Thursday, 24 October 2013

Top 10 things to make (quilting) life easier

When people ask me about which notions I cannot do without, and yes, people actually do ask that, my answer would typically be that I’m not really hooked on notions. However true that might be, there are a few things I really do appreciate. Here are the top 10 things that make my quilting life easier in no particular order:

Walking foot (AKA even feed foot). This is built in on some machines, but comes separate for most. A must for a straight line stitching enthusiast as myself.

Bias tape maker. I use a Clover 18mm for making all my bindings.

Basting spray. Some like this one, other like that. I’ll buy almost anyone, but there’s one that I do not care for at all.

Ottlite daylight lamps. I have a floor model in my studio and a chargeable table model upstairs. Proper light makes lots of difference, and when you get used to these, you really don’t want to do without.

Micron Pigma pens. For making thin lines and writing on labels.

Pre wound bobbins. I use Janome bobbins as I do my sewing on Janome machines and the empty plastic spools can be re-wound.

T-pins. Sometimes I have to shape up quilts for competitions and exhibitions, and the t-pins make that so much easier as they hold the quilt in place while regular pins will slip right out under pressure.

Jelly fingers thimbles. They used to be everywhere a few years ago, and fortunately I bought a few when they were easily available. I have tried many thimbles over the years, but these are my favorites as they’ll hug your fingers, not squeeze them.

Appliqué sheet. There are many brands and types, but this is the one I have been most happy with. When I don’t have an appliqué sheet, I’ll use baking or deli paper.

Self threading needles. A friend of mine recommended these for burying threads at the back of a quilt, so I bought my first in Birmingham two years ago. They are brilliant, so I stocked up this year.

Just to be clear: I don’t have any affiliation with Amazon, it was just easier to search one site, and I have borrowed their pictures - except for the thimbles and bias tape maker.

So, how about you, what are your go-to notions? If you post your own list, let me know, I'd like to see it!


  1. A walking foot was one of the first things I was told to buy by my teacher - what a revelation!!!
    I've never seen the jelly thimbles - I don't use one because I find them awkward, a soft one sounds a good idea!

  2. Those are all great notions, many of which are staples for me as well (although I haven't used my applique pressing sheet for so long, I'm actually not sure where it is!). I cannot live without my Purple Thang!

  3. Interesting to see what others use. I just recently got the walking foot... what a difference! I love mine. I used it to sew the hexies to the white fabric that will be part of the dolly quilt front. It worked wonderfully. If I had done without, I'm sure I would have had a bunch of puckers. I'm wondering if I should just sew everything with it!
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. have not heard of the self-threading needles. Will have to look for those. I have an around the neck light with a magnifier in it that I use at night for handwork. I look weird (and my kids remind me of this regularly!), but I can see so clearly and my eyes are happy.