Know Your Quilt Terms!

This National Quilting Month, we want you ready to start your next project! One of the first things you should take a chance to learn are the quilting terms used in the community. Knowing your quilting terms will help you follow along to live projects and understand the instructions on your patterns better. To get you started, we’re going to cover 10 quilting terms every quilter should know! The next time you create, you’ll sound like a pro.

Quilting Terms

  1. Appliqué: Add motifs made of fabric by using your favorite machine! Add this to your base fabric by using a presser foot like our Applique Presser Foot or Open Toe Presser foot, which can help you accomplish this with ease.
  2. Backstitch: In this process, you’ll stitch over one or two stitches and secure them. You can use reverse stitching on your sewing machine and create projects like handbags, garments, and more with quality strength!
  3. Basting stitch: This step is done before your quilt layers are permanently joined! This stitch should look like a large, loose stitch that will hold together your layers of fabric and batting, allowing you to complete a clean-finished quilt.
  4. Batting: This material can be found between the quilt top and the quilt backing. Available in a variety of fiber contents, the purpose of batting is to help your quilt lay flat and display well on a bed, living room, or hanging on a wall!
  5. Binding: This step is the band of fabric that covers the raw outer edges of a quilt, creating a finished-looking project!
  6. Couching: This quilting process involves stitching thick threads, ribbons, beads, and other items to a surface for decorative purposes. Our JUKI Couching Foot is available in two size options, allowing you to use decorative pieces like yarn, thread, and more!
  7. Echo quilting: Create a fun look by stitching multiple lines that follow the outline of an appliqué or other design element, echoing its shape! We recommend using an Echo Quilting foot when you want to add this touch to your projects.
  8. Fat eighth: Perfect for quilting, a 1⁄8-yard fabric cut is cut crosswise from a 1⁄4-yard piece of fabric for a finished size of approximately 9×22″. Perfect for keeping your project designs versatile without needing to buy many different fabrics.
  9. Fat quarter: The 1⁄4-yard fabric cut is cut crosswise from a 1⁄2-yard piece of fabric for a finished size of approximately 18×22″. This set is also great for creating your quilt blocks and allows you to use a variety of fabric designs to create eccentric projects!
  10. Framed block: Create a framed block with fabric strips around it to give it the appearance of being framed. Use this technique when you want to unify blocks or adjust block sizes on your quilt.
  11. Free-motion quilting: This process of quilting is done with the feed dogs disengaged and using a free-motion presser foot so the quilt can be moved freely on the machine bed in any direction. There is a multitude of machines available that offer free-motion quilting, from semi-industrial to completely electronic, allowing you to find a machine model that works best for you! To see different machine options that offer free motion quilting, check out our site here.
  12. Gathering stitch: This stitch is created with a long-running stitch that can be pulled to pucker up the fabric. Add this touch to your next quilt project by using a Gathering Foot, creating a fun and elegant look, perfect for a baby blanket project.
  13. In-the-ditch quilting: Define your quilt blocks and shapes by stitching in the seams on the quilt surface. Also called stitch-in-the-ditch quilting, it maintains those straight lines, and prevents distortion.
  14. Loft: This is the thickness of the batting, keep this in mind when you’re watching quilting live and they reference the project’s loft!
  15. Machine piecing: Piece your quilts together with a ¼” seam allowance while making your quilt top. The best way to create that seam is using a ¼” Presser foot, helping you keep that consistent stitch.
  16. Pivot: This process leaves the needle in your fabric when you raise the presser foot and allows you to turn the fabric when machine-piecing or machine-quilting. This process is useful when creating quilts, garments, handbags, and more!
  17. Quilt sandwich: When you hear someone reference a quilt sandwich, they’re talking about the three parts of a quilt! Layered together you’ll find the quilt top, batting, and backing. 
  18. Raw edge: This is an unfinished fabric edge on your projects. Some creators will use this as a decorative element on quilt tops, and others will complete the edge for a more finished look.
  19. Seam allowance: This is the distance between the fabric’s raw edge and the seam line. Typically the allowance is a ¼” space which can be done on your machine. You can keep that consistent stitch by using a ¼” Presser foot when you create.
  20. Stabilizer: Make sure to use this product beneath an appliqué foundation! This will help you eliminate puckers and pulling on the fabric when stitching your project on your machine. There are different options for stabilizers, and can be found as a tear-away (simply stitch and then tear the pieces outside of your stitching) or water-soluble (removed in the washing machine, or hand wash process) option for easy removal after stitching is complete!

Now that you know more about the basics of quilting vocabulary, you can join a quilting live, attend a quilting class or try creating alone at home with a better understanding of what you’re learning! We hope these definitions help you feel more comfortable the next time you’re creating a quilt project.

What quilting term have you recently learned? Let us know down below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s