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Learn to Quilt: A Quilter's Toolbox

Learn to Quilt: A Quilter's Toolbox

Want to quilt but not sure what tools are essential? Here's what you need!

You don't need a lot of tools to start your quilting journey but like many crafts, certain tools can make your finished project just a little nicer. Start with the basic tools and add to your toolbox as your skills expand and your projects require more specific tools.

A Beginner Quilter's Toolbox 

Here are a few basic things you need to start quilting:

1. An iron.  A good iron is a must for a quilter as your seams need to be pressed nice and flat when quilting.  I think it goes without saying that you will also need an ironing board to go with your iron.

2. Rotary Cutter and Cutting MatTo get the precise and straight cuts you need for quilting, a rotary cutter and cutting mat are the way to go.  You don't need a huge mat, 12" x 18" is perfectly adequate and a 45mm rotary cutter is the standard for quilting.

4. Quilting RulerTo go along with your rotary cutter and cutting mat, you need a quilting ruler to measure your fabric cuts.  A 6.5" x 24.5" ruler works great as it will cut the width of the fabric when folded off the bolt.  Perfect for cutting binding strips.  It can also be used for making smaller cuts.  

5. Spray Baste or Basting Pins.  Once your quilt top is finished, you need to make your quilt sandwich of quilt top, batting and backing and baste the layers together so that you can quilt it.  You can use spray baste which is a spray glue that holds the layers together.  Basting pins are safety pins that have a bent arm that allow you to easily pin layers of fabric together.

6. Seam Guide or 1/4" foot.  Consistent 1/4" seams are key to a successful quilt top and to get these you can use a specialized foot for your sewing machine or a magnetic seam guide that sticks to your sewing machine to guide the fabric so that you can achieve 1/4" seams.  

An Intermediate Quilter's Toolbox

Want to up your quilting game?  Here are a few things that can help create that beautiful quilt top:

1. Quilter's Clapper.  When you are piecing your quilt top, you want your seams to press as flat as possible and this wooden tool can help as it traps the heat in the fabric after you press to make your seams lay flat.  

2. Marking Tools.  When you are piecing and quilting you sometimes need to mark stitching lines and a Hera Marker can be a great tool.  It creases your fabric to show you where to stitch and with a wash or a little rub the crease comes right out.  You can also use water soluble markers and pencils or air erasable marking pens but make sure you do a test first.

3. Aurifil Cotton Thread.  Many quilters only use cotton thread and Aurifil thread is one of the best cotton threads on the market.  Made in Italy of Egyptian cotton, it sinks into your fabric to help create perfect piecing.

4. Stripology Ruler.  The Stripology Ruler by Creative Grids, comes in three sizes and is a slotted ruler that allows you to cut strips from up to half a metre of fabric without having to move the ruler.  It helps cut down on the time it takes to cut your fabric strips and ensures accurate cutting.  

5. Wool Pressing Mat.  These felted wool mats are another tool to help press those seams as flat as possible.  The mat keeps the heat in the fabric longer after pressing to help create those flat seams every quilter wants.  They come in various sizes and you simply place your fabric or pieced work on the mat and press as required and voila!  Flat seams.

6. Diagonal Seam Tape.  This washi tape has 1/4" seams allowances marked on it and you place is on the bed of your sewing machine to help you stitch those HSTs and stitch and flip pieces.  The fantastic thing about this tape is that you don't have to mark your pieces as you just follow the markings on the tape.

An Advanced Quilter's Toolbox

You've tackled a lot of quilting skills and are ready to go even further.  Here are a few more things that advanced quilters use:

1. Quilting Rulers.  These rulers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can help you cut pieces and create blocks that go beyond the basic square.  

2. Foundation Paper.  This foundation paper makes foundation paper piecing easy.  It is semi-transparent, feeds easily through your printer, and is easily tearable ensuring you have no problems tearing it off the back of your work when you have finished piecing.

3. Seam Roller.  A seam roller can help press open those seams after paper piecing to help get those flat seams.

4. Thread Gloss.  Give hand quilting a try to up your quilting game.  Thread gloss helps keep your hand quilting thread from tangling and knotting and keeps it static free.

All of these tools can help make your quilting experience more enjoyable.  It helps to have the right tools to get the job done right.  If you click a link and any of these products are out of stock, please sign up for an email or text notification for when they come back in stock.