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Beginners' Must Have Quilting Supplies

Welcome to the Quilting for Beginners series! This is post one, introducing you to the must-have quilting supplies. You can read other posts in this series here.

Quilting for Beginners: The must-have quilting supplies every beginner quilter should have!

It is crazy to think that just a few years ago, I didn’t know how to sew. I didn't even how to thread a sewing machine, much less how to quilt. Today, quilting is my number one way to relax and preferred hobby.

I would not be here today if it wasn’t for incredible ladies sharing their knowledge with me, and I want to continue to pass on that knowledge so I’m starting a series - Quilting for Beginners. First up, Must-Have Quilting Supplies!

Rotary Cutter

There are lots and lots of cutting in quilting and a rotary cutter helps you do that fast and accurately. They look like pizza cutters and come in a few different sizes, usually ranging from 18mm to 60mm. My favorite size is the 45mm which allows me to cut through a few layers of fabric at once but isn’t too big. I have a 45mm rotary cutter by Olfa and love it to pieces.

Acrylic Rulers

Acrylic rules are in used together with rotary cutters to get those perfectly accurate pieces of fabric. And if you were to look up acrylic quilting rulers, you’d probably end up slowly backing away from your computer and completely forgetting about this whole endeavor.

It's hard to keep up with all the different sizes and shapes of quilting rulers. But if you are starting, I recommend going with a 12.5 x 12.5 square ruler. This was my first ruler and it’s still one of my go-to. I use it all the time and it’ll be useful for most patterns out there. It’s great for cutting your fabric and squaring up blocks.

The next size I'd recommend is a long ruler like a 6 x 24" ruler that will allow you to cut any width of fabric (WOF) strips required for patterns. This ruler is a sanity saver when cutting WOF strips!

Cutting Mat

The cutting mat is where the action happens. They come with measuring grids and markings that can help you along the cutting process. As with rulers, cutting mats also come in different sizes. I started on a 12” x 18”, but I’d recommend going a little bigger than that if you can. I currently have a 24” x 36” mat and LOVE it. Switching to this bigger sized has saved me lots of headaches and frustrations.

I’d say get the biggest cutting mat your budget allows, but try to go at least with an 18” x 24” mat.

Tip: JoAnn’s always has sales on these or 40% off coupons of regularly priced items plus % off total purchase that can help offset the cost of all three of the supplies listed above.

Sewing Machine

Kind of a given, but what kind of machine? There are SO many out there, however, if you’re the starting out, you don’t need much. I did all of the quilts in this image on a $100, 13-year-old machine!

If you don’t already have a sewing machine, I’d recommend starting out with a simple Singer or Brother. From there you can upgrade once you know what you really want on a machine.

Iron

An iron is as indispensable for a quilter as a sewing machine. There is lots of pressing fabric in quilting! Lots of quilters have fancy irons but all you need is something that gets hot and has a steam option. I have this $30 Sunbeam iron and LOVE it. My lefty-self loves that I can go cordless and not have to work around that dang cord!

Thread

Kind of an obvious thing, like a sewing machine, but I wanted to include this here for one quick tip. When purchasing thread make sure you buy cotton thread and not “quilting” thread. The thread you see at stores labeled as “quilting” thread is waxed for hand quilting and can ruin a machine. My favorite thread for piecing and quilting is Aurifil 50 wt in Natural White.

Pins

As you get started, I definitely recommend pinning your fabric pieces together as you sew to help with your accuracy. Especially once it comes time to making sure seams line up from one block to the next. These are my favorite pins that I use all the time.

Seam Ripper

Ain’t no shame in the ripping game. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Somewhere along the line, you’re bound to sew a block facing the wrong way and you’ll be glad to have a seam ripper in your toolbox. Most sewing machines include a seam ripper in their accessories, but if you’re missing one, this seam ripper is my favorite.

The Extras

All these supplies will get you well on your way to starting your first quilt top, but if you plan on going all the way, it’ll be a good idea to stock up on these supplies as well

  • 1/4 Inch Foot: most all quilting patterns require a 1/4 inch seam and while you don’t have to have 1/4 inch foot to achieve that seam, it makes it about 100x easier if you do!
  • Walking Foot: do you need a walking foot when quilting your creation? No, but it makes it easier and you’ll run into fewer issues if you decide to quilt your own quilt.
  • Fabric Marker: If the pattern you're following includes half square triangles (HST) or any other marking, you’ll need a fabric marker. There are tons out there - some chalk based, some water-soluble, some that disappear with time, and some that go away with ironing. These last ones are my favorite, with the Frixion Pen being my go-to.

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