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Sew Helpful: 10 Must-Have Quilting Accessories
If you're just starting out on your quilting journey, there are a few quilting accessories that will make your life much easier. Check them out here.
Singer's bar in Krakow, Poland is named after the sewing machines that serve as tables in the bar. The table tops rotate turning the sewing machines underneath and leaving the table tops free for glasses and bottles. At midnight the tradition is to literally dance on the table tops.
Do you have fun with your sewing machine? Quilting is fun and here are a few quilting accessories that will make it even better. Read on to check them out.
Quilting Accessories and Essentials
This guide to quilting accessories will ignore the raw materials for any quilting project. We'll assume you have fabric, thread, and batting. The list of accessories could go on and on but here are 10 essentials.
1. Cutting Tools
Any sewing project is going to need a cutting tool. Whether it's to cut fabric or simply to cut thread. It's important to be able to cut accurately and comfortably. To ensure this spend a little more, have quality tools and maintain them.
A 45mm rotary cutter will help you get precise cuts every time. It takes a little practice but with a rotary cutter and a cutting mat you can achieve great results.
It works like a pizza cutter. The extremely sharp blade will speed up cutting pieces for your quilt.
Fabric scissors are also an essential quilting tool. Don't use them for anything else, including paper. It will dull the super sharp blades.
Pinking shears are a useful addition to your range of cutting tools. They cut fabric with a zig-zag finish. This doesn't fray as much as a straight cut does.
2. Cutting Mat
To get the best results from your rotary cutter only use it with a self-healing cutting mat. You can buy them in many sizes. It can be handy to have a small one for convenience and a larger one for major cutting tasks.
A large mat should be 24" by 36" for effective tabletop cutting. You'll need a convenient place to store the mat as it has to be stored flat. If you don't have room for a dedicated cutting table then try under a bed.
3. Quilting Ruler
Still on the subject of cutting the other essential tool for cutting is a ruler. Use it with your rotary cutter and cutting mat for straight line fabric cuts. Don't try to use an ordinary ruler but buy a quilting ruler.
A quilting ruler doesn't slip when placed on top of the fabric. Choose acrylic rulers so you can see what you are working on through the ruler. A quilting ruler also has markings that will help you with measuring your quilting pieces.
Buy a 24" ruler. Either 5" or 6" width rulers will be fine to start quilting with but with more experience you might collect a range of rulers for greater flexibility.
4. Quilting Gloves
You might find that it's not easy to manipulate the fabric when you are using a sewing machine. The material slides through your fingers and you can't get a firm grip. Special gloves designed for sewing will help.
The gloves allow you to grip the fabric while machining. They are also flexible enough for you to operate the machine.
5. Bobbins and a Bobbin Box
Keeping thread neat and tidy is easy if you have plenty of bobbins. Have plenty of empty bobbins for saving pieces of thread for future projects.
Storing the bobbins in a box is fraught with difficulties. They tend to unravel and get knotted up. Very soon you have a bird's nest of knotted thread.
A bobbin organizer gives you a place for every bobbin and every bobbin can be kept in its place. Color coding is also possible so you can find the thread you need easily. An alternative storage option is to have a bobbin rack but this means keeping your threads out and not everybody has space for that.
6. Sewing Machine
The singer sewing machine is the brand leading sewing machine. If you are just starting to quilt and you've never used a sewing machine buy one that doesn't have too many features. Keep it simple but go for quality.
A good quality sewing machine will be easier to operate as it will have fewer problems. A cheap machine may have difficulties with power, tension, and alignment. Check customer reviews for advice on which model to buy.
Buy a case or cover with your sewing machine. It will make it easier to put away when you are not using it. It also helps to keep it clean and in good order.
7. Measuring Tape
The classic tailors measuring tape is a must for any keen quilter. The flexible tape can be used to measure on a table or wrapped around waists and other curved surfaces. If you can't lay your hands on it, it will probably be hanging around your neck, the natural place to store it when sewing.
A button is a beautiful thing. They come in a huge variety of attractive designs. It's useful to have a small or even a large collection to meet any button emergency.
9. Clips and Pins
Have a selection of different pins and clips. brightly colored ones are easier to find if you drop them or lose them in your fabric. Clips are especially handy for holding the binding in place before stitching it.
Try flat head pins for extra ease of use. A range of sizes is useful but make sure you buy some longer pins. A 20inch pin is very useful for joining a few layers of fabric together and easier to manipulate than short fiddly pins.
Treat yourself to a pin cushion. There are so many interesting and colorful designs. Make it stand out so you'll always be able to find it when you need it.
Sewing goes hand in hand with needles. Since Paleolithic times, 40,000 years ago, needles have been used for sewing. You are going to need some more modern needles.
The choice of needles is wide, reflecting the many styles and kinds of sewing. You will need needles for piecing if you are doing it by hand or machine piecing if you use a sewing machine. Have a selection of different sizes for hand stitching.
Quilting can be a wonderful craft. There are lots of things to learn. It's also a pleasure to buy and use new quilting accessories.
Talk to people who understand sewing and quilting accessories.