Here is a quilting glossary organized alphabetically

quilt glossary


  • Appliqué: Sewing a piece of fabric onto a larger piece to create a design.
  • Amish Quilt: A type of quilt traditionally made by the Amish, usually featuring bold colors and geometric patterns.
  • Album Quilt: A quilt with different blocks, each designed and/or signed by different people.
  • Art Quilt: A quilt that’s primarily designed to be displayed as art.
  • Assembly Line Sewing: A method of chain piecing similar parts of a quilt all at once.


  • Binding: The edge finish of the quilt, which encases raw edges.
  • Block: A piece of fabric or a group of pieces sewn together to form a square or rectangle used in constructing a quilt top.
  • Batting: The middle layer of a quilt, placed between the top and the backing.
  • Basting: Long, loose stitches to hold the layers of a quilt together temporarily.
  • Backing: The bottom layer of a quilt.


  • Charm Pack: A set of pre-cut squares from a fabric line.
  • Crazy Quilt: A quilt made of irregularly shaped pieces of fabric sewn together.
  • Chain Piecing: A sewing method where multiple pieces are fed into the machine one after another without cutting the thread.
  • Cornerstone: The square at the intersection of the borders in a quilt.
  • Curved Piecing: The process of joining two or more pieces of fabric along a curve.


  • Dresden Plate: A quilt block design made from a number of fabric “petals”.
  • Diamond: A four-sided shape used in quilting patterns.
  • Drunkard’s Path: A quilt pattern made from quarter-circle fabric patches.
  • Double Wedding Ring: A classic quilt pattern featuring overlapping circles.
  • Domestic Sewing Machine: A machine designed for use at home, as opposed to an industrial machine.


  • Echo Quilting: Quilting that follows the outline of the appliqué or piece shapes in the quilt top.
  • English Paper Piecing: A method of hand piecing where fabric wraps around a paper shape for stability and accuracy.
  • Embellishment: The addition of decorative elements such as buttons, ribbons, or beads to a quilt.
  • Edge-to-Edge Quilting: A continuous quilting design that extends over the entire surface of the quilt.
  • Even Feed Foot: A special sewing machine foot that feeds the layers of the quilt through the machine evenly.


  • Fat Quarter: A quarter-yard piece of fabric, cut wide (approximately 18″ x 22″).
  • Feed Dogs: The teeth under the sewing area move the fabric through the machine.
  • Foundation Paper Piecing: A piecing method that uses a printed pattern as a guide for sewing.
  • Four-Patch Block: A block made from four equally-sized squares.
  • Free-Motion Quilting: A method of quilting where the quilter controls the stitch length and direction.


  • Grain: The orientation of threads in the fabric.
  • Guild: A group of quilters who meet to share their love of quilting.
  • Greige Goods: Unprinted, unbleached fabric.
  • Grandmother’s Flower Garden: A traditional quilt pattern made up of hexagons, resembling a flower garden.
  • Guide: A tool or a line drawn to ensure straight stitching.


  • Hand Quilting: The process of sewing the quilt layers together by hand.
  • Half-Square Triangle: A square made from two right triangles.
  • Hanging Sleeve: A tube of fabric attached to the back of a quilt to allow it to be hung from a rod.
  • Hexagon: A six-sided shape often used in quilting.
  • Homespun: A type of fabric with a rough texture, often used in country-style quilts.


  • In-the-ditch Quilting: Stitching in the “ditch” or seam line between two pieces.
  • Invisible Thread: A very fine thread that’s nearly invisible when sewn.
  • Iron-on Transfer: A design printed on paper that can be transferred to fabric with an iron.
  • Interfacing: A material added to the fabric to provide additional stability.
  • Inseam: The distance from the center of the crotch to the bottom of the leg.


  • Jelly Roll: A bundle of fabric strips, each measuring 2.5″ x 44″.
  • Japanese Fold: A method of folding fabric for storage.
  • Jointed Line: The intersection of two or more quilt blocks.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Quilt: A quilt design composed of irregular, interlocking pieces, similar to a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Jacob’s Ladder: A traditional quilt block pattern made up of a mix of two basic units.


  • Knot: The loop formed by a thread.
  • Knife Edge: A method of finishing the edges of a quilt without binding.
  • Kaleidoscope Quilt: A quilt made from blocks that look like a kaleidoscope.
  • Keyhole: A small hole in the top of a garment or bag.
  • Keepsake Quilting: The act of creating quilts for special occasions or as heirlooms.


  • Layer Cake: A bundle of fabric cuts, each measuring 10″ x 10″.
  • Loft: The height/thickness of quilt batting.
  • Log Cabin: A traditional quilt block pattern made up of strips.
  • Long Arm Quilting Machine: A large machine that speeds up the quilting process, often used for large or commercial projects.
  • Lap Quilt: A smaller quilt designed to be used for covering one’s lap or legs.


  • Machine Quilting: The process of using a sewing machine or longarm machine to sew together the layers of a quilt.
  • Meandering: A type of free-motion quilting that resembles a random, wandering path.
  • Medallion: A quilt layout design that begins with a central motif and expands with multiple borders.
  • Mitered Corner: A corner that’s sewn at a 45-degree angle.
  • Muslin: A type of cotton fabric often used for quilt backings and testing patterns.


  • Needle Turn Appliqué: An appliqué technique where the seam allowance is turned under with the needle as you hand stitch.
  • Nine Patch: A quilt block made up of nine squares.
  • Notions: Tools and accessories used in quilting, such as needles, thread, and pins.
  • Nesting Seams: Aligning the seams of two pieces being sewn together in such a way that they “nest” together, reducing bulk.
  • Novelty Print: Fabric printed with themed designs or characters.


  • On Point: Squares set diagonally in a quilt layout.
  • Open Seam: A seam pressed open, with each side lying flat.
  • Orange Peel: A quilt pattern that resembles the segments of an orange.
  • Overlay Appliqué: A type of appliqué where the appliqué pieces overlap each other.
  • Ohio Star: A traditional quilt block pattern.


  • Patchwork: A form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design.
  • Paper Piecing: A process that uses a paper or muslin pattern as a guide for constructing a quilt block.
  • Piecing: The process of sewing fabric pieces together to form a quilt top.
  • Prairie Points: Folded triangles of fabric are used to decorate the edges of a quilt.
  • Pre-Cuts: Fabric that is cut into specific shapes and sizes and sold in packs.


  • Quilt Top: The uppermost layer of a quilt, made up of pieced or appliquéd fabric.
  • Quilt Sandwich: The three layers that make up the quilt – the quilt top, batting, and backing.
  • Quilting: The process of sewing the three layers of a quilt together.
  • Quilt as You Go (QAYG): A method of quilting in which each block is quilted individually before being joined together.
  • Quilter’s Knot: A type of knot used when hand sewing quilting stitches.


  • Raw Edge: The cut edge of the fabric.
  • Rotary Cutter: A tool with a round blade used for cutting fabric.
  • Ruler: A tool used to measure and cut fabric.
  • Rail Fence: A simple quilt pattern made from strips.
  • Running Stitch: A basic hand or machine stitch.


  • Seam: The line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or a quilt.
  • Selvage: The finished edges that run lengthwise along the fabric, often marked with the designer and color information.
  • Setting: The layout of blocks in a quilt.
  • Stash: The collection of fabrics a quilter keeps for future projects.
  • Sashing: Strips of fabric that are used to separate the blocks in a quilt.
  • Stippling: A quilting technique that involves sewing a random, squiggly design.


  • Template: A pattern or guide used to cut fabric into the correct shape and size.
  • Thimble: A small metal or plastic cap worn on the finger to protect it when pushing a needle through fabric.
  • Thread Count: The number of threads in one square inch of fabric. The higher the count, the finer the fabric.
  • Tied Quilt: A quilt that is secured through all layers at intervals by threads or yarn.
  • Trim: To cut away excess fabric or thread.
  • Trapunto: A method of quilting that results in a raised surface on the quilt.


  • Underquilt: A quilt that hangs underneath a hammock (or occasionally a bed) for insulation purposes.
  • Unfinished Edge: An edge of fabric that is not hemmed or finished, which can easily fray.
  • Utility Quilt: A quilt designed for everyday use as opposed to decorative or exhibition purposes.


  • Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
  • Variegated Thread: Thread that changes color along its length.
  • Velveteen: A type of fabric with a short, dense pile, similar to velvet.
  • Vertical Quilting: Quilting lines that run from the top to the bottom of a quilt.
  • Vignette: A small, decorative design or picture on fabric.
  • Vintage Quilt: A quilt that is at least 30 years old.


  • Wadding: Also known as batting, this is the layer of insulation between the quilt top and the quilt back.
  • Walking Foot: A sewing machine attachment that evenly feeds layers of fabric through the machine.
  • Wholecloth Quilt: A quilt made from a single piece of fabric, typically featuring elaborate quilting stitches.
  • Width of Fabric (WOF): The distance from one selvage to the other, typically 42″ to 44″ for quilting cotton.
  • Woven Fabric: Fabric is produced by weaving two sets of yarns so that they cross each other.


  • X-Block: A square quilt block with an ‘X’ design in the center.
  • X-Stitch: A cross-stitch or ‘X’ formed with thread on fabric.
  • X-ray Fabric: A novelty fabric that mimics the look of an X-ray.


  • Yardage: The amount of fabric measured in yards.
  • Yarn Dyed: Fabric where the yarns have been dyed before weaving.
  • Yo-Yo: A small, round piece of fabric gathered at the edges to form a small puff. They can be sewn together to make a type of quilt.
  • Y-Seam: A seam that forms a ‘Y’ shape, typically found in quilts with hexagons or diamonds.
  • Yarn Tied: A method of quilting where yarn is used to tie together the three layers of the quilt.


  • Zigzag Stitch: A stitch that moves diagonally from side to side, used to finish edges or for decorative purposes.
  • Z-Block: A quilt block in the shape or pattern of a ‘Z’.
  • Zweigart: A type of high-quality fabric often used for cross-stitch or embroidery.
  • Zippers: While not typically part of a quilt, zippers can be used in quilted items such as bags or cushion covers.
  • Zero-Waste Quilting: A philosophy of quilting that attempts to use every piece of fabric and produce no waste.