I’ve started making a blanket and wanted to see what other kind of equipment I would need to finish my blanket without the sewing machine.
One look at the quilting aisle in any of the big fabric stores and it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. You don’t need every tool on the market for a successful quilt-making experience, but there are a few that will make a significant difference. (some of these include affiliate links to Amazon where you can buy the item directly.)
- Rotary Cutter – this tool is like a pizza cutter for fabric. The blades are very sharp and cut fabric quickly and accurately. There are many different sizes. I use the medium-sized cutter most and recommend this one for any beginners. My favorite is the Olfa Splash.
- A Self-healing Cutting Mat – allows you to use the rotary cutter for cutting fabric. A printed ruler-grid can also help with measuring fabric pieces. Mats come in many different sizes, but an 18″ x 24″ mat is a good size to start with.
- Scissors – sharp sewing scissors are helpful however, most quilt projects are cut mostly with a rotary cutter so fancy, expensive scissors aren’t necessary. (I love these Elan scissors – inexpensive, but stay sharp.) Do try to keep a pair of scissors purely for cutting fabric/thread so they won’t dull as quickly cutting paper.
- Seam Ripper – no shame here! Even the best of quilters/seamstresses stand by their seam ripper. I have at least 4 located strategically throughout the house because I use them so often. Any seam ripper will work, but my favorite is this Clover seam ripper.
- Fabric – we’ll talk about this more in the future, but 100% Cotton is best. If you’re looking for a variety of good places to start – any of the sponsor buttons on my right sidebar are links to great online shops. I’d recommend any of them.
- Thread – again, use 100% Cotton thread for quilting. Some thread is better than others. Cheaper thread will break easier and could create a lint farm in your machine. I don’t buy the most expensive thread, but I don’t buy the cheapest either. Because I use so much thread, I started buying in bulk – hence the big cone in the top of the picture. (My favorite is Aurifil 50 wt.) One neutral color works well on most piecing projects – cream, tan or gray.
- Pins – I like the longer straight pins with plastic heads, or even better, glass heads. They’re much easier to grab while working and to find when I drop them into the carpet. Safety pins (not pictured) also come in handy in the finishing stages later on.