Basic Quilting Abbreviations: From ATC to WOF

If I told you to go to your LQS to get some PFD so you could finish your ATC you HSY, would you know what I was talking about?

Quilters use many abbreviations to communicate basic quilting terms. Some are practical: you don’t want to have to write (or repeat) “half-square triangles” over and over in quilting instructions. It’s easier to say “HST,” instead. Some quilting abbreviations are tongue-in-cheek. For example, in quilt making, you don’t have to believe in aliens to see UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) in your sewing room.

amy ellis table runner with basic quilting techniques
Can you spot the HSTs on this Amy Ellis table runner?

For beginners, quilting abbreviations can be as impenetrable as the shorthand language of a texting teen. So here is a glossary of some of the more popular quilting abbreviations you might come across in quilting lessons or conversations.

ATC: Artist Trading Card (“I made 20 ATCs for the quilt show. Do you have any to trade with me?)

BOM: Block Of the Month (“I ordered a BOM kit and the quilt is shaping up nicely.”)

BSS: Basic Sewing Supplies (“You just need a few fat quarters and BSS to complete this project.”)

DSM: Domestic Sewing Machine (“Can you do that stitch on a DSM, or do I need an embroidery machine?”)

HST: Half-Square Triangle (“Make 32 HSTs from the dark and light fabrics.”)

HSY: Haven’t Started Yet (“My grandson was born last week and his crib quilt is still in the HSY pile!”)

LQS: Local Quilt Shop (“You can find twin needles online or at your LQS.”)

PFD: Prepared for Dyeing (“For batik, make sure you buy fabric that’s PFD. If it isn’t, wash it to remove the sizing.”)

PHD: Projects Half Done (“You just got a promotion at work? Well, I’ve been busy working on my PHD.”)

NQR: Not Quilt-Related (To your guild or online quilt group: “I know this is NQR, but I really need to ask where I can find a good plumber.”)

SID: Stitch in the Ditch (“Quilt as desired or just SID.)

TBQ: To Be Quilted (“Here is a picture of my latest project, TBQ.”)

UFO: Un-Finished Object (“I have so many UFOs, I’ll have to live to be 100 to complete them!”)

WOF: Width Of Fabric (“Cut 20 strips, 3 inches by WOF.”)

When you’re learning how to quilt, knowing the terminology can help save you time (and keep your sense of humor).

The same is true of learning quilting tips and techniques from a pro. In renowned quilter Amy Ellis’s Quilting Arts Workshop TM video, Accurate Machine Piecing: Time-saving Sewing Techniques, you’ll learn many of the building blocks of how to make quilts, such as string piecing, curved piecing, and the ever-popular HST.

P.S. What are your favorite quilting abbreviations? What did I leave out? Share in the comments section below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Hand Embroidery, How to Quilt, Quilting Daily Blog, Quilting for Beginners, Tools, Supplies & Resources

10 thoughts on “Basic Quilting Abbreviations: From ATC to WOF

  1. CEO – Carrys Everything Out (Your significant other is your CEO when you go on a shop hop because he usually Carrys Everything Out of the LQS)

    PIG – Project In Grocerybag — I have so many PIGs that I have to get started. (similar to TBQ)

  2. Acronyms, now you are singing my song! TLA’s litter my language…

    TLA- three letter acronyms

    oldschool sewing TLA’s
    WST – wrong sides together
    RST – right sides together
    EOB – end of the bolt

    my personal…
    RTG – ready to go – “my handwork is always RTG!”

  3. Love all these…..and know most of them intimately!! I also have many WIPs…works in progress…in various parts of my house. Fairly sure I’m not alone!!

  4. I like the WIP comment. I can really relate. Now I don’t feel so bad. I have many WIP’s in my sewing room. I will be ok as long as they don’t become a SNAFU or a FUBAR.