10 Essentials for every beginner quilter

Building up your must-have quilting tools is just as important as perfecting your sewing skills. This post will help you fill up your toolbox with everything you need to create quilty magic. These are the essential tools for every beginner quilter.

When I started quilting there seem to be so many notions and supplies that I needed to purchase. I hope that this will help cut down on the confusion you may be feeling. I will help you wade through the sea of notions that are out there and that everyone seems to say that they are must haves for quilting. You could end up spending a fortune if you are not careful. I certainly am one for being frugal but still having what I need. So I hope this will help you as well.

Here we go with my list:

1 Sewing Machine

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This is an obvious one. As long as you have a good solid sewing machine you should be right to get started. If you are thinking about purchasing a new machine then try to purchase one that will do a good job and is not cheap. You do get what you pay for. I would also purchase your machine from a specialist sewing shop. They usually will let you have a go if you ask and will show you some of the features. You will also receive after sale service and will be able to go and ask them for help after purchase. They may even have classes as well. 

I love my Pfaff machine but that is my brand of preference. depending on who you ask they will have their own brand they prefer. Do your research on the machines within your price range to help you make a decision of which brand and model you wish to purchase.

2. Rotary Cutter

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This is a must for any quilter. The ideal size to start with is the 45mm size. I spent a little more initially and purchased an Olfa ergonomic cutter. It is easy on your hand if you are cutting for a while and I like the button lock. 

3. Self Healing Mat

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These mats are a must when using a rotary cutter. A good size to start is the 18" x 12" . You will need to make sure that your mat is always on a flat surface as it can get out of shape if left standing up. A big no no with your mat (I'm speaking from experience here) is never leave it in a hot car. The mat will warp and it will not go back flat again no matter what you try. You end up having to throw it out as it is never quite flat again. 

4. Acrylic Quilting Rulers

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There are a multitude of rulers out there and everyone will say you need this one. Basically I use 2 rulers the most and this will get you by with everything you need to do until you start some more difficult blocks. These rulers help you cut accurate pieces. I have the 6.5" x 12.5" (great for class) and a 6.5" x 24" ( a must have for cutting larger pieces of fabric). I also like the rulers with the finer lines on them. The Sew Easy rulers is the brand I like the most. There are a lot of brands for you to purchase and they all do the job.

5. Iron and Ironing Board

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You most probably have these already. Just make sure that your iron can steam and dry iron. I do have a little travel iron that I use as it is easier to press the small pieces without burning fingers. Remember to PRESS not iron you pieces.

6. Quilting Gloves

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The gloves I use for quilting are Ansell HyFlex gloves. They do contain latex but there is a glove that is made for people who are allergic. They can be purchased in a supermarket and they grip fantastic onto the fabric for quilting. The bonus is they are not expensive. I have a few pairs as I do tend to misplace things occasionally.

Hmmmm, I must do some more tidying in my sewing area.

7. Curved Quilt Basting Safety Pins and Basting Spray

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The curved pins are a must for pining your three layers together so the quilt is secure while you are quilting. The curve on the pin allows you to insert it without disturbing the layers too much. Make sure you have plenty of these pins (200 to 500 pins is great)

I have recently started using basting spray and I love it. It must be a spray designed for quilts. The Odif 505 Temporary basting spray is the best that I have found. You don't need to use pins.

8. Wonder Clips

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Clover brought these clips out years ago and there are now other companies that also make these clips. They are also called binding clips. These clips are a wonder. they hold binding and fabric together without the pins. I just love these littles beauties.

9. High Quality Thread

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I am not fussy about whether I use cotton thread when quilting. Some people are but I am not one of the quilting police that says things must be done a certain way. It is important that your thread is good quality not cheap and nastie.  I love using Rasant thread. I also use Mettler, Aurifill, Gutermann and Signature threads. Look out for these brands when they are on special and purchase your threads then. Be careful if you have threads that have around for years and years as they can perish ( I am talking about your mums or grandmas threads).

Start off with basic colours and add to them later. Colours that are good to start with are: White, Cream, Black, Navy, Dark Grey, Medium Grey and Light Grey.

Grey is a fantastic colour to have as it blends into the colours of the fabric that you are sewing. You can almost use it all the time ( except when sewing white and cream) 

10. Fabric

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You will need 100% quilters cotton. it is a medium weight cotton fabric and great to sew your quilts with. if you ave trouble choosing fabrics for a quilt then go for fabrics from the same range as they have been designed to go together. You can purchase Charm packs(5"squares), Layer cakes(10"squares), fat quarter packs, fat eighth packs or what ever amounts of the fabrics you like. Throw in a matching solid or more and you will have a beautiful quilt.

Additional Supplies

  • Fabric scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Seam ripper
  • 1/4" machine piecing foot ( fits your sewing machine-on may have come with the machine)
  • Walking foot (Fits your machine - one may have come with your machine - Pfaff has the IDT that does the same job as the walking foot on other brands)
  • Spray Starch ( Mary Ellen's Best Press)
  • Batting ( Cotton, Bamboo, Wool, or Wool/Poly Mix)
  • Machine needles  80/12 sharps
  • Sandboard
  • Lamp (Ott light for good lighting)

These are the supplies that should get you started. You may have some of these already. Keep an eye out as quite often you will be able to pick up some of these items on special. 

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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. Choose a beginner pattern that does not involve a lot of triangles. Start with squares and rectangles.

I have designed a table runner that is beginner friendly just for you. 

Sign up to my newsletter and you will be able to get the pattern for free in your mailbox.

I hope this has helped you get going with your essential supplies ready to take off on this fun crazy journey of quilting.

Enjoy and many blessings