I have been in awe for years of the amazing people that create such wonderful quilts and patchwork designs. It is something that has astounded me for years and having dabbled in it a few times and not been overly successful with my final products, I decided to learn more. This year so far I got some more equipment to make patchwork and quilting better and made my first quilt. As I quickly picked up what I needed from research, watching youtube videos and reading blogs, I didn’t find much for beginners. There wasn’t much on how to get started so to speak. There were no classes that were near me nor affordable and so I had to start with trial and error. This is my beginner’s guide to quilting – essential quilting tools and supplies…
If you are looking to purchase any of the following there is a link to my kit at the bottom of the page.
I actually got my mat a couple of years ago to help me with sewing anyway and has been a blessing ever since. When you purchase a cutting mat you want to get one that is big enough to use but not too big it takes over your dining room. Especially if you are like me, you don’t have a space that is your own for sewing. This was a first of the quilting tools I got to get me started and it has been amazing ever since.
I use an A3 cutting mat currently but looking to upgrade to a larger one in the coming weeks. I would recommend getting the A3 at the smallest size as anything smaller isn’t worth having. If you are looking for anything larger I would look at getting the A2, this way it is bigger but not huge. Always try to get a self-healing mat and make sure you look after it.
Rotary Cutter And Blades
A rotary cutter is a blessing, when you are trying to cut a straight line the last thing you want to do is move your fabric and create a wonky line. No matter how many times you try, it just won’t be right. Trust me in my amateur days I did this. Try to find a good quality rotary cutter that has a clasp or safety close on it, this is a blessing when you want to be able to leave your tools out but don’t want accidents. This is the one I just got for Christmas, the handle works really well to help keep a good grip on the cutter. I also really like the safety feature on it to keep the blade tucked away while I am not using it.
You can also get spare blades to store ready for when the blade gets dull, there is nothing worse than cutting fabric with a dull blade. Don’t underestimate the power of the rotary cutter as any quilter will tell you that this is definitely essential quilting tools.
6.5 x 24-inch Rule Acrylic Template
This is the exact size I got this year and has been amazing. It is definitely worthwhile having a longer ruler so that you can cut long strips and work with a bigger area when it comes to cutting. This works really well if you aren’t using a pre-cut fabric pack and are working from a metre of fabric. The ruler has all the measurements you will need so that you can not just double check but triple check that you have the right width and length without having to move to get a tape measure. This is by far my new favourite quilting tools and I could not live without it now.
Square Junior Acrylic Template
This is by the same company and is fantastic. It is called a square junior template as it is a really basic ruler to use. This is 6 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 which is a great size to use as a block, to do small tasks and fiddly sections.
When I looked at creating the first quilt I took to Pinterest. I am a little tight with money I will admit it so I was looking for something free. I used Pinterest, blogs I follow and mostly online resources to find a pattern. I chose a pinwheel block which now seems a little ambitious but I enjoyed it all the same.
If you want to do more research I would think about investing in a couple of books. You can get books that help you calculate how to use pre-cut fabric packs, patterns to quilt with and step by step guides to creating the blocks.
Always try and find a good brand of thread to use when quilting. I am cheap when it comes to buying supplies and will opt to have them as gifts if I can but having dealt with cheap thread that breaks too easily. It is so much more worthwhile to get a good quality thread to quilt with, it will make the quilt last long and more stable while washing and been used.
You can find Gutermann, Mettler and Coats, these are the ones I have used the most while sewing. Use a medium-lightweight thread in a neutral colour as the neutral tones often blend easier into the fabrics. No matter what the colours of the fabrics, neutral colours are the best to use.
Needles that are suitable for quilted are often found with a rounded point as they are designed specifically for machine quilting. The most common size of quilting machine needle is the 90/14, the sturdy shaft is great for getting through the layers of wadding and fabric. It also has an eye big enough to handle most types of thread. This is one of the greatest quilting tools that can be an afterthought, so make sure you get your hands on some before jumping in.
Always make sure your machine is in good working order before starting to quilt. You don’t need a special machine to quilt, not straight away anyway. It is harder to do on a domestic sewing machine as there isn’t always space. But I will get to that in a later post.
Walking Foot Or Quarter Inch Foot
I am currently working without either of these and I am putting my fails down to that exactly. I struggled so much to quilt my first blanket and I think I went into it unprepared.
The walking foot helps feed the fabric through while working with the feed dogs below. This is really helpful as sometimes you feel like you may have to force the fabric along. This will help with that and create a more smooth run.
The quarter inch foot is pretty much what it says, this foot is designed to measure out 1/4 inch seam so that you don’t have to. You can keep sewing and only have to pay attention to that one edge.
Scissors Or Seam Ripper
Both of these are useful, I have a beautiful pair of small scissors and they are great. They don’t pinch my skin or feel too tight when using them. I got them as a gift, I actually have 2 pairs but they are great and lovely to look at.
A seam ripper is a great tool to have, don’t worry about making mistakes because everyone does. Even the best quilters in the world will use a seam ripper even if it is only from time to time. I use mine all the time and otherwise, we wouldn’t learn. You can get these anywhere and everywhere cheap, part of a kit, online, in Asda or Tesco. This isn’t just an essential quilting tools but a sewing essential tool, this will come in handy for many more projects.
Iron And Ironing Board
Pretty sure this will be an item most people own, if you don’t, I recommend getting one. A key point to patchwork and quilting is pressing. Always press your seams after sewing to make sure that there is no bulk hiding at any point and it makes it easier to sew to the next piece. Though it seems a little silly as you wouldn’t recognise this as an essential quilting tool, it is.
If you have liked this post on my Beginner essential quilting tools leave me a comment below. If you are a keen sewer/sewist let me know what is your favourite tool and why you couldn’t live without it. If you would like to keep updated on new posts and what I am working on next join my mailing list to find out before anyone else.