The Comprehensive Quilting Accessory list to meet every quilting project

Elvis Elvis

Before you begin your next quilting project check this quilting accessory list to make sure you have all the quilting tools you need to complete the job. Most of the tools are basic and you probably already have them in the cupboard. A few of the others are well worth investing in.

Rotary Cutter and Mat

A rotary cutter will make the tedious task of cutting out all the pieces a breeze. It is especially useful for geometric shapes. They are also great for cutting our border and sash pieces.

Choose the size that feels comfortable for you. You don’t want it too small or too big and heavy, especially if you’ve got a large quilting project with hundreds of pieces to cut out.

Buy a good brand with a replaceable blade.

It’s also worth investing in a cutting mat as well. They are made of a plastic type material that helps keep the rotary cutter blade sharp for longer. They are also marked up with guidelines which come in handy. A good mat will definitely save your table top.

Once you get used to the rotary cutter you’ll be able to cut several thicknesses of fabric at the same time making the job even quicker.


The rotary cutter will handle most of the work for you but I wouldn’t recommend it for curves and very fiddly pieces. You will want a good pair of fabric shears for these jobs.

Have a pair of paper scissors for cutting out your paper piece templates. Cutting paper with fabric shears is the fastest way to blunt them.

If you are making your own plastic templates I’d make sure you have a sturdy pair of craft scissors. You could use your rotary cutter or fabric shears as well if you wanted to.



Needles are a basic quilting accessory. The type and size you use will depend on how you plan on constructing the quilt and the fabrics used.

As a rule of thumb the larger the needle the larger the stitches, whether for hand or machine sewing. Buy a pack and replace them often. Once they get blunt they’re harder to work with.

The Comprehensive Quilting Accessory list to meet every quilting project

Quilting thimbles

If you are doing any large amounts of hand sewing, either in the construction of the quilt or the actual quilting, you will want a quilting thimble. It will save your fingers.

I have tried several different types of thimbles. The hard plastic or metal ones tend to make my finger sweat. They are also hard to get a comfortable fit. But they are cheap.

I now use a leather quilting thimble. Being a natural fibre it is much more comfortable to wear and use. It is flexible and fits on my finger much better. It has thicker leather to the inside so offers plenty of protection too. Leather quilting thimbles are a bit more expensive but I would definitely recommend investing in one. How can you enjoy making your quilt with a sore finger?


You’ll need a ruler for both marking out your fabric and templates as well as a guide for cutting with the rotary cutter. I would recommend a long metal ruler as it is much less likely to get damaged than a wooden or plastic ruler.


Pins are another essential quilting accessory. You’ll need lots of them. Pins are used both during the construction and quilting stages. I like long pins with glass heads as they are easy to work with. Don’t go for pins with plastic heads because if you iron over them the plastic melts. That’s not too good for your quilt or your iron.

Cotton/Quilting thread

Another basic requirement on your quilting accessory list is thread. You need something to put it all together. I know that sounds very basic but it’s often the little things that we forget.

If you have a dominant color on your quilt use thread to match. Otherwise choose a neutral color to blend in.

Also match the composition with that of your fabrics. If you are using 100% cotton fabrics choose cotton thread.

When you come to doing the quilting you’ll want to use a specialist quilting thread. They are much stronger. Mettler quilting thread is a good reliable brand.

Pencils and markers

Find something handy to transfer cutting and sewing lines to your fabric. Just make sure it will wash out. I generally use a pencil as I can keep it sharpened for a thin accurate line and it washes out easily.

Quilting templates

Whether you download or buy a pattern or design your own you will be working with templates. The paper pattern is used to create more long lasting templates.

You have a few choices here. If it is a standard simple pattern you can buy pre cut templates made of plastic in various sizes and shapes. They are strong and can be used for several projects. But they can get expensive.

If it’s a small quilting project you can cut the templates out in cardboard. This is obviously a cheap alternative. You need to take care with the corners that they don’t lose their shape. Once they start to cut out some new templates.

For something in between you can buy sheets of acetate to make your own longer lasting templates. It is opaque so easy to transfer your pattern onto and it is strong and durable enough to create sharp corners and points. And you can make them whatever size and shape you want.

Compass and graph paper

If you are designing and making your own quilting designs these items will help you do so with ease and accuracy. Draw the block in its finished size and configuration. Then trace each piece individually and add the seam allowance required.

Quilters quarter

This is a very handy quilting accessory that I found several years ago. It is like a ruler but all four sides are ¼ inch. It is used to add the seam allowances to pieces and templates easily and accurately. You just line the quarter to the edge of the template and draw a new line for the ¼ inch seam allowance. Simple. I have found it to be such a handy tool.


You are probably wondering why on earth I have added sandpaper to this quilting accessory list. You don’t see this listed anywhere else.

It is excellent for helping you transfer markings onto fabric.

Smooth out the fabric face down on the sandpaper. It acts as a non-slip mat and makes it easy to draw your guidelines without the fabric sliding around under the ruler.

For large projects and pieces I have glued four sheets of fine grain sandpaper onto a board. This is my marking board. I wouldn’t be without it.

Try it. It will save you a lot of frustration.