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The Beginner's Guide to Quilting Supplies!

Beginner's guide to Quilting Supplies by Nollie Bean

Are you the type of person who likes to dive into a project head first and figure things out as you go, or do you like to figure things out before beginning, or maybe you fall somewhere in between.

Well, if you’re anything like me you just dive in head first and make adjustments as you go.  When I started sewing my first quilt, I was sewing on an older Singer that was passed down to me by my step-mom and had some old scissors, pins and irons that I thrifted back in my early 20s….and I went right out of the gate with a queen sized quilt.  

Do I love that quilt?  Yes.  Did I learn a lot along the way?  Yes. Could I have been better prepared for the project.  Sure!!

Beginner's Guide to Quilting Supplies by Nollie Bean

Over the years that I have been quilting, I have collected a lot of supplies and notions that make my quilting practice a lot easier.  And, I want to share what I have learned with you as you begin your quilting journey!

That being said, you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t as you embark on your own quilting journey. 

Beginner's Guide to Quilting Supplies by Nollie Bean

Below is a list of items and supplies that will make life a bit easier when sewing your first quilt.

  • Sewing machine. My very first sewing machine was the cheapest machine Target offered in the late 90s.  Yep!  Target once sold sewing machines.  I’ve upgraded only twice since then, once with a machine passed down to me and then to the Baby Lock I sew on now. But the takeaway is you can definitely start small! You basically just need a sewing machine that can do a simple straight stitch.
  • Sewing machine needles. Chances are your machine came with universal needles, which are great. If you’re looking to purchase needles, you can get Universal Needles 80/12 or I tend to use a 90/14 needle.
  • Bobbins.  This is what holds the bottom thread.  Chances are your sewing machine came with a few bobbins to load; however, if not you’ll want to pick some up that will work with your sewing machine.
  • Thread. No matter what brand you use, choose a cotton thread in white or another light/neutral color.  I generally use 50 weight thread.  40 weight is another good choice as it is slightly thicker and stronger.
  • Quilting fabric.  Fabric choice is important, not all fabrics qualities are equal! It is important to make sure you are sewing with quilting cotton.  I also like to use cotton linen and blends in my quilts, but they can take a little practice getting used to.  If you have questions when shopping for fabric, be sure to ask! Everyone I’ve ever spoken with at a fabric shop (online or in-person) have always been friendly and helpful!
  • Straight Pins. I bought a basic pack of 100 pins years and years ago at JoAnn’s and am still using them. 
  • Seam ripper.  There’s a chance your sewing machine came with a seam ripper (usually hidden in the little cleaning brush), but if not, you should definitely invest in one before starting a project.
  • Iron & Ironing board. I started out quilting with a thrifted iron and a small, table top ironing board from Ikea and used these for YEARS.  I now have a tall ironing board (also from Ikea), a wool mat, and a much nicer iron.  Definitely start with what you have, but if you end up quilting as much as I do, just make sure your iron is dependable.
  • Rotary Cutter. This is a must!! I use a Fiskars 45mm rotary cutter that I picked up at JoAnn’s all those years ago with my straight pins. They are sharp so be careful with it!
  • Cutting mat. If you are going to be cutting your fabric from yardage, I recommend getting a cutting mat that is at least 24" tall (typically 24"x36"). Fiskars has a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler combo that I’ve seen at JoAnn’s and Michaels.  This is great for starting out!
  • Rulers. Depending on what you’re cutting, you will only use a few rulers. If you are cutting yardage or big cuts of fabric, you will also need a 24" ruler (this comes in the Fiskars set that I mentioned above).
  • Fabric scissors & snips.  I have a small pair of scissors handy at my sewing machine to trim threads.  You’ll also want a larger pair for cutting backing and batting pieces if you quilt your own quilts.
  • Quarter inch presser foot (optional).  Some sewing machines have a quarter inch presser foot that helps you achieve a perfect 1/4” seam.  While this is nice to have, it is not necessary.  You can also use tape to mark a 1/4” on your sewing machine to keep things lined up.
  • Small bowl (optional).  I like to keep a small bowl near my sewing machine to catch trimmed threads and smaller pieces of fabric scraps, then I only have to get up and walk to the garbage each time the bowl fills up.

Beginner's Guide to Quilting Supplies by Nollie Bean

Alright, there’s my list of quilting supplies that will have you in great shape to make your first (or 100th) quilt.    

Oh, and if you haven’t picked out your quilt pattern yet, I would recommend Clarendon and Desert Cove Quilt patterns.  They both make wonderful first quilts!

Happy sewing!!

Beginner's Guide to Quilting Supplies by Nollie Bean


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