8 Key Quilting Terms For Beginners (Read This First)

8 Key Quilting Terms Beginners Should Know to make a quilt, whether it is a small or a full size quilt, all are made the same.

When we talk about making a quilt, beginners might think making a quilt is so difficult and only the experienced quilters can make them.

We all began one day knowing little or nothing about making quilts, most of the more experienced quilters began one day making their first block and we might have the same thought

Making quilts is an art anyone can make, don’t feel that you might not be good at it, start making your first block with any patchwork or applique technique, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, we all do them as we work on a new quilt. Mistakes after all, they make unique quilts.

As you start making your first quilt, you might discover a new creative world for you, you’ll discover how to make beautiful quilts with some pieces of fabric, a sewing machine, a needle, thread and your work.

8 Key Quilting Terms For Beginners

Completed Quilt

1 Completed Quilt is the final product you have in your hands after you work on a quilting project from the beginning to the end.

  • Top
  • Back
  • Binding on the edge
  • It has no raw edges anywhere

Quilt Blocks

2 – If you’re a beginner quilter, the first term you need to know is Quilt Blocks, in old times the first quilts were made by sewing blocks (squares of fabric), quilts were made by hand and quilters used to sew one block of fabric to the next one to make strips of blocks, then these strips of blocks were sewn together to make the quilt top.

As quilters kept working on making quilts, they would be using every piece of fabric, some were small to make a quilt block by itself, this is how they started to sew pieces of fabric together to make blocks, the most known quilt blocks you might know are: Log Cabin, Stars, Hexagons.

Nowadays, quilters are working to design the most outstanding quilt blocks, from the simplest designs to the most elaborate that makes a quilt a way to make a piece of art.

You can find today quilts of many designs.

  • Sampler quilt – Made with a number of blocks, each one with a different design or patchwork technique, most of these quilts are made with well know patchwork blocks.
  • Design quilt – Nowadays quilters around the globe come up with new block designs.
  • Traditional quilt – These quilts are made using traditional block designs.


3 – Strips of fabric in between the blocks, strips of fabrics that separates the blocks.

Sashing strips can be any width the quilter decided to use to work on every quilt, from 1 inch width to any width, 2, 2 1/2, 3, 4 inches or even wider.

Sashing in a quilt can be made with simple strips of fabric or can be more elaborate with three strips of fabric in different color, or can be made with small pieces of fabric, every quilter can design how to make the sashing for each quilt design.

You can also find some quilts made with no sashing, some quilts are made just sewing the blocks to make the quilt top for a quilt.

Inner Border

4 – Once the quilter finishes sewing all the blocks with the sashing, it’s well-known, many quilters add a strip of fabric all around the quilt top (blocks + sashing), the inner border use to be narrow, from 1 inch to 2 inches.

Outer Border

5 – The outer border is a strip of fabric sewn on the four sides of the quilt top, it can be as wide as the quilter decides to make it.

Many times you can see quilts with an outer border from a fabric and quilted, but many times you can see some quilters have worked on the outer border to add an interesting focal point to the quilts.

Some outer borders are worked with a fabric and quilted in an interesting pattern, but you can also find some quilters have designed an outer border with applique and quilting that becomes part of the quilt to turn that particular quilt into an art quilt.


6 – This part is essential on each quilt, as the batting fabric will make a quilt, today you can find in the market many different types of batting to make a quilt.


7 – This is the back part of the quilt, traditionally it was made from one piece of fabric or sewing together two wide strips of fabric.

As you turn the quilt to the back, you can see the backing of a quilt.

Today, many quilters are also working to make the backing a unique piece by making a strip of blocks with the same design of the top quilt, some other quilters will work on the backing to make a second top and using it as the backing, making of these quilts two view quilts.


8 – The strip of fabric that covers the edge of the quilt is called biding.

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When making your own quilts, there will be some steps to work on that are the same in most of the quilts, learning how what are the terms of the steps or parts of a quilt, will help you to know how to do each steps, and what part of the quilt you will be working on.

Thanks so much for reading my blog today!

8 Key Quilting Terms For BeginnersHow To Make Your First Quilt

Now you know the 8 Key Quilting Terms For Beginners, they will make easier your start at this new creative technique for you. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as you work on your first quilt, all quilters have made a few mistakes in their lives as quilters.

As you keep working on your first quilt, you will be working with different sewing techniques made by sewing machine or by hand, and you will discover which sewing technique is for you. Both sewing techniques for making quilts are good.

Start with a simple patchwork technique as the Log Cabin or making a quilt with blocks, the easiest quilt pattern, as you finish it, you’ll be ready to work on your quilt number 2, from that quilt, you might found making quilts is for you and you’ll be making the most beautiful quilts.

If you discover you are on the sewing machine making quilts club, take a look to the best sewing machine for quilting.

7 thoughts on “8 Key Quilting Terms For Beginners (Read This First)”

  1. Hello there,thanks for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.i must say that this are one of the best quilting tips for beginners.and I must say that they would be nice for my little sister as she just started of with quilting.

    • Hello Feji ben

      Thank you, I’m sure your little sister will love to make quilts, if she has any questions about it, I’ll be happy to help her. 

  2. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. I got a machine recently for my niece and she is a novice. The concern is that I am not always around to put her through. With your post I believe she will be able to understand these terms more. You have helped me a lot

    • Hi Benny

      I’m glad you found the article helpful and you’ll be sharing it to your niece, I’m sure as she start making quilts, she will find it a new creative and wonderful new world. If she has any question about making quilts, I’ll be glad to help her.

  3. Hey Alex, Thank you for writing the 8 Key Quilting Terms For Beginners. I enjoy your article while reading and learn lot of things from your article. Now I understand 8 keys and soon I will be able to make better quilt. We will be working with different sewing techniques made by sewing machine or by hand, and we will discover which sewing technique is for us. Both sewing techniques for making quilts are good. Thank you for your awesome guide.

  4. Interesting to learn the meaning of these terms. My grandmother made a lot of quilts for us before she passed away and I never really get the opportunity to learn from her skills. Now, I am trying to remake some of her creations, learning through a book and it’s proving to be more challenging than I thought. Your explanation just makes it a lot easier to understand. 

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