The must have quilting tools are really pretty basicbasic supplies for sewing your project

To help you create projects with ease and accuracy, some quilting tools will be needed.  Of course, down the road, you will want to add to your supplies as your quilting skills advance.

I will include in this article descriptions of the various tools and where you can purchase these supplies. I am an online buyer, I find it easier to get good deals all in one place instead of running from store to store for different sale items.

Let’s go over in detail these tools and how to care for them.

The Rotary Cutting Mat:


I have found that using a rotary cutting mat measuring 24″ X 36″ is the ideal size. It is large enough to cut large pieces of fabric, which is often the case is quilting.  Since it is a larger size, if you place your mat on your dining room table or any table for that matter you won’t run the risk of over cutting and gouging your furniture, major bonus there!.

You will want to look for a brand that has a “quick self-healing” time.  This will help extend the life of your mat.  It will also help to keep your rotary cutter sharp, thus adding a longer life to both items.  If the mat is double sided, great! Consider that a two for the price of one deal.

See Rotary Cutting Mats Here

Caring for your Rotary Cutting Mat

The Rotary Cutting Tool:


I really have to applaud those in the past that only had scissors to cut their quilting material.  I can hardly imagine the long hours spent cutting, not to mention the task of cutting a straight line.  Welcome to the generation of rotary cutters!  What a time saver they are.  Be careful when using as they are super sharp. 

Rotary cutters come in several blade sizes,  The most common being:

  • 60 mm blade – Used mostly for thicker fabric.
  • 28 mm blade – More often used for intricate,for-accurate-and-quick-cutting-use-a-rotary-cutter smaller cuts.
  • 45 mm blade – Probably the most versatile and will cut through multiple layers of fabric.

I feel that choosing a rotary cutter is one of the more personal quilting tool choices.  They are available in many different handle styles and sizes.  You may want to visit a fabric/hobby store and ask to sample a couple before making your choice.  It really comes down to what you are comfortable using.

See Rotary Cutting Tools Here

Caring for your Rotary Cutting Tool

Rotary Rulers:


As with the rotary cutting tool and the rotary mat, you will want to rulers that provide supreme accuracy.  You will find that once you start to piece together your quilt, accurate cuts will simplify matters for you.

You will want to look for high-quality acrylic rulers.  These have smooth edges that will not snag on your fabric and will aid in cutting with the rotary cutter.  Since these are made of clear acrylic the grid lines can be viewed on both light and dark fabrics.  Also, you won’t have a problem with the measurement markings becoming distorted as they are printed on the underside.

There is a variety of rulers out there, let’s focus on the most common.  Once you start advancing on patterns they may call for an additional ruler that you can look into at that time.

The Basic 6″ X 24″ is the multipurpose ruler.  It is great for the beginner and advanced.  Best for cutting large strips for use in larger blocks and borders.

The Handy 4″ X 14″ ruler used mainly when cutting larger pieces down to size.  This ruler works great for cutting triangles from squares.

The Square 12 1/2″ X 12 1/2″ is great for squaring up blocks.  You will want all of your blocks the same size and this is a very common block size used in numerous quilting projects.

See Rotary rulers Here

Caring for your rotary rulers



While much emphasis is placed on the rotary cutting tool, we can’t leave out the scissors job.  You will still use them to cut thread, little notches after sewing and pressing pieces together.  There is no need to go out and get the top of the line scissors.

I find it handy to keep a small pair by my sewing machine for cutting thread.  If your machine doesn’t have an automatic threader, it is much easier to thread a needle when the thread has been cut neatly.

I also have a larger pair as there are times when you think you cut through with the rotary cutter but you need that little extra help on the section missed.

Make sure if you are going to be cutting anything but material like paper, to have a pair of scissors for paper only.  Cutting paper will dull your scissors much quicker than fabric will and it is best to keep your “fabric” scissors in top notch condition.  Just dab a bit of nail polish on the paper scissors handle so you know which is which.

When you are looking for scissors you will also want to pick up a couple seam rippers.  Yes, it is unfortunate but mistakes happen and the seam ripper will prevent any damage to the material when removing a few stitches.  I say get a couple fine tipped seam rippers because for some reason these have a way of hiding and disappearing.

See Scissors  and  Seam Rippers Here

Ironing Board and Iron:


While none us like to iron…. in quilting it’s not so bad.

If you already own an iron and or ironing board, great, no need to rush out and purchase one.  If you don’t try to find an iron that is on the heavier side and has a steam setting.  This will aid in pressing and take some of the work off of you.

In quilting pressing the seams is very important.  This leads to a crisp and even seam matching.



Ironing Boards – Read Review Hereironing board


Pins and Needles:

pins help keep fabric from slipping

I refer to these as the BLT of quilting.  You have your pins, safety pins and needles and your fabric that they are connected to.  Just like the bacon, lettuce and tomato are inside of the bread to make it complete!

  • Pins –  These will keep your fabrics securely together so that you end up with accurate seam piecing.  I feel that the glass heads work best since the heat from the iron will not melt them.  You will want to use only sharp pins to avoid any damage to your material.  It is best to keep them in an upright pincushion, not only to keep them in good condition but for organizational purposes as well.
  • Machine needles –  There are universal “quilting” machine needles available and they work very well, however, I find it best if you follow the manufacturer suggestion here.
  • Safety pins –  These are used to best hold the pieced quilt top, batting and the quilt back.  Using safety pins will prevent your quilt from bunching up on the back (which you can’t see while machine quilting) and prevent any other unwanted movement of the quilt sandwich.  While you quilt you will slowly be removing these along the way.  You may want to stock up on these little gems.

When you are placing the pins in your sandwich, remember this rule – If you place your hand, fingers sprawled, on where you have pinned, you should be able to feel 5 closed pins.  Then you know you pinned it correctly!

Sewing Machine:

If you don’t already have one, don’t worry there are many available and at very reasonable prices.

There is no need to go out and buy that state of the art quilting machine.  When looking for a new sewing machine for quilting you will want to look for some certain attributes:

  • Allows you to easily sew a 1/4 seam – a must for quilters.
  • Includes a walking foot – comes into play with free motion quilting.
  • Has an extension table – creates more work space.

For a review on the Singer 7469Q – Singer Confidence Quilter, which I consider to be a great sewing machine for quilters, please read more here.

 See More Here: Sewing Machines

Caring for your sewing machine


I hope this detailed list has answered any questions on what tools are needed for quilting.  Soon you will be ready to start your projects!

If you have any questions or comments please leave a note below and I will get back to you.


Thank you,






  1. I have long been an admirer of the art of quilting.
    This is a comprehensive and helpful guide to those interested in starting out in quilting.
    Do you generally purchase your tools off Amazon or is there a dealer that you have found locally is best?
    I have enjoyed searching through your website and find it a useful resource.

    • Keith,


      I find myself shopping mainly online, Amazon is a great place as their prices are very reasonable. Since I live outside a large city there are numerous fabric stores that I frequent as well. Many times I will look at fabric in a local store and then find it for a better price on line, searching on Amazon,, Connecting Threads, and Keepsake Quilting.

      Thank You,


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