To learn a new craft, you’re going to need a handful of specialized tools. And so it is with quilting too as this is a craft of accuracy in cutting and easy sewing. If you have the right tools for your craft, you can’t go wrong. With the clutch of supplies mentioned below, you can make a perfect start to quilting.
Essential Quilting Supplies
At the heart of quilting lies the need for accurate cutting. You can do this best by using a rotary cutter, along with a self-healing mat. If you cut accurately, you can also piece together the bits equally accurately. If you develop mastery in this skill, you can move on to other techniques like chain piecing.
The rotary cutter is shaped like a pizza cutter and comes with sharp blades. The blade sizes vary and are generally 45 mm and 60 mm. Be sure to have an extra pack of blades as this gives your fabric a smooth cut.
With a self-healing cutting mat, you can cut fabric accurately. It will also help keep your cutting surface intact and your rotary blade incisive. It’s also long-lasting because it will not leave marks on the surface.
Ideally, you should have a cutting mat that measures 24″ x 36″ since this would fit many sizes of tables. Also, bear in mind the largest mat size that you have room for. This will help you lay out your material without causing any harm to the table below.
Depending on the size available with you, you can also opt for cutting mats with ironing boards. If you’re into paper piecing, this could be a big boon to you.
Quilters need fabric scissors to cut material when cutting areas that a rotary cutter cannot, and for snipping and clipping.
It’s a good idea to have a small and lightweight pair of scissors as these features will make them easily portable. If they also come with sharp tips and comfortable handles, they will serve you better on smaller projects.
A quilter must necessarily have a ruler in his or her tool kit. Generally, acrylic rulers are used as they are transparent, help you cut fabric pieces accurately, and have a better grip so that they don’t slip out of your hand when you use a rotary cutter. They are also exceptionally durable and have easy-to-read markings.
A good size, to begin with, is a 5″ ruler or you could go in for a 6″ x 24”. As you make progress in quilting, you can opt for square rulers and specialty rulers for various types of shapes.
100% high-quality cotton is the best fabric for quilting.
This tool helps rip open stitches. So, you’re going to need this one from time to time. Some sewing machines have in-built rippers, but you could also opt for large ones with easy-to-use handles. Handles come in a variety of materials, such as wood and metal, so choose according to your taste.
You should use a sturdy thread so that your quilt holds well. The best for quilting is 100% cotton as anything cheap will break easily and form lint in your sewing machine. A 50-weight thread of 100% cotton will help you immensely. Choose two colors, to begin with.
All your sewing machine needs to do is to sew a straight line, so buy the best quilting machine. However, do invest in good needles for your machine, preferably Universal 80/12 needles. Keep using fresh needles to get even stitches. When you see some stitches skipped, change the needle.
All you need to ensure is that your iron comes with a steam capability. Your accompanying iron board must be robust to take on the quilt once it’s ready. Remember to place your ironing unit near the sewing machine so that you give your quilt gets a press quickly.
You can use a variety of tools to mark out patterns on your fabric. However, chalk is still the best, particularly if your fabric is dark. On other materials, you might like to go with pencils. Air-erasable or water-soluble markers are also preferred these days.
Pins are required for a variety of reasons while quilting, such as making a quilt sandwich, or batting, getting the top in place or batting. While you quilt, you will need to piece fabric together with the use of pins, so ensure you have a stock of them as they provide the necessary accuracy in piecing.
Your pins should be robust and sharp and of medium thickness. They should have a range of heads—flat that can go under a sewing machine and heat-resistant for the time that you iron fabric. Heads could be made of glass or plastic heads which are easy to work with.
Silk pins are usually used silk pins since they can be passed through a variety of materials without damaging them. Since applique pins are shorter than the conventional ones, they are usually used in small parts of a project where applique and hand-stitching are done.
You might also need curved safety pins for basting your quilt. For most batting types, it’s best to go with the curved pins that are about 1.5″ in length. If you’re pinning three layers of a quilt together, you’re going to need flowerhead pins that range between 1.5″ and 2″ in length.Store your pins on a pin cushion for quick retrieval and use.
With the help of glue, you can hold the fabric tightly together either during or before you begin stitching. Adhesives are available in spray, liquid, or stick form.
Card Sheets or Thin Plastic
If you work with random shapes or appliqué, using card sheets or thin plastic as templates will help you greatly.
Freezer paper is used to iron onto material where it sticks for some time. Later, it can be peeled off without it leaving a waxy deposit.
Once your toolkit contains all or most of the above list, you can get started with your first quilting project and see a measure of success. Then, as you make progress with your hobby, you can move on to more professional items that seasoned quilters use.