Candi brought up the fact that she hasn't bought anything yet for quilting, so I thought I'd ask this question...if you're just starting out and only needed the basics and a few other things you consider important, what would they be? 

And for your first fabric purchase, what would you buy? 

Views: 161

Replies to This Discussion

  6x12, and a 15" square ruler.  could buy more but those will get you through.  I use my 6x24 a lot too.  one self healing mat or your blades will dull, as big as you can afford. 18"x24 however is a good size if you need to take it to classes. Try out if you can several rotary cutters before deciding which one is right for you. I like the 45 cm size myself.

  I use either grey or Beige thread for sewing tops together on most projects.  The grey will blend into the darks and not be seen in the seams, and the beige will blend with lights.  I only match thread color when it comes to quilting. 

  Fabric is so difficult I would say if you are taking a class then start there with what you need.  If you are just making some practice blocks then buy cheap fabric in colors you like and make some practice blocks.

  Always think of pressing when using the iron, not ironing, when I think of ironing I think of aggressive back and forth motions.

  One thing I do now that I wish I had always done was to use leaders and enders in my projects.  This involves having squares or strips of scraps in a variety of darks, or lights, then you can sew the squares or strips in the sewing machine and leave it there for the next time you sew, sew your pieces of your current project when done you sew another scrap square or strip together leave that in the sewing machine.  so as you work on one project you can be putting together a second and not wasting thread.  Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville has more information on the scrap users system and leaders and enders.

I think I could go on but that would be overwhelming.

Oooh, that's tough.  It might help to know your budget and what you want to try.  When I started, I bought fabric that wasn't from a quilt shop.  My first two quilts were made with that but it didn't take long to realize there was a whole world out there of glorious fabric.  I'd never been to a quilt shop.  That was the end for me!

Anway, if I were piece-quilting, here's what I'd make sure I had (assuming two things, budget is a factor and you're talking about machine quilting not hand-quilting -- not that hand-quilting is bad, just fewer people do it given time constraints):

1. A simple sewing machine that has good straight stitching (does needle up/down, easily allows for a 1/4" seam, one that has a walking foot for straight machine quilting might be helpful).  In my first three years of quilting, I used a simple Brother machine I bought at Walmart for less than $300.  You can probably also get a used one.  I used it until I won a Pfaff as a Best in Show prize.  I used that until I splurged and bought, yep, you guessed it --  a middle of the road Brother.  I love Brother - I love the top-load bobbin plus it's just a really solid machine.  But, everyone has their preference.  Just like a car, you have to test drive it.

2. Rotary cutter

3. Rotary cutting mat

4.  Cutting ruler for cutting strips.  You can get by with one ruler for a long time.  I rarely use any others but it depends on the kind of piecing you'll be doing.

5. Cotton quilting fabric.  You can choose to get the cheaper stuff but you'll spend a lot of time on your quilt and the cheaper fabric looses it's color quickly after washing and just isn't worth the effort.  You can buy fabric online that's up to 40-50% off the quilt shop prices and the quality is just a good.  Still, nothing replaces a visit to your local quilt shop. 

6.  Cotton thread.  I'm used to using cream but I understand quilt judges are looking to see a color that blends more easily in the seams.  Some people settle on light and/or dark grey depending on what blends in the best with your fabric.  You can also use tan.

7.  Some swear you need a design wall, but I rarely have one.  I use a clean floor that's big enough to lay everything out on.  Not saying a design wall isn't better, just sometimes, you lack the wall space, etc.  When I use a design wall, I make it simple -- even today after all these years.  I've used a piece of batting.  I've used a cheap plastic table cloth with the fabric backing  - turn it around, pin it on the wall and you can design away for months/years before the fabric backing breaks down enough that you have to replace it.

8. Iron and Ironing Board.  Neither have to be expensive, they just have to work well on high heat for pressing seams in cotton fabric. Don't need steam either.

9.  Scissors - good fabric scissors, though I understand that cutting paper with them isn't supposed to hurt them.  We used to worry about that but I'm told it was back in the day when paper was made differently and it dulled good scissors.  Still, I'm a hold out, I try to cut paper with paper scissors but I don't always and so far, I haven't ruined any scissors.

10.  Light.  Choose a space that has good lighting (natural is best) or provide enough light to make it easy on yourself.

11.  Seam Ripper.  Again, I use the cheap ones.  The smallest I can find for getting into tight seams.  I've been quilting for years and probably only needed a couple of these.

12.  Pins, Needles, pin cushion, and anything you need for your sewing machine to work and stay working (oil, etc.)

13. A pattern or idea for what kind of quilt you want to make.  A Quilt in a Day has some great log cabin quilts to get started on.

14. Patience and Love.  I think that last one is the reason most of us can't get enough of the quilting.  Love is a powerful motivator.  Whether it be the love we feel for someone we're making something special for or just the love of being one with the fabric - creating, getting the juices flowing.  Ok, I guess that's it.  You'll find lots of other things to add to your collection as you go along.

Hope you all have a "quilting" day!  Take care.  Cyndi


Wow.. When I first started ..I wanted it all but Budget was the kicker..Lol
• FW (brother puts out a very nice machine it was my first.)
• Cutting Matt (quilters cut n press (JoAnns fabric)
• Onidgrid 8X 12
• Steam iron small (Walmart)
• Flat pins and pin cushion..
• Rotary cutter( Gingher) well worth the money ( 45 mm)
• Sicissors (Gingher well worth the $$)
• Batting (warm and natural Walmart for small quilts.
• Fabric (Quilt shop I love, but I also buy online/ ebay/ has free patterns and videos.
• hand needles ,needle threader,seam ripper, marking pen( my Bohin)
• Thread Guttermann multi pkg colors, lg 876 yds white, black, beige. JoAnns have 1/2 price now
• Heat and bond fusible web. For applique
• Distilled water for iron
• Light weight tear away stablizer or dryer sheets I been told.
OH !!! & THIS SAYING WHEN SHOPPING FOR FABRIC ( IF YA LIKE IT BUY 1 YARD, IF YA LOVE IT BUY 3 YARDS, IF YA LOVE IT BUY 5 Yards... My favorite when shopping for special large gift quilts..Good luck to everyone new. If ya need me just ask..Love to all my quilt friends.

Thanks for catching a couple I missed Julia.  I also forgot to mention in case you haven't heard already, sign up for the JoAnn Fabric coupons and buy some of those expensive items at 50% off.  Makes it even easier.....good luck.  Let us know how it's going.  Cyndi

Yes the sales are great even on ebay and I have even got stuff on craigs list... A big self healing mat for $15I was shocked ,it had $35 on mat from hobby lobby.

yes joann is the best , I have to travel a ways so always make it worth my trip and always use my coupons I know I can order on line but it is just not the same love the feel of the fabric..

1.  rotary cutter .. 60 mm (Olfa)

2. a cutting mat 24 X 36 or larger

3. the O'Lipfa lip edge ruler,5 X 24

4. a good pair or scissors

5. a good sewing machine

 As for fabric: if I were just starting out I would not spend too much on fabric yet.. but I would use the Warm and White batting.. I found it ssooo easy to use as a new quilter.. and I still use it as it is so wonderful and good quality!

I would buy a few pieces of material. A couple of solids and some prints but all of them together to make sure the colors match. A rotary cutter and a cutting board as well as a 6" x 24" ruler. That is what I'd start out with.

That's all I had when I started, along with a "how to quilt" book.  The 6"x24" ruler was the only one I used for a couple of years...I think it's the best size if you can only have one ruler.

The only thing I haven't seen specifically mentioned is to think about how you will baste your projects. Currently I'm using curved safety pins.

For my first fabric selection, the owner of the quilt shop where I signed up for a class spent a lot of time guiding me. I ended up with a much better selection than I would have chosen on my own.

 I definely would buy  a rotary cutter,18 -24 inch quilting ruler, cutting pad ,quilting pins.there are so many ruler that are helpful so would also pick some close to what I was working on and a marking pencil. It is hard starting out which I am still doing you want it all. of coarse sewing machine , good cutting shears,material and a great imagination


Welcome Quilters! is brought to you entirely free as a service of the American Quilter's Society. We hope you enjoy meeting one another and sharing your experience and expertise. Enjoy!

American Quilter's Society




© 2022   Created by American Quilter's Society.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service