There are many tools of a quilter. Here is a basic list.

  • *Sewing machine
  • *Fabric scissors – only cut fabric with these
  • *Papercutting scissors
  • *Rotary cutter, mat and rotary cutter ruler.  This will be one of your most expensive investments and it is recommended you purchase the best you can afford.  Accurately cut pieces are easy to do with these tools. The ruler I use the most and is most versatile is a 6″ or 6 1/2″ by 24″ ruler,
  • *Straight pins with ball heads
  • *Seam ripper – get one that will be comfortable in your hand because it will become your new best friend!
  • *A non-permanent marking pen or pencil. I use a regular mechanical pencil, so the line is fine and light.
  • *Iron and ironing surface
  • *(Optional) Small scissors for clipping threads; spray starch or sizing; steam feature on iron or spray bottle for water.
  • Painter’s masking tape to use as sewing guide.


Rulers amaze me the most.  They come in all sizes. There are ones for cutting straight and others for angles. When you are tired of sewing straight, you can find rulers for curves and waves. And just in the last few years quilting rulers have been introduced! They are thicker than the cutting rulers and are used for quilting on your home sewing machine up to and including long arm quilting machines. They come in straight, wavy, arks, most any shape you can imagine. What an exciting time in quilting history to have access to all the marvelous tools!

Cutting Mats – A Major Tool of the Quilter

The cutting mats , a major tool of the quilter, range in size like you can’t imagine. Some are “you call that little thing a cutting mat” to “holy cow, that is bigger than my bathroom”!  They lay flat and some even spin. You have a choice of color and if they are printed on one or both sides.  These self-healing mats are expensive which can get you thinking they should last a lifetime! Sharp blades leave less scars to be healed than a dull blade so the mat will last longer when you treat it well. Also, don’t leave it in the sun or in a car on a sweltering day unless you think it is easy to cut accurate cuts on a warped board. Store lying flat also. Yes, I am speaking from experience. Learn from my expensive mistakes!

Rotary Cutters

The rotary cutters give you so many choices!  Size, color, ergonomically designed is just the beginning! Do you want one with blades you don’t have to change as often? Maybe blades you never have to touch when you do change them. Some cutters have automatic blade guards that close when the blade isn’t rolling. Then there are those requiring habit skill building to remember to close the safety feature.  If you are not quick to remember simple things like closing the blade cover, you might go with the automatic one. Trust me on that advice, too!

Additional Information

Other valuable information relating to tools of a quilter can be found on these two posts: /education-sewing-quilting-subjects/ and /sewing-machine-easy-maintenance/