Quilting for Beginners with Dee - Getting Started
Dee here from The Artisans Gifting Company. In preparation for our first quilting project together, I have put together a list of the basic items you are going to need to get you started on your quilting journey. I have also included some good resource for beginner sewers that show you how to set up your machine, sew a simple project and how to troubleshoot your machine in case your stitches are looking more like a bird's nest than a proper seam.
What you will need to start your first quilt:
Accuracy in cutting is crucial to the success of any quilting project. The rotary cutter is a very sharp cutting tool that allows you to cut with precision and accuracy. I recommend using a 45mm to start because I find it easier to handle.
Rotary mats come in all different sizes and they are self-healing so you can cut with a rotary blade and not destroy the surface of the mat or the surface below the mat. The size that you choose will depend on the surface you want to cover and your budget. Not all mats are created equal. Some mats are thicker than others to prevent buckling and distortions. This is important if you are storing your mat when it is not in use or if you are transporting your mat to classes. If you plan to store or travel with your mat, I recommend that you either purchase a thicker mat or a mat that can be folded and remember to always store your mat on a flat surface.
Quilting rulers are essential to the cutting process and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each type of ruler has its own specific markings and lines depending on what they are used for. I recommend that you start with a 6 x 24" and a 6 x 12". I prefer Quilters Select because I like the anti-slip coating on the back because it grips the fabric really well and prevents slipping. I have tried other brands but I prefer Quilters Select. I also recommend a square up ruler for more advanced piecing. Quilt in a Day is my favourite square up ruler because it is easy to use. I will demonstrate this at a later time.
You want to choose an iron that has a hot dry setting as well as a steam setting. You will want to use the dry setting when you are piecing and the steam setting after you are finished piecing. You never want to use steam when you are piecing because it may distort the fabric pieces.
If you have an ironing board that is perfect for ironing the quilt once it is pieced. I find my pressing board very handy for piecing because I can put it next to my cutting mat and I have everything in one place. However, I do still use my ironing board to iron the quilt top before sandwiching the quilt. A pressing board is a square board usually made of felted wool that sits right on your work counter or table to protect the surface from heat.
I use my fabric scissors for trimming little tails and thread off of blocks as well as cutting away excess fabric and batting after sandwiching. My favourite scissors are the Singer brand but there are many different brands that I have never tried.
This is a must have for any quilting project. I cannot recall a time when I made it through an entire quilt without using my seam ripper. Most sewing machines come equipped with a seam ripper which will work just fine. I prefer the ergonomic seam ripper because I do quite a bit of sewing and I just find it easier on my hands and I find that the process goes much quicker when I use a good seam ripper.
Pins come in many different types and sizes. My preference is ball head quilting pins or glass head pins. With the glass head pins, I don't have to worry about melting if I get too close with the iron. I learned that lesson the hard way. Some quilters like to use pin cushions but I prefer a magnetic pin holder for easy cleanup.
Depending on the design that you are creating you may need to mark your fabric in order to cut a diagonal line for example so it is always good to have a marking tool on hand. My favourite is a Fons & Porter Mechanical Fabric Pencil. It goes on easily and erases quite nicely when you are finished. I also use it for drawing the quilt designs before quilting.
You are going to want to use an all-purpose needle preferably 80/12 to begin this project. I prefer Schmetz but there are many brands out there that you can use. Sometimes I just use embroidery needles if that is what I have in the machine at the time. You are also going to need hand quilting needles to hand stitch the binding on to your quilt. Yes, that's right you will also learn how to hand stitch. More on needles
I highly recommend you invest in a pair of these gloves. The gloves are made with a rubber gripping that will help you hold the fabric in place when you are quilting.
That is the end of our list to get you started quilting. If this is your first time sewing I highly recommend the following youtube videos to walk you through how to set up your machine and how to troubleshoot your machine. Always consult your sewing machine manual first.