Having an arsenal of go-to quilting essentials is very important when getting started. There are a few things that make quilting a joy. I am sharing my favorites and why I use the tools below.
A. Sewing Machine: You need a machine that will do the job. Everyone has their preference on which brand is best. Each machine will have its own set of features. I have had a Kenmore, Singer, and now a Bernina. Do your research and pick what meets your needs.
B. Pincushion: I love a cute pincushion. My favorites are made of wool and the one I made myself is made from cotton and crushed walnut shells. There are tons of free pincushion patterns online. You can pick one you like and fill it with crushed walnut shells to keep your pins sharp.
C. Pins! I love long pins with small glass heads. They are great for piecing and for getting tricky binding joins together.
D. Iron: This is an item when people will tell you to spend a lot of money or next to nothing. I have found that my irons typically last about 2 years with all of the use. I’m using my iron every single day. I DO NOT USE STEAM. It is bad for the iron and rots out the inside, eventually leading it to spit. That spit is most likely going to be rust colored then you’ll have a ruined project. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Instead of steam, I use a mist sprayer with water. I currently own a CHI. The main selling point for me with this iron is that it had a 2-year warranty. If it stops heating any time before the 2 years are up, it will be replaced! Yay for that! As for the really expensive irons, I have used them and they are fine. I just can’t justify more than $80 if it’s going to die on me in 2 years.
E. Ironing board: A simple, yet essential piece of equipment. Buy whatever works for your space. Maybe you like a table top ironing board or a heat protection pad that magnets to the dryer. I love my ironing board. It’s from Target and I have recovered it once. I have found that the covers get more stained when using things like starch and best press. If you want to keep it clean, just put a towel down before using those products.
F. Thread! It is so pretty all lined up with the varying hues. Doesn’t it just make you happy? I am completely partial to Aurifil thread. I love it! Many cotton threads will do the job, but my go-to for piecing and quilting is Aurifil 50 weight. While this is a little pricier than some other brands, I like knowing that it is quality. After all, it is running through all of those mechanisms on my machine.
G. Small scissors: I am always using my small scissors for snipping little threads and cutting off dog ears on my half square triangles. I use a little pair of Gingher scissor that have a cover. A quick loop of ribbon around the finger bow allows me to wear them around my neck and the cover keeps it from poking me and my clothes.
H. Pencil: Choose one you like or use one you have! I use mine for marking on the back side of my pieces. Any pencil will do. I love the Sewline mechanical pencil. It comes with pink, white, and normal lead so you can find something you can see on different values of color. If you need to mark on the right side of the fabric, it erases when you’re done!
I. Seam Ripper: You’ll never need one, right? Because everything you will sew will be perfect! Hahaha famous last words…While making mistakes isn’t preferred, it will happen and when it does you will want a good seam ripper to help you out. I love my little brass seam ripper that is said to stay sharp for 20 years. The jury is still out on that, I have only owned it for a year or so. I love the weight to this seam ripper. It is sharp and gets the job done. It doesn’t hurt that it looks pretty, too.
J. Rotary cutter: Let me just start by saying please be careful. Safety is so important and with two little ones running around I have never wanted a blade hanging out. Fons & Porter makes a rotary cutter that has a light and heavy setting. This rotary cutter works great and the blade is never just hanging out. It has to be pressed down for the blade to engage. Which means more cutting fabric and less cutting hands. Make sure you have a sharp blade. Each time you start a new project you should change your blade.
K. Quilting rulers: Notice the plural on this rulers. I have a few different sizes on hand, some square and rectangles. Different grids work for different people. If you are working too hard to cut and continue to miss-cut, it is possible you have the wrong ruler for how you think and learn. Some good sizes to start with are 6″ by 24″, 12.5″ square, 9.5″ square, and 6.5″ square.
L. Cutting mat: Pick one that works for your space. I like to have a small one right next to me for quick cuts next to the Machine. Large ones are great for cutting out the pieces for your whole quilt or squaring your quilt once it has been quilted. A good cutting mat is worth a little extra money.
Another great way to get a few tools, is the Couch to Quilt Kit by Missouri Star Quilting Company. It comes with a charm pack, instructions, a rotary cutter, pins, scissors, a cutting mat, a ruler, thread, and they will even quilt it and bind it for you once it is finished. It is reasonably priced at $99.95.
There are so many tools to choose from and I hope this list helped narrow it down for you at least a little bit. The right tools can help you create so many things. My happy place is in my sewing room creating and using all of these things. These tools are in my hands on a daily basis. (This post is not sponsored by any of the products listed above.)
I can hardly wait to see what you make! Be bold! Share what you create with the quilting society. Sometimes it is easy to get sucked into everything you see online and think there are already “enough” great creatives. This is not true! There is someone who needs you and can be brought happiness by what you do. We can bring each other together and lift each other up with this awesome quilting community.