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Basic Quilting Supplies

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

These are the basic quilting supplies that I recommend and use myself for quilting.

Sewing Machine:

The great thing about quilting is it can be done on the most basic machine. I have upgraded my machine twice over the years for different special abilities but if your machine sews a straight stitch, you can quilt with it.

Rotary Cutter & Scissors:

A 45mm rotary cutter for cutting the fabric. I highly recommend an ergonomic version if you don't have one. I currently use the Fiskar's Adjustable Three-Position Rotary Cutter (45 mm). It is so light and the most comfortable cutting position for me. I use it with Olfa's Endurance titanium blade.

Quilting actually doesn't require a lot of scissor use - although they are handy to have for trimming threads and making cuts here and there.

Cutting Mat:

I prefer a larger cutting mat at 24" x 36" wide. Mostly because it gives me more room to lay the fabric flat and cut more strips before shifting and re-aligning. I like a double sided mat - some of them have different measurements on either side so watch for that. Self-healing mats will last longer. This Olfa mat is my current cutting mat.


My go-to rulers are 6" x 24" and 2.5" x 12". Both of mine are non-slip and I recommend clear with black lines. I use those two rulers ALL of the time. To make Half-Square Triangle blocks (a very common block) easier I also recommend a 6.5" square ruler with 45 degree angles marked on them.


I can not stress enough how important pressing is through the whole quilting process. Pressing makes a world of difference when it comes to fitting pieces together and having a well squared quilt. I currently use a Chi Iron from Costco - the higher Watt means it heats faster. It also has great steam functions.

These are not essential but I highly recommend them: q Wool Pressing Mat and a Clapper. Both help significantly in getting a beautifully flat seam. I prefer to press all my seams open because I like that look - but no matter which direction you press they make a difference.


100% cotton thread is recommend for quilt piecing and quilting. Too strong of a thread can actually cause wear on the seams. My go-to brands are Aurifil and Guterman for piecing. I frequently use So-Fine and Glide threads for the quilting.


My go-to batting is an 80/20 cotton poly blend. I like both Quilter's Dream and Hobbs. The choice for batting affects the weight, feel and look of the quilt. Cotton blends usually result in a flatter appearance, Polyester has more loft. Wool is really good for cooler climates and so on. You can ask to see and feel the batting options at a local quilt shop or from a friend who might even be able to cut you some samples.


I prefer a high-quality quilters cotton with a softer feel. Art Gallery and a few other fabric manufacturers have incredibly soft cottons that are so soft on a quilt. I also absolutely love the colors of Pure Solids from Art Gallery. However, due to cost and availability I use a variety of other fabrics and solids. Mostly Kona cotton solids.


I currently take most of my quilts to a long-arm quilter but I have on occasion had her baste quilts for me as well. She does those quickly and with a 1 inch basting stitch.

The only at-home basting method I like is spray basting. I use 505 to spray and only do this when the weather is good enough to take the quilt outside to spray. I also use painters tape to hold things down as I smooth.


Don't starch pre-cut fabrics because they will shrink! Starching basically stiffens fabric to make it easier to cut accurately and can help with sewing and matching seams. It also shrinks fabric about 1/2 inch in one direction. That also means when you wash the quilt there will be less shrinking. I have never starched but I know a lot of quilters do. Most of them recommend Faultless Starch. Note that if you starch the front fabrics you should also starch the back of the quilt.


A good hand stitching needle is different for everyone. Mostly because our hands are different sizes, so a different length of needle is more comfortable. A size 8 is usually good for beginners. I find I really like size 7, my hands are on the small size. You can get a multi-size pack of needles and try out the various sizes.

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