Quilting Supplies for Beginners - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Quilting Supplies for Beginners

We’re diving into to The Ultimate Beginner Quilt Series with a lesson on quilting supplies. If you’re new to sewing, there are some essential tools that we just know will make life easy for you. There are pins (an absolute must), needles and thread, a seam ripper, and don’t forget a trusty rotary cutter and quilting ruler. Do you have a notion to get started? Read on to learn more and see today’s video on quilting supplies.


In this video, Kimberly Jolly shows you the sewing tools and fabrics you’ll need to make The Ultimate Beginner Quilt. For the full video and pattern release schedule, please visit the introduction post.

If reading this in email, click this link to watch the video.

For those just starting out, we’ve collected some of our favorite top-quality notions in The Ultimate Sewing Notions Kit to give you a good start on your quilting journey. The kit contains some must-haves that are always at our sewing table.

A ruler – This small Creative Grids Ruler comes in handy for marking and cutting small pieces. It has non-slip grips on the bottom so it won’t slide around on your fabric. We recommend a larger ruler – see Cutting Tools below.
Wonder Clips – These will come in handy at the end when it’s time to add the binding to the quilt. You can also use pins or clothespins instead.
A box of pins for pinning your fabric pieces and blocks. We like small, sharp pins with glass heads by Clover.
50 weight cotton thread  – Aurifil is our favorite to sew with, and this is a high-quality, lightweight thread that won’t leave much bulk in your seams.
A marking pen that disappears from the fabric. We prefer Frixion Pens, which disappear with heat from an iron. Some marking tools disappear with friction (like chalk), water, or time. Pick what works best for you. In a pinch, a pencil will work okay if used on the wrong side of the fabric where you won’t see it.
A seam ripper is needed for unpicking your threads or “unsewing.” These come in handy when you sew a seam wrong and have to undo it. Hopefully, if you cut, pin, sew and press your blocks carefully there won’t be too much seam ripping in your future!
80/12 sewing machine needles – These are a standard size that works well for quilting cottons. The Schmetz Universal Needles are meant to work with all sewing machine, but check your owner’s manual for your machine preference.
Alphabitties Specialty Marking Tools – We like to use these to mark our pattern units when we cut out all the fabric for the pattern. You can also write on sticky notes or pieces of fabric to use as labels.

If you thought you’d be cutting fabrics with scissors, you’re in for a surprise! Rotary cutters and cutting mats are the standard in quilt making. The razor-sharp blade on rotary cutters makes slicing through fabrics a breeze.

The Olfa Deluxe 45mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter (pictured) has a retractable blade. There are many types available. The Olfa Splash is good for left-handed people. Remember to close your blade every single time for safety!

Rotary Cutters should be used with special Rotary Cutting Mats for best results. The mats are often self-healing, which means that the cuts from the blade disappear, and they won’t dull your blade. Our recommendation is to buy the largest mat you can afford. It will make it easier to manage fabric.

You’ll also need a large quilt ruler. We recommend a Creative Grids 6.5″ x 24.5″ Ruler to start with. The length allows you to easily cut Fat Quarters to size. It has non-slip grips on the bottom of it to keep it secure when cutting, and easy-to-read markings and grids to aid you in measuring your cuts. There are so many sizes and shapes of quilting rulers out there. Eventually, you’ll find you need another one – or two – for a project.

A small pair of embroidery scissors or snips is handy to keep near your sewing machine for cutting small threads.


There’s a reason why Cut – Press – Sew – Repeat is a well-known mantra in these parts. It’s because ironing fabrics (or pressing, in quilters parlance) is an important step in the process.

You’ll want to find an iron and an ironing board or ironing surface for your quilting set up. Make sure your iron gets very hot, and that it has a steam function. If it doesn’t you can use a spray bottle of water to help iron the wrinkles out. Some quilters like to use starch or smoothing spray to give their fabrics more body or help smooth out the wrinkles. Starching can help flatten seams and add stiffness to fabric to make it easier to work with. It’s an optional step that some quilter’s prefer, but it’s not necessary. See Kimberly’s starching method if you’re interested in seeing the process.

Last of all, there are some nice to have items, like a pincushion or two, good lighting, and a design board to help you arrange and store your fabric pieces. You can make your own design board with this tutorial or find them in our shop. Every quilter has their own favorite sewing tools. You can learn about some favorite notions from pattern and fabric designers over on our YouTube channel.

These may seem like a lot of supplies, but they are ones that you’ll use for years to come. Choosing quality products can enhance your sewing experience and make a big difference in your quilting. It’s okay to start small and buy new notions and tools as the need arises, rather than stocking up on items you might not need.

Now that you’re familiar with basic quilting supplies, check out our second post in the series, How to Use a Sewing Machine.

Keep up with The Ultimate Beginner Quilt Sew Along!

If this is your first time participating in a sew along, it’s easy. You can follow along at home with us as we sew the quilt. With each new video and pattern release you can sew those elements, too. Be sure to follow along with The Ultimate Beginner Quilt Sew Along on Facebook, and Instagram, and share your progress on Instagram or Facebook with #ultimatebeginnerquilt and #myfirstquilt, or comment on our blog or video with your quilting questions.

Take the Challenge!

We’re offering a special prize ($50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop) to one person who posts the graphic below to their social media account (either Instagram or Facebook).

Right-click to download challenge graphic.

Prize entries and details:

  • Share it to Facebook or Instagram (Sorry, but sharing within a Facebook group does not count!)
  • Your account(s) need to be public so I can see it
  • Use the #ultimatebeginnerquilt hashtag with it
  • Tag @fatquartershop so we can easily find it
  • Prize entries open between August 1 and August 25, 2019 at 11:59 PM CST.
  • Winner announced September 5, 2019.
  • Prize open internationally




Watch the next video in the series, Using a Sewing Machine. Stay tuned for next week’s video. On Thursday, August 8, we’ll start with Block 1. We’ll share the free pattern, tips and tricks in the video, and we’ll share that here on the blog, too. Click the button below to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a video.

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Happy Quilting!

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    1. You don’t have to sign up, necessarily, but you can subscribe to our channel on YouTube so you don’t miss a video Or you can join us here on the blog each Thursday for a new video and pattern.