First, a reliable sewing machine is a must. Your machine doesn't have to be super fancy...it's most important that you just be able to sew an accurate 1/4" seam allowance with a straight stitch. Of course there are special feet and attachments that make things nice, but really...a straight stitch is all you need to worry about. If you are heading out to take a class, make sure you check your machine before attending to make sure it's in good running order.
When I teach beginner quilters, I see that one of the most common roadblocks to becoming a better quilter is an inaccurate 1/4" seam allowance. For help with making sure your seam allowance is an accurate 1/4"...watch this YouTube video I made sharing tips and hints for an accurate 1/4" seam.
Other items you need to get started:
- A good pair of scissors
- Rotary Cutter: the Olfa Splash 45mm Splash Rotary Cutter is easy on my wrists)
- Acrylic ruler (my favorite sizes are 8 1/2" x 12" and 8 1/2" x 24")
- Self-healing Cutting Mat
- Pins and pincushion
- Iron and ironing board
- Seam ripper (Yes, I use one daily...this one is my favorite Clover 482/W Seam Ripper )
- Fabric! I'll devote a whole post to this one!
Good quality thread is another must-have. I do almost all of my machine piecing with either a neutral off white (Aurifil 2021 Aurifil Quilting Thread 50wt Natural White) or a neutral beige (Aurifil 2000) depending on what fabrics I'm sewing with, but it's nice to have thread to closely match your binding material when it's time to finish your quilt. If you pick up a spool with every project it won't be long before you have a well-rounded thread collection!
Finally, I want to mention my two favorite resource books: The Quilter's Ultimate Visual Guide: From A to Z - Hundreds of Tips and Techniques for Successful Quiltmaking (A Rodale quilt book) by Pahl, Ellen published by Rodale Press (1997) and All-in-One Quilter's Reference Tool: Updated. The first book is sometimes hard to find, but I mention it because it really does cover a lot of topics in a very clear manner and can often be found in public libraries. The second book is easier to find--it was recently updated and published in this new edition.
I have a few more posts in this series planned for later this summer--these posts will cover tips for getting started and enjoying this wonderful past time as well as practical suggestions and how-to's for the basics!
Hope you get to do some fun sewing and quilting this weekend...Thanks so much for stopping by!
PS! Thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway. I so enjoyed reading everyone's to do lists for the rest of summer! I got some good ideas for things I should be doing too! Congrats to Mascanlon who was the winner of the Stash & Dash Finishing kit! I've emailed you for your mailing address!