The Best Notions and Tools for Quilters {both Beginning and Experienced}

To help you navigate the staggering amount of gadgets and quilting tools available on the market, I've created this resource page listing items I consider the best notions and tools for quilters. The list is conveniently grouped into sections, and each item is linked to Amazon making it easy for you to purchase. If I've written a review of the item, you can click on the item's name to read the review.

Having worked in a quilt shop I've had the opportunity to try out almost every gadget on the market, and I'm continually on the lookout for new items to add to my toolbox - anything that makes quilting easier, better and more fun! The product on the right is my latest favorite find!

Each of the Amazon links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click the links and choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you but does help me earn enough to support the cost of this website. Please know that I only link to items which I personally use and feel that I can confidently endorse. Your support by clicking on these links is greatly appreciated.

What I'm loving this month

 Best-selling author Carrie Nelson packs 40 adorable pinnies with personality!

This selection is also available for Kindle. Have you tried Kindle Unlimited?

Basic Rotary Cutting Tools and Notions

These items make up what I consider the "basic" kit you need to be productive as a quilter. If you're a new or beginning quilter, these are your first investments. I heartily endorse the Creative Grids rulers because I can see through them clearly, they do not slip, and most of them have additional lines to help with lining up fabric, helping you make excellent cuts.  Another plus is that almost all of them have instructional videos on YouTube where you can learn better ways to use the ruler, and these videos can be easily accessed from a mobile device by scanning the QR code that is printed directly on the ruler.

Rotary Cutter

 

For safety reasons, this style cutter is the only one I will use. With other versions, I have accidentally nicked my hand when it brushed up against the cutter laying on my table as I moved fabric between cuts. With this type, the blade is always protected unless you engage it.

Replacement Blades

  • Get in the habit early to change your blades regularly by keeping spare blades handy
  • This package is one of the best values I've seen and I've had good luck with the blades.

24" x 36" Cutting Mat

 

  • Less odor than other brands (some new mats will give off chemical odors)
  • This size mat has ample room to work with various sizes of fabric

Rotating Cutting Mat

  • Useful for precise trimming
  • I've had mine for nearly 6 years and it's still in perfect shape.

Square Up Rulers

12.5" Creative Grids Square Up Ruler

 

  • This is a good versatile size that has many uses.
  • You will build a collection over time...buy the size you need for the blocks in your current project

6.5" x 12.5" Acrylic Ruler

 

  • doesn't slip
  • clear color makes it easy to see markings
  • QR code links you to video tips

Long Ruler for Large Strips

  • Useful for cutting borders

3" x 6" (Small) Ruler

  • This model has great 1/8" markings which are very useful for checking accuracy and making small trims.

Basic Sewing Notions for Quilters

These items make up what I call a "Basic Sewing Kit for Quilters." You may have a lot of these items already, but when it comes time to replace them, here are the ones I think are your best bet to get the job done.

1/4" Sewing Foot:

A 1/4" foot for your sewing machine is the best investment you can make. If you own a newer Pfaff this one will probably work. Check with your dealer if you have another brand machine.

Kai Scissors


These are hands down my favorite scissors. Super sharp and stay that way!

CHI Iron

If you love their hair product, you'll love this iron! Super hot, and a bit heavier than most irons for a superior press.

Aurifil 100% 50 wt. Thread

  • You only need 4 colors for quilting: Cream, White, Gray, and Black
  • Buying them in the 3-pack saves you $9 off the retail price

Clover Seam Ripper

I love this one because it has a flat edge on the handle - will not roll off the sewing table.

Magnetic Pin Holder

I own several kinds of magnetic pin holders. I like to have one on my ironing board, one at my cutting station, and one by my sewing machine. This version holds the pin in a way that is easy to grab them.

Long Glass-Head Pins


 

  • This type is thin and flexible, going thru fabric like butter
  • Does not melt under the heat of an iron.

Flower-Head Pins

  • Useful when working with bulky fabrics because they are easier to see (and less likely to be left inside a baby quilt!)

Dritz Curved Safety Pins

The curved shape of these pins make them much easier to use when pin basting a quilt.

Sewline Marking Pencils

A quality product. Tough ceramic lead does not easily break when marking fabric.

Sewline Marking Chalk

For when you need blue. The sewline leads are extremely strong, and rarely do I break them when marking my fabrics.

Sew Straight

Attach this handy guide to the throat of your sewing machine and never mark another line down the middle of your quick corner units. Helps save time and improves accuracy of Flying Geese, snowball units, and more. Hands down one of those things I cannot live without.

Specialty Rulers & Tools for Quilters

There are a ton of specialty rulers on the market, and it's hard to know which ones are worthy of your investment. I consider the rulers listed below to be my "special" workhorses, as they have greatly improved my accuracy and given me exceptional results.

Corner Beam Ruler

Rapid Fire LeMoyne Star Ruler

Rapid Fire Hunter's Star Ruler

Log Cabin Trim Tool

Pineapple Block Trim Tool

HST Ruler

QST Ruler

Fat Robin for Mariner's Compass Blocks

 

Skinny Robin for Mariner's Compass Blocks

Quick Curve Ruler

Quick Curve Ruler - Mini

Add-a-Quarter Rulers

A must-have for trimming seams when paper piecing

English Paper Piecing Recommendations

Bottomline Thread

Purchase this set to get an assortment of thread colors

 

Fussy Cutting Mirror

Paper Forms

Best Tools and Notions for Applique

Applique has its own set of needs. I love the fact that applique can be so portable, and so I keep an applique kit containing my applique tools and notions that are always ready to travel. The items below are my "go to" products when working with applique.

Sewline Glue Pen

Much less mess than a glue stick.

Karen K Buckley Perfect Scissors


Extremely sharp serrated blades cut small pieces precisely.

Karen K. Buckley Perfect Circles

As the name implies...they help you make perfect circles.

YLI Silk Thread

Extremely strong and practically invisible.

Straw Needles

These super-fine yet strong needles glide through fabric like butter.

Thread Cutter Ring

Saves me a ton of time not having to reach for scissors.

Needle Threader

I went through a lot of needle threaders before I found this one. Love this model, because it never misses.

Roxanne Glue Baste

For when you need that spec of glue in a very precise location

 

Jillily Poke-a-dots

Because thimbles just don't work right on my fingers.

Best tools, notions and fun stuff for Quilt Retreats

Quilt retreats and sewing group days are my favorite part of quilting. I try to keep a bag ready to go at a moments notice in case some friends call and say "Let's Sew!" I've found the tools and notions listed below to make my sewing excursions a lot more pleasant.

Dress the part - Show your spirit

A wardrobe essential for every quilter.
My comfy quilting tees are the first thing I pack for every retreat.

Mini Travel Iron

This little guy is super HOT! And takes up so much less space in my travel case.

Portable Ironing Surface

 

The ironing board isn't going to fit in your trunk, so pack this instead.

Sewing Machine Caddy

There are more expensive sewing machine totes out there, but this brand has served me well for over 5 years.

Large Tote Bag

I take a LOT of fabric with me when I retreat. I love the way I can stack the fabric in these large totes.

Hand Sewing Kit Bag

I love to keep all my hand sewing notions together in one place so it's a quick grab when going to retreats or trips. This version is roomy enough to also hold a small project.

Handcrafted Scissor Fob

 

 

 

Put some unique bling on your scissors & rotary cutters to identify them as your own.
(Because sometimes my sewing sisters like to borrow.)

Folding Portable Table

Because there is never enough room on the tables at the retreat center.

Water Bottle

Because sewing is a workout and you've got to stay hydrated.

Best tools and notions to organize your sewing room

Artbin Boxes

Great for storing projects

Artbin Storage Cubes

 

I have two of these that I use for organizing scraps. I added the Artbin casters so I could easily move them around.

Bobbin Buddies

 

I love how these keep my bobbins organized with my threads.

Tool Tree

 

While these are great for coffee mugs, too, it looks a lot better with Rotary Cutters and Scissors hanging off it!

Tool Caddy 

A great item for keeping tools organized.

Document Box

 

 

I use boxes like this to store templates and applique patterns

Magazine Holder

My goto storage item for magazines and patterns

Cubby Boxes

 

I love these for organizing specialty fabrics (such as wool, silk, etc.)