There are numerous resources available regarding quilting for beginners, from books and magazines to websites and classes with instructors. Amongst all this information there are a few basic tips that can help a beginning quilter get a feel for what he or she will need and how to get started. The tools necessary are not extensive but they are important, though optional tools including a sewing machine and rotary cutter can make quilting easier. Learning how to read quilt patterns and select proper fabrics for a quilt are also often important skills for beginners.
While the absolute essential tools for quilting for beginners may be few — a needle, thread, and fabric — there are some optional ones that can make the process much simpler. Hand quilting can be done, though a sewing machine often makes the process faster and easier, especially for someone starting out. Most new quilters should look for a sewing machine that is durable and reliable, preferably one with a 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) foot attachment, as this is a very popular stitch for quilting. The machine should also have a walking foot, as this will allow bulkier items such as a quilt to be fed into the machine for easier machine quilting for beginners.
Other tools that are not essential but can help beginning quilters include a rotary cutter and cutting surface. These often allow for easier cutting than simply using scissors, and these cutting surfaces are typically made from self-healing materials that will last longer and prevent grooves that can affect future cuts. Choice of needles is also often an important concern; long straight needles are usually preferable and ones with glass heads can be chosen to prevent melting if used with an iron. Reading quilt patterns and selecting proper fabrics are important for new quilters and can be confusing at first.
Much of the confusion regarding quilting for beginners stems from the use of lingo in quilting patterns. For example, common terms include “fat quarter,” “fabric jelly roll,” and “turnovers” when referring to quantities of fabric. New quilters should take time to learn and understand what these terms mean, as well as thoroughly read quilting patterns to carefully determine how a quilt should be assembled. One of the best ways to learn quilting for beginners is to attend a class or several classes on beginning quilting to learn the craft from an experienced instructor. Books and Internet sites, however, can also provide extensive instruction and may help a beginner better understand how to quilt.