Favorite Quilting and Sewing Notions - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Favorite Quilting and Sewing Notions

People often ask me what tools and notions I like to sew with. Below, I have gathered some favorites that I reach for every time I quilt. These are the tools that make my sewing accurate and fast.

Favorite Starch

I learned a long time ago that starch makes a big difference for me when it comes to accurate piecing. Starch makes the fabric stiff and easy to work with. Faultless Niagara Original Hold is my current favorite, and if you want to see how I starch, check out this collection of videos. The Pink Auto Lift Pro Zone Iron by Oliso is my preferred iron at home and in the studio. I keep a Tailor’s Clapper nearby to flatten seams. After ironing with steam, I set the wooden clapper on the seam and press it. It leaves the seam nice and flat.

Cuttin’ Up

Cutting fabric is my favorite step of the process, so having a good cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter is crucial.

Rulers come in many shapes and sizes. My favorites are Creative Grids.

Measure for Measure

Creative Grids Rulers are my go-to for measuring. The special grip on the back keeps it from sliding on the fabric when light pressure is applied. They come in just about every shape and size imaginable. For a beginner starting out, I recommend a large ruler for cutting fat quarters and yardage and a small ruler for marking small pieces. Those are versatile enough to get started, and as any quilter will tell you, you will probably acquire new rulers over time depending on what your project requires.

Having a set of square rulers in sizes 2.5″, 3.5″, 4.5″, 5.5″ and 6.5″ at my cutting table is a must.

Organizing Blocks

I use design boards to organize my fabric for sewing. They make it easy to demo fabrics, arrange fabric for blocks, and carry pieces from the cutting table to the sewing machine and back again without getting anything out of order. These lightweight foam boards with batting on one side are designed to hold fabric pieces in place.

Quilting and Binding

Sewing Machines

My favorite machine is the Juki TL 2010Q. It’s perfect for me because it is so fast and easy to operate. It is a dedicated machine for piecing, as it does not do zig-zags or decorative stitches, but it can sew up to 1,500 stitches per minute! The foot pedal operates an automatic thread trimmer, and it has a knee lifter lever, too. The 8.5″ long free arm allows for a generous workspace. The presser feet I use most often are a compensating 1/4″ foot and the open foot that came with my machine.

Favorite Backgrounds

These aren’t tools or notions, but they are essential! Bella Solids in 9900-97(top), 9900-98 and 9900-200 are the main backgrounds that I use. I use these so much, I actually keep 15-yard bolts on hand! Here’s a tip – if you want to buy a full bolt of solid fabric, you can get a 15% discount when you order 15 yards of the fabric and add a note that says “bulk discount” to your order.

Do you ever need a background with a little personality that isn’t too busy? That’s exactly what I like about these fabrics. Blossom Tone on Tone White C725-WHITE (top), Bee Backgrounds in Honey Circle and On the Farm Cream Spots & Dots are some of my favorites.

When compared side by side, you can see the difference from off white to bright white on these basics. Starting with a “solid” standby, Bella 9900-200 (on bottom),  to an off white toned Sunday Stroll Tonal White Sweet Dot 55226-21 (top), to a bright white Blossom Tone on Tone White C725-WHITE.

Chances are I will discover new tools or notions in the coming year that will make their way into my sewing room. And when they do, I will add them to this list.

What about you? What are your must-have sewing notions?

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  1. Completamente apaixonada vou aproveitar cada dica entregada nesse conteúdo parabéns. Também amo trabalhar com artesanato e fazer minhas vendas para ter uma renda extra e esse vai ser mais um que vai me agregar.

  2. I have become a starcher. It makes such a difference in ease of accuracy. I’ve been buying our favorite brand of starch at my local store for $2.19. Today I found out they are now only making it in a different container with a pump & selling for almost $5.00. And the size difference is 2 ounces…..the pump is very tiring for my hand. I really wonder if the price is pandemic related or just an excuse to raise the price.

  3. Thanks for all the info on your favorite notion, so helpful. I’m also interested in the quilt behind you at the beginning of this article. Is there a video for it or a pattern? Thanks!!

  4. I believe the only thing is the Wonder Clips And I love the new Wonder Pins. Have you tried those Miss Kimberly. They are so very easy to use on pillows when quilting.

  5. My new can’t do without notion is my wool pressing pads. I have a small and large sizzle and they make such a difference

  6. My favorite pins of all time are Little House. They are thin, durable and a dream to use. Having trouble finding them for some reason. This was the case even before the pandemic.

  7. I love my Juki, my wool pressing mat, my olfa frosted rulers and my Piecemaker’s betweens size 10 for handwork. I love Bella solids.