Quilting supplies for beginners. Here’s a list of the best tools and quilting supplies if you are a beginner quilter.
This is real life advice for someone who had never touched a sewing machine before but wanted to make a quilt. Let me start at the beginning of my quilting journey. I got this crazy idea that I wanted to make quilts but didn’t know how to sew. Crazy right?! I really wanted to try quilting but I owned nothing. Not one single item, nada, nothing…..so I knew I had to start from scratch. But where to begin?
Below is a list of beginner quilting supplies so you can make your first quilt project.
Quilting Supplies for Beginners – Basic Quilting Supplies
Here is a list of the essential quilting supplies and essential quilting tools you need to have to be successful in making your first quilt. I think all of these are must-have quilting tools. I use and highly recommend all the items in the list below.
45 mm Rotary Cutter with Sharp Blade (start with this one)
45 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades (start with this one)
4.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for half square triangles
Cotton Thread – Polyester thread is not recommended for quilts
Quilt Top and Backing Fabric – Precut fabrics or pieces of fabric
Go to your local craft store for supplies and notions. Go to your local quilt shop to buy your fabric. Fabric stores have bins with discounted fabric that’s easy on the bank account. Now let’s talk about more supplies you will want as you try more advanced quilts.
Quilting Supplies for Beginners – Advanced Quilting Supplies
12.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for quilt blocks
Juki Sewing and Quilting Machine – better sewing machine
These are tools you will need when you are getting better making quilts and want to try patchwork quilting with quilt blocks. Resources with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials below. Now let’s talk more about quilting rulers.
Quilting Supplies for Beginners – Quilt Rulers
Always buy rulers that have easy-to-read markings. the best quilting supplies are the ones you can actually use properly. In the quilting world, there are a ton of different rulers on the market. Find the one your brain understands. If you need the brighter neon rulers then buy those. If they are too bright for you, then buy the non-neon rulers. Now let’s talk about square rulers.
Rulers are essential for squaring up small pieces or to trim large quilts before you attach the binding. Also, use a ruler to mark off the correct seam allowance on your sewing machine. The lines on the needles plate are not always accurate. Find the 1/4″ seam allowance and make sure you are lining your layers of fabric in the correct place to get that 1/4″ seam allowance. Rotary cutter is a must for accurate cuts. Now let’s move onto sewing machines.
Quilting Supplies For Beginners – Sewing Machine
Sewing machine – learn how to properly use and clean your machine. Whether you borrow or buy a new sewing machine, learn how to use it, clean it and care for it. I’m not going to lie, this part was scary and intimidating to me but you need to learn how to use the tools to take areas of the machine apart in order to clean it, oil it and then put it back together.
Sewing machines no longer come with a written manual. Manufacturers direct you to their website to find and download the electronic manual for your make and model. All sewing machine brands have YouTube tutorials on how to set up the machine including threading it, loading the bobbin and adjusting the tension so it stitches correctly.
By the way, you need to use your ears because your machine will tell you what’s wrong with it too by the sounds it may make. The needle may need to be changed, you may need to take apart the case and clean out lint or thread. You also need to have an eagle eye and pay attention to sewing with 1/4″ seam, making sure that seam is really accurate and to sew in straight lines. You need to use your eyes to make sure the stitches look correct and your tension and presser foot is adjusted correctly as well. Bottom line, use all your senses to help you sew. Let’s talk about some sewing machine options down below.
Basic Sewing Machines to Start Quilting
Even if you are able to borrow a machine from a friend, eventually you will need to get your own. My first sewing machine was this Singer Start. This is a good sewing machine to start and see if you like sewing. You can quilt smaller projects with basic tools and fabric pieces to see if you like it. I actually wore it out trying to quilt a queen size quilt on it, not recommended for quilting anything bigger than a table runner or small baby quilt. This machine was around $100.00. It’s perfect for a beginner machine to sew clothes.
My second machine was this Singer Heavy Duty 6380 Sewing Machine and it comes with an extension table which I really liked. This machine is your basic sewing machine and is around $300.00. You can quilt on this but the throat is very small. The throat is the section where your rolled up quilt would go and needs to slip through when you quilt your item. The smaller the throat, the harder to quilt. Now let’s talk about quilting fabric.
Quilting Supplies For Beginners – Quilting Fabric
Buy fabric in person. This is a no brainer for beginner quilters. Of course you want to buy fabric in person so you can get started right away. The fastest way is to grab fabric at the craft store or your local fabric store. I bought a fat quarter sample pack at Jo-Ann’s when I started because I was clueless. I seriously had no idea what I was doing. Just winging it all the way.
The sample pack had maybe 5 small sheets of fabric that all went together. It was cheap, poor fabric but that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to practice, I just wanted the basics, I suggest the same for you. Now that I am a little more experienced, I would suggest finding your local fabric store and go exploring. However, be warned, you will spend at least an hour browsing. It’s crazy how fast time fly’s when your in a fabric store!
Fabric Types – Use 100% Cotton Fabric for Quilts
I also suggest buying fabric in person until you become familiar with it. Quilts require 100% cotton but not all cotton fabric is the same. Also, some fabric for new quilters looks and feels like pure cotton but it may be a cotton/polyester blend and you don’t want that fabric.
I had to re-do a quilt border 3 times because I thought two different fabrics were pure cotton only to find out they were cotton/polyester blend. I only discovered my error when I was making my quilt sandwich and my quilt top would not lay flat. Instead, it kept curling and you cannot quilt a quilt that won’t lay flat. Side note: I was gifted fabric from someone so didn’t purchase it myself and to me it looked and felt like pure cotton. Now let’s talk about buying fabric online.
Quilting Supplies for Beginners – Buying Fabric Online
Also, when cotton fabric has patterns or prints on them, they sometimes don’t feel soft or feel right for your quilt. I bought Halloween fabric online from fabric.com and was very disappointed with how the fabric looked and felt in person. The glow in the dark fabric was awful. I learned this one the hard way.
Once you have practiced and done a few basic charm pack quilts (2 packs of 5″ charm squares), quilted it and completed the binding a few times then you can buy fabric online through places like Fat Quarter Shop and Missouri Star Quilt Company.
When you find designers you like on either of these sites you can google that designer in Amazon and they have pre cuts and fabric packs you can get that typically cannot be found yet in your local fabric stores at slightly discounted pricing. Let’s me show you some helpful tutorials I highly recommend.
Quilting Supplies for Beginners – Recommended Quilting Tutorials
Here are some sewing tutorials you can watch to be successful in your quilting journey. I watched these when I taught myself how to sew.
Quilting Supplies For Beginners – Quilt Pattern
In order to begin a quilting project, you need a good sewing space. Having room to work makes a big difference. I have a small sewing space so for me the best way to store fabric is in storage bins in my closet. It’s a great way to get your sewing supplies out of the way if you live in a small space. Here are some free quilt patterns with tutorial you can try for your first quilt down below.
Sew Nikki Resources – How To’s and Free Patterns
Quilting Supplies For Beginners – Tips and Advice
My advice is go after the things you want to try, don’t let fear our doubt stand in your way. Don’t give up, stick with it and I promise you it will be fun and you will have your machine dialed in and purring like a kitten. Once that happens, sewing and creating quilt blocks and then turning those blocks into curtains, quilts, pillows or maybe even an outfit will be your new passion.
Sewing and quilting should come with a warning label though because you won’t be able to drive by a fabric store without stopping! You will appreciate sewn items more, knowing the amount of time and energy that goes into making handmade items.
I hope you try it, have fun and don’t forget to laugh often because it’s way better than crying when you get stuck or frustrated!
About Sew Nikki
If this is your first time stopping by, welcome! My name is Nikki. I’m a weekend quilter, have a super small sewing space and taught myself how to sew and quilt by watching YouTube videos! My blog has How-To’s, Free Patterns and Pattern Reviews. Read more about me here.
Sew, quilt, crochet and repeat!