Must-Have Quilting Tools: Secrets to the Best Sewing Toolbox

All of the must-have quilting tools you need to start sewing a new quilt.

I know you all think I’m Superwoman when it comes to quilting (right? You do, right?) but I don’t do all of this alone. I have a whole toolbox of sidekicks backing me up during all of my quilting adventures. Building up your team of must-have quilting tools is just as important as perfecting your sewing skills. This Quilting 101 post will help you fill up your toolbox with everything you need to create quilty magic. 

(And since I’m the kind of person that likes to write things I’ve already done on my to-do lists just so I can cross them off, I’ve included a few tools you probably already have laying around the house!)

The best checklist for all of your sewing must-have tools

The 3 Top Must-Have Quilting Tools

1. A Basic Sewing Machine

This is where it all begins. A sewing machine is definitely a must-have, even if it’s just a basic one. Finding the right sewing machine is a lot like finding the right car – you may need to test drive a few brands to discover what fits best for your sewing style. Personally, I prefer BERNINA, but there are some die-hard Juki lovers and hardcore Janome fans out there that will tell you some great things about other brands, too. Take your time looking. My guess is that your sewing machine may become one of your best friends.

If you really don’t know where to start on this BFF quest, check out these posts on sewing machines:

2. Universal Sewing Machine Needles

Your sewing machine is going to need some needles to get the job done. I recommend starting with 80/12, an all-purpose size that will get you off on the right foot. Make sure you have plenty on hand! (I actually bought this bulk pack of 100 needles – way cheaper!) Quilting is waaaay better with a sharp needle, and you’ll want to change them at least with every new project.

Read more about Universal Needles here!

3. Thread

Oh, thread. Such a magical, wonderful, hand-spun miracle of necessity. We often take thread for granted, but it’s a very hard-working quilting companion. High-quality thread is really important when quilting, to make sure your finished fabric treasures stick together forever (which might be the title of my next Young Adult Fiction Book Series. We’ll see.)

Read more about thread in this 2-part series:


the best checklist for all of your must-have quilting tools

Now that you have the BIG THREE covered, use this handy checklist to make sure you have all the rest of the basics. (I could write a paragraph for every one of these, but I’ll spare you. They’d probably just be personal anecdotes about all the fun times we’ve had together.

Must-Have Quilting Tools Checklist

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With your toolbox full of must-have quilting tools, you’re now ready to choose a simple pattern. This is the fun part. I like to think of my patterns as my friends, too. (I know, you’re starting to see a theme. My quilting tools are my friends… my sewing machine is my friend… patterns are my friends… It’s so I feel like I’m always surrounded by friends when I’m quilting alone with Scrap all day. It's a weird and beautiful life.)

The best list of must-have sewing tools for quilters plus two free patterns
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Start with a Free Beginner Friendly Pattern

If this is your first pattern (exciting!) or just one of your firsts (still exciting!), try one of these simple patterns:

  1. Squared Throw Quilt - only squares and strips!
  2. Rail Fence Baby Quilt - start with a jelly roll and it gets easier from there!
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Must-Have Quilting Tools You Probably Already Have

A must-have quilting tools checklist with the best brands and places to get your notions!

(OK, so kinda funny… I put all these things on the list of must-haves that you probably already have… but really, if I wasn’t a quilter, I probably wouldn’t own an iron. And almost for sure wouldn’t have an ironing board. So don’t feel bad if you don’t. And if you’re looking to still have checklist items that you can easily check off, add “a great smile!” or “shower this week” to the list.)

If you checked all of these items off your list, you are totally ready to take the quilting world by storm! If you are just starting out, don’t worry. The quilting community is one of the most kind and generous tribes I’ve ever known. If you have questions, complaints, hopes or fears, you can always write a comment below. We quilters, we have each other’s backs. 

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A checklist for the best must-have quilting tools. Great for beginners and also as gifts for quilters!

Suzy Quilts

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10 thoughts on “Must-Have Quilting Tools: Secrets to the Best Sewing Toolbox

    • Megan Shipley says:

      I feel like I should clarify. I’m not a stalker! Just was fan-girling for a second. I was really excited to find your blog and learn that quilts can be modern-looking and cool. I’m a self-taught sewer and have made one quilt. It was ok. Really excited about making another one b/c I’ve learned so much about the right way (which is usually easier than mine) on this blog and several others, as well as copious amounts of youtube videos. Much of the “right way” involves having the right tools. So thank you for all your detailed blog posts. (And I changed my picture ’cause I look a little crazy in the old one.)

  1. MyKelle Tieman says:

    This is so great! I wish when I had started quilting I had this list. Happy to say I have everything all
    Except an ironing board… wah wah… I for some reason continue to lay a think towel or blanket down and iron on what ever surface is nearest me. It drives my husband batty… haha. Target is literally 20 minute walk and 5 minute drive from my house. Maybe I’ll add that to my todo list of course after I’ve alrwsy done it. It feels so good to cross it off 🤪

  2. janequiltsslowly says:

    I love this list because it reminds me that you can quilt with a lot fewer gizmos & gadgets than I actually have in my stash! Also writing things on a list just to cross them off is totally me!

  3. Terri Blank says:

    I just ordered that huge box O needles! Thank you for posting about that…I won’t need needles for awhile and that makes me happy! You have the best blog, provide the best information and are the best INSPIRATION of any quilter out there. You have really helped me along the way–without even knowing it! xoxo

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