Sew You Want to Start Quilting?
You have decided that you want to join an elite group of craftswomen and men to begin creating perhaps your most beautiful handmade creation. There are only a handful of experiences better than starting and finishing your custom-made quilt. I’ll let you think about what those other experiences may be.
To begin a new hobby or craft, you essentially need supplies or tools to make your experience simpler, enjoyable, and downright fun. As a beginner, how do you decide what supplies or tools you will need to begin this journey as a new quilter?
First, a trip to your local quilt shop, Stitchin’ Heaven, or stitchinheaven.com may be our best suggestion on getting started. Stitchin’ Heaven prides itself on having world-class customer support, we also have well-trained staff and experienced quilters dedicated to assisting you in this new adventure. Below, I have laid out a collection of “Quilting” must-have items and tools. I also provide some fun alternatives to get you started. Ready? Let’s begin building your Quilting Tool Box!
1. Self-Healing Cutting Mats
A self-healing cutting mat is vital because it helps to protect your cutting space while also prolonging the life of your rotary cutter (we’ll get to these next). Stitchin’ Heaven recommends getting a cutting mat that fits most cutting spaces – that’s why we have multiple sizes. As a note, always store your cutting mats flat, if you don’t have a lot of space look into getting a folding mat.
2. Rotary Cutter
I told you we would be back to the rotary cutter. In the world of quilting, you will need a rotary cutter to achieve accurate cuts. Your rotary cutter and self-healing mat will bond and become two of your best friends. When you cut with accuracy, you obtain the mastery of accurate piecing.
Rotary cutters can most often be compared to a pizza cutter. They are the pizza cutters of quilting. Has anyone tried to use their rotary cutter to cut pizza? Does it work? Rotary cutters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are even classified as “ergonomic” helping to prolong your agility with cutting. As a beginner, Stitchin’ Heaven recommends you start with a medium size rotary cutter which is generally a 45mm rotary cutter.
3. Iron and Ironing Board
Purchasing an iron will probably be the easiest decision when deciding what to add to your quilting toolbox. You don’t need an expensive Iron. All you need is an iron that gets really hot with the option for steam. In regards to your ironing board, it needs to be sturdy and able to handle your quilt once completed. Our tip, the iron and board as close to your sewing machine so that you are not having to walk far.
Stitchin’ Heaven sells a small iron intended for working with quilt pieces that are small or when piecing your blocks. Check out our Mighty Travel Iron, this small but mighty iron heats quickly to 140-428 degrees. The ergonomic handle lets you work for hours while the non-stick sole plate is kind to your fabrics. This iron is fantastic for travel and works well sitting right next to your sewing machine.
4. Rulers, Rulers, and more Rulers
One essential tool to your toolbox will be the addition of an acrylic quilting ruler. The rulers are transparent and often come with a griping adhesive to prevent sliding when cutting with your rotary cutter. Starting off, you need to decide what quilt you want to make. Often times, you can determine what ruler will be best for you. Stitchin’ Heaven recommends starting with a 5″ X24″ ruler or a 6″ X24″ ruler. Different quilts will require various rulers, and Stitchin’ Heaven has one of the most extensive in-store and online selections of rulers in the country. I know, I have personally checked.
Once you have built up your collection of rulers, you may want to invest in Stitchin’ Heaven’s Ruler Organizer Kit. The kit allows for no more messes looking for rulers. Keep your rulers at the tip of your fingers with this GREAT organizational tool.
5. Wonder Clips
|The Wonder Clips are great alternatives to pins, especially when working with heavy weight fabrics, piles, and vinyl. It can hold layered sections of sewing projects such as handle connectors to handbags and piping without distortion. It holds quilt binding while sewing, it’s easy to see and easy to find when dropped on the floor.|
The quality of your quilt and its sturdiness are only as good as the thread used to piece your quilt together. Stitchin’ Heaven recommends using a high-quality thread that is about 50 wt and 100% cotton. This thread type is a quality thread but is also very fine that it will not add much bulk to your quilt. Thread colors will vary depending on the color scheme of your quilt. We recommend taking your fabric along with you to the tread section and trying to match as best as possible.
To quilt, you will need fabric. When in doubt, compare the fabric; the weight; the thread count; the feel. Don’t shop at your big box stores. Always’ s shop and support your local quilt shops. Also, your local quilt shops will have the best prices on the best quality fabrics on the market. The high quality of the fabrics also prevents bleeding when washed.
7. The Sewing Machine
Sewing Machines are what make or break the experience for a quilter. While we recommend a middle of the road sewing machine, you really don’t have to spend a lot to have a quality and reliable sewing machine. The most crucial function of a sewing machine is that it will consistently sew a straight line. Be careful of the really cheap ones, because of issues with needles breaking a lot. You will find most of those at Walmart. Stitchin’ Heaven sells a couple of quality sewing machines, but it’s genuinely up to the quilter and what she/he is most comfortable with. Do your research and invest in what you want. Ultimately it will be the engine that drives your experience.
8. Additional Recommended Accessories and Supplies
• Walking Foot: A walking foot is used to evenly feed the multiple layers of a quilt through your sewing machine.
• Fabric Scissors: If you are sewing or quilting, you will need scissors. We are talking scissors that your kids or significant other will never ever be allowed to touch. Stitchin’ Heaven offers a variety of quality fabric scissors.
• Sewing Gloves: Protects hands from pinpricks, scissor cuts, and common germs. Great for quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and crafting. You’ll never want to take them off. They become like a second pair of hands.
• Seam Ripper: Seam Ripper and Buttonhole Cutter is used for taking out seams and removing stitches.
• Fabric Marker: Fabric Markers are great for assisting with your cuts
9. Quilt Kits
Now that you have built your essential quilting toolbox are you excited to begin? For your first quilt, we recommend one of Stitchin’ Heaven’s pre-selected or pre-cut quilt kits. Trust me, these kits will enhance your experience from the start. The kits remove all the work while increasing the fun.
What is a Quilt Kit? A quilt kit usually includes the pattern and selective yardage of fabric for the quilt you have decided to make. Some kits may come already pre-cut. Below are some of Stitchin’ Heaven’s most popular quilt kits. Do your homework and strive to purchase only the highest quality supplies and fabric. Oh, and support your local quilt shops, especially Stitchin’ Heaven. If you haven’t registered for weekly emails, do so now and receive 10% off your first order. That should help you with your getting started budget.