Quilting for Beginners: Recommended Supplies

Quilting is a hobby that is growing in popularity every day. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not a hobby for “old ladies”, but it appeals to people of all ages from many walks of life.  It’s an excellent way to relieve stress, provide a creative outlet, and can be a great reprieve from the challenges of everyday life. 

Tools for beginning quilters

If you’ve been interested in learning how to quilt but weren’t sure where to start I’m happy to be sharing this Quilting for Beginners article with you.  Today let’s chat about the supplies you need to get started!

 I share many finished quilting projects here and frequently get the “I don’t know where to start” comment.

It seems many of you are interested in learning how to quilt, which I LOVE! I’ve quilted for a few years but still have so much to learn. So, never feel bad that you’re a beginner. You have to start somewhere. 

3 Tips for Beginning Quilters on polkadotchair.com

This year, I’m trying to help you out a bit and am challenging myself to put myself in your shoes. Hopefully, if you’re feeling lost and not sure where to start, this list (and the ones linked at the bottom) will help you out a bit. 

These are just the bare minimum supplies you need to get started. After you get these, you can start adding to your stash with more “fun” stuff. If you’re a seasoned quilter, I’m so glad you’re here. Please “chime” in the comments section so that others can benefit from your knowledge and experience.   

Cute and Clever Sewing Room Organization Ideas; fun ideas for storage and ways to make your sewing space more functional

Must-Have Quilting Supplies

1. Self Healing Cutting Mat

Quilting is almost entirely geometric. These shapes (usually squares and rectangles) are easier to cut using a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler than with scissors.  

You’ll get much more accurate cuts, and in quilting, accuracy is everything.  You’ll need what’s called a “self-healing” cutting mat. 

It “heals” itself after the rotary blade cuts into it. You’ll want to purchase one specifically for quilting as the material is less likely to dull your blade. 

I’d start with one that is 24″ x 36″. That will be large enough to cut most pieces of fabric.  You can buy cutting mats at big box stores. I work with Riley Blake Designs and am partial to their cutting mats. I’ve tried quite a few cutting mats, and this cutting mat is my favorite.

2. Quilting Ruler

Quilt Block of the Month Series on polkadotchair.com - learn to quilt one month at a time!

You’ll need at least one quilt ruler, although you will probably want more as you go on. I’d start with a 6″ x 24″ ruler.  This will allow you to make most of the cuts that you need.   

The second ruler I’d recommend getting is a smaller ruler, such as a 2 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ ruler.  The smaller size is great to use when trimming up blocks. 

3. Rotary Blade Cutting

Use the rotary blade, ruler, and cutting mat to cut out your fabric pieces. Get a good-quality one that feels comfortable in your hand, and be sure to change the blade often. A dull blade can be very dangerous. This is my favorite rotary cutter.

4. Cut Glove

Speaking of dangerous, those rotary blades are SHARP. Protect your non-cutting hand with a cut glove. It will help prevent injury if the blade slips while you are cutting.

If you’re new to quilting and cutting fabric with a rotary blade, then you may want to consider picking up a cut glove. Take it from someone who has sliced the tip of her finger off with a rotary blade: just be safe and get a glove!

5. Sewing Machine

Cute and Clever Sewing Room Organization Ideas; fun ideas for storage and ways to make your sewing space more functional

I sew on a BERNINA 770QE. It’s considered one of the “fancy” BERNINA machines. If you can start with that machine, then that would be great!

But most people don’t start with a machine with many bells and whistles. I’m a BERNINA advocate so I recommend their machines. 

If you’re looking to invest in a good sewing machine, I recommend you find a Sewing Machine dealer in your area and pay them a visit. They will ask you what your needs and budget are and fit you with a machine.  I’ve written all about how to choose a sewing machine, if you’re in the market you might want to check it out.

They have several models to choose from and the best knowledge to help you with your purchase. Most also offer beginner classes. That way, once you get that fancy new machine, you know how it works! If you want to use your machine primarily for quilting, then tell them, and they can point you towards a machine designed for quilting.

6. Quilt Pins & Binding Clips

Quilt Block of the Month Series on polkadotchair.com - learn to quilt one month at a time!

Quilt pins are different from regular sewing pins because they are finer. They will not leave large holes in your fabric and will allow you to pin your fabric more accurately. Larger pins can bunch up your fabric a bit, which can mess up your accuracy when you’re stitching the fabrics together.

7. 100% Cotton Fabric for Quilting

Let's Be Mermaids Fabric on bolts

Quilting is almost entirely done with 100% cotton fabric. Choose good-quality cotton so that your quilt will last for years and withstand repeated washings.

I like to buy good-quality fabric. It bleeds less and holds up better with repeated washing over time. If you’re wondering where to get good-quality quilting fabric, it’s most likely not a big-box store. You’ll want to shop at a quilt shop, either in person or online.

8. Good Quality Iron

You need an iron WITH steam. The steam will help to set your seams and give you nice flat quilt blocks.  I love the Olisio since it raises itself up and down and can help relieve wrist strain. 

9. Seam Ripper

Odds are you will make a mistake (or two, or ten). You’ll need a seam ripper to undo the seams so you can start over again.

10. Quilting for Beginners: Books or Patterns

Cute and Clever Sewing Room Organization Ideas; fun ideas for storage and ways to make your sewing space more functional

I’d recommend picking up a good-quality book on quilting or a very well-written pattern to start. It will answer many of your questions and give you a good idea of the whole process. It might even save you a bit of frustration!

Are you trying to learn how to Quilt? Then you may also like these other Quilting for Beginners Articles:

45+ Beginner Quilt Patterns

How to Finish a Quilt

3 Tips for Beginning Quilters

How to Pick Fabric for a Quilt

Quilt Block Construction Tips

7 of my Favorite Sewing Tips & Tricks

Recommended tools for beginning quilters. Just learning how to quilt and wondering where to start? Here are a bunch of supplies we recommend you start with.

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  1. Thank you for a very clear helpful summing up of useful advice to a very amateur soon to be a possible quilter !

  2. I started with a make do machine for years. Then I Finally got my Bernina and it was wonderful. I have been sewing since 8th grade. I am now 76. Eight years ago everything we had was wiped out by a wildfire.
    We now have a comfortable lovely house that we personally designed and built. Inside items were bought as necessary, hand picked, brand new, donated, 2nd hand etc. Some one loaned me a sewing g machine for a bit.
    When I finally was able to think about replacing my machine, I researched it, figured on what kind of sewing that I would be doing the rest of my life and bought a Janome. It’s a memory ? And it is serving me well and I have been satisfied and loving it. I am not doing clothes, swimming and wedding stuff etc. Now a days. And for quilting which is all I do now it is doing its job smoothly for me. I bought the memory craft 6300 model, and it’s worked great for me. Just sew guys and have fun.

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