The Supplies You Actually Need to Quilt Your First Quilt
Updated: Jan 27
You only need FOUR things to quilt your own quilt. Yep...that's it!
Years ago, I was doing exactly what you're doing; trying to figure out how to quilt the first quilt I had worked so hard to create! I'd come this far...I definitely didn't want to send it off to someone else to finish! The task sounded so daunting. I honestly wasn't sure where to start. I spent hours online digging through resources and even more time on YouTube watching people tell me what to do and the endless supplies that I would need. Over the years I have purchased so many things and some of them were 100% not needed. I've boiled it down to four things that are completely necessary, and nothing else.
This is kind of where the idea for my blog came from. I wanted to create a place where people that were new to sewing and leather could come to learn, for free, from a trusted source with no BS. With all that being said....let's get to it! Below are my go-to supplies for quilting at home. You only need FOUR things.
The Four Things You Need to Quilt Your First Quilt
A Sewing Machine (and not a fancy one)
Let me be more specific...a sewing machine that has a walking foot attachment OR if you want to free-motion quilt, a sewing machine that you can DROP the feed dogs, which is most domestic machines. The walking foot and free-motion foot may be something you have to purchase separately from the machine, but they're relatively inexpensive.
One of the biggest misconceptions about quilting your own quilt is that you need a fancy quilting machine or longarm. NOPE.
The first quilts that I created, start to finish, were on a $150 Brother sewing machine similar to this one.
It came with a free-motion foot and was nothing fancy or expensive. I purchased a walking foot for it. It doesn't matter if you have a 'quilting machine' or 'sewing machine', you just need some type of quilting foot, which can often be purchased after the fact. More on machine feet is below!
For the free motion quilting, in order to have that 'free' range of motion, you have to drop the feed dogs down so they're no longer pulling the fabric straight through. This allows you to move the fabric around freely and create whatever designs you want! If you aren't sure how to do this on your machine, do a quick google search, including your specific machine, or check your guidebook/manual.
2. Basting Spray or Quilting Pins
The first step to quilting your own quilt is creating the quilt sandwich. This consists of your quilt top, batting, and fabric backing. You need a way for these three to stick together...through thick and thin (haha).
As you develop your quilting style you will find a preference for one of these items or the other. I personally use both. I spray-baste my quilt and use safety pins as an extra measure of togetherness. One or both of these things is very important while quilting to keep the layers together and not shifting around.
This is the only thing on this list that I was skeptical about buying and didn't see the need for. I quilted 2 quilts prior to buying these (both were straight-line quilting) and was sure that I just didn't need them.
Once I got to a quilt that I started to move around and walk through some geometric shapes, I started to get frustrated with how difficult it was to move the quilt and the inconsistent stitches I was seeing. The quilt was slipping through my hands and I couldn't get a grip to move the bulk through the machine. Midway through quilting, I drove the 45 minutes to our nearest Jo-Ann's and purchased these babies. It was definitely an 'ah-ha' moment and I've never turned back! You'll be glad you spend the $10 on these.
4. Walking or Free-Motion Foot
Now for the fun part...actually quilting! For this step, it's necessary to change out your regular sewing foot to either a walking foot or a free-motion foot. But which one do you need? That all depends on how you want to quilt your quilt! If you plan on doing straight lines or geometric designs, a walking foot will be good. For curvy, circles, waves, meandering, etc. you will need a free-motion foot.
If your machine didn't come with one of these feet, a simple Google search including your machine's make and model and either walking foot or free-motion foot should get you on the right track! I've had the best luck shopping for my machine's accessories on sites like www.sewingpartsonline.com. They also have a very knowledgeable staff and you can chat with someone to find the feet that will fit your machine. If you aren't sure, DEFINITELY speak with someone before purchasing to make sure that you get the right thing.
That's it. Really. No fancy machines or accessories. While a quilting machine is designed to give you more room to maneuver a quilt around, it's not necessary when you're first starting out and can be a huge investment. Use what you have! See what you can create <3.
I will do another tutorial on how to set up and actually quilt your first quilt soon!