If you are interested in quilting or remember an old family member how used to make quilts for everyone and that is starting to resonate with you to start your own quilting legacy, this is the right place for you.
Quilting has evolved in recent years and its modern outreach has grown to uncharted levels. Modern quilts are defined by the Modern Quilt Guild (yes, that is a thing) as “quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are inspired by modern design. Minimalism, asymmetry expansive negative space, and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics”.
However, many of the quilting’s living representatives, express that Modern quilting is a twist on the traditional art of quilting. This may mean something as simple as using a traditional quilt block and updating it in a fresh, fun new way. That includes using modern fabrics, modifying the block arrangement or even the scale of the block. The piecing could be improvisational and wonky, or it could be very exact and measured, following a pattern or creating your won. The quilting could be traditional stippling, clean straight lines, or a very “free” have fun and quilt-as-you-go style. Fabrics could be upcycled vintage sheets, custom digital printed fabric, a yummy selection from one of the new modern fabric designers, or an old fabric from an ever-growing stash.
An agreement on the definition has not been made, since every quilter is unique and constantly changing and evolving, with an individual style and personality. And the term “Modern quilting” is not different from the tradition, it is more of a way to introduce and invite quilters of all ages to join this community and use it as a form of expression.
If you are reading this article is because you are interested but maybe don’t know where to start. That is the reason we invite you to continue reading and find out the best tools you need to put your hands on and begin quilting away.
Where do I start quilting?
Like any other craft, you will need tools to make at least cutting and sewing tasks easier and precise. If you try to cut your fabric with a regular pair of scissors, you are going to end up with a sore hand and the wish to never quilt again. So, here is a list of to make your own beginners kit:
- Rotary cutter:
If you are unfamiliar, imagine this tool as a pizza cutter for fabric. It is used to make straight, clean and accurate cuts from your fabric. There are many sizes, but to start building your kit, a medium-sized is recommended, since it can cut thorough 2 or 3 layers at a time and it is very user friendly.
- Self-healing cutting mat and rulers
Ince you got your hands on a rotary cutter, you will need something to cut the fabric on and protect the surface. Most self-heating cutting mats include a ruler grid to help you measure and align your fabrics. As it also comes in different sizes, you should buy a 24” x 36” for home sewing or a larger one if you have the space. If you plan to take quilting classes and can only buy one rotary mat to travel with, you can get by with a smaller version like a 18” x 24” that’s more portable.
- Sharp sewing scissors:
Expensive scissors aren’t necessary, just make sure they are sharp. Do try to keep a pair of scissors purely for cutting fabric/thread so they won’t dull as quickly cutting paper.
- Pins and needles
Like many sewing crafts you need a stock of pins and needles to hold components together. Chose pins with large heads so it they are easy to spot and hard to lose.
- Cotton thread
If you are overwhelmed by the many colors, fabrics, weighs of threads, do not panic. We highly recommend cotton thread for beginners since it is more resistant and will hardly ever break on you. And choose a neutral color like medium gray or tan that most likely will look perfect in any pattern you decide to use.
- Seam rippers:
We all have to rip out seams once in a while. Even the best of quilters/seamstresses stand by their seam ripper, we can’t all sew perfectly every time!! Find a seam ripper with a very fine head. We recommend Clover’s seam ripper, but there are many other excellent alternatives.
- Marking tools
Whether it be marking your fabrics, tracing patterns, making notes, etc., the most important thing is that the marks you make on your fabrics only last as long as you need them. Before you use your marking tool, read the instructions and understand how it gets erased. The type of marking tool that one uses is entirely up to the person. Some people prefer soapstone, others like pencils, and some like pens.
If you already have one at home, that will probably do! If not, almost any iron will do, but one that gets hot is important. Steam is an extra feature to have, but not indispensable.
- Sewing machine
Another item that will make your life easier while quilting but that does not have to be professional or expensive. If you can thrift one or buy and oldie from a friend’s grandma, even better! If you have or find a sewing machine that will sew a good, straight line, you are ready to go! Later on, you can even buy a sewing machine specially for quilting, but for starters that is not necessary, remember to use what you have and spend as little as possible! Quilting is a craft for creating memories and it sure doesn’t have to be expensive.
Finally! Choosing your fabric is the most exciting part, try to stick to cotton at first since it will be easier for you to learn. Later you can chose satins or silk, but do not overcomplicate things and have fun!