Quilting is a craft with much history, dating back to ancient Egypt. Its popularity as a hobby has risen in recent years, with there now being 30 million quilters worldwide. It is easy to understand the appeal. Still, as with any new project or hobby, shopping for the necessary tools can be overwhelming when you are just setting up. Other than your sewing machine, there are other accessories you will need to get started. We have a list to help you. Here are the top 10 products which are frequently bought together with a sewing machine for quilting.
Of all the different types of textures and weights of fabric available, certain types are favorites for quilting. Those most commonly chosen are Quilter’s Weight Cotton, Home Decor Weight Cotton, Voile, Essex Linen, and Quilter’s Linen. If you are new at quilting 100% cotton is the best choice for a fabric, as it is easy to work with. More experienced quilters may use fabrics that stretch such as polyester, but they are more complicated to work with.
Batting is the white insulation sewn between the fabrics to give the quilt its soft texture. Check the washing instructions. With most brands there should be no need to wash the batting before you use it, and it should be machine washable after it is quilted. It is important to check the size also, to ensure the batting is large enough for the quilt you will make. There should be a 4 inch excess of batting on all sides of the quilt. You will need to decide on the weight and fiber content of your batting, according to what you will use your quilt for. Some batting, for example, is warmer than other types.
- Quilting Thread
Quilting thread should be high quality 100% cotton. When piecing it is best to use either a neutral color, or a thread that matches your fabric. The better quality thread produces less lint, appears smoother, and is easier on the machine. For piecing, use a 50 weight cotton thread and a 40 weight for regular machine quilting. The 40 weight is heavier than the 50 weight.
- Rotary Cutters
Rotary cutters are useful because they cut through fabric fast and efficiently. You can choose from different sizes of blades. The most common sizes of blade are 40mm and 60mm. Some cutters allow you to cut through six to ten fabric layers. Some have features such as a safety lock, special handles for comfortable cutting, or are built to enable left-handed use. A safety lock is good to have as you can lock it after each cut for safety purposes. Buy a blade that is right for your project. You don’t want to use a small cutter on a great many layers of fabric, or the other way around. Scissors and rotary cutters have their different uses. For example, cutting fabric into smaller pieces is sometimes easier with a rotary cutter than with scissors.
- Cutting Mats
You need a cutting mat in order to use a rotary cutter, and to protect the surfaces you are working on. With the self-healing mat type the cutter marks disappear, enabling the mat to last longer. Good quality cutting mats can last for years. The mats have grid-lines in inches to assist with cutting. The self-healing mat will help the cutter to operate smoothly and safely. You’ll have a choice of colors and sizes when buying a mat. If you have space for a larger mat, then you will have more space for working with your fabric.
- Quilter’s Ruler
A quilter’s ruler is a plastic ruler that allows you to cut strips or shapes through layers of fabric. This type of ruler has grid lines which you can see on dark or light fabric. You can buy different kinds of rulers, such as rulers with a 45 degree angle, or square rulers which are good for squaring up blocks. Your first choice should be a 6 x 24 inch ruler. A ruler that is at least a quarter inch thick is best, as it supports the blade as it cuts. The rulers with non-slip grips on the underside, help to stop the ruler from slipping on the fabric.
You need scissors appropriate for cutting through plastic, paper, and fabric. A good heavy-duty pair of shears should stay sharp and cut through anything. They should be lightweight and with blades that are not too long. Use larger scissors for cutting through more layers. A smaller pair of scissors can be handy for cutting out tricky shapes.
- Design Wall
You can buy a design wall in order to arrange your quilting blocks so you can see the design they are creating. Some design walls have grid lines to guide you when arranging the quilting blocks. This will help you plan your quilt with regard to your color choices and where the fabric should be placed. Consider the space you have available when buying your design wall. There are also tutorials online for building your own design wall.
Clips are fairly new to the world of quilting. Wonder Clips are a brand of clips made by Clover, which are used to clip layers of fabric together while you are sewing. They are handy for quilting as they are flat enough so they don’t get in the way while you sew. These clips are handy for fiddly tasks such as attaching the quilting binding. They are good to use when the use of a great many pins in layers of fabric may be cumbersome.
- Marking tools
While you are cutting the fabric into shapes or marking where to sew, at different stages you will need marking pens or pencils. You may need them to transfer quilting designs. Often the marking can be removed with a damp cloth. You can also keep a supply of sharp pencils on hand for marking fabric. The sharper the better for accuracy in marking the fabric.
These accessories for your quilting project are just a start. You can also put other items on your list such as patterns, stencils, cutter refill blades and basting pins, and the list goes on. Good luck on your quilting project!