It’s no surprise that quilting, much like any other hobby involves a few tools to make the process smoother. While there are hundreds of different tools, knick knacks and do-dads for every function and project, there are a few that I find that I cannot live without and determine to be an essential to every sewing room.
So let me share with you a few of my “must-haves” for the sewing room:
Sewing Machine: This one seems obvious, but none the less it is absolutely an essential tool to get the job done. There are a wide range of sewing machines ranging in price and ability, so if you do not already own one you can pick one up at your local department store or quilt shop.
Scissors: This also seems obvious but trust me when I say that a good pair of scissors goes a long way. I recommend having multiple sizes of scissors for different things, ie. cutting fabric, cutting appliques, thread snipping , etc. Your local fabric store will more than likely carry a well known brand of fabric scissors so pick up a few when you’re in! And for the sake of all sewers and quilters out there…please DO NOT use your fabric scissors to cut paper or cardboard. Cutting materials other than fabric will dull the blades much faster and there are fewer things more infuriating than trying to cut fabric with dull scissors.
Rotary Cutter: This is the best and easiest way to cut your fabric straight and in one swift motion. Combined with a straight edge ruler, you will have your material cut in no time. Most major fabric scissor brands also make rotary cutters so they will not be far from the scissors in your local fabric store. I love and use 45mm rotary cutters, so I would recommend for anyone just starting out. You can also buy replacement rotary blades if yours get dull.
Fun fact: If you are finding that your blades on your rotary cutters or scissor blades are becoming dull, you can use aluminum foil to sharpen them by cutting the foil. I also have a scissor sharpener which I love and makes the process simple.
Ruler: This will ensure that your squares or blocks are straight (hopefully) and all the same size (when they need to be). Most rulers are translucent, come in a variety of sizes and with a grid on it to ensure you can see an confirm your measurements. I recommend a generic 6 x 24″ ruler to get you started.
Pins: Come in all lengths and colours, but an absolute essential to keep you fabrics from shifting and stretching.
Iron: This is an absolute must-have item. Having pressed seams is essential to having clean and accurate lines in your quilt. Most irons nowadays have different heat setting for different types of materials, so if you are unsure of how hot you should go check your manual – or sometimes right on top of you iron!
Measuring tape: Measure twice, cut once….or in my case measure 3-4 times, cut once. Either way, having a flexible measuring tape is very handy to have.
Fabric & Thread: Just like a lot of things in life, you get what you pay for. Purchasing fabric and thread is no exception to this rule. Inexpensive fabric and thread are more likely to be of lower quality and are susceptible to fall apart more quickly than high quality materials.
Extra Nice to Have Items – not entirely required or necessary, but will make your quilting process a little easier.
Wonder Clips: These are a new treasure in my quilting space but I am wondering why I hadn’t gotten them sooner. Wonder Clips are an absolute lifesaver when binding a quilt, saving you a bunch of time, preparation and frustration. They are little pinch clips, almost like clothing pins but smaller and with a flat bottom designed to tightly hold your binding in place while you sew it.
Rotating Mat: Another gem I thought I could live without. It is exactly what it sounds like, a cutting mat (usually 12 x 12″) that rotates. Once you realize you don’t have to pick up your material to turn it to cut it, but can just easily turn the mat – you will save so much time and improve your measurement accuracy – especially on bigger quilts.
There you have it, a few essentials to get your sewing room up and functional.
What’s in your sewing room that you cannot live without?