Quilting Terms and DefinitionsLots of terms and definitions floating around out there. What in the heck does "Assembly Line Piecing" mean? If you are on any lists or Facebook groups, you are going to run into these terms. I've been quilting for years (and years and years - yeah - a long time) and these are some of the terms that you see quite a bit.
Quilting TermsAlbum Quilt ... A quilt assembled from individual blocks, each designed and/or executed by a different person. Album blocks are appliqued or pieced (or both), and frequently stitched into a quilt by a group for presentation to a public figure to commemorate a special occasion. In the past, blocks often were signed and dated by the maker in ink or embroidery.
Appliqué ... The sewing technique for attaching pieces (appliqués) of fabric onto a background fabric. Appliqués may be stitched to the background by hand, using a blind stitch, or by machine, using a satin stitch or a blind hemstitch.
Assembly Line Piecing ... A method of machine piecing small quilt block units in one, continuous, stream, one right after another. The pieces are then clipped apart, pressed, and the next section is affixed in the same manner. Most common method for piecing the Log Cabin Block or when piecing several of the same block. Also called: Chain Piecing, Strip Piecing.
Basting ... The sewing technique for joining by hand layers of fabric or the layers of a quilt with large stitches. The stitching is temporary and is removed after permanent stitching. Use a BRIGHT color to make it easier to locate when time to remove. I discovered having my longarm quilter baste my quilts way back when I was still hand-quilting my quilts. If you want to hand-quilt, check with your longarm quilter, it is usually a pretty reasonable price to baste your quilt for you. However, if you are taking your quilt to a longarmer, DON'T baste it as the longarmer will load your quilt project each layer (top, batting, backing) at a time.
Bearding ... The little white things that appear on the back of a quilt. When the needle pierces the 3 layers during quilting, the batting can migrate to the outside through the quilting holes. Not very attractive. Usually shows up when using white or cream colored batting and a really dark backing. Black batting is usually available at an additional cost.
Bias ... The grain of woven fabric that is at a 45 degree angle to the selvages.
Block ... The basic unit of a quilt top.
Border ... A strip of fabric that is joined to the inner quilt to enhance it.
Charm Quilt ... A quilt made up of "block" units that are all the same shape/size but all different fabrics. The pieces are generally small (less than 5", but most commonly 2" or less) and are common themes for fabric swaps on the Internet, Bees or with a guild.
Fat Quarter ... 1/2 yard of fabric cut in half at the middle fold. (Creating a rectangle approx. 18" wide by 22" length) There are 4 fat quarters (commonly referred to as FQ) in one yard of fabric.
Finger-pressing ... A method for forming temporary guidelines by taking fabric between your fingers and rubbing it to make a temporary crease. This is REALLY hard on fingernails. There are lots of tools out there that do the same thing, but usually not close at hand when you need it. Ask me how I know, and why my manicurist grimaces every time I come in to get my nails done!
Finished size... The measurement of a completed block or quilt. Does not include the seam allowance.
Fusible web... A material that has been treated with an adhesive that fuses fabric pieces together when pressed with a warm iron.
Grain ... The lengthwise and crosswise threads of a woven fabric. A grain-line arrow, printed on a pattern, helps you properly place your pattern on the fabric.
Hanging sleeve ... A tube of fabric blind stitched to the top edge of the quilt back through which a hanging rod or dowel can be inserted. For little wall-hangings, a TRIANGLE in the corners might be a great alternative.
Hexie ...Six sided square. Has gained a popularity in the modern quilting genre.
In-the-ditch quilting ... The stitching that is made alongside a seam or an appliqué edge.
Mitered seam ... A 45 degree angle seam.
Outline quilting ... Stitching that is made outside or inside the seam lines of patchwork or applique.
Patchwork ... The composite of pieces sewn together to form a large piece, such as a quilt.
Quick cutting ... the process of cutting fabric into strips and pieces using a rotary cutter, a thick, clear plastic ruler, and a cutting mat.
Quick piecing ... The machine-sewing method for joining fabric, instead of cutting it into pattern pieces.
Quick Triangles ... A grid system method to make half-square triangle squares.
Quilting ... The small, running stitches made through the layers of a quilt -- top, batting and backing -- to form decorative patterns on the surface of the quilt and to hold the layers together.
Quilting thread ... A heavy cotton thread that is used for hand quilting.
Raw edge ... The cut side of fabric.
Sashing ...The fabric that separates blocks in a setting, framing them and making the quilt larger. There are two basic kinds of sashing -- continuous and sashing with sashing posts.
Satin stitch ... A side-by-side stitch that resembles satin when completed.
Seam allowance ... The margin of fabric between the seam and the raw edge. For quilting, it is 1/4".
Seam line ... The guideline that the sewer follows while stitching.
Selvage ... The lengthwise finished edge on each side of the fabric.
Set or setting ... The organization of blocks in a quilt top.
Setting square ... The plain block or square used with patchwork or appliquéd blocks in a setting.
Setting triangle or Set-In Triangle... A triangle placed between blocks along the sides of a diagonal-set quilt.
Squishie ... (Or Squishy) A nickname for the envelope containing fabric that is wrapped in plastic and sent to others in fabric, or block, swaps
WOW or White on White ... Fabric that is White printing on top of White background fabric. Commonly called WOW.
WOF ... Width of Fabric. Term for cutting from selvage to selvage.
Yo-Yo ... Fabric circles that are gathered, flattened, and joined to make a lightweight, unbacked coverlet. Single yo-yos can be used for applique.