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(Almost) Essential Quilting Tools

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

To get the best results in your quilting, you need tools to help you on the way:

Basic Sewing Kit

Essential. Pins and pin cushion, thread (grey/neutral for piecing, colours to match your fabric for quilting), unpicker/seam ripper (very essential), tape measure, hand sewing needles (including quilting needles), fabric marker.

Fabric Scissors

These are essential! A good pair of scissors will help you cut accurately and cleanly. Make sure they are comfortable for your grip and only use them on your fabric. Have a separate pair of scissors for cutting your paper patterns.

Rotary Cutter

Almost essential. A rotary cutter will speed up the cutting of your basic shapes (squares, rectangles, triangles) but can be dangerous and cause injury if not used with care. There are 28mm, 45mm and 60mm cutters available with 45mm being the most useful. Find one that is comfortable for you to grip. Always use a quilting ruler, ALWAYS cut away from yourself and ALWAYS make the blade safe when you have finished cutting. You can buy combined ruler/rotary cutter tools which some quilters find easier to use.

Self-healing Cutting Mat

Essential if you are using a rotary cutter. These can be found in a range of sizes, in inches or centimetres or both, in green, pink, blue, grey (and more) and folding! They will help you measure larger pieces of fabric and most importantly save your surfaces from cut marks.

Quilting Ruler

Essential for accurate measurements and cutting safely with a rotary cutter. These can also be found in a range of sizes. It is useful for having a ruler that fits your largest cutting mat and a shorter one that can be used for smaller pieces of fabric or for taking to classes.


Essential for uncreasing fabric and pressing seams for accurate patchwork blocks. A domestic iron is fine and a travel iron (with pressing mat) for taking to classes or setting up next to your sewing machine at home is useful if you have a of seams to press. You can buy combined pressing/cutting mats. It is best to press your fabric with a dry iron and save the steam until you press the finished block, stretching it a bit if you need to.

Curved Safety Pins/Temporary Adhesive Spray

Almost essential. You will need to hold the layers of your quilt together while you quilt it. You can tack/baste them together with long stitches in a contrasting thread. You can also use a curved safety pin to secure the fabric every 3-5 inches. The curve helps prevent the fabric moving too much as you are pinning. A temporary adhesive spray (for fabric) can be sprayed onto the wadding/batting and will hold the layers in place during quilting and is safe for using with a sewing machine (make sure you use a temporary adhesive designed for fabric). It is easiest to place your layers together, pull back half of the uppermost layer, spray the wadding, flatten the fabric back over the wadding. Repeat for the other half, turn the quilt over and repeat for the other side.

Sewing Machine

Almost essential. If you enjoy hand sewing, slow stitching and want to take time making a quilt then you don't need a sewing machine. However, if you are like me you might want to do everything on the machine and move on to your next piece. You should buy a machine that fits your budget and you can grow into. You might spend £70 on a basic machine and find in a few months time that you've outgrown what it can do. Test drive a few at a local sewing machine dealer or at quilt shows (there are often deals on during the shows).

What are your quilting essentials? Let us know in the comments.

Happy stitching



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