Learn How the Cozy Craft of Quilting Endured the Civil War and Thrives Today

Quilting Tools

Interested in continuing the great tradition of quilting? Here are some of the basic notions you’ll need.

Scissors – For quilting, it’s best to have a couple of pairs of scissors; large fabric shears and smaller scissors that are good for snipping thread or other hand embroidery projects.

Rotary cutter – A rotary cutter is essential for quilters. This tool, which is a circular blade, can easily cut layers of fabric. It’s ideal if you’ve got multiple pieces of the same shape that you want to be cut in a uniform way.

Self-healing cutting mat – Using a rotary cutter is best done on a cutting mat. (After all, you don’t want to ruin your nice table!) Look for a self-healing mat so that the surface of it stays smooth.

Seam ripper – Everyone makes mistakes. A seam ripper will help you easily remove an ill-placed stitch.

Acrylic ruler – Like scissors, you’ll probably want to invest in multiple rulers. Acrylic rulers work best for quilting because they allow you to see through the fabric below. Try an 18” x 24” ruler that’s six to eight inches wide to start.

Sewing machine – Don’t worry about getting the fanciest machine out there. Pick a basic (but reliable) sewing machine and you’ll have everything you need for quilting.

Needles – You’ll need two types of needles for quilting: sewing machine (yes, they break from time to time) as well as hand needles.

Thread – Look for 50-weight or poly-cotton blend thread—it’s sturdy for stitching.

Pins and a pin cushion – Straight pins will help hold your patchwork in place (a must when you’re feeding it through a machine). When not in use, store the pins in a quirky pin cushion.

Clips – Clips are a great alternative to pins, especially if you have multiple layers of fabric. They can be used to secure your quilting pieces before they are stitched.


How to Learn Quilting

Quilting is often passed down through generations, but there are also a ton of great resources online. Skillshare has many online quilting classes that allow you to learn the basics and beyond. Here are few you can try today.

Confident Quilting: Part One – Quilting is not just for grandmas anymore! This class equips students with all of the basic skills needed for quilting.

Confident Quilting: Part Two– This class will teach students to quilt and bind as a relaxing way to stretch their creative muscles.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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