Beginner Quilting Series: Supplies Needed Make a Quilt
Welcome to the beginner quilting series that I am hosting to prepare you for the On-Point QAL!
Today in the beginner quilting series, we are talking about the supplies you'll need to make a quilt!
First, you can find the other posts in this series here-
Available Cuts of Fabric
Choosing Fabrics for a Quilt
After this post, I'll be sharing a two more 'Beginner Quilting Series' posts to get us ready for the On Point QAL, which starts this Friday (March 1st)!
You can read more about the On Point QAL-
Solid Option Fabric Requirements and Schedule (plus lots of colored version for ideas)
Print/Scrappy Option Fabric Requirements
So, let's talk about the supplies you need to make a quilt-
The basics supplies are as follows-
-Self-healing Cutting Mat
-Sewing Machine & Thread
-Pins (I don't use pins ever, but you may want to try to see how you like it)
-Basting Pins or Spray Basting
-Iron & Ironing board or pressing board
These are the very basics of the supplies. If you are brand new and looking to start making your first quilt, this is all you will need to get going. I'm not going to go into crazy detail on any of these topics, just give you a little bit about each one, plus the one I use, and then you can decide what brands will work for you.
Here is what I use-
A rotary cutter is a handled cutting tool hat has a circular blade. The most common sizes for cutting fabric are 45 MM and 60 MM (there are small ones that are handy for cutting curves but we are talking about these today).
The 45 MM is smaller and the 60 MM is bigger. Its hard to tell the exact scale without seeing them in person but,
this is the 45 MM
this is the 60 MM
I like OLFA (specifically I use this one) but you use what is comfortable to you.
The blade of the rotary cutter is VERY sharp and can cause serious injury if you cut yourself with it! So, please, please be VERY cautious when you use it.
I have found that you can just choose whatever one is more comfortable for you. When I first started quilting, I used a 60 MM. I think I thought bigger would be better so I go the bigger one. But a few months later I bought the 45 MM on a whim and I liked how it felt in my hand so now I use that.
Since you are cutting with it all the time, the blade does dull after use, so you will need to replace them when they start getting dull. The blade is dull when you have to push down really hard to get it to cut and also when it starts skipping threads when you cut (which means when you are cut a strip and go to pick the fabric up but it is still stuck to the rest of the fabric buy a thread in one or a few spots). You can buy replacement rotary blades (you do not need to buy a new handle). They come like this-
Also, you need to be very careful when you are changing the blade, again, they are VERY sharp! Once you put the new blade on, you'll be so happy you did and you'll be cutting so much easier!
Rulers are a whole topic of their own. For today we are going to stay very basic. I use this ruler everyday to cut fabric.
I like the 6.5" x 24.5" ruler because it is longer than a fat quarter (and also the width of fabric when it is folded in half which is how it comes on the bolt). Because its longer, you can see above the top of the fabric and onto your cutting mat and below your fabric and onto the cutting mat and that way you can effectively measure your fabric. It is the size I'd recommend getting but choose whatever brand you like the most. When you are buying it, you need to make sure that you can understand/easily read the measurements on the ruler since that is what you'll be using to cut accurate pieces.
You'll also need a square ruler to trim the half square triangles. I use this one and love it.
I like big cutting mats :) I like to have room to love the fabric around without being off of the mat. I use a 24" x 36" cutting mat. I have a blue one now that needs to be replaced but before that, I used this one. I liked it. I think this is a matter of personal preference...just try on based on size or color and see what you think.
I use a Juki TL-2000Qi and I love it so much. I bought mine here. That being said, you can sew on anything. I started on a very basic Brother and did tons on that before I finally upgraded this this one last summer. Also, I can see myself upgrading again in a few years. Do some research and see what you think you'll like. But, don't think that you can only sew quilts on a fancy machine. A fancy machine may make the experience more enjoyable and maybe make it a little easier but you can make quilts on anything.
Last year I had someone ask me about threads. They wanted to know what are the other options besides Aurifil since it is expensive. I'm still researching this and will post about it later this year. But I do have some choices that you can look at now and decide for yourself.
Up until a few weeks ago, I always pieced and quilted with this thread from Connecting Threads. It was the only thing I ever used so I had nothing to compare it to. I liked how it worked and aside for it occasionally breaking, I had no complaints. Its cheap and gets the job done. It is definitely a solid choice.
Then I bought my first cone of Aurifil just to see what it is like. I buy them from here. I do really like it. It is a bit thinner than the Connecting Threads and it makes noticeably less lint.
The next one I am going to try but have not yet is Craftsy Pima Thread. Its the same price as Aurifil and I'm wondering how it performs. I'll update you once I know.
As I mentioned above, I do not use pins when I quilt. I know some people swear by them and won't quilt without them but I just don't find them necessary. Again, this is personal preference. Try pinning, try not pinning, see what works for you. If I had to recommend a pin, I'd pick this one.
Since we are using our rotary cutter to cut the fabric, you only need very basic scissors for cutting threads. I lose my scissors all the time and usually end up using kids scissors :)
If you decide to eventually do a pattern that wants you to cut the fabric out with scissors because of the shape, you'll need to get a good pair of fabric scissors. I love Gingher- I have these 10", these 8", these 5", and these 4". They are all amazing.
BASTING PINS OR BASTING SPRAY.
In the past, I have mostly pin basted. I love these pins. You can use any safety pin but I love how these have a curve in them which makes it easier to put them in and take them out. Totally not necessary but useful.
For spray basting, you can choose whatever one you want. I'd recommend this one.
My favorite cotton batting has always been The Warm Company Warm & Natural. I have had really great experiences with it. If you have a quilt top with a lot of white in it, I'd recommend Warm & White, which is very white batting and you won't have any dark spots that show through.
But very recently, I tried using two new cotton battings from them. The first is called Warm & Plush. It is twice as heavy as the Warm & Natural and it AMAZING. I have used it in 3 quilts recently and every one is amazing. It has great drape and feel. It is very nice to quilt through and so nice to hand bind through. Try it!!
The other one I have tried recently which is also awesome is Warm 100. I've only used this once so far but I have it ready for two other quilts. It is about the weight of Warm & Natural but feels slightly different.
You can read these battings on The Warm Company's website-
IRON & IRONING BOARD OR PRESSING BOARD.
An Iron is just like a sewing machine- you can get really elaborate and fancy or just basic. Either will work just fine. I used a cheap iron for year and still have it and use it. I also have a decently good one- this one. You can start with a simple one and upgrade eventually is you want. I put water in my irons to get steam. But, I know some people don't like to do this so if you are someone who doesn't put water in their iron, you'll need a spray bottle with water. This way you can spray the fabric with water, iron with your hot iron, and get steam.
I use a pressing board for quilting. I made mine. I used plywood (cut to the size I wanted), wrapped in cotton batting (secured with staples), wrapped in canvas (secured with staples). Pressing boards are nice because there is no give to them. You can put your fabric, and press it and it doesn't warp or move because the plywood is so sturdy. You can use this. Or, if you want, you can also use an ironing board.
If you don't already know, you use this for taking out seams when you have a mistake and need to start over. Seam rippers dull after time, just like needles do. So, if yours starts to seem dull, toss it and get another one. I use this one and love it.
We have already talked about the fabric for the QAL, you can find the posts here-
Print/Scrappy Option Fabric Requirements