This list assumes some basic knowledge of fabric, sewing and sewing machines. It is not exhaustive but is intended to be useful for those just starting out on Patchwork and Quilting.

PATCHWORKING (verb)The joining together of pieces of fabric by either hand or machine sewing to make larger pieces of fabric. The fabric used is often (but not always) cotton.
QUILTING (verb)The act of using thread to sew through layers of materials to join those layers together, where the stitches produce a pattern on the outer materials. The outer layers may be patchwork, a single piece of fabric (known as wholecloth quilting) or a combination of patchwork with larger pieces of fabric.
WADDING (UK) / BATTING (US)The “padding” used as the filling between pieces of fabric for quilting.
LOFTTerm used to describe the thickness of WADDING/ BATTING. The higher the LOFT, the thicker the Wadding.
NOTIONSThis is a catch all term to describe the small items used by Quilters and sewers. Examples of notions can include: needles, thimbles, rotary blades, measuring tape, chalk etc.
DOMESTIC MACHINEA standard sewing machine commonly used in homes.
LONG ARM MACHINEA specialist quilting machine that can be used to quilt large quilts. They are generally very large and expensive, so not every quilter has access to one. Those who own long arm machines often offer quilting services so that, for a price, a piece of patchwork that has been pieced on a domestic machine can be quilted in one piece on a long arm machine.
SERGER (US) / OVERLOCKER (UK)Specialist sewing machine that loops threads over the raw edge of the fabric to finish that edge to prevent fraying.
SEWING RULERS1.     1. A ruler used in conjunction with a cutting mat and ROTARY BLADE to accurately measure and cut pieces of fabric, which are then PIECED together.

2. A specialist ruler can be used in conjunction with a specialist sewing machine foot to quilt designs on to a fabric SANDWICH. Common brands include: Westerlee, Parrs, Silesian and Crafty-UK.

STASHA Quilters collection of fabrics. Often stashed in various locations eg cupboards, under bed, spare room, attic, anywhere away from other members of the household etc. Can cause secretive behaviour when taken to extremes!
STABLEAcronym: Stash Beyond Life Expectancy!
FMQ (FREE MOTION QUILTING)Technique used to stitch a quilt SANDWICH together. It involves using a sewing machine with dropped feed dogs with the fabric guided by the hands to draw patterns with thread.
QAYG (QUILT AS YOU GO)There are several QAYG techniques. The idea is that, rather than attempting to quilt a bed size quilt, the quilt top is created in sections, each section is made into a sandwich and quilted and then the quilted sections are joined together to make the overall quilt. It is a common technique used by those who like to quilt on domestic machines rather than using long arm machines.
EPP (ENGLISH PAPER PIECING)This is where fabric is wrapped around a fabric template and BASTED before sewing shapes together. This technique is often used for ‘Hexies’ (hexagonal patches) and is generally hand sewn.
FPP (FOUNDATION PAPER PIECING)This sews fabric to a paper (or parchment) template. It can be used to make intricate designs that normal PIECING may not be able to achieve. This is often machine sewn.
FINGER PRESSINGRubbing your finger along a seam,   pressing with the nail or the tip of the finger to crease the seam without the use of iron.
BLENDERS or LOW VOLUME FABRICNot something to make a milkshake in! BLENDER is a term used for LOW VOLUME FABRIC that “blends” with the focus fabric. Blender fabrics help to balance a quilt design. Blender fabric has a small or no pattern. If there is a pattern it may be tonal and will appear as an effectively solid colour when photographed in black and white.
NEGATIVE SPACEThis term used to describe the background fabric on a quilt. It is often used in modern quilts to showcase the central pattern. The background can be light or dark.
QUILT SLEEVEA piece of fabric sewn at the top of the back of a quilted piece to form a “sleeve” through which a pole can be threaded. Used for quilted wall hangings.
REDWORKA form of embroidery in red thread often used on plain background fabric.
SASHIKO SEWINGA form of decorative reinforcement stitching from Japan.
POUNCEA chalk filled tool that you tap or pounce and swipe across a stencil. The powder inside is transferred to the fabric to show the stencil pattern and stays on the fabric until it is removed.

Common Fabric terms

SELVEDGEThe uncut edges of a piece of fabric. Usually ‘pinholes’ can be seen along both selvedge edges.
WOFWidth of fabric i.e. selvedge to selvedge.
PRE-CUTFabric sold in standard sizes rather than yardage cut off the bolt.
FAT QUARTERPre-cut – half a yard / metre of fabric cut in half across the width.
American (imperial) fat quarters should   measure 18”x 22”.
Continental fat quarters should be slightly bigger, about 19 ½” x 22.
If the size is critical, either check what you are getting or don’t buy fat quarters!
LONG QUARTERPre-cut of a quarter of a yard of fabric across the WOF.
FAT EIGHTHPre-cut – ¼ yard of fabric cut in half across the width (9”x 22”)
JELLY ROLL (trademark of MODA fabrics)Also known as Design Rolls, Roll-ups, Bali Pops or Stone Strips.
Pre-cut – Usually 40 x 2.5” wide strips of fabric rolled up.
Jelly roll is a trademark of MODA, but the term is often used for any pre-cut of this sort.
LAYER CAKE (trademark of MODA fabrics)Also known as Ten Squares or Bali Crackers.
Pre-cut – Usually 40 x 10” square pieces of fabric.
CHARM SQUARES (trademark of MODA fabricsAlso known as Chip Stones or Bali Snaps.
Pre-cut – Usually 40 x 5” square pieces of fabric.
HONEY BUN (trademark of MODA fabrics)Pre-cut – Usually 40 x 1.5” wide strips of fabric rolled up.

Patchwork and QUILTING Sewing terms

¼ INCH SEAMPatchwork fabric pieces are joined using ¼ inch seams.
‘SCANT’ ¼ INCH SEAMIt is often advocated to use a ‘scant’ ¼ inch seam for patchworking. A ‘scant’ ¼ inch seam is sometimes described as a ¼ inch seam minus a thread i.e. very, very slightly less than a ¼ inch seam.
¼ INCH FOOTA specialist sewing machine foot with a guide to allow a consistent ¼ inch seam to be sewn.
WALKING FOOTA specialist sewing machine foot with ‘feed dogs’ built into the foot which can help to feed multiple layers of fabric e.g. a quilt sandwich evenly when machine quilting.
BLOCK (patchwork)A piece of patchwork, usually of a regular shape. Blocks are often joined together to form a quilt top with a repeating pattern.
HALF SQUARE TRIANGLESA common BLOCK component where a square is split diagonally to form two triangles.
QUARTER SQUARE TRIANGLEA common BLOCK component where a square is split diagonally twice to form 4 triangles.
ON POINTA piecing technique where blocks are set at a 45-degree angle, so squares become diamonds.
SANDWICHThe layers of fabric with WADDING/BATTING between that are quilted are often known as a sandwich.
BASTINGThe act of holding the SANDWICH in place. This can be done using temporary basting glue spray, pins, large temporary stitches or specialist tools.
PIECINGThe act of sewing fabric together in a pattern to form blocks. These blocks are then, in turn, sewn together to form a piece of patchwork.
SASHINGStrips of fabric placed between blocks to join them together.
BINDINGFabric sewn around the edge of a quilt to neaten the edge.
STITCH-IN-THE-DITCHA term used to describe the method of stitching along existing seams in a patchwork piece or quilt top to quilt the SANDWICH.
SCRAPPY/ STRING QUILTSUsed to describe quilts made from scraps or thin left over pieces (also known as strings). They often have a messy or rustic feel to them as they often contain a variety of colours and patterns in the fabric.
BEARDINGThis term is used to describe the wadding fibres that undesirably “poke out” from the top or bottom layer of a quilt. This sometimes happens after the quilt has been washed and happens when the fibres in the WADDING come apart and migrate.
PRESSING / SETTING THE SEAMWhen the seam is ironed flat as sewn prior to pressing to the side or open (depending on your project). Allows the thread to relax into your fabric, becoming more secure and flattens any slight puckering that can be caused by the action of the sewing machine.
BLOCKINGWhen a block is not square, this is the process that involves wetting and pressing the fabric into a proper square block. This is also done using steam to help stretch portions of a block to match other blocks.
APPLIQUE (NEEDLE TURNED)Fabric cut into pattern and attached to plain fabric or a quilt top. Needle turned applique is often hand finished with the raw edges turned under using a needle or other sharp point.
APPLIQUE (RAW EDGE)Fabric cut into pattern and attached to plain fabric or a quilt top. Raw edge applique is often machine finished and the raw edges are left on display.


    1. Cheryl Davies Post author

      I don’t believe that they are the same. The difference between ‘fat’ and ‘long’ as far as I understand them is that ‘fat’ is a cut that goes partially across the width of the fabric, whereas a ‘long’ cut is across the width of the fabric.
      Thank you for the comment – I certainly don’t profess to be any sort of authority, so I will go off and check.

      1. Cheryl Davies Post author

        Another point is that a quarter is a quarter of a yard / metre, whether it is cut fully across the width of the fabric or half way across the width. An eighth is an eighth of a yard / metre, again regardless of how it is cut. I hope this makes sense.