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 3 Top Must-Have Quilting Tools
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:
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.
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:
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
- Straight Pins (Read more!)
- Safety Pins (for basting - don't know how to baste? I got a post on that.)
- Self-Healing Cutting Mat (Oh I gotta blog for that)
- Rotary Cutter (yep, a blog for that too)
- Ruler (or 10...also I have a blog on that)
- Seam Ripper (anything basic will work...wait...do I have a blog for that? Oh yeah, totally do.)
- Fabric and Batting (Read about my inspirational batting dream quest here also want to know where to get the best fabric online? Check out my shop list.)
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.)
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:
Must-Have Quilting Tools You Probably Already Have
(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.
Check Out Some of My Favorite Notions!
- How to Choose the Right Quilt Batting
- The Best Sewing Table
- The Best Quality Thread: Part 1 and Part 2
- 5 Best Cutting Mats for Quilters
- Best Rotary Cutter
- The 4 Best Quilting Rulers
- The Best Iron for Sewing
- The World's Best Sewing Scissors
- Your Guide to Finding the Best Thimble
- Best Pins for Quilting
- The Best Quilt Marking Tools
- Fusible Batting Tape: Why You Need It and How to Use It.
- 8 Things You Never Knew About a Tailor's Clapper
- 5 Types & Sizes of Hand Quilting Needles
- Must-Have Quilting Tools