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Thread: Wanted: Your estimate on getting started quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member PuffinGin's Avatar
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    As I scan through posts, I see the many of supplies, tools, gadgets, and materials that are needed in making quilts. Some are necessary, or mostly so, some probably not. I'd like to hear from you about how much you think it costs to get started quilting as it is currently done. I'd like you to think about what would you consider your 'necessaries' and your 'desirables' for quilting and provide a starting cost as you see it. To level things out a bit, let's assume you have a sewing machine you think is adequate to use for starting to make a quilt top. Let's also not include a machine for doing free-motion quilting. Just the basics.

    How much would you estimate you'd spend if you wanted to try making a first quilt and didn't have anything other than a basic sewing machine?

  2. #2
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    At one time, people were able to make quilts with fabric, scissors, needle, and thread (and thimble) - and something to make patterns from and to trace around the patterns.

    In fact, at one time, a needle was a very valuable household asset.

  3. #3
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    I use a basic sewing machine. I also already owned a totally adequate iron.

    When I started I purchased a rotary cutter, ruler for straight edge (this was a large ruler-$35.00), self healing cutting mat, light gray (or other neutral color) Gutterman thread (I like this thread), quilt pins and the fabric required for my first project (a rail fence pattern made for a toddler). Many of the accessories items can be purchased using 40-50 percent off coupons from Joanns. I do purchase good quality fabric at my local quilt shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffinGin
    As I scan through posts, I see the many of supplies, tools, gadgets, and materials that are needed in making quilts. Some are necessary, or mostly so, some probably not. I'd like to hear from you about how much you think it costs to get started quilting as it is currently done. I'd like you to think about what would you consider your 'necessaries' and your 'desirables' for quilting and provide a starting cost as you see it. To level things out a bit, let's assume you have a sewing machine you think is adequate to use for starting to make a quilt top. Let's also not include a machine for doing free-motion quilting. Just the basics.

    How much would you estimate you'd spend if you wanted to try making a first quilt and didn't have anything other than a basic sewing machine?

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    well, one can make a quilt with a pair of scissors and some home-made templates of cardboard or milk jugs :) but to get started with modern tools, i would say that the minimum in equipment would be a rotary cutter, a mat, and a ruler. the most versatile ruler, imho, is the 6x24.

  5. #5
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    Good scissors. cutting mat and rotary cutter thread and fabric I would say $100.00 just to begin making a quilt and that would be using cheap fabric. Someone will come along with a better estimate. Oh and a seam ripper! Good Luck

  6. #6
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    Fabric $???
    Rotary cutter/mat/ruler kit $30 when on sale at Joann's
    seam ripper $2
    scissors $10
    thread $10
    Pattern free on internet $0
    Batting $10-$40 (depends on what you want to use)

    This is what most of us start with. You get more as you go along, but most don't start with all the goodies.

  7. #7
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    IMHO, I would absolutely need a rotary cutter and mat, because I simply will not be able to accurately cut squares and strips. A 24x36 inch mat is on sale at JAF for $30 right now, and a Fiskars 45 mm cutter is $9. I'd buy a 12.5x12.5 inch ruler so I could square up my blocks - $17. And I'd probably get a longer ruler for cutting strips - $12. Without taking any coupons into account, that'd be $68 for things that didn't include the fabric, batting, or thread. (I'm assuming that if you have a machine, you also have an iron, ironing board, and basic fabric scissors.)

    While I have plenty more stuff than that, I'd say those are my bare minimums. YMMV

  8. #8
    Super Member maine ladybug's Avatar
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    I had just a regular machine when I took my first class about 10 years ago. I had to purchase a rotary cutter, board,ruler and pins, as well as the fabric and pattern. I found as I started that I needed a good seam ripper ( LOL ) as well and got one of those. I would estimate that I must have spent about a hundred dollars or so for my very first quilt. I would have to add the cost of the batting and backing tomake it complete, so maybe $150.

  9. #9
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    If you already have a sewing machine, you could do it cheaply by getting a kit of precut fabric and probably with thread, scissors, batting not spend much more than $100.00. We are talking very basic type supplies here.

  10. #10
    Super Member mollymct's Avatar
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    My first purchases (I already had a basic machine, which I still use!) were a rotary cutter/blades, a cutting mat and a ruler. I already had some other necessities in my general sewing supplies (machine needles, hand needles, scissors, seam ripper, thread, pins, etc). My first quilt was from baby clothes and was on the small side, so I purchased backing, binding fabric, a little border fabric, a small package of batting. I'm sure my initial outlay was less than 100 dollars. I was making the quilt as a gift for my best friend and honestly had no intention to make another! I was close to sacking the whole idea before stumbling onto this site.

  11. #11
    Senior Member familyfun's Avatar
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    I have not been quilting very long.. But I will tell you what I have.
    A Vicking Designer 1 that my mom gave me..
    24 x 5 inch ruler
    10 x 10 ruler
    rotary cutter I like the 45 mm best ( I think I saw Fiskars at walmart for $13 the other day this is the one I have)
    12 x 18 inch cutting mat
    I do have a Large one like 55 or 60 inches. I think it was about 40$ with a 50% coupon at Joanns.

    tape measure 2 dollars
    I use netrual thread I like gutterman but just bought some from connecting treads
    ALWAYS have extra needles for your machine
    2 packages of pins 1 inch and 2.5 inches
    Seam ripper is a MUST LOL I do use mine alot
    Large and small sissors (I suggest you buy a good brand I dont know the cost because but mine were a gift)
    I like spray basting the best ($7 with the coupon from Joanns
    If it is your first quilt I would not buy expensive material
    Check out Connecting Threads.. They have alot of clearance material starting at $3 a yard.

    Oh.. I almost forgot the Iron... and Ironing board..

    I think that is all for a start.. I would say if you have none of the supplies you can probably get it for under 200 dollars minus the machine. I did not spend alot of money because I didnt know if I would like doing it or not.. I am slowly building a VERY small stash. I love to sew
    and I am sure I forgot something. Happy quilting. I am sure others will have alot more advice or things they use.

  12. #12
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    One more necessity, a 1/4 inch foot. I bought my first one at a sewing machine shop for $20. I got my second one on Amazon for $5 and I can't tell the difference between the two using both regularly on different machines. Well worth $5.

  13. #13
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    Let me try to figure out what i think are the necessities: Cutting Mat ruler and rotary cutter 25$ on sale at joanns, ripper 2$ straight pins 3$ Good pair of sewing sissors gingher on sale 25$ thread 3$ fabric enough for a small quilt using sale fabric around 60$ patterns free on the net and can quilt on domestic machine or send out to be quilted. So bare necessities i would say around 120$ But i must say I have way more than that!!!!

  14. #14
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    Let me try to figure out what i think are the necessities: Cutting Mat ruler and rotary cutter 25$ on sale at joanns, ripper 2$ straight pins 3$ Good pair of sewing sissors gingher on sale 25$ thread 3$ fabric enough for a small quilt using sale fabric around 60$ patterns free on the net and can quilt on domestic machine or send out to be quilted. So bare necessities i would say around 120$ But i must say I have way more than that!!!!

  15. #15
    Power Poster alikat110's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feathers-N-Fur
    Fabric $???
    Rotary cutter/mat/ruler kit $30 when on sale at Joann's
    seam ripper $2
    scissors $10
    thread $10
    Pattern free on internet $0
    Batting $10-$40 (depends on what you want to use)

    This is what most of us start with. You get more as you go along, but most don't start with all the goodies.
    joy of quilting: priceless

  16. #16
    Super Member jemma's Avatar
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    family fun has the best list so far to this i would add the 1/4 inch foot saves a lot of reverse sewing--ive been quilting 10 years + only got a 1/4 foot last year WHY????

  17. #17
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Rotary cutting kit 50 dollars
    Sewing machine 100-150 dollars for a basic Walmart type machine
    Assuming you have an iron and board most people do
    Basic how to beginner book for reference 20 dollars

    I would say 250 easy unless you hit thrift stores and find bargains.

    This doesn't include fabric thread scissors, seam rippers, pins, your basic sewing kit

    BSK would probably be another 25 dollars

    That's just my estimate

    Sure is an expensive beginner hobby when you think about it.

    I used my aunts stuff until I was sure I wanted to invest in quilting and slowly built up my supplies

  18. #18
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    For the first quilt I made I did not buy anything special. I was already a sewer so had all the usual sewing notions. I made a log cabin from used material that I cut into strips with a scissors. The only things I have bought since are a rotary cutter and cutting mat, 2 rulers (12.5x12.5 and 6x24), and just recently I bought a 1/4 inch foot. I have been quilting for 30 years with these supplies. I have replaced the cutting mat once - about 15 years ago. Oh, I also bought a hoop for hand quilting and hand quilting thread, but for piecing I just used ordinary sewing thread.

  19. #19
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    If you shop the discount places on the internet you can probably get started fairly reasonable. Just put "discount sewing supplies" in your search and you'll find all sorts of resources.

  20. #20
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    must haves:
    pins
    ruler
    marking instrument
    scissors (a good one)
    needles

    nice extras to haves:
    seam ripper (this can be in the must have list depending on the person)
    rotary cutter with mat (if the kit is for a child I would hold off on this for a while)
    small iron ( this could also be on the must have list if they don't have an iron)
    pin cushion
    maybe a small box to hold all the above
    chocolate, lots of chocolate :)

    Amount will vary depending on if you can get on sale and the quality you want. For instance, I know someone who spent over $300 for 1 scissors. As you know fabrics, thread, and batting vary also.

  21. #21
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    1.6x24 ruler, rotary cutter and mat (Friskars used to have a set)

    2.basic sewing machine and a quarter inch foot, free
    motion foot and walking foot are nice (or something to mark a quarter inch)

    3.fabric top and back and batting

    4. nice to have is basting spray or pins for basting the quilt; seam ripper, good scissors like Friskars

    5. another nice one is quilting gloves or some cheap
    gardening gloves from the 99cent store

  22. #22
    Senior Member Rhaorth's Avatar
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    yard sales, thrift stores, closet, friends, etc for fabric. ($'s varied, but can be free if you raid your closet and ask your friends to donate)

    scissors
    thread
    marking tool (seamstress pencil or whatever they are called)
    ruler
    sewing needle

    I would say these are the very basics, when I made a quilt (the only one I ever made) years ago, that was all I had... (except I purchased the fabric)


    now if you wish to be using more modern tools, I would suggest a good self healing cutting mat, scissors that you use only for cutting material, rotary cutter, thread, sewing needle, seam ripper, pins, safety pins, ruler (the bigger one, don't know the sizes)

    as for cost, it depends where you get the stuff... I actually found a ruler at the thrift store (well mother in law found it hehe) for 1.00 on a 50% off day, so it was 50cents) it is a 6 by 12 or something like that.

    it all depends on what you want to spend, and what kind of tools you want to use

    my stuff was purchased for me, so I am not sure of the total

    ps the quilt I made years ago was all done by hand... eventually I had to purchase the batting, backing, and a big hoop so I could quilt it... would I do it that way again... nope

    Can't wait to get the boys' rag quilts done so I can work on a quilt top

  23. #23
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    When I first started I had my self healing mat, a rotary cutter and a 12 by 12 ruler and that's all I needed-Of course scissors, pins and seam ripper I already had for sewing and mending. I did use some inexpensive fabric when learning and now just look for sale fabric at all the quilt websites, there's tons. And still but my batting with my Joann's coupon for batting. I now buy different types of rulers but don't have really to.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Plumtree's Avatar
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    what everyone else has said pretty much sums it up. The only thing I will add is a TALL GLASS of your favorite happy hour drink as some times after spending time with your seam ripper you will need this item.

    Happy Quilting

    For fabric you could always raid your old clothes, sheets, kids clothes, garage sales, even friends have old sheets they dont' want. Keep it simple and everything will be beautiful. :-)

  25. #25
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    I agree with the basics being cutter, mat, scissors, ruler, and seam ripper. Seems like (especially if you are picky about lining seams up) the seam ripper is used a lot particularly at first. A recent find that makes ripping so much easier is a battery powered mustache trimmer (About $12 at Walmart). I don't mind ripping at all with this very handy tool to help.

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