Quilting 101: The Tools You Need to Get Started in Quilting

Quilting 101: The Tools You Need to Get Started in Quilting

When you’re new to quilting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the tools you can buy. If I were to try and write a post to cover them all, it would go on for a hundred pages. In today’s quilting 101 post, I’m just highlighting the must-have tools that will set you up for success as a quilter.

You don’t need as much as you think… Most of the tools used for quilting are the same tools used for sewing. However, there are a few “extras” you should get if you plan to do a lot of quilting.

Rotary Cutter

Rotary Cutter for Quilting

The number one tool you should invest in if you want to be a quilter is a rotary cutter.

When you’re making a quilt, you cut a lot of fabric! The cutting doesn’t stop when you cut out your pieces, either. You have to trim and square up your blocks, too.

You can use scissors to cut fabric — people have been doing it that way for hundreds of years. However, a rotary cutter makes the job faster and more precise. And, everyone knows how important precision is when quilting…

Rotary cutters have a circular blade that glides across your fabric like a pizza cutter. Most quilters choose a standard 45mm rotary cutter because it easily cuts through 4-6 layers of cotton without issue. Of course, you’ll need to change the blade often because they go dull fast. Titanium-coated blades stay sharp longer.

Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Self-Healing Cutting Mat for Quilting

Now, you can’t use a rotary cutter without a mat. It would damage your table!

Cutting mats come in various sizes. A large mat is nice for cutting strips, but a small mat is all you need for trimming and squaring up blocks. We suggest you get the biggest one you can afford.

If you want more information on self-healing mats, check out our post on Love Sew Cutting Mats.

Acrylic Rulers

Acrylic Rulers for Quilting

Once you have a rotary cutter and self-healing mat, you also need an acrylic ruler to make straight cuts. You place the ruler on top of your fabric and glide your rotary cutter along the edge to cut your quilt pieces perfectly. If you’re just getting started, we suggest you get a standard, 8”x12.5” ruler and then grow your collection from there.

There are tons of different types of rulers out there — slotted rulers, square rulers, hexagon rulers, and other uniquely shaped rulers. Many quilt patterns also require special rulers. For example, you need a Classic Curves Ruler to complete our Sunbeam Quilt or Treasure Hunt Quilt.

Sunbeam Quilt Kit from Love Sew

Treasure Hunt Quilt Kit from Love Sew

Presser Feet for Quilting

 Walking Foot for Quilting

You probably know that there are different types of presser feet for different types of projects. Using the right one will give you the best results. For quilting, we recommend using a ¼” Quilter’s Foot. It will help you sew consistent ¼” seams throughout your project. If you don’t have one, it is one of the feet included in Love Sew’s 32pc Ultimate Presser Foot Set.

A walking foot is also useful when quilting. It’s like you’re adding an extra set of feed dogs to help pull your fabric through your machine. It helps hold all the layers of your quilt together better. You can learn more about it HERE.

If you want to venture into free-motion quilting, you need a few additional tools, such as an embroidery foot and a machine quilting ruler set. If you want to learn more, read our post on The Best Tools for Free-Motion Quilting.

Machine Quilting Ruler Set

Wool Pressing Mat and Quilter’s Clapper

We also think you should invest in a wool pressing mat and quilter's clapper because they help you get flatter seams. Wool absorbs heat from your iron and transfers it to the underside of your block so it's like you're pressing from both sides. The clapper helps keep the seams flat while they cool.

We hope you found this list helpful. Love Sew is dedicated to bringing you the best sewing and quilting tools. We carry everything from premium quilting cotton to high-quality cutting mats and rulers. If you need any new tools, be sure to check out our catalog.

Now, it's your turn... What quilting tools can you not live without? Let us know in the comments below.

Back to blog


Don’t think I am ready for free motion quilting. Am working on my poinrs

Marlene Ackerman

Love my Bloc Loc ruler and rotating cutting mat

Jean M

I like ‘The Thang’ for when I need to tuck a seam in when sewing. It is purple and very handy.


Leave a comment