When it comes to quilting supplies, I am a bit of a minimalist but there are a few things that will make the process of making a quilt much more enjoyable. If you are a new quilter, don’t feel like you need to be every product that is shown to you — you don’t need much to get started.
I am going to give you a list of items that I would consider to be essentials, and then a list of things that are optional but that I find to be helpful. For some items, I will give you an inexpensive option and an option that is a little more of an investment.
A Cutting Mat
These come in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, colors, and textures. If you have room, I definitely recommend getting a bit one because it is nice not to be limited by the size of the mat.
Budget Option: Olfa Self-Healing Mat
Investment Option: Creative Grids Self-Healing Mat
I have used a few different types of rotary cutters (and wrote a blog post a while back with a few reader recommendations). After buying an expensive Creative Grids rotary (which I did not like) I keep coming back to my Olfa. I prefer the ergonomic cutter because it automatically closes the blade, but the quick-change cutter is also good. Both the 60mm and 45mm options work well for cutting fabric, but my 45mm gets the most use.
Budget Option: Olfa 45mm Quick-Change Rotary Cutter
Investment Option: Olfa 45mm Rotary Cutter
This is probably the item where I would most recommend splurging for the investment option — the Creative Grids ruler is textured and helps prevent slipping and I think it is more easier for beginners (and non-beginners) to use. They are pricey and an alternative is to buy non-slip stickers to go on the back of your ruler. The Creative Grids rulers are also a little more sturdy feeling. My go-to ruler is my 8.5″ x 24.5″ and if I had to have just one ruler, that’s the one I would pick.
Budget Option: Omnigrid 6″ x 24″ Ruler
Investment Option: Creative Grids 8.5″ x 24.5″ Ruler
Some quilters are not pinners, but I am a big believer in using pins to get more accurate results in your quilt. I am not talking about those thick, non-flexible pins that you might have seen in your mom’s tomato pin cushion (did anyone else’s mom have one of those?) I am talking about patchwork pins.
Budget Option: Clover Fine Patchwork Pins
Investment Option: Little House Pins
If you are like me, you don’t use an iron for clothes but you will need one for quilting. For about five years, I used one that I found in one of my college apartments that someone had left behind. You do not need a fancy iron, but it is nice to have one that will get good and hot. I press all of my fabric on the maximum heat setting.
Budget Option: Black + Decker Iron
Investment Option: CHI Iron
Splurge Option: Oliso SmartIron I am including this one because people love this iron and it does have some great qualities (it gets very hot and it can save some stress on your wrist) but I don’t necessarily think it is worth what they are charge for it.
Not everyone likes the same brand and that’s ok! Your machine may work better with a different brand than mine. My favorite thread is Aurifil 2024.
I know that some people will be sending their quilts off to be quilted at a long armer, so this will apply just to anyone who is brave enough to give it a try on their own (I definitely recommend it!). There is more than one way to baste a quilt and I like to pin baste, but I will give you my favorite spray baste option as well.
Scotch Rough Surface Painter’s Tape (make sure to get the widest one)
Dritz Size 1 Curved Basting Pins
If you are using pins, this will save your fingers! Kwik Klip
Odif 505 Basting Spray
A Magnetic Pin Cushion
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Clover Hera Marker
Fons & Porter Design Wall
Stripology XL Ruler
Creative Grids 16.5″ Square Ruler
There are about a million different quilting notions and products that you can by, but in my opinion you don’t need anything more than what I have listed here. Notice I didn’t even list fabric scissors — I almost never use mine!