Quilting Terminology

Appliqué: Stitching a design onto a piece of fabric in layers.

Background: The neutral fabric in your quilt. Not every quilt has a background fabric.

Backing: The fabric on the wrong side of your finished quilt.

Basting: The long stitches, pins, or plastic tacks used to hold together the quilt top, batting, and backing while you do the quilting. These are removed as you quilt or when you are done quilting.

Batt or Batting: The inner layer of the quilt that provides depth and warmth. Usually cotton or polyester.

Binding: The narrow strip of fabric that encloses the raw edges of the finished quilt.

Block: One design element of the quilt top. Pieces are sewn together to make a block and blocks are sewn together to make the quilt top.

Crutch: A very helpful guide to help you remember which fabrics go where in your pattern. This can be done with real fabric or art supplies.

Grain or Grainline: The threads that run parallel to the selvedge of the fabric are the straight of the grain; the threads that run across the width of the fabric are the cross grain.

Fat Quarter:  A piece of fabric that has been cut from the bolt as follows: a 1/2 yard piece, cut crosswise (like a sandwich) to achieve a piece that measures approximately 18" x 22".

Piecing: Sewing together smaller pieces of fabric to make a block or quilt top.

Quilting: The stitches that hold together the three layers of your quilt.

Sashing: The strips of fabric that separate blocks.

Scale: Relative size, as in a fabric pattern.

Selvedge: The tightly woven edges along the length of your fabric. *NEVER* use these in your quilt!

Setting: How the blocks or components of your quilt are arranged to make the quilt top.

Template: Physical pattern piece, made of plastic, cardboard, or paper.

Top: The quilt before you have put it together with the batting and backing.

Value: Lightness or darkness, usually relative.

© 1997 Catherine Timmons

If you found this article helpful, please feel free to print a copy for your personal use. If you would like to publish it in your quilt guild newsletter or share it elsewhere, please contact me for permission. 

Home Portfolio Events Shopping Resources
Profile Top

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31