Appliqué: a sewing technique for layering smaller pieces of fabric cut to form designs onto a background fabric. It can be done by hand, machine or with fusible web and is frequently embellished with decorative embroidery stitches.
Backing: the bottom layer of a quilt underneath the quilt top and batting. The backing is frequently a whole piece of fabric or a few large pieces of fabric.
Basting: a technique using long stitches or safety pins to hold fabric layers in place temporarily. Basting stitching or pins are removed after the final stitching.
Batik: a process of dying fabric in one or more steps in which wax or resist is applied in a design to the fabric to prevent dyes from penetrating the pattern areas. Removing the original pattern and repeating the process several times results in multicolored and blended effects.
Batting: the middle layer of a quilt positioned between the pieced top and the backing. Available in a wide range of fibers and fiber blends as well as high and low lofts, batting is a matter of personal taste and needs.
Bias: the diagonal direction across the surface of woven fabric at a 45 degree angle to the selvages. Fabric cut on the bias stretches and should be handled with care because it is less stable than the lengthwise or crosswise grain.
Charm Pack: a bundled collection of 5” squares of fabric comprised of charm squares. These packs began as small cuts of each design and coloration in a fabric collection to promote a line and have evolved into a sought after product for consumers who use them to sew projects designed specifically for charm squares.
Coated: a fabric finish that has a thin protective film laminated to the fabric to make it durable, easy to care for and in most cases waterproof.
Crosswise Grain: the threads that run across the width of the fabric and perpendicular to the selvage, also known as the weft.
Fat Quarter: a specialty cut of fabric. It is one quarter of a yard of fabric, but it is cut to provide a square like piece (measuring approximately 18” x 22”) rather than a long skinny piece that a regular quarter yard cut (measuring approximately 9” x 44”). It is considered to be a more versatile piece of fabric. Fat quarters are often sold in bundles with a variety of coordinating fabrics grouped together and there are many quilting and sewing patterns written utilizing fat quarters.
Fussy Cut: a method of cutting fabric to isolate specific motifs of a design like a flower. This technique requires extra fabric because there can be a lot of waste.
Interfacing: an extra layer of fabric used to add body, strengthen and stabilize fabric. Routinely sold by the yard or prepackaged in rolls, it is available in a variety of weights and can be fusible (has one or two sides with a heat activated adhesive) or non-fusible (must be sewn in) to be used on the unseen or wrong side of a sewing project.
Jacquard: a type of weave, woven so that a design emerges on one side of fabric based on an arrangement of warp threads emerging in a higher gloss and the filling threads creating a duller background. Damask is one example of a jacquard weave.
Lengthwise Grain: the threads that run the length of the fabric, parallel to the selvage, also known as the warp.
On Point: the direction of a design or an arrangement of quilt blocks in which the design or block is placed on the diagonal.
Plain Weave: the most basic textile weave where the warp and weft threads are equally woven over and under in a basic checkerboard pattern. The majority of quilting fabrics are constructed of a plain weave.
Quilting: the small running stitches that create a decorative pattern on the surface of the quilt and hold the three layers together.
Rotary Cutter: a cutting tool with a razor sharp round blade, similar to a pizza cutter. It comes in a variety of sizes to suit different needs, but 60mm is one of the more common sizes. Rotary cutters enable sewers and quilters to make accurate cuts through multiple layers of fabric using a ruler and a cutting mat.
Seam Allowance: the measurement from the stitch line to the raw edges of two pieces of fabric being stitched together. Common seam allowance measurements
Selvage: the tightly woven edges on both sides of a length of woven fabric that prevents it from unraveling or fraying. Frequently the selvage has manufacturing information on it such as design, color and copyright information. In most sewing and quilting projects, it is recommended that you trim the selvage edges off and discard.
Thread Count: a measurement of the number of threads, both vertical and horizontal, in a one-inch square of fabric. The ply and thickness of the threads affect the overall thread count.
Top-stitching: a sewing technique of stitching parallel to and edge of a garment or project to give it a tailored crisp edge. Topstitching is visible on the outside of a project and can be a simple straight stitch or more decorative.
Voile: The French word for veil, this term identifies a light, plain weave sheer fabric especially good for making apparel and curtains. Voiles are frequently found in cotton, rayon, silk and wool fabrications.
Warp: the woven threads in a fabric which run parallel to the selvage during the weaving process.
Weft: the woven threads in a fabric which run across the width of the fabric during weaving process.