Six Essential Tools for New Quilters

Just for fun yesterday I posted a picture of my lint roller on Instagram. It is a tool that I use frequently to tame those loose threads that cover every surface in my sewing studio, including my clothes. It started me thinking about just what are the most essential tools for new quilters. In the quilting world there is always another cool gadget or tool you can buy, after all that is what defines a great hobby. But you don’t really need fancy gadgets and tools to get started with quilting.

My List of Six Essential Tools for New Quilters.

1. Sewing Machine

You don’t need a fancy or expensive sewing machine. After all quilting is basically just straight stitching. A hand-me-down or basic machine will do just fine. I sewed on a basic Kenmore for thirty-five years and only recently treated myself to an upgrade.

Sewing Machine

2. Iron

Quilting is as much about pressing as it is about sewing. You don’t need an expensive iron. I use a basic dry iron with a spray bottle of water for when I want steam. I also have a homemade pressing board next to my sewing machine so I don’t have to constantly pop up and down to the ironing board.

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3. Rotary Cutting System

A rotary cutter is the one specialized tool you will need for quilting. You should start with a 45 mm rotary cutter, a cutting mat, a long ruler, and a square ruler. (Funny, clear plastic rulers don’t photograph very well.)

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4. Pins

This one is cheap but essential. You will need straight pins for piecing and curved safety pins for basting the quilt layers together.

5. Scissors

You need a sharp pair of scissors that you reserve only for fabric. Keep them away from paper, plants, hair, and whatever else your family is in the habit of cutting.

6. Seam Ripper

The seam ripper is your friend. It is your “undo button” when stitching gets away from you or when pieces turn themselves backward. I find it comforting to know there is always a chance for a do-over.

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That’s it … all you really need to make a beautiful handmade quilt!

– Sandy

2 thoughts on “Six Essential Tools for New Quilters

  1. I would also include with the pins a mention of using the clips – I love them more than pins. I don’t keep sticking myself. They are great for holding pieces together along an edge – they also don’t bump up the fabric as they hold it together. And they work better with a large clump of fabric, easy to clip vs pin. I highly recommend them.

  2. I have 5.5 out of six. I don’t have a rotary cutting system so much as just a rotary cutter and a straight edge (using a binder at the moment). I’ll hopefully upgrade to a cutting mat and rulers for my next project.

    Oh, and an ironing board! How have I made it this far in life without one? I like the iron square idea. My iron is only ever used for crafts anyway.

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