I have been quilting for 16 years and I thought to share my favorite tools for easy quilting with you; these are the tools I use all the time and I can’t imagine my quilting without them.
I hope you will find a few helpful ideas; we all want to quilt more and make our quilting more enjoyable.
1. Washable markers
The day I discovered the washable markers designed for kids was a big day; I started to enjoy the applique technique and now I am not afraid to mark designs for quilting.
If you ever feel that marking design on fabric is a tedious and boring task that requires time, I can tell that this is a false issue! Once you have a reliable marker that can do the needed job, you will be happy to do it, no matter how much time it requires.
Recommended reading: Washable markers for quilting
2. Thread snips
When I need scissors, in 95% of the cases I use these thread snips. I can’t live without them (there are so many versions available: some of them – good looking and more expensive, while others are cheap and good, like these ones).
They are great for snipping thread while piecing, cleaning the surface of the quilt after quilting (trimming the threads after quilting), cleaning up the edges of the quilt before adding binding.
They are my powerful tool for successful trapunto (it’s the only scissors I use to trim the batting away).
3. Thread in neutral colors
I quilt most of my quilts with neutral light colors. I think the quilting looks gorgeous on any color fabric.
I don’t buy many colors, but I try to buy at least 2 large spools of the same color- it’s more economical (if there is not enough tread left on a spool, I know I can use it all because I have another spool). Buying cones is even more economical.
And I have to mention again how important it is the quality of the thread. If your machine loves the thread, you will love quilting!
4. Jeans and topstitch needles – for quilting
Quilting with the walking foot usually doesn’t generate many problems and can be done with many needle types. The free motion quilting is the one that requires special needles.
If you have a difficult project that requires thick thread or quilting over the fusible applique or bulky seam allowances – the Jeans needles or Topstitch needles are the best choice.
Recommended reading: The best needles for quilting
5. Newsprint paper
Sometimes, for various reasons, you don’t want to mark the design on fabric – for quilting, as an example. Then you could print the design on paper, make the quilt sandwich, pin the paper to the quilt sandwich and quilt through all the layers. Then you tear away the paper, revealing the nice and perfect quilted design.
You can’t use any kind of paper for this job. You need a paper that tears away easily, without distorting or pulling out the stitches, and, at the same time, a paper that holds up beautifully while stitching.
Here are two products designed specifically for quilters (read the description, you may find similar products in other shops).
Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper
There is paper on a roll too, I prefer these A4/Legal versions because I can use them with my printer.
More about how to use the paper for quilting next week.
6. Price tags
Sometimes you need to keep your (applique or patchwork) pieces in a certain order- it’s easy to label them using these price tags (see an example here).
Or you have to piece many patches of different sizes and it’s helpful to know the size without measuring them all the time – it’s easy to label those pieces with their size (see an example here).
7. Washable glue
This glue is great for applique, it’s helpful when you have to do a difficult piecing (matching points) but what I like most it is the binding technique that it is used for.
Check this tutorial here – I can’t use other technique for binding my wall hangings.
8. Glue pen
If you don’t have too much time for an English paper pieced project, then use a glue pen (instead of needle+thread) to wrap the fabric around the paper templates. You will finish this step quickly (then, of course, removing the paper templates will take a little more time, but who thinks about it when this pen offers almost instant gratification?).
I don’t know which technique is faster; but I know that if I have this pen in my tool box, it’s my first option.
9. Hexagon Paper Templates
Do you need a 7/8” hexagon? Maybe 1 1/4”? Do you need it NOW?
I love my hexagon sheets! There are hexagons in various sizes, the templates could be printed at a reduced size too (resulting even more sizes) and there is a super technique that allows us to cut the templates in no time!
Recommended reading: Tips for cutting hexagon templates (+downloadable hexagon templates)
I always pre-wash my fabrics (to remove the chemicals); when I start a new project, I starch and press the fabric I need.
A firm and stable fabric means more accurate piecing and easier cutting. Starch the fabric especially when working with pieces cut on bias or narrow strips.
Starching is great for wholecloth quilts too – transferring the design to a fabric that doesn’t stretch becomes easier and more accurate.
It’s great for quilting too: imagine a flimsy quilt sandwich and a stiff one: which one do you think glide easier under the needle?
11. Adhesive basting spray
The basting spray is FABULOUS! I always use it for small to medium projects (about 50”); I always have a few cans at hand. Why? It saves me time and it’s more comfortable to quilt a quilt basted this way than a quilt basted with pins.
Some quilters say that the starch and basting spray counteract each other (the basting spray doesn’t stick a starched fabric to batting); I haven’t noticed this with my products, but maybe it’s a good idea to test your products first.
12. Lint roller
I keep it near the sewing machine while quilting; it’s better to clean the surface of the quilt before quilting than pulling out the dirt from stitching after the quilting is done.
Could you imagine your life without it, especially if you are sharing your life (and sewing studio) with some furry friends?
13. Hera marker
This marking tool is useful when you don’t want to use a marking pen on your fabric (that needs to be washed out later); it’s a piece of plastic that creates a visible crease on fabric (by pressing that curved edge into the fabric).
I use it when I need to mark lines for grid quilting, it’s great for small quilts. The creases disappear fairly quickly so that I mark the lines as I quilt.
It’s also useful if you need to fold a seam allowance; you mark the crease and the fabric folds easily on the creasing line.
14. Fusible web
Sometimes we need a quilt for yesterday! I think the fusible raw edge applique technique was invented for such quick projects! And the technique is not only quick, it’s easy too; actually, I think it is the easiest quilting technique.
It requires fusible web- a double-sided adhesive that has a paper backing and that it is used for fusing two pieces of fabric together.
The fusible web comes in different weights; for the quilt weight fabric the lightweight fusible web is the best.
Here are a few brands of fusible web: Wonder Under, Steam-a-Seam, Heat and Bond.
There are two important things for any fusible web:
- the stiffness added to the fabric (from my experience, Wonder Under offers the least stiffness, which is desired most of the time)
- how easy it is to remove the paper backing (I like Heat and Bond).
15. Sealing wrap
So I made the quilt sandwich and I am not sure what to quilt on my quilt. The easiest way to test a quilt motif is by using sealing wrap.
Here is what to do: place it on top of the quilt sandwich and with water soluble marker start doodling different motifs on the sealing wrap. Because it is transparent, you see how different motifs would look on your quilt. Once you have made your choice, remove it and quilt as usual – only through the quilt sandwich.
16. The biggest ruler
I have a 20” square ruler (Creative Grids) and I think this ruler is a great investment.
Do you have trouble when squaring up your big quilts? This ruler is a big help. Squaring up smaller quilts? Piece of cake!
17. Edge quilting guide
It works great with the walking foot.
Details on how to use it here.
18. Equilateral triangle ruler
This ruler is the one I use often for my patchwork quilts. It allows you to cut triangles that can be stitched into hexagons, as in this picture.
If you have the ruler and a pretty print, why not sewing some kaleidoscope hexagons? You could sew the triangles into a hexagon by machine (it’s so quick) and then you could join the hexagons sewing by hand.
Recommended reading: How to sew Kaleidoscope Hexagons
19. Wonder Clips
Great alternative to using pins. Especially great when you need to hold thick layers of fabric together. Great for binding but especially great for sewing bags.
20. Magnetic pincushion
Do I need to mention this? I feel so, because I bought it 10 years after I started quilting. And I did it because the first cat arrived in our house and I thought it is for his protection. Not for me and my quilting!
It is a wonderful container for pins, I can’t even remember how it is to keep and work with them from a tin!
If you want to download this list, click below.
Do you have a secret tool for easy quilting?
Please share it with us!
Kate Chiconi says
I like fusible batting tape, which is invaluable for joining pieces of batting without having to sew them together. It’s a lightweight, open-weave tape with glue on one side, and has no effect on the thickness of the batting when quilting. It means I can use up every little scrap of batting, which avoids waste and saves me money!
Geta Grama says
Thank you for sharing, Kate. I put it on my “to buy” list. I use my batting scraps too, this tape will be great, as I am not a fan of sewing batting by hand.
Thank so much for sharing your fantastic talent and knowledge. You are such an inspiration. Quilty hugs. Maddy
Geta Grama says
Thank you so much, Maddy; I am very happy if my work inspires you.
Judy C says
Great list Geta! I have 90% of these…somewhere…in my sewing room! You have motivated me to collect them into 1 place. When they are not in ‘easy reach’ I often quilt without 1 or more of these aids. Resulting in lost time picking out stitches for a re-do! Thanks for the reminders.
Geta Grama says
Yes, Judy, I keep them at hand; with so many tools, it’s easy to forget about some of them.
I love the Frixion pens…the marks come out when ironed or erasesd..great investment.
Frixion pens were never intended for fabric. They will “ghost” on dark fabrics and the image is permanent.
I just discovered True Grips from Grace. They are clear, round disks you put on the ruler so it won’t slip….really works! I bought mine on Ebay, but they are at Hobby Lobby and Amazon.
Geta Grama says
Rulers that don’t slip are wonderful- thank you for sharing. Creative Grids already have gripper.
Thank you so much for this list. I do have many of these tools but you have reminded me of some and shown new uses for others. I plan to share this post with my sewing bee and be sure they are aware of your newsletter and website. I thoroughly enjoy following your quilting journey.
Michele Cais says
Thanks Geta, this is exactly the list I have been waiting for. 😉
Geta Grama says
I am relieved I finally made it! It was on the “to do” list for too long!
Vickie Alldrin says
Hi Geta – Love your patterns and helpful hints. I made your heart raw edge applique (the oval one) a few months ago and it was so much fun, turned out great and was the 1st free motion I did on my Sweet 16 sit down machine. Hugs from California
Sharon Maddox says
Thank you Geta for this list . I have some of these but not all . Will be getting the rest . Thank you for your blog . I get so many great tips from you !
Julie Cefalu says
Thanks for sharing your list, Geta. It’s always nice to hear what works well for other quilters. My list would look very similar to yours!
Geta Grama says
Julie, with so many tools out there, it’s great to know which ones are worth our money.
Jennifer Faith says
I love the shape cut rulers by June Tailor. They are large flat plastic pieces with slits in them at specific measurements for rotary cutting. The one I use most is a 12″ square with slits every half inch. It’s great for cutting multiple strips at once but I use it for all my rotary cutting instead of a standard ruler, unless I need pieces cut to the 1/3 or 1/8 inch. I discovered it when I first started quilting and I can’t imagine my life without it. A very good investment!
Geta Grama says
Jennifer, I saw Eleanor Burns using such rulers with slits and I think they are cool. I have one for half circle and I always have trouble cutting them, though; even if I use a small rotary cutter.
I use parchment for not only a pressing “cloth” but also over and under any project I am pressing that uses fusible or glue. It keeps the gooey stuff way from the board, the iron, and unwanted areas on the fabric….and I make my own Best Press (much cheaper….6-8 parts water to 1 part POTATO vodka/not from grains). Such a GREAT list!
Geta Grama says
Great idea, Patti; the backing of the fusible web could be used for that too.
June Baswell says
i love, love, love my magnetic pin holder. It’s a help with all sewing projects. Some fantastic tools in your list. Thanks, Geta.
Skye B says
A very helpful and comprehensive list Geta, I’ve got most of them, some only just recently to try out. I love my serrated scissors, they grip when they cut so no slippage, and my ruler grips help with that when using the rotary cutter. I’ve got a bunch of ‘necessities’ in my go-to sewing box, for quilting, sewing, mending and embroidery – so my best tip would be a box that comfortably stores all these items, preferably with perfect sized compartments 🙂
I have made several of your applique patterns, do you use your threads snips for them?
Geta Grama says
I use thread snips only for the patterns with very small pieces; but usually, for the fusible raw edge applique patterns I use a regular scissors.
Connie Kresin Campbell says
What a great list Geta and I use many of the same tools!
Brenda Kehoe says
Geta, you are amazing. You are one of my favorite quilters on the internet. You are so generous with the helps and tips and free patterns and your tuts are very clear. Thank you for all your time and effort to help us all be better quilters. Did I forget to mention how talented you are too. May you continue to enjoy success and pleasure in all the good you do.
What’s up, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am as well delighted to
share my knowledge here with mates.
coc for windows 7 says
There is also in-app purchases present in the game.
If yօu’re a business customer ᴡho has ɑ m᧐re substantial quantity
оf printers tо maintain, wһich aree generalⅼy in hiցh usage, thedn consіder whether there’s a provider
that couuld provide you wwith а service contract ɑt а gkod
rate, tyat maу ⅼet you plan forr thee expenses
ƅetter, and һelp prevent unpleasant surprises іf many printer һaѕ ɑ problem on thhe ѕame time.
If y᧐u waznt to looҝ at the seed in dpi (dots ρeｒ inch) format, tһen a speed
is all about 2400 x 600. Іf you don’t know anyone wһօ
mɑy hаve alreadу ᥙsed thesе technicians, thn оbviously any good
ⅼοоk online frⲟm the mɑny review sktes ɑvailable could ɡive уou а
concept regarding wһich оf tһеm iѕ going tο Ьe most trustworthy tο provide for
Thanks for finally talking about >20 Tools for Easy Quilting – Geta’s
Quilting Studio <Liked it! ngebetbola.net
Every weekend i used to go to see this web site, as i wish
for enjoyment, for the reason that this this web site conations truly pleasant funny material too.
free x movies says
I was extremely pleased to discover this website.
I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!!
I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to see new stuff in your site.
Hurrah, that’swhat I was seeking for, what a material!
existing here at this webpage, thanks admin off this web page.
Thnks to my father wwho informed me on the topic of this
weblog, this webpage is truly awesome.
wordpress developer new zealand says
It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this article as well as from our discussion made here.