Quilt Supplies for Beginners – The Essential List

Quilt Supplies for Beginners - The Essential List - createwithclaudia.com

If you have decided to take up quilting, you are going to need some basic supplies, so I came up with this list of quilt supplies for beginners.

When I started quilting about 30 years ago, I bought a generic craft book that listed about 3 things that I would need, and then I taught myself. I headed out to the store, bought the suggested items, and then proceeded to fill my cart with unnecessary items that I have never used to this day. You don’t want to make the same mistakes I did.

Before you purchase any items for this new hobby, do a little research and think about what type of quilting you will be doing.

Quilt Supplies for Beginners - The Essential List - createwithclaudia.com

Basically, quilting consists of 2 parts.

  1. Piecing the top – Sewing together the pieces of fabric to make the decorative design.
  2. Quilting – Stitching the pieced top, batting (the soft insides), and the backing.

Quilts can be made by hand, by machine, or by a combination of both. Many artists will machine piece the top together and then hand quilt the layers together.

No matter how you decide to make a quilt, you are going to need some basic supplies.

I have broken this list down into 3 sections:

  1. Quilt supplies for beginners that all types of quilters should have
  2. Supplies if you will be using a machine for the entire quilt, or part of it
  3. Supplies if you will be making the entire quilt by hand
Quilt Supplies for Beginners - The Essential List - createwithclaudia.com

Basic Quilt Supplies All Quilters Should Have

  • Self-Healing Cutting Mat – You will be cutting plenty of fabric in various shapes and sizes. Cutting mats have printed grids on them to help you with accurate measurements. They also protect work surfaces.
  • Quilting Ruler, 24”x 6.5” – To get started you really only need one ruler. This larger size will enable you to cut almost any shape and size you are going to need.
  • Rotary Cutter, 45mm – These cutters glide right through layers of fabric, ensuring smooth and accurate cuts which is a must in quilt making.
  • Fine long pins with brightly colored heads – Pins will aid in accurate piecing.
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Seam Ripper
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Curved Quilter’s Safety Pins
  • Marking Tool – Use one that is specifically for quilting. There are a number of types to choose from, but my go-to is a water soluble one.
Quilt Supplies for Beginners - The Essential List - createwithclaudia.com

Additional Supplies If Using a Machine For All, or Part, of the Quilt Making Process

  • Sewing Machine – A simple machine works just fine for quilters starting out.
  • 1/4” Sewing Foot – Most quilt patterns call for a 1/4” seam allowance. Check to see if your machine already has one before you buy a new one.
  • Walking Foot – Check to see if your machine already has one before your buy a new one.
  • Neutral Sewing Thread – 100% cotton is the best way to go because you will be using cotton fabrics.
  • Quilting Gloves – Especially if you are planning on quilting by machine.
Quilt Supplies for Beginners - The Essential List - createwithclaudia.com

Additional Supplies If Making All, or Part, of the Quilt By Hand

  • Betweens Quilting Needles – Made specifically for hand quilting, these will ensure smooth stitching. When starting out, choose a size with a lower number. These are larger needles that are easier to use. The higher the number, the smaller the needle. I recommend starting with a pack that has multiple sizes.
  • Hand Quilting Thread – There is thread made specifically for hand quilting. It is traditionally thicker and heavier than machine thread. It may also have a coating on it to make it easier to slide through layers of fabric.
  • Thimble/Finger Protection– Fingers get rough treatment when hand quilting. Protect them.
  • Quilter’s Wax – Coats thread with a thin layer of clear wax. The thread glides through fabric and makes it easier to hand quilt.
  • Plastic Snap Frame – I recommend a rectangle – 11” x 17”. This is an easy-to-handle size that provides a decent work surface.

You may notice that I did not include fabric and batting (the fluffy middle layer of a quilt) in this list of quilt supplies for beginners. I suggest having the basic supplies first. You should be given instructions with fabric requirements once you have signed up for a class. If you aren’t taking a class then the pattern you chosse should provide fabric requirements.

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While basic quilting supplies are available at craft and big-box stores, check your local quilt shop too. I find that owners are usually quite helpful answering any questions you may have and will take the time to explain the items you will need.

Quilt Supplies for Beginners - The Essential List - createwithclaudia.com

Where to Start

If you are just starting out, I highly recommend taking a beginner quilting class or asking a family member or friend to teach you. Instruction books can be very helpful and good to have on hand, but nothing really compares to hands-on learning.

Many quilt shops, churches, senior centers and community college continuing education centers offer classes for beginners.

Good luck making your quilt. There is nothing quite like finishing that first one!

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