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15 Must Have Quilting Tools for Beginners

15 Must Have Quilting Tools for Beginners | Little Fabric Shop Blog

Sewing has always been a place of peace for me. I find the creative process of planning and creating a project a great way to relax. Quilting has become a passion of mine. Trying out new patterns, creating new ones and sharing the finished quilt with family and friends is such a joy. If you are new to quilting or want to try it, we have a great list of 15 must have quilting tools for beginners.


1. Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutters make the cutting process both accurate and quick. The standard size rotary cutter is 45mm. There are many different types of these tools on the market. You should try a few out and see what feels the best to you. Our favorite is the Kai 45mm Rotary Cutter. This tool does not require you to “lock” it between cuts and it even offers two depths for cutting so if you would like to stack your fabric to speed up the cutting step, you can adjust the range of the blade to allow for deeper cuts. Make sure you change your blade regularly. A sharp blade is safer to work with and makes cutting so much easier. We love the 45mm Midnight Edition Rotary Blades from LDH Scissors.

Kai 45mm Rotary Cutter | Little Fabric Shop


2. Cutting Mat

You will need a cutting mat when using a rotary cutter. There are many shapes and sizes of mats. It is important to select a cutting mat that self-heals to prevent deep grooves from you cutting blade. A great size to start with is an 18” x 24” mat. This mat will fit a fat quarter sized fabric.

Creative Grids 18


3. Quilting Ruler

A quilting ruler is also necessary when using a rotary cutter and an important part of a beginner quilter tool kit. You will use the ruler as both a guide for your rotary cutter as well as a way to measure out fabric shapes and lengths. As with cutting mats, there are many different sizes on the market. The two most used sizes of rulers are a 2.5” x 12.5” ruler and 2.5” x 18.5” ruler. These rulers are great to start with.

Quilt Ruler


4. Starch

Starching and ironing your fabric before cutting makes life so much easier. It slightly stiffens the fabric up and will allow you more accurate cuts and sewing of seams. Like all the beginner quilting tools we are sharing with you, there are many, many different options and you can even make your own starch. We use Mary Ellen’s Starch in the shop.



5. Fat Quarter Bundle

A pre-made fat quarter bundle is the way to go when beginning quilting. A fat quarter is 18” x 22” in size. It allows for many different sized cuts. Additionally, the fabrics have been curated and designed to work together, so it is one less decision to make when planning your quilt project. Have you seen the new Ruby Star Society First Light Fat Quarter Bundle? Stunning!

First Light Fat Quarter Bundle | Ruby Star Society


6. Fat Quarter Friendly Beginner Patterns

As shared above, there are many fat quarter friendly beginner quilting patterns. These patterns are designed to use this common sized quilting fabric. They usually have a cutting guide to show you exactly how to cut out the fabric blocks to maximize the fabric. We even have an 11 Beginner Fat Quarter Quilt Patterns To Try Now blog post to inspire you!

 11 Beginner Fat Quarter Quilt Patterns To Try Now Blog | Little Fabric Shop


7. ¼” Quilting Presser Foot

A ¼” Quilting Presser Foot is a must have quilting tool. This presser foot has a fabric guide along the edge to allow you to keep your seam allowance accurate. It also makes sewing so much easier as it takes a lot of the guess work out of sewing your blocks properly. To find the right presser foot for your sewing machine, either visit your local sewing machine shop for help or research your sewing machine’s model on the manufacturers website to make sure you purchase the correct ¼” presser foot for your sewing machine.



8. Seam Ripper

Not our favorite tool, but very necessary. If you don’t already have a seam ripper, it’s time to purchase one. As much as we hate to make a mistake in sewing, it is going to happen and all part of the learning process. Our go-to tool is the Clover Seam Ripper. It is easy to work with and picks out those stitches quickly so that we can get back to the fun.

Clover Seam Ripper


9. Safety Pins

Safety Pins are used to hold the fabric and quilt batting layers together as you quilt. They help keep the layers from shifting when quilting and prevents the fabrics from pinching. Size 3 curved safety pins are a perfect size for holding all the layers together.

Safety Pins


10. Clover Point 2 Point Ruler

This tool is so useful – and not just as a quilting tool for beginners. When planning your quilting pattern, the curved edge works great for drawing sewing lines. This will help you stay on track and create accurate seams. The pointy side is used for pushing out corners in all sewing projects. Together, this handy tool is a must-have in any sewing room.

Clover Point 2 Point Ruler


11. Walking Foot

A sewing machine walking foot is an investment, but so useful! A walking foot works with the feed dogs on the sewing machine to pull the heavy quilt through the presser foot and prevents the fabric from bunching. It allows for an even thread stitch length. As with the ¼” presser foot above, you will need to make sure you purchase the type of walking foot that is recommended for the brand and model of your sewing machine.

Walking Presser Foot 


12. Quilting Gloves

Quilts are heavy to sew with and quilting gloves make the quilting step much easier! Quilting gloves have tacky fingers that allows you to grip the quilt and guide it through the sewing machine. These handy quilting notions are a game changer when quilting. Quilting gloves come in different sizes, so make sure you go with the size that best fits your hand. We love the Grab-A-Roos Quilting Gloves.

Grab a Roos Quilting Gloves 


13. Binding Needle

Now that you are on the binding step of your quilt project, you will need a good hand-sewing binding needle. There are many different needles out there and it can be over-whelming to know which one to use. We recommend that you purchase a needle labeled “Binding Needle” like these Nifty Needles - Binding by, Lori Holt.

Lori Holt Nifty Needles Binding Needles 


14. Hand Sewing Thread

Yes, there is a special kind of thread that is made specifically for hand-sewing. It has a slightly waxy finish. This helps reduce the thread from knotting and makes the hand-sewing process so much easier. Check-out these hand-sewing threads.

YLI Hand Sewing Thread


15. Thread Gloss

So, what is thread gloss? For generations, sewists and tailors everywhere have been using beeswax as a natural thread conditioner to give them smooth and tangle-free quilting and hand-stitching. It also helps to provide additional strength to natural threads such as cotton and silk, as well as to help prevent thread fraying. We love the Sew Fine Thread Gloss!

Sew Fine Thread Gloss for Hand Sewing


These 15 must have sewing notions for beginner quilters have made a huge difference in our quilting. If you are ready to start quilting and would like help choosing out a pattern, fabric or just getting started, let us know. We are here to help and love seeing all of your sewing projects. Happy Sewing!


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