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Ever since medieval times, quilting has been both a necessity and a hobby, though nowadays, it tends to be the latter. There is something so rewarding about creating with your hands, and quilting has quickly become a popular hobby all over the United States. It’s both relaxing and stimulating, and studies show that it is beneficial to mental health and general well-being.
If quilting is something you see yourself doing in the future, you will want an idea of what you need to get started. We’ve compiled a list of quilting supplies that we believe every successful quilter needs to embark on their quilting journey. For some ideas to get started, check out our large selection of kits and patterns.
Sewing Machine for Quilting
A good sewing machine can be an important tool for becoming a good quilter. The singer is one of the best brands of sewing machines, but there are many good brands out there with special features for quilting. A sewing machine is important for getting accurate stitching, and it’s also much faster than hand sewing. I think it’s safe to say that a sewing machine may be at the top of the list of quilting supplies you may want to invest in.
For those who just want to dip their toes into the quilting world, and don’t have a sewing machine, have no fear. Quilting is possible without a sewing machine, though it is a good investment if you’re sure you will be quilting further down the road. For smaller projects, like kits for ornaments or coasters, doing your work by hand is very possible and maybe something enjoyable for you.
Quilting Supplies: Fabric Scissors
Do some scissors make your hands cramp? Good scissors should be high on the list of quilting supplies you may want to purchase. While it’s important to get scissors that cut well, you’ll also want to look for comfort and ease of use in your quilting supplies. Aim for scissors that are used only for fabric, (don’t use them on paper!) and are comfortable on your hand. It should be durable but lightweight, so your hand doesn’t get tired. It is also important that your scissors are very sharp and cut with minimal effort. This will allow you to cut through thicker fabrics like denim easily.
Of course, you’ll want to remember that if you are left-handed you will want to make sure that your scissors are left-handed as well. There are many good scissors available, so look around and find one that meets your specific needs. Quality goes a long way when it comes to good scissors, so aim for high quality over low price.
Quilting Iron and Ironing Board
Most people have some kind of basic ironing board stashed somewhere in their house. However, for an avid quilter, a wide, sturdy ironing board will make a big difference in your quilting. A full-size ironing board with a large surface area will come in handy with large pieces of fabric and quilts. One with adjustable height can be helpful for exceptionally tall or short people.
Choose an ironing board that is sturdy and won’t wobble or tip. As far as irons, there are many different kinds and brands you can choose from, but once again it’s usually better to invest in a high-quality one that won’t damage your fabric and will iron well. More surface area on your ironing board will make for a better workspace, and quilting supplies that give you more space to work are something you want to look for.
When it comes to quilting supplies, the thread is essential. Thread is quite literally the only thing holding your material together when it comes to quilting. For this reason, it is a good idea to stick with quilting thread and not embroidery thread. Quilting thread is stronger than embroidery thread and is designed for seaming. 40-weight or 50-weight cotton thread is a good choice because it has higher friction and the stitching won’t come out as easily. Keep in mind that cotton thread won’t stretch a lot and will break if pulled too tightly.
In the wash, they may shrink, so treat them as you would treat cotton fabrics. Polyester threads also may work, but the polyester thread is not as strong as cotton and won’t hold its shape as well. There are many good options available, so it doesn’t hurt to experiment with different kinds of threads and find the one that’s best for you.
Quilting Supplies: Rotary Cutters
In the quilting world, rotary cutters are a game changer. For those new to quilting, a rotary blade is a cutting tool. It’s like a mini pizza cutter, but instead of cutting through dough and pizza sauce, it cuts through the fabric. A large blade will cut through several layers of fabric, while a smaller blade is more maneuverable and cuts corners better.
The blade is secured in a comfortable handle for safety, but it is still important to handle the cutters responsibly. Close it when you are not using it. The rotary blade cuts fabric much quicker and more accurately than scissors. Aside from a sewing machine, the rotary cutter is one of the most important quilting supplies you may need. You probably will want something to roll the rotary cutters on, which brings us to our next point.
Self Healing Cutting Mats for Quilting
While something like cardboard can work in a pinch, a quilter benefits from using a good self-healing cutting mat with a rotary cutter. A cutting mat will protect your workspace and ensure accurate cutting, especially those that come with a grid. A self-healing mat does exactly what it sounds like it does, and is designed to withstand a lot of use and handling. They are reliable and flexible and keep their shape over time. A good mat size to start with is 18×24 inches; it’s portable and easy to manage. Clean your mat routinely with a damp cloth and keep it away from direct sunlight or heat sources that could warp the mat.
Quilting Supplies: Rulers
One of the most useful quilting supplies you can buy is acrylic rulers. These rulers are durable and used in many aspects of quilting. Out of the many rulers sold, there are two that work especially well for beginner quilters.
A straight ruler is used for drawing lines and as a straight edge when cutting fabric. Pay attention to the ruler color and make sure the lines and numbers are clear. The markings should show clearly against dark and light fabrics.
Square rulers are used to square up fabric blocks. A 12 ½ square ruler is a safe beginner’s ruler since it will fit 12-inch squares and smaller blocks. A square ruler has a 90-degree angle.
Pins for Quilting
Pins are a pretty obvious necessity when it comes to any kind of sewing work. Aim for larger pins 1 ½ to 2” long that are stronger and longer and will go through several layers of fabric. Buying ones with a bright-colored head will make them easier to spot as well. Pins are useful for temporarily holding patterns together before sewing. Pins are simple and cheap, but a must-have when it comes to any kind of sewing or quilting supplies.
Ready to get Started?
Now that you are armed with the quilting supplies you need, the question remains, “How do I get started?” For those who have little to no experience with sewing or quilting, it may look daunting and overwhelming in the beginning. Fortunately, there are available resources to help beginner quilters get on their feet. Quilting goes far beyond making full-size quilts, and there are patterns and kits for all kinds of different quilting projects.
At Rachels of Greenfield, we handmake our kits and patterns and design them to be useful for both beginner and intermediate quilters. Embark on your quilting journey with us! We offer kits to create some of the following:
Table-toppers are beautiful centerpieces you can make for your kitchen table or coffee table. This kit comes with all the fabric and the patterns needed to make the table topper, and with your already-acquired quilting supplies, you should be good to go!
Wall Quilt Kits
Our wall quilt kits are made in Lancaster, PA, and come in many different styles, like our Baby Bear Quilt Kit, and Barn Star Quilt Kit. These kits come with the materials you need and will look great hanging on your wall!
Ornament Kits are great gifts to give over the holidays. These kits are handmade and come with the materials you need. Handmade ornaments are a great and creative way to decorate your Christmas tree this year!
These kits come with complete instructions, so even novice quilters can feel like they are equipped with what they need. We offer full kits that come with all the materials needed to make things like table toppers, ornaments, and wall quilts. Gather your basic sewing and quilting supplies, purchase a kit, and there you go! Since starting with a large quilt may be a big undertaking, smaller projects like ornaments or table toppers may be something to consider when joining the quilting bandwagon. Happy quilting!