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 Quilting Terms Glossary

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Do you have a definition you'd like to add to our glossary - or do you have a term that you would like to have defined? If so, please e-mail us at and we'll add your term to this page.

Note 6/20/2002: Finally!!! I have started adding definitions to this page again. - Thanks, Sue T



A means of temporarily holding together the quilt top, batting, and quilt backing. Basting can be done with safety pins, special adhesive basting sprays, plastic quilt tacks which resemble those used by stores to hold tags onto clothing, or with needle and thread using a large running stitch.
Bearding is where fibers from the batting of a quilt start to migrate through the top or the backing or a quilt. This occurs more commonly when a polyester batting is used.
A strip of fabric which is folded over the edge of a quilt. The binding encloses the raw edges of the quilt top, back and batting and is the finishing step in completing a quilt. Bindings can be cut on the straight of grain of the fabric or on the bias if the binding is to cover edges which are curved.


Charm Quilt
Usually a quilt made using only one shape, such as a triangle or hexagon, where every single shape is a different piece of fabric. No fabric is repeated in the quilt.
Charm Square
A square of fabric exchanged by quilters who wish to make a charm quilt. While the size of the charm square may vary, 5" tends to be the most common size square exchanged.




Fat Quarter
A quarter yard of fabric cut with the dimensions of 18" x 22" rather than 9" x 44". Basically, a half yard of fabric cut in half to produce a more square piece of fabric. Many quilters feel that a fat quarter cut gives them more option than a tradition quarter yard cut of fabric.














Siggie or Siggy
Short for signature block or signature square. When exchanging blocks or charm squares, quilters will often exchange a plain charm or blocks which the quilter has signed. Sometimes other information is included with the signature such as city, state and country in which the quilter resides.
Stack and Whack Quilt
A technique where fabric repeats are stacked so that the patterns on the fabric are aligned and then cut in such away that the blocks sewn from the fabric will form kaleidoscope patterns. For more information on the technique, please see
Stipple or Stippling
A technique used in both hand and machine quilting, though found more commonly in machine quilting. Stippling is a continuous, closely placed non straight line used to fill in an area of a quilt. The stippled line never makes a sharp turn and never crosses itself. Stippling is used to flatten an area of a quilt and to create texture. When stippling while hand quilting, the stitches made should align. Please see for an example of machine stippling.
Stitch in the Ditch
Used in both hand and machine quilting. In this technique, a quilting line is sewn right next to the seam in a pieced block - in the "ditch" that is formed by the turn of the cloth made when the seams of a pieced block are pressed to one side. This type of quilting is normally not very visible after the quilt has been completed.
Stitches per Inch
A way of measuring the number of stitches a hand quilter is making when quilting. Most commonly accepted is the number of stitches per inch being calculated by counting just the number of stitches visible on the top of the quilt only. on the other hand, some quilters do calculate stitches per inch by counting the stitches on both the top and the bottom of the quilt.







Y2K Quilt
A quilt made to celebrate the year 2000. A Y2K quilt is a charm quilt which contains 2,000 different fabric and signature squares. Many quilters are exchanging Y2K charm squares in an effort to receive squares from as many different states and/or countries as possible. The most common size charm square exchanged is 2-1/2".


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