I have been quilting for a loooong time. The tools that were available when I started (1978) were very limited. Simple things, like scissors, cloth tape measure, cereal boxes (to make templates!).
Patterns were few and far between. You could find patterns in newspapers (my grandma got hers from Capers Weekly). Magazines would have them, or in my case, I found the mother lode with an early McCalls Magazine. (see photo to right - I still have it!!!). Here is the list of supplies that they suggest to make the quilt.
The right quilt supplies make sewing a pleasure. Find out more about all the notions you need to get stitching quickly and easily. Listed below (not the list above!!) are what I consider the essentials for today's new quilters.
The photo to the left shows a pin cushion, masking tape, scissors, seam ripper, rotary cutter and cutting mat.
My absolute favorite ruler (that I have purchased more than once) is the Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" ruler. It is perfect for cutting across the width of fat quarters or regular yardage. Use one side for half inch measurements or the other side for full inch increments.
My favorite cutting mats are by OLFA. You can get a variety of sizes. But, for your first mat, get the 24" x 36" self-healing mat.
There are many rotary cutters out there. The most popular come in 45mm and 60mm. My favorite is the OLFA 45M cutter. The 45mm is good for most uses. The 60mm is nice if you are cutting through more than 4 or 5 layers of fabric.
Gingher Scissors are by far the Cadilac of scissors. There are lots of new brands that are probably just as good, but my favorite for 40 years is the Gingher brand. Make sure your kids don't use these for cutting paper!! I have a pair of these scissors at every sewing station in my shop!
Gingher's top-selling scissors with a reputation among dedicated sewers and quilters of being the best tool investment they can make. Gingher 8in Knife Edge Dressmaker Shears with bent handle. Knife edge blade grind effortlessly cuts through multiple layers of fabric from joint to tip every time.
Don't buy the cheapo thread from Wally world. Why? It is cheap and makes lots of lint while you are sewing. On the other hand, no need to buy the super expensive threads either. What I use? Maxi-lock Serger thread. It is a fine 35 wt thread, and won't effect your seam allowances. Comes in a WIDE vaiety of colors. My suggestion is to get some tans and light gray colors for piecing.
Thinner and sharper is better!
I took a class from Shar Jorgenson several years ago. I was having problems getting my seams to match on a Double Wedding Ring Quilt. When she took a look at the pins I was using, she said "no wonder, you are using crowbars". Those were those big yellow head pins. Look for 'sharps'. Pins that are too thin, will just bend and you will get frustrated. The ones that I really like are not available any longer. Am currently testing out other pins as a replacement.
No need to go out and purchase the most expensive sewing machine. All you need is a dependable machine that sews a straight line, and hopefully a reverse stitch. As you get further along in your quilting journey, you can upgrade your machine to add additional bells and whistles. I still use my old Pfaff 1473 CD that I got almost 30 years ago. (It was super expensive for our budget, but I promised hubby that I would NEVER need to buy another sewing machine.....).
My favorite seam ripper is the Clover #463CV. It is SHARP, lasts a long time, and unfortunately will be your best friend when doing any amount of piecing. I have several, and keep them at strategic places in my sewing studio.
Really? Any STEAM iron will do. Don't have to pay the big bucks for the fancy irons. Go get a SUNBEAM Steam Master from Wally world for about $30.
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