which are tangled together in the shape of a tiny ball called a "pill"

Rotary Cutter

A tool that looks like a pizza cutter with a razor sharp blade. Used with rotary cutting rulers and a special mat. Can cut accurate strips and pieces quickly

Rotary Cutter Rulers

Acrylic rulers that are about 1/4" thick for guiding the rotary blade when cutting. Available in many shapes and sizes

Seam Allowance

Standard Seam allowance for quilting is 1/4"

Self-Healing Mat

The mat used under the rotary cutter. Referred to as self-healing because it mends itself after the rotary cutter blade has gone over it


The warp (long) edges of the fabric, finished and usually thicker than the rest of the fabric. Can bear the name of the fabric producer or fabric line as well as color matching dots.


Small, thin needles with a very sharp tip or point


A supply of fabric for quilting usually squirreled away in every conceivable nook and cranny in the house, garage, neighbor's attic, etc!

Stitch in the Ditch

A method of quilting where stitches are sewn in the "ditch" created by the joining seam of two pieces.

Strip Piecing

A method of cutting strips of fabric instead of individual shapes and sewing the strips together before cutting in to smaller block pieces


A plastic shape used as a pattern for tracing either piecing or appliqué pieces or for tracing lines to be quilted

Thread Conditioner

A treatment for thread that prevents tangling and fraying. A thread is drawn across a waxy or silicone-like material before being used for hand sewing


A dimensional design created by quilted outline stitches that are then stuffed with batting


The woven threads in the fabric. Warp threads are long and run from top to bottom in the length of the fabric. Weft threads run from side to side and are shorter.