Three Essential Tools for Quilting

I have a mini quilt class coming up this weekend, so I have quilting on the brain! Plus, whenever I go awhile without doing any quilting at all, I start to get the itch to sit down and make some blocks, do some paper piecing, or plan a big quilt project. There's just something about it that pulls me in when I've been away too long ... like the ocean, ha!  

There are lots women who want to quilt, but feel super intimidated, this I have certainly learned as I've chatted with new sewists at my classes these past few months. But I say, if you can sew a straight line, you can make a quilt! It's easy and it's actually a great way to learn to sew because it's pretty straightforward (obviously it can be very intricate and complicated too, but a beginner wouldn't chose those kinds of patterns, right?)

To get started, you really only need a few extra tools above and beyond your sewing machine and regular sewing tools and fabrics. And, while there are plenty of quilting toys that are fun or nice to have, these are the ones you really need

#1. A Rotary cutting set: mat, ruler and rotary cutter.

Ok, this may sound like three things and I guess it is, but you can buy them in a set and you definitely save money that way. I'm not sure how anyone had the patience to quilt before rotary cutters were invented. The cutting alone must have taken an absolute eternity. A rotary cutter is essential. Trust me. For my class attendees, I ordered these sets. They've arrived and I've played with them and they're great! A really good deal on Amazon too, this is the best price I've seen for all three things together. 

In case you're unsure what this handy tool set is for, I found this video for you. 

#2. A walking foot. 

This is a special attachment for your machine foot that is necessary for the final steps, the actual quilting part. Since by this point you'll have a few layers pinned together (your quilt top, batting and backing, what we call the "quilt sandwich"), this foot helps keep the top layer moving at the same speed as the bottom layer so you don't have ugly tucks and puckers. 

If you have a really fancy machine, or a Pfaff, you may have a built in walking foot, but for most machines you'll need to purchase it separately. I use basic Brother machines for my sewing students and ordered this walking foot for all four of them. 

It looks like this: 

If you have a Singer machine, try this one. If you have a different brand, just search Amazon for the right walking foot for you, or order through the manufacturer. 

Here's a little video on how to use your new walking foot: 

A walking foot is also very handy for sewing knit (stretchy) fabrics or to get over bulky seams or when you're sewing lots of layers. Just a good thing to have if you'll be sewing a lot. 

#3. Quilting Pins

I almost did a post with only two quilting essentials, but as I thought through the process, I decided quilting pins needed a mention as a number three. These aren't your average straight pins, they're actually safety pins. Remember my mention of the "quilt sandwich?" These pins keep your quilt layers together while you quilt and you remove them as you go. I use the large size like these. Don't be tempted to just buy cheap safety pins from the office store, those aren't nickel-plaited steel like these are and you'll risk them leaving gray marks or rusting onto your quilt, eek!

You'll need more than comes in that package for large quilts, I'd have about 100 on hand to be safe. Using pins like this keeps you from poking yourself while you top stitch your quilt, obviously. I would post a video on how to make the quilt sandwich, but that's one of the last steps and I feel like watching a video on that before ever starting a quilt would make a beginner want to give up the idea totally, hahaha. But don't worry, there is plenty of help on YouTube when you're ready to make your quilt sandwich! 

That's all! My three must-have, don't-attempt-without-them tools for quilting. 

Seasoned quilters, what do you find essential for quilting? 

Cheers and happy sewing! :)

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. This means that while I was not contacted, asked or paid to promote the products linked to here, I do personally use and like them and your clicking through and purchasing them would earn me a small commission to help me keep this side gig of teaching sewing to kiddos going :)