I am sharing with you some of the basic quilting tools that I have used for the Dewdrop quilt and for our beginner’s Novice Stripe quilt. Some are optional and some will be very useful for speeding up the quilting process.
I describe the ones that are more specific for quilting, although in the picture below you will also find some are regular sewing tools that you may already have. Among those, fabric scissors, fabric pens / chalk and similar markers, unpicker or seam ripper, pins, needles, tape measure, paper scissors…
_Rotary cutters and a cutting mat: incredibly useful when cutting quilting pieces. You can achieve much accurate results than with scissors. You will need a self-healing cutting mat. I also recommend pattern weights or a quilting ruler to keep pieces in place (you can still use pins if your pattern pieces are printed in paper).
Regarding the size of the blade of your rotary cutter, I suggest that you go for 28mm. It is the best for cutting curves (for example armholes, necklines or the different pieces that form the main block of the Dewdrop quilt). The other most common blade size is 45mm, better for cutting bigger pieces of fabric.
_Ruler: after much research, I found that the ruler that you can see in the picture, a non-slip Omnigrip, was the best option. You will find lots of different sizes and brands and of course you can research more and find the one that works best for you.
The size of mine, 6” x 12”, is perfect for quilting projects constructed that use medium or small pieces. I didn’t want something so big I’d ended up not using ir or so small that it wouldn’t work for most quilts.
_Template material: I think this is the best discovery I made when I started my quilting journey. After realising that when using a rotary cutter and a normal paper pattern piece you end up cutting, very easily, your pattern piece over and over again (as the blade is so sharp) when cutting your fabric, I searched for an alternative and found it! This plastic material offers resistance against the blade of your rotary cutter and you just need to transfer or copy the pattern pieces onto it and then cut the material as you would normally do with paper scissors.
_Curved safety pins: these type of safety pins are used to sandwich the three layers that form a quilt and to keep them in place for the quilting part. They are easier to remove as you go than normal safety pins. You can also keep your layers in place by using regular pins or by baste stitching your quilt. I usually do both.
_A 1/4” quilting seam piecing presser foot is a great help for keeping a consistent seam allowance all throughout your project (when a 1/4” seam allowance is required, which it is usually pretty standard on most quilts).
_Walking foot: yes, branded walking foots are expensive, but they are great for when you reach the quilting part of your quilt. The walking foot ‘grabs’ your quilt as you sew, helping you to avoid wonky lines. Go for a real one, rather than a cheap version that can break your sewing machine and remember to use it at a low speed. Walk with it as you sew 🙂 Your stitches will be more accurate and it will help keep your tension even. Mine (like the one on the link) comes with a quilting guide attachment.
_Quilting table extension: my Janome sewing machine came with an extension table that it is quite helpful when quilting your quilt and even more if we are talking about a big one. It is optional but handy. I imagine that other machine brands come with similar attachments or might be available online.
_Hera Marker: another discovery I made when starting my quilting journey and that I absolutely love. When I was about to quilt my third quilt I was wondering how I was going to create the design I wanted on the quilt top without using fabric pens, chalk or a similar marker (like the ones in the picture above). I didn’t want to leave any traces and I needed some sort of mark to follow. Then, I discovered this chalkless fabric marker for creasing sharp lines directly onto fabric. And it does just that! It leaves a soft line that you can easily follow and that later disappears. My only con would be that it doesn’t give you the precision that other tools like a fine fabric pen would give.
_Wonder clips: I might be calling them Wonder Clips here, which is their original, official, branded name, but I actually found similar ones online for less than half the price. And they basically do exactly the same job! In this case, you can go for the cheap version and not regret it. I use these clips instead of pins when holding several layers of fabric or materials together when pins are not so useful and also to keep the binding in place when hand sewing. (These are also great for dressmaking or accessory making when using thicker materials like fake leather or canvas and also to avoid pins leaving tiny holes on your fabric).
_Embroidery needles and floss thread: Another optional element if you want to give a go at hand stitch your quilt top instead of using your sewing machine.
*There are of course many more tools that you can use when quilting, but I have found that a combination of these (or some of these) and your regular sewing tools would set you up for a successful quilting journey.
We hope you found this post useful and that you are ready to tackle any of our quilting patterns.