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What the FPP is that?! Quilting Terms: A Vernacular Guide for Beginner Quilters

Updated: May 30, 2023

Tori McElwain from The Quilt Patch by Tori


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It’s here!!! What the FPP is that?! Quilting Terms: A Vernacular Guide for Beginner Quilters!

What an excellent little Guide for beginners!

I began quilting when I was 9 years old and oh wow! That language! I remember breaking down at the sewing machine as my mom tried to tell me how to sew a straight “seam” for probably the 12th time. What the FPP is a seam??

Obviously, I’ve learned a lot since then, but that frustration stayed with me for decades afterward! I’ve been quilting on and off for 20 years. When I hear the terms “seam,” “block,” or “tension” my insides still have a shadow of that super frustrated feeling that made me break down at 9 years old. I never want my students to go through that, so I created a guide! It’s not just a mini dictionary. At its core, it’s a fun and visual guide to the most confusing terms a beginner quilter will encounter in patterns, classes, and on social media. Including an entire section on Acronyms!

I had some help from social media, with a survey post in several quilting groups. I asked them ”Were there any quilting or sewing terms that confused you when you first started sewing?” The response was phenomenal! I recieved over 200 comments on one post and over 225 on another, with about 25 on a smaller groups’ survey. I also asked what were the most frustrating or confusing terms in quilting, from friends, family, students and even my husband who doesn’t quilt. Thank you all so much!

I need to thank Darla Hall, my mom and award winning Long Armer, who proof read my Guide and sent me pictures to add! Check out her stash on page 27!

I also have a special thank you to my extra vigilant sister, Tisha Capuyan, who edited my guide twice for me live over Zoom!

The Guide has been researched with explanations as I understand each term, with a few tips and tricks and humor thrown in!

If there is more you’d like to see added, or a better way to understand a term, feel free to email me your suggestion. I’m always learning and nothing is ever perfect (although I try!).

The paper version is available here! The PDF is free and you can find the link below!

Have a great one! Happy sewing!


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