To start... Quilting is an investment, which is why I'm posting the supply list in January and we're not starting our quilt-along until May. That should give you lots of time to get what you need. (And don't forget to use coupons. I know I use them at Hobby Lobby frequently to get things like rulers, cutting mats, rotary blades, etc. at a discount.)
If you need help finding something just ask and I'll try to point you in the right direction, and it's ALWAYS a good idea to befriend your local quilt shop. Those ladies (and gents) LOVE to help out quilters of all skill levels. Quilters are such friendly people.
So, without further ado...your supply list.
- Sewing Machine
- Sewing Machine Needles - You will need 80/12s for piecing and 90/14s for quilting. I change my needles about every 4 hours of sewing, or if I notice something wonky in my stitching is happening over and over, or if I begin have a lot of thread issues and adjusting tension isn't fixing it, etc. Needles dull quickly.
- Ironing Board
- (Optional) Light Starch Spray
- Cutting Mat - I find a giant one works best. I have a 24"x36" that I use ALL of the time. I also own an 18"x24" which would work for you as well. If you plan on sewing long term though...go for the bigger one if you can.
Cutting Tools - (The ruler and mat above are used for cutting purposes but we'll talk about specific cutting tools here.)
Cutting tools can spark controversy. I know it sounds crazy. Some people are tried and true scissor people and others will cut anything and everything with a rotary. I use both for different purposes and I'll try to do my best to explain for you.
1. Fabric scissors - If you sew, you should have these. It's that simple. Only use them on fabric or thread (and other FABRIC materials like interfacings for garments and such). Tie a strip of fabric or some ribbon on the end of them so you remember to NEVER EVER use them on paper. It will dull your blades faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle."
This next step is important...sit your whole family down and threaten them to within an inch of their lives if they ever touch these scissors. I'll wait while you go do that...
You did it? Good! :) Glad y'all have an understanding now.
Now...here is why I NEVER cut my quilt fabric with scissors...you can't get a good enough straight line. Sure you can use the cool quilting ruler to draw a straight line with a fabric marking pen or tailor's chalk (fabric pen 2nd picture down). But, once you put those scissors to fabric the line won't be perfect anymore. And while quilts will have mistakes you want them to be as accurate as possible. Can you get away with scissors...sure, but you won't be as satisfied with your quilt in the end. That said...no one else will notice the mistakes...they'll just be super proud that you made a quilt!
2. Rotary Cutter - Sure the idea is scary, and YES they take PRACTICE. You think to yourself...just line this up with the ruler and zip along...ummm...yeah...you will move away from your ruler if you go too fast before you are a seasoned rotary cutter. But, your cuts will be more accurate if you take your time with a rotary cutter. I use a rotary for all of my straight cuts in all projects.
3. (Optional) Embroidery Scissors - These are used a lot in embroidery, cross stitching, even by some knitters/crocheters. They're good for cutting loose thread ends when piecing. But, you can use your fabric scissors instead. So these are optional.
5. (Optional) - Fabric Marking Pen - If you choose to skip the rotary cutter you will have the extra step of drawing your cut lines on your fabric. I like to use a fabric pen with a disappearing ink and a washable ink. ALWAYS draw on the back of your fabic. Some people prefer tailor's chalk. If you are using a lot of dark fabric (blacks, chocolate browns) you may want to go the chalk route so your lines show up better. Or you could just get a rotary. ;)
I won't lie...this is a sticky one for me. Machine feet can be hard to find if you have an old machine and some of them can be quite the investment. I'll try to explain their uses and how to even work around needing some of them if you can't afford them (or can't find them for your machine).
******Feet are specific to your brand of machine. So a foot that is on my Husqvarna machine will not go on your Singer machine. You need to buy feet for your machine that will fit your brand and style of machine.
1. Quarter Inch Foot - This is OPTIONAL. But, really helpful and can be used in a lot of various projects. My machine has two of these. The one on the left is a quarter inch foot. That means if you line your fabric up on the outer right side of the two prongs that stick out of the front...you will have a quarter inch seam.
If you'll notice the one on the right has a metal piece sticking out in that spot...this is still a quarter inch foot...it's just the lazy man's version (my favorite) as it is a guide that you line your fabric up against as you sew giving you a perfect 1/4" seam every time. :)
******If you don't have, can't afford, or can't find these kind of feet for your machine it's a potentially easy fix. Use a ruler/measuring tape to measure 1/4" from your needle to the right and mark that spot. Then lay painter's tape across the bed of your machine here to give yourself a perfect 1/4" seam.
2. Walking Foot - After you sandwich your quilt together you actually begin quilting your quilt. Quilting refers to the stitching you see on the top and back of a quilt itself. If you want to quilt in straight lines the walking foot is your friend. It has feed dogs on the underside of the foot to help your quilt sandwich move EVENLY through your machine. Helping you to avoid puckers in the top layer of your fabric.
You can get away with not using one of these and still quilting in a straight line, but you will get puckers and you have to be okay with that. You will also have to help your machine feed the heavy quilt through as a regular foot won't be strong enough with only the lower feed dogs to help it.
3. Free Motion Quilting (aka Stippling) Foot - If you want to free motion quilt (Click here for a good example) then you MUST invest in a a free motion quilting foot for your machine. There is no way around it. FMQ or stippling is when you lower your machines feed dogs and you are freely moving the quilt around on the machine. The machine is not helping you move the fabric at all. This will take a lot of practice.
Pinning, Needles, and Quilting Knick-knacks:
1. Pins - Precision lies in good straight cuts, good ironing, and good pinning. We will pin, a lot. I will probably even try to do a video of how I pull pins out while I sew just so you can see the benefit of doing it the way I do it. :) For quilting long flat headed pins are better. But, if you don't have those it's not that big of a deal.
2. Hand Sewing Needle - We will be hand stitching our binding onto the back of our quilt (we'll machine stitch the front). So that our binding stitches are invisible!!! :) It's a bit tedious to some (me! me! me!). But, it is nice that you can do it in front of the television. :)
3. Quilter's Safety Pins - You can get these in the fabric section of craft stores, or at a fabric store like JoAnns. This is what we will use to sandwich our quilt together (quilt top, batting, and backing fabrics) so that we can quilt on our quilt. Confusing? It won't be later on. You'll need at least 3-4 packs of these.
There are two other ways of basting a quilt. Basting spray and hand basting with thread. I have never used either of these methods. Basting spray sounds appealing but needs to be done in a VERY well ventilated area...i.e. garage or outside somehow...not my thing. So, my quilt-along will have instructions for using the pins. If you decide to go another way then I will happily try to find you resources for that should you need them. Just let me know.
5. OPTIONAL - Binding Clips (a.k.a. Hair clips) - I like to use these nifty little clips to hold down my binding as I'm hand sewing it to the backing of my quilt. (We will machine stitch the front on.) Makes for a nice even binding all of the way around. While you can find these in packages by the quilting notions...if you're in a craft store (like Hobby Lobby) you can find it over by the jewelry/hair stuff...and they're CHEAPER over in that section. HA! ;)
There you have it...we will talk fabrics and threads in a different blog post. I have some more calculations to do. But, this is a good place to start.
Here is a printable checklist of items you will need. :)
I do want to mention that if you are intimidated by the "quilting" of the quilt after you've pieced it all together...there are people who will do that for you. If you're interested in that, e-mail me at email@example.com and I can tell you more about that option.
I'm so excited about this project and look forward to getting started. Still to come:
- Fabric choices and thread post
- A picture of the pattern we're going to be making. :)
- Ironing v. Pressing, Pre-washing v. sewing straight off the bolt.
Happy Crafting! And again...here is a link to the printable checklist of supplies. You will be able to find this under the quilt-along tab in the navbar as well. :)