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Quilting Supplies - Basic Terms and Tools

Quilting, in general terms, refers to making quilts and quilted projects. Quilting may incorporate embroidery, patchwork, appliqué, and needlework. The sewing of smaller pieces together to make a quilt top is call piecing or patchwork. The specific definition of quilting is sewing the three layers of the quilt “sandwich” together: the quilt top, batting, and quilt backing. 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 and the Supplies you need to get Started | Discount Craft Supplies

Making a Quilt Typically Follows This Eight 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 quilt top – often involves sewing blocks, sewing the blocks together into rows, sewing the rows together and perhaps adding borders to complete the quilt top.
  4. Layering the quilt backing, batting and top quilted piece.
  5. Quilt through all layers.
  6. Squaring up and trimming excess fabric and batting.
  7. Adding the binding- long strips of fabric sewn to cover (bind) the edges of the quilt or quilted project.
  8. Adding a quilt label – optional but important for posterity.


Types of Quilting

Quilting stitches add a decorative element but function to stabilize the layers together when used and washed - and allows air pockets to make the quilter warmer. There are four different types of quilting: hand quilting, machine quilting, tying, and quilt-as-you-go. For hand quilting, a needle and thread are used to hand stitch and secure the layers together. Machine quilting – the most common method today - uses a domestic sewing machine or longarm machine to sew the layers together. Quilts may be quilted with knots tied every few inches to stabilize the three layers. Quilt-as-you-go involves sewing through all three layers as pieces are added – when the piecing is finished, the quilt or quilted project is already quilted.


Sew Fresh Quilts Forest Friends 2 PatternElizabeth Hartman Lloyd & Lola PatternClaire Turpin Design Chooks Pattern

Quilting Patterns

Quilting Patterns take the guesswork and measuring out of making your own quilting quilt or quilted project. 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. Patterns maybe sold as individual patterns or as a collection in quilt books.

Omnigrid Rotary Cutting Kit with Folding Mat

Basic Quilting Supplies Checklist

  • Batting - sewn between top and backing fabric pieces to add warmth and thickness to your quilt
  • Cutting Mats – self-healing mats protect surfaces and keeps blades sharp when using rotary cutters and craft knives
  • Fusible Web – used to adhere appliqué to fabric; raw edges can be secured with hand or machine stitches
  • Hand Needles – hand sewing needles are used for hand piecing, appliqué, embroidery, and adding binding; specialized needles for hand quilting called betweens are shorter than typical hand sewing needles.
  • Notions – pins, Clover Wonder Clips, machine quilting gloves, seam rippers, freezer paper, foundation paper, and more
  • Organizers - give your fabric, tools, thread, and other supplies special places for easy access.
  • Pressing Aids – press cloths, Mary Ellen’s Best Press, Clover Press Perfect tools, Clover Mini Iron, pressing mats, and iron cleaners are favorites
  • Quilt Marking Tools – marking pens, pencils, powders, Hera markers, and stencils.  
  • Quilting Hoops - quilting hoops are larger than embroidery hoops, and help to stretch and hold the fabric tight when hand quilting
  • Rotary Cutters – very sharp circular blades with handles that cut used to cut fabric with acrylic rulers and cutting mats
  • Rulers - special acrylic quilting rulers are ¼” thick and come with grids to make measuring quilt pieces easier
  • Templates – acrylic rulers used with rotary cutter and cutting mat to cut shapes – often for specific quilt blocks thread that is strong and does not have stretch so that your quilt's shape does not warp.
  • Thread – durable 100% cotton or polyester thread; used for piecing, appliqué, adding binding, quilting and more


Popular Quilting Supplies Manufacturers


Quilting Information and Inspiration

For tips on choosing the right quilt batting, visit the quilt batting buying guide.

Projects Using Quilting

Quilted Pot Holders

Personalizing Your Quilts

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Christmas Wreath Mini Quilt

18 Inch Doll Bed and Storage – Part 2

No-Sew Quilted Pumpkins

Looking for project ideas? Check out various quilting projects at our Think Crafts Blog.

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