Guide to Quilting Terms

Guide to Understanding Quilting Terminology

The world of quilting is vast and beautiful, a safe space where a person can find an escape from reality for a few hours. But without the proper knowledge, it’s easy to become lost in this new landscape. To avoid getting frustrated or confused, consider this guide to understanding Quilting Terminology.

Quilting Terms

The following are just a few of the quilting terms you may come across. Of course, there are more to learn! –

Quilt: The finished product that comes after sewing fabric together in layers.

Backing: The bottom layer of a quilt. This traditionally has no design and is supposed to be kept hidden from the top side (front). It holds everything in place and gives the quilt structure.

Batting: The layer of padding between the backing and the front of a quilt.

Quilt top: The top layer of a quilt. This is the one you see once you’re done with your quilting project, and is what people will see when you show them your amazing work. It’s generally made up of several layers of fabric which are pieced together to form one large piece or pattern.

Piecing: Quilting is piecing. You sew fabric together one piece at a time to create elaborate patterns and designs on your quilt top and bottom. There are many different designs which you can choose from depending on the look you’re going for.

Piecing Wadding: An extra layer of padding sewn between the top and the batting. This helps to give the quilt a fluffier appearance and adds a bit of warmth as well.

Batting/backing size chart: This is generally listed on any pattern you use during your quilting process. It will give you a general idea of what size you will need for the top and bottom of your quilt.

Quilter’s pencil: A pencil used to mark when you’ve moved from one layer down to the next. This is also useful for marking off your stitches as well, making it easier to position them evenly.

Stitch Markers: These are a great tool for beginners! They help you keep track of which stitches you have or have not yet done, as well as where you need to go next.

Learn about the Tools Needed to Start Quilting

Cutting Mat: A long, flat surface which is used to cut pieces of fabric on. This can be found at any local craft store and is a handy tool to have in your arsenal.

Rotary cutter: A tool used to cut fabric with a straight edge. It’s much more accurate than scissors, but requires a bit of practice beforehand.

Pinking Shears: Long, fancy scissors with a zig-zagging edge. These are used to prevent fraying.

Sewing machine: A machine used to sew fabrics together. This somewhat advanced tool is not required in the craft of quilting, but will make the process much more doable for everyone at home.

Hand Quilting: Quilting by hand is a the process of using quilting hand stitches to put together your quilt top and quilt sandwich.

Quilt backing material: The fabric which you will use as the backing on your quilt. This is used to ensure the quilt will be sturdy and that you won’t see any raw edges.

Quilt batting: This is a thin layer of padding added between the quilt top and the backing for extra warmth. This layer also adds a bit of fluff to the quilt, making it even more sassy!

Binding: A special kind of quilting thread which is used to hold your work together while you’re sewing.

Shoulder seams: Quilts also have shoulder seams. This is where two pieces of fabric are sewn together at the point where they meet. This is used to keep the quilt’s shape when it’s pressed along with the pressing board or ironing board.

Pressing: This is when you either buy a special item to put your quilt in, or use one of your regular household items like an ironing board or table. This allows you to iron the layers of your quilt together, adding a beautiful crisp finish to your creation.

Quilting Patterns: Different designs can be found in a standard pattern book. There are lots of fun and exciting designs to choose from, such as the Dutchman’s Puzzle, Log Cabin, Pineapple quilt pattern and much more!

Quilt Patches: These are generally small, intricate pieces of fabric which make up the quilt top and bottom. They’re pieced together to form a larger whole.

Quilting Classes: If you’re interested in learning how to quilt, there are several options available at local craft stores. These lessons are usually low cost, and allow you to work with a friend or on your own as needed.

Quilting Books: There are also many books available on this subject, and some of them are aimed at those who are just starting out. These will teach you everything you need to know about quilting!

Quilt Shop: If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to this subject, shopping at a local quilt shop may be just the thing. You can speak with an expert and get their advice on what to do next. Many people find this resource very helpful when they first start out.

Quilting Fabric: If you’re feeling a little lost on where to start, you’ll want to make sure your fabrics are the right size and type of fabric. As mentioned earlier, quilting fabrics can be found in any local craft store.

Get started quilting with this Guide to Make A Yo Yo Quilt

Quilt Kits: These are pre-made materials that come with the patchwork pieces you need. They are a great way to get started on your project and save you lots of time. Because they’re pre-made, you don’t have to worry about piecing together the patches yourself.

Quilt Frame: This is a tool used to hold your fabric while you quilt. It’s placed on top of your ironing board or book shelf so that it’s out of the way and won’t get in your way during the quilting process.

Stencils: These are small pieces of paper that come with the quilt kit. They tell you what to cut and where to sew in order to create your first quilt.

Quilting notions: These are items that aren’t found in a single quilt kit and offer more embellishment options. You can find these at any local craft store or online as needed.


There are a lot of terms thrown around in the quilting hobby. I hope this brief overview helps familiarize you with many of them so you can start quilting today! Don’t be intimidated by the whole process. Start with a smaller project, like a table runner, and take it from there!

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