Quilting Supplies - Basic Terms and Tools
Quilting is the art of sewing two or more layers of fabric or batting, together to create a warmer, thicker material. A quilt typically consists of 3 layers: the top fabric, batting then the quilt backing. Quilting also incorporates embroidery, patchwork, appliqué and needlework. Each different kind of quilting has specific quilting supplies to work with. Some are essential, some can make your quilt more professional.
Types of Quilting
There are 3 different types of quilting: hand quilting, machine quilting and tying. Hand quilting is using a needle and thread to hand stitch and binds the layers together. Machine quilting is when a sewing machine or longarm machine is used to sew the layers together. Machine quilting is the most often form of quilting today. Tying the quilt edges together is also used to finish quilt edges. Tying is done most often when the quilt needs to be finished quickly.
Quilting Typically Follows This Six Step Process:
1) Picking out your quilt pattern, fabric and batting. Acquire all quilting supplies needed (trimmers, clips, needles, etc).
2) Measuring and cutting fabric pieces according to your pattern.
3) Piecing your fabric blocks together, this is sewing the blocks together from edge to edge.
4) Layering the quilt backing, batting and top quilted piece.
5) Quilt through all layers.
6) Squaring up and trimming excess fabric and batting.
Piecing: Sewing small pieces of fabric, also known as quilt blocks, together to make the top quilted part of your quilt.
Sashing: Quilt blocks are separated by strips of fabric.
Binding: Long strips of fabric cut on the bias used to bind the edges of the quilt.
Quilting: Sewing through all layers of the quilt. This is typically a decorative stitch, but holds the layers together and allows air pockets to make the quilter warmer. Quilting usually starts in the middle and works out to the edges.
Quilting Patterns take the guesswork and measuring out of making your own quilting blocks. They typically come with diagrams and pattern blocks. You choose the fabric, follow the instructions, and you have an easier way to make a quilt block.
Basic Quilting Supplies Checklist
- Stencils - help to create shapes and patterns for the stitching quilt blocks. They are typically clear with slits in them to guide your chalk or marker to make clean, straight lines.
- Tape - temporarilty attaches fabric together to give you an idea of how the block will look when sewn. Single and double sided tape is available, and it will not leave residue on your fabric.
- Pressing Aids - help to make clean, straight creases when hemming pieces.
- Organizers - give your fabric, tools, thread, and other supplies special places for easy access.
- Clips - easily create a puff quilt with special clilps that will keep your fabric in place
- Hand Needles - specialized quilting needles are shorter and shaper than typical hand sewing needles.
- Quilting Hoops - quilting hoops are larger than embroidery hoops, and help to stretch and hold the fabric tight when hand quilting
- Fusible Web - instead of sewing, use fusible web to attach your block pieces together
- Cutting Mats - protects surfaces and keeps your blades sharp when using rotary cutters
- Batting - the material sewn between fabric pieces to add warmth and thickness to your quilt
- Rulers - special quilting rulers are thicker and come with grids to make measuring quilt pieces easier
- Tools - dies, crimpers, pressing tools, and combs can all make quilting easier
- Rotary Cutters - circular blades with handles that cut through fabric by pressing and pushing
- Thread - durable thread that is strong and does not have stretch so that your quilt's shape does not warp
- Fabric - stablizers, panels, and even printable fabric can all help make quilting easier
- Notions - templates, grippers, cutters, and other unexpected tools
Popular Quilting Supplies Manufacturers
Quilting Information and Inspiration
For tips on choosing the right quilt batting, visit the quilt batting buying guide.
For more information on quilt stencils, visit the quilt stencils buying guide.
Projects Using Quilting
Quilted Pot Holders
Personalizing Your Quilts
No-Sew Quilted Pumpkins
Looking for project ideas? Check out various quilting projects at our Think Crafts Blog.
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