Basic Quilting Equipment To Get Started

Quilting Wall HangingOne great thing about quilting for a beginner is you don’t need a huge amount of expensive equipment; just the basics and you will be able to get started creating wonderful pieces of quilting projects.

Start with a pair of scissors and a see-through ruler, simple as that, you probably have needles and pins in your workbox already plus a sewing machine can be handy as it will save time.

A lot of inexperienced quilters tend to buy a wide range gadgets in the beginning, but really you only need a few tools to start with and once you become more confident and experienced you can add to your collection of tools as it can be quite expensive to buy them all in one go.

Here are some of the basic tools that you will need:

Quilting Needles
Quilting needles are an essential tool, especially if you are going to hand quilt. I have found the shorter needles best to do quilting, as the shorter the needle the shorter the stitch. A 7 to 8 between is ideal for hand quilting. As a beginner it is a good idea to buy a package of in betweens and then you can choose the best needle that you are comfortable with.

Good, sharp scissors are essential; one small for cutting thread, large scissors for cutting fabric, although now I use a rotary cutter and board, which I wouldn’t be without.

Rotary Cutter and Matrotary cutter
The rotary cutter cuts straight and can cut through large layers of fabric at a time, saving your time and accuracy. Correct measurements at all times are a must, always double check before cutting out. When the rotary cutter is not in use always keep the safety shield on to prevent any nasty accidents. A must to use with the rotary cutter is the cutting mat.

See Through Ruler
Ruler sometimes called quilters rulers. These are made of acrylic and are transparent, with lines of measurements to guide you with cutting correct measurements.

When using my rotary cutter, I have found that due to the fact that the see through ruler has so many lines, to get accurate measurements, I place some masking tape along the lines on the ruler, that corresponds with the measurements I require, then align the ruler along the material, cut and you will always have sound measurements, until you get really experienced that is.

Quilting frames
Quilting frames are rather like large hoops, they come in handy to keep work well taut while you are handing quilt. You will achieve a smooth appearance to the finished quilt. Quilting frames are good for working on small areas of your hand quilted project.

Templates can be bought commercially, however you will find that most quilt patterns will provide you with templates anyway. As you get more proficient and confident you will be able to make you own designs for quilt and patchwork templates, much more rewarding.

Most quilters find it impossible to work without a thimble; some quilters use one on each hand and one on the thumb. For most quilters it is worn on the third finger of your sewing hand, this enables you to push the needle through the three layers of fabric when you are hand quilting. Thimbles should not be too loose or too tight, try out a few thimble sizes and see which one suits you best. I must admit that I end up with sore finger ends when I hand quilt, because I always find the thimbles get in the way, it is something I haven’t quite got used to wearing.

Quilting Foot
A quilting foot is an amazing addition to your sewing machine accessory. Some modern sewing machines come with this as an attachment, but you can purchase them individually for your older machine, they are well worth the extra cost. I started by placing a strip of tape, a ¼ inch away from my sewing machine foot as a guide. This enables me to get accurate seam allowances, which is so important to quilters.

Quilters ¼ inch
A quilters 1/4 inch is also a handy piece of equipment, it is a long, straight usually clear plastic square in section, and each side measures 6 mm or 1/4in. A ¼ inch tool will enable you to easy see if you have sewn ¼ inch seems.

So as you can see a few pieces of simple equipment will make your quilting and patchwork project a breeze.