Quilting Tools: Beginners Guide to What You Absolutely Have to Have to Start!

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Today we will briefly discuss exactly what you have to have to start quilting. In this post Quilting Tools: Beginners Guide I will cover what quilting tools are very necessary for a beginner quilter. And believe me, the queen of tools here, there are so many more you can use! But that can prove very overwhelming for newbies. So lets give you a quick overview of what is needed,

Sewing Machine

You will need a sewing machine, because this girl right here, she doesn’t do hand sewing! There are some amazing sewists out there that do, but it isn’t me! I am all about the machine. There is such a wide variety of machines to choose from. The most important thing is that it sews a straight line. Many come with 100’s of fancy stitching, but it isn’t really needed with quilting. When you sign up for my Quilting Tool Checklist freebie you will receive a free sewing machine shopping guide in my 3rd email. It will give you some advice and features you’ll want to be aware of when shopping. I personally have 2 Bernina sewing machines and love them. They can be pricey, but again, check out that shopping guide for a little tip! I also recommend SewingMachinesPlus.com for checking out lots of machines and Bernina too!

If you want your free checklist to make shopping easy, just click the logo above!


You will need quilting needles for your machine. You can buy them in packs of 5 and Schmetz is a very popular brand. Not a whole lot to say here. I prefer 90/14 size.


You’ll need cotton thread and Aurifil 50 Weight is the brand to have.

Cutting Tools

Cutting your fabric pieces for your quilt will require a rotary cutter. There are several brands and styles to choose from and sizes as well. I would stick with a Fiskars or Olfa brand. These come in sizes 45mm or 60mm. My cutter of choice landed on my Top 5 Favorite Quilting Tools freebie! Be sure and check it out!

cutting fabric with rotary cutter on a self healing cutting mat

Now theoretically you can use scissors to cut your fabric, but I would not recommend it. Scissors are very difficult to get precise cuts that are super straight. Once you begin cutting quilts you will understand a bit more as to how scissors impact the cut in quilting that aren’t ideal. But for now just trust me when I say don’t use scissors. It could create more frustration for your first go around than you would want!

Of course the moment I say no scissors and yes of course you do need a small pair of scissors to trim threads here and there! I have a small pair that hang from a command hook I added to the face of my sewing machine. Always handy!

Cutting Mat

Naturally if you choose to go the rotary cutter route that I have suggested in this Quilting Tools: Beginners guide to what you absolutely have to have to start quilting, you’ll need a mat. Mats are designed with several features. The main purpose of a mat is to protect your surface from your rotary blade and to provide a surface where your blade will last as long as possible. Another great feature is the gridded surface. The ruler on the mat can be a great help and provides you with guidelines to follow. Check out my checklist for the size needed.

Seam Ripper

Yup. You’ll need one or two or three! Unless you are some magical form of human that never makes mistakes and never misplaces their tools. I’ve yet to meet one! These are an inexpensive but valuable tool that you will love to hate! They are pretty standard and you can grab one in any sewing section. There has been a newer trend of blade style seam rippers and I do think I prefer them over the standard ones. But you’ll need the plain ole tried and true no matter, so grab you one next time you are out. I love mine so much it also ended up on my Top 5 Favorite Quilting Tools freebie as well. Hint: it’s a bladed one, by a famous fabric designer, and is pretty too!

Top 5 Favorite Quilting Tools
Top 5 Favorite Quilting Tools

Acrylic Ruler

You will need at least 1 basic acrylic ruler for quilting. I would suggest my tried and true Omnigrid 6.5” x 24” Ruler. There are some other rulers that you’ll love to have eventually. A square ruler or wider 24″ ruler might be next. I recently bought a 8.5″ x 24″ that is my new go to.


You will need some pins to hold things together as you sew! I don’t care for the standard quilting pins. You’ll recognize these by their large size and large head that is yellow plastic. I avoid these. You need something a little more fine to hold your pieces together without causing some holes in your fabric.

Now the one that I have linked to the right here I don’t actually have, but when I was searching for a good pin to recommend, I love the look of this item! I have a very similar magnetic dish, and it is so handy. This stores the pins for you as well, and the pins have glass tops. This means if you need to iron something, your pins won’t melt if you touch it with your iron.

I’d say this combo is worth a try at least! If you do decide to grab it, be sure to let me know what you think!


Next up in Quilting Tools: Beginners guide to what you absolutely have to have to start is irons! Not nearly as painful as ironing your difficult clothing, but quilting does require lots of ironing. Most quilters use a dry iron, so no steam or water necessary. I have an iron that has never had water in it, so I can’t really speak to piecing with steam. I’ve done just fine without! Just a standard iron will do. If you don’t have an ironing board a towel or two on a flat counter top will work as well. Just be careful not to do this on finished wood. It can damage it for sure! I used just a cheap Black n Decker iron for quite a while but it wasn’t in the best shape. So a few years a go I upgraded to an iron built for quilters and you can find out what that is when you sign up for my Quilting Tool Checklist! Watch for the 2nd email for my favorite tools – my iron will be mentioned there. Hint: One of my favorite tools isn’t mentioned here at all because it isn’t absolutely necessary – but oh so helpful – it will be on that list with the iron!

You are ready to start!

I am really excited about your interest in quilting! It’s such a fulfilling hobby and can be very relaxing while also challenging your mind. It’s fun to watch your skills build as you learn. I hope this Quilting Tools: Beginners Guide to what you absolutely have to have to start will give you the confidence to know what to start with! And I know my Quilting Tool Checklist will help you do your shopping.

Where to buy your tools?

Obviously I have shared some Amazon links that you are welcome to purchase from. I will receive a small commission from Amazon if you purchase via these links and it won’t cost you any extra! I just really think it helps to see the products I am talking about too. Besides Amazon there are some really amazing quilt shops all over the country. Both brick and mortar and online. Give google a search to find one near you! One of my favorite shops is The Fat Quarter Shop. Click the image below to check them out!

Fat Quarter Shop Quilting Fabrics and Supplies

I highly recommend locating a local shop because many times they offer one on one help and classes that are super fun! You can always be inspired when going to a store viewing sample quilts and all the latest and most beautiful fabrics on display. Check out my recent blog post on Advice to Quilt Shops: Quilters Have Their Say.

If you missed it listed before here is my free checklist you can grab. Just head to my homepage and fill out the info, or click right here, and it will be emailed to you. Watch for some other very helpful info that will be coming your way as well! I think you will find it quite useful. I used to be brand new at this as well and understand how overwhelming it can be to know what to buy to get started. Let me help you take away that feeling!

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  1. Enjoyed reading your information to help us get started. Looking for a list of materials I need also.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to have some beginners quilting information or even classes or tutorials up by this Fall/Winter. I do have a list of my favorite products in my Resource Library if that helps you at all, and I’m working on a beginners guide to quilting to be more of a reference guide to help with learning everything.

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