Quilting Glossary


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Raw Edge The edge of a cut piece of fabric or quilt block, before the sewing hides it underneath.
Redwork Quilt blocks prepared with a design done in outline embroidery stitching, with turkey red embroidery floss. There is also a blue version known as Bluework.
Reverse Appliqué A method of appliqué where patches are stitched under the appliqué design.
Rotary Cutting A quick fabric cutting method that uses a mat, rotary cutter and grid ruler. It revolutionized quilting in the 1980's.
Round Robin Done with a group of usually 6 quilters'. Each sews her own centre motif and then these are passed around the group, with each quilter adding a border or row. The quilt is a surprise when it arrives back to the original quilter.
Sampler Quilt

Sampler Quilt

A quilt made of different block patterns. More info
Sashiko Quilting done with embroidery floss and used as a design element. It originated in Japan.
Sashing The fabric strips (plain, appliquéd or pieced) that are used to frame quilt blocks.
Satin Stitch A very close zigzag stitch that is used to finish raw fabric edges.
Scrap Quilt

Scrap Quilt

A quilt made of many different fabrics. It is a great way to use up some of your scraps. More info
Scraps Smaller pieces of fabric leftover after cutting fabric.
Seam Allowance The width of fabric from the raw edge to the stitching, that is under the finished sewing. Patchwork uses ¼" seam allowance. Appliqué can use less.


The ¼" to ½" edges of the fabric that are tightly woven. They should not be included in your quilt. The coloured dots on the selvage are handy for picking matching fabrics.
Seminole Patchwork

Seminole Patchwork

A strip patchwork technique that takes cut strip sets and sews them back together by offsetting or staggering them. The band of patchwork is then sewn to other bands. It looks intricate. More info
Set-In Patch

Set-In Patch

A method of sewing patches with a "Y" joint.
Setting Squares See Corner Squares
Setting Triangles The filler triangle patches that are used around the edge and in the corners of a quilt top, when an on-point setting is used.
Settings The way you arrange your blocks into a design. This includes how you place your blocks (horizontally or on-point), sashing, blocks set beside each other, creating a secondary pattern or alternating with a plain or different block.
Sewing Line The drawn line you sew along. It is an accurate piecing method.


A fabric with a small overall geometric design usually in one colour on a white or off-white background. This cotton fabric was used for shirts & blouses and can be found in many old quilts.
Signature Quilts See Album Quilts.
Sleeve A tube of fabric sewn across the top edge of the back of a quilt. This allows the quilted wallhanging to be hung on the wall with a rod.
Square-up Trimming the raw edges of a block or patch down to the measurement it should be. Do this by straightening the edges and making sure the corners are 90°.
Stained Glass Quilt A quilt made with bias strips to resemble a piece of stained glass.
Stencil A design cut in plastic, in narrow slots that helps with the marking of the quilting design on the quilt top.
Stenciled Quilts Quilts with block designs that have been stenciled with fabric paint.
Stippling Close stitching done to quilt backgrounds in meandering lines.
Stitch-in-the-Ditch Quilting done along the edge of the seam.
String Piecing Strips of fabric sewn together on a base foundation fabric. They are cut into shapes to become units in a block; or a block. This is good for using up long, thin scrap pieces.
Strip A long thin piece of fabric cut selvage to selvage. They are sewn into strip sets and later cut down into units.
Strip Piecing Sewing strips of fabric together, into strip sets, then cut down into smaller units. They are rearranged to make a pattern. It is a quick piecing method.
Strip Set

Strip Set

Strips of fabrics sewn together.
Swap A trade done one for one. Charm Square Swap
Tack Stitch

Tack Stitch

Stitches sewn over each other to hold in place.
Tea Dye Dying fabric using tea. It gives the fabric an aged look.
Template Shape made from cardboard, plastic or freezer paper used to help cut out fabric or transfer a design.
Tied Quilt A series of knots evenly across the quilt, used to hold the quilt sandwich together.

Tone-on-Tone Fabric

A fabric that has a subtle print in the same colour as the background.
Trapunto This method is stuffing a stitched design to give it a raised effect.
UFO Unfinished quilt project.
Unfinished Size The size of the block raw edge to raw edge before sewing.
Unit Patches sewn together, making up part of the block.
Wallhanging or Wall Quilt A quilt made to be hung on a wall.
Watercolor Quilt A quilt made of small squares, cut from large floral print fabrics and arranged in a design similar to impressionist paintings.
Whole-cloth Quilt A quilt using one fabric (usually solid white) as a top, quilted with an intricate design.
WOF or Width of Fabric From selvage to selvage or 'strip'.


White on White fabric.


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