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Quilting Tips for Beginners

Supplies for Beginners

Ready to get started quilting but looking for a quick checklist of the tools you need? No probs! Here’s a quick list to help set up and rock your first quilt!

1. Sewing Machine

Nothing fancy needed, I started with my mom’s old Janome from the 70’s. If it can stitch straight, then you’re all set. If your machine comes with a walking foot and a 1/4” foot as well,
you’ll find these quite helpful.

2. Needles

Universal needles are just fine to start with.

3. Thread

I use 50weight cotton thread (Aurifil) but you can use anything really. This is an unpopular opinion, but when you’re starting out you need the thread to function. Preferences will come later.

4. Fabric

Quilting cotton is absolutely your best option for a successful first quilt. I love using vintage fabrics as well, but do your best to use 100% cotton. My very first quilt I made from T-shirts, and T-shirts
have stretch..well lets just say it didn’t go great mmmm-kay.

5. Pins

You’re going to need straight pins to pin your fabrics together. Get some decent ones, like not at the dollar store or anything. You want a pin to secure your fabrics, not punch holes in them.

6. Snips

I LOVE my snips! I use Fiskars brand to clip away threads. I literally can’t live without mine.

7. Seam Ripper

Ok I hate to be a bummer, but yeah, you’re going to need one. We all do.

8. Rulers

So there’s a TON of rulers out there. Different sizes, specialty ones, trimming rulers, and more. My favourite size is 6 1/2” x 24”. I can easily cut longer pieces with this baby. Depending on your pattern and your commitment to
quilting, you may want to invest in a square set or and HST trimming ruler, so you can have multi-purpose rulers.

9. Self Healing Mat

I have a 18”x24” and wouldn’t go any smaller.

10. Rotary Cutter

When I first started quilting I cut everything with scissors. Don’t be like me and save yourself some time and fabric! But please when you’re not actually cutting fabric, slip the safety on.

11. Iron & Ironing Board

You’ll need an iron and board to get some nice flat seams. No need for anything fancy here either.

12. Batting

There’s all sorts out there. A good standard batting is 80% cotton, 20% polyester. It has a nice drape and durability to it. Quilter’s Dream is a fave, but I mostly use Hobb’s brand.

13. Something to Baste with

Okay, so! A lot of quilters will sneer at Glue basting but really it’s just the same as the spray, only not a spray, ya feel me? Only use Elmer’s Washable School glue, and I recommend using a sponge brush to
smooth it over. I only tend to use Spray Basting on smaller projects, but a lot of people swear by it. Try to work in a well ventilated area and remember, it may get on your floors. As for basting pins, you’ll need a lot, especially
depending on the size of quilt you’re working on. If i pin baste, I pin every four inches or so. Grab some painter’s tape to tape down your backing fabric nice and taut for smoother results.

14. A Pattern!

Finding a pattern is the fun part! Check out #quiltersofinstagram (or Instagram for that matter), or your local library for books and magazines that include patterns. Most fabric lines like PBS Fabrics, or Andover Fabrics for example,
have a free pattern section on their website. Just look for something simple, or a Beginner’s label on the pattern. Sometimes read the blurb about the pattern to see if it’s suitable for you. Some favourite beginner quilt designers of mine are Quilter’s Candy, Then Came June, Penelope Handmade and Kitchen Table Quilting.

And that’s it! HA! It’s a lot, I know, but you’ll use all of these things make your first quilt and I’m so excited for you! Please share your progress and of COURSE your finished quilt on instagram by tagging #beginnerquilter @theretroquilter. I would love to see how you are making out.


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