I am excited to share some very beginner-level steps to making a quilt. We’re going to move slow and simply through the quilt-making process from beginning to end. There will be a 10 week series, dissecting how to make a simple patchwork quilt. We’ll start today by talking about basic supplies.
- Rotary Cutter – this tool is like a pizza cutter for fabric. The blades are very sharp and cut fabric quickly and accurately. There are many different sizes. I use the medium-sized cutter most and recommend this one for any beginners. My favorite is the Olfa Splash.
- A Self-healing Cutting Mat – allows you to use the rotary cutter for cutting fabric. A printed ruler-grid can also help with measuring fabric pieces. Mats come in many different sizes, but an 18″ x 24″ mat is a good size to start with.
- Scissors – sharp sewing scissors are helpful however, most quilt projects are cut mostly with a rotary cutter so fancy, expensive scissors aren’t necessary. (I love these Elan scissors – inexpensive, but stay sharp.) Do try to keep a pair of scissors purely for cutting fabric/thread so they won’t dull as quickly cutting paper.
- Seam Ripper – no shame here! Even the best of quilters/seamstresses stand by their seam ripper. I have at least 4 located strategically throughout the house because I use them so often. Any seam ripper will work, but my favorite is this Clover seam ripper.
- Fabric – we’ll talk about this more in the future, but 100% Cotton is best. If you’re looking for a variety of good places to start – any of the sponsor buttons on my right sidebar are links to great online shops. I’d recommend any of them.
- Thread – again, use 100% Cotton thread for quilting. Some thread is better than others. Cheaper thread will break easier and could create a lint farm in your machine. I don’t buy the most expensive thread, but I don’t buy the cheapest either. Because I use so much thread, I started buying in bulk – hence the big cone in the top of the picture. (My favorite is Aurifil 50 wt.) One neutral color works well on most piecing projects – cream, tan or gray.
- Pins – I like the longer straight pins with plastic heads, or even better, glass heads. They’re much easier to grab while working and to find when I drop them into the carpet. Safety pins (not pictured) also come in handy in the finishing stages later on.
- Rulers – Quilting rulers are an important part of the quilting process. They help cut pieces quickly and accurately. I suggest starting with a longer ruler 5″ or 6″ x 24″. This allows you to cut efficiently across the width of the fabric. I also recommend a smaller ruler (5″ or 6″ x 12″) to make it easier to cut smaller pieces. As far as brands, I have a lot of Omnigrid rulers, but I like Creative Grids and Olfa Frosted because they grip the fabric better and are less likely to slide.