There are many different quilting terms out there. Whether you’re a new quilter or you’ve been quilting awhile, but have ran across a term you don’t understand. So, in this blog post I’m going to show you some of the most common quilting terms and what they mean.
One of the things I love about quilting is all the different quilting patterns out there. There are vintage patterns, the ones that have been around for centuries. And those that are a more modern quilt pattern.
Another thing I love about making quilts is the fabric. Like all the different patterns, there is so many different quilting fabrics.
I like the more bright and colorful fabrics, and I use cotton fabric. Even though you can use practically any type of fabric for your quilt. And I like to get a little extra fabric, so I will have enough fabric.
A few of the basic quilting terms maybe more familiar, but some of them maybe new to you.
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The meaning of WOF is width of fabric. Like in quilting pattern it might read cut 3″ WOF strips or a 3″ WOF cut. That means that you need 3 inch strips that are the width of the fabric. The width of the fabric is one selvage edge to the other. So, you’ll cut the fabric straight up and down from selvedge edge to selvage edge to have long strips of fabric.
2. Quilt Blocks
Quilt blocks are pieces of fabric that are sewn together in squares to create pieces of a quilt. The most common size of quilt block is 12″. But, you can make your quilts in any size, they can be smaller or larger. Quilt blocks can be made with different shapes of fabric pieces. And your quilt can be made up of a bunch of the same blocks or they can be different quilt blocks.
3. Quilt Top
The quilt top is the colorful face of the quilt. The quilt top can be made with one piece of fabric. But, is usually made of a bunch of different fabric pieces stitched into a pattern.
4. FMQ (Free Motion Quilting)
FMQ stands for free motion quilting. Free motion quilting is done on your sewing machine when you disengage the feed dogs. So, you can move the quilt around to create any kind of quilting design. It’s mostly done with a free motion quilting foot. And yes, you can use your domestic sewing machine for free motion quilting.
5. HST (Half Square Triangles)
HST stands for half-square triangles. Half square triangles are very popular in quilting, there are a ton of quilting patterns that use them. They are squares made up of two right triangles. Here is the post I did on how to make half square triangles.
6. QST (Quarter Square Triangles)
QST meaning quarter square triangle. Quarter square triangles are made up of four right triangles stitched in a square. HST and QST are considered the building blocks of quilt patterns.
7. HRT (Half Rectangle Triangles)
HRT stands for half rectangle triangles. To me half square triangles look like rectangle HST. You can make them with a special ruler or not use a ruler at all.
8. RST (Right Sides Together)
RST means right sides together. Right sides together means that you need to place the fabrics where their fronts or right sides are facing. So, when you open the fabric all the seams are on wrong or back side.
9. WIP (Work in Progress)
WIP is work in progress. A work in progress is all those started but not finished projects you have. A WIP can be any type of craft project that isn’t finished. Like a quilt project, knitting project, sewing project, crochet project, tatting project or more.
10. UFO (Unfinished Object)
A UFO or un-finished objects is the same thing as a WIP. Every crafter has a lot of those somewhere, I know I have a few UFOs or WIPs.
11. Seam Allowance
The seam allowance in quilting is most commonly 1/4″. A seam allowance is the distance between the stitching line and the edge of the fabric. And it’s a good idea to use a 1/4″ quilting foot, when piecing your quilt.
12. Fussy Cut
Fussy cutting is when you carefully cut a piece of fabric, so that the design on the fabric is in the center of your cut fabric piece. Because, most of the time when you are cutting up your yard of fabric, you don’t pay attention to where the designs on the fabric are. So, with fussy cutting it like you’re highlighting the design of the fabric on your fabric cut.
13. Jelly Roll
A jelly roll is a pre-cut fabric bundle. It’s made up of 2 1/2″ fabric strips in coordinating fabric colors and designs. In a jelly roll there can be 10 to 40 stripes in each jelly roll.
14. Layer Cake
A layer cake is another pre-cut fabric bundle. It’s a stack of 10″ squares, there’s usually 40 to 42 squares in a pack. They can be all different fabrics or they can be repeats.
15. Charm Pack
Charm packs are like layer cakes, because it’s a pack of fabric squares. The difference is that the squares in charm packs are 5″ instead of 10″. And there’s usually about 42 squares in a pack and a couple squares of each fabric.
16. Fat Quarter
A fat quarter is a fourth of a yard of fabric, but is cut 18″ x 21″. So, to cut your own fat quarter you would cut half of a yard of fabric. And then open the fabric and cut the fabric on the folded line, if your fabric was folded perfectly.
17. Fat Eighth
A fat eighth is a eighth of a yard cut. It can be 11″ x 18″ or 9″ x 22″. You can cut your own fat eighth by cutting your fat quarter in half.
18. Fat Quarter Bundles
Fat quarter bundles are another precut fabric pack. They are a bundle of fat quarters in several coordinating colors. And there is different sizes of bundles, you can get bundles that have from 18 to 50 fat quarters.
19. Quilt Sandwich
A quilt sandwich is made up with your quilt top, batting, and backing fabric. The layers of fabric are held together by pins. And then you’ll quilt the layers whether by hand or by machine to finish your quilt.
20. Finger Pressing
Finger pressing is when you press your stitched seam with your finger before you use an iron. I like to finger press my quilt seams open. And finger pressing is great, because it lets you get the seam where you want it, before pressing it with the iron.
21. Chain Piecing
Chain piecing is where you continually sew your quilt pieces without cutting the thread or lifting the presser foot. Chain piecing is a time saver when you’re piecing a quilt.
There’s 21 common terms in quilting explained, to make you a more experienced quilter. These are the more popular terms in quilting, so I hope that these help.
What sewing supplies do you need for quilting? Besides knowing some quilting terms there are a few things that can help you to make a beautiful quilt besides your perfect fabric and sewing machine . A rotary cutter and cutting mat, 1/4″ quilting foot, seam ripper, and embroidery scissors. And it’s a good idea to have a replacement rotary blade too.
How much fabric does it take to make a quilt? The fabric requirements depend on the pattern and the size of quilt you want to make. A crib quilt won’t use as much fabric as a king size quilt will. But, the pattern will tell you how much fabric you need. And I like to get a little extra on my cuts of fabric, just to make sure I have enough fabric. And the length of fabric you’ll need for a quilt depends on the fabric’s width.
Are there different fabric widths? Yes, the fabric width can differ. You can get extra wide fabric that is 108″ wide with a lot of the time is used for quilt backings, but the most common width is 44″. To measure the width of fabric you’ll include the selvage edges of the fabric.
Check out some of my other quilting posts.
- The Best Irons to Buy for Sewing and Quilting.
- My Favorite 3 Sewing Threads for Piecing a Quilt.
- The Best Tools for Marking Your Fabric for Quilting.
- What are The Best Curved Safety Pins for Quilting?
- Top 10 Valentine’s Day Quilt Ideas.