Quilters Resource

Are you new to quilting? Do you wonder what people are talking about when they say things like width of fabric (WOF), selvage edge, jelly roll? Below is a list of commonly used terms that we use when quilting that will help. Enjoy!

Quilting Terminology


A piece of fabric sewn on top of a background piece of fabric, usually in fun shapes or decorative designs such as curved floral or animal motifs. Appliqué can be pieced together by hand, machine, or with fusible web. It can also be combined with pieced blocks or placed in the border to frame a pieced quilt. Backing The back layer of a quilt, which is not pieced or appliquéd.


Long, temporary stitches used to hold layers of fabric together (loosely) until the final sewing is done. The stitches are removed when the quilt is completed.


Batiks are dyed fabrics that are typically bright in colors and very versatile, great for blending and matching. The wide variety of patterns on Batik fabrics are made by covering a design area with wax or other substance to prevent dye from penetrating into that area.They are usually high thread count fabrics. Use a #12 Microtex needle with this fabric.


The middle layer of the quilt (between the quilt top and back) that provides the warmth to the quilt. Types of batting are usually made from cotton, polyester, and wool.


A strip of fabric that is sewn over the edges of the quilt after the quilt has been quilted. Binding adds extra strength and support to a quilt. This process can be done by hand or machine.


A quilt design unit generally comprised of multiple squares that are repeated and formed together to make a quilt top.


A strip of fabric that serves as the frame to a quilt and is sewn to the outside area of the quilt but inside of the binding. Borders can be wide or narrow depending on your project.

Charm Packs

Charm Squares are 5" x 5" cut squares of fabric. Charm packs are collections charm squares. The popularity of Charm Packs stem from the fact that they are affordable, easy to use, and the size is commonly used in quilting.

Drunkard’s Path

A classic quilt block pattern with a lot of curved piecing. It consists of a quarter circle set inside a square and using light and dark for each. The blocks can be arranged differently to create several designs.

Echo Quilting

A free motion type of quilting, which is done by stitching a line a uniform distance away from the first line (echoing). The stitches echo the applique shape.

Fat Quarter

A half yard of fabric that has been cut in half again vertically and is now 1/4" yard, measuring 18" x 22" and allows for cutting larger block sizes. This is still considered a quarter yard of fabric, but it is “fatter” than a standard 9" x WOF 1/4yard cut. Fat quarters cannot always be used in place of a standard 1/4 yard so when using a pattern make sure to use exactly what is called for.

Finished Size

The final sewn measurement or dimensions of a completed quilt block without seam allowances.


Is a soft fabric which can be made from cotton, wool or synthetic fibers. It is usually loosely woven and slightly furry and is very, very warm. It’s great for rag quilts because of its tendency to ravel.

Free-Motion Quilting

It allows the quilter to quilt in different directions, creating a variety of stitch patterns.


The lengthwise and crosswise threads—warp and weft directions—of a woven fabric. The lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvage and the least amount of stretch, whereas the crosswise grain runs perpendicular to the selvage and has slightly more give.

Hand Quilting

A small and even series of running stitches that is made through all three layers of a quilt using a needle and thread, both preferably of high quality.

Jelly Rolls

Jelly Rolls are collections of 2 1/2" x 44" strips of fabric. Jelly Rolls typically include 40 strips of fabric but can vary.

Layer Cakes

A bundle of pre-cut coordinating fabric squares measuring 10" x 10".
Made originally by Moda Fabrics. Layer Cakes are available by collection and typically include 42 pieces of fabric. However several other fabric designers now have their own version of a layer cake. Some are referred to as 10" Stackers.

Long Arm Quilting 

An extremely large sewing machine with a long arm that is used to sew together all three layers of the quilt resulting in a finished quilt.

Machine Quilting

Sewing through all three layers of the quilt top with a sewing machine.


A plain cotton fabric of medium weight that is naturally unbleached. It’s available in a wide range of qualities from light to medium weight and delicate to coarse.

Panel Quilt 

A quilt made mostly from a pre-printed fabric panel, which are large pieces of fabric printed with some sort of picture or scene. Fabric panels are ready to use, so there’s no need to cut them up. Often times people piece borders or sashing to spice them up a little bit.

Paper Piecing

It is a technique of machine stitching your fabric directly onto paper. You can achieve perfect points if you position your fabric correctly and sew perfect straight lines. It is also known as Foundation Paper Piecing.


The process of making a quilt by sewing many small pieces of fabric together to create many different designs for a quilt top. It is also known as piecework.


A common quilt block pattern consisting of four triangles that are arranged in a pinwheel pattern and sewn into a four-patch block.

Pre-Cut Fabric 

Types of coordinating fabric bundles that are pre-cut by the manufacturer. Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, Fat Quarters, and Layer Cakes are some examples of pre-cuts.


The process of stitching together the three layers of a quilt.

Quilt Top 

The top layer of a quilt.

Rotary Cutter 

A tool with a sharp circular blade attached to a handle that is used to cut fabric on a cutting mat.


A heavy plastic measuring tool that is available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Seam Allowance 

The width of fabric (WOF) left to the right of a sewn seam. In quilting this is traditionally 1/4 inch.


The outer edge of both sides of a woven fabric that prevents it from unraveling. Most fabric has information about the fabric printed in this area.


The term that refers to a quilter’s amazing collection of fabrics.

Stitch in the Ditch 

A stitch used next to the seams on the quilt in order to define blocks or shapes.

Strip Piecing 

A technique of sewing fabric cut into strips together accurately and quickly and then cutting those fabric strip sets into new blocks and designs.

Variegated Thread 

Thread used in quilting that changes in color throughout the strand.

Width (WOF)

Width of fabric is the distance from selvage to selvage. Most quilting fabrics are commonly 42"- 45". Home decor fabric is usually 54". Minky, cuddle and fleece are often 60"WOF and you can by several fabrics that are 108" WOF. These are helpful for quilt backs.


Fabric that is cut and purchased by the yard. We sell fabric in 1/4 yard, 1/2 yard, yard and fat quarter cuts.