Sewing Tools

Let’s take an in-depth look at sewing tools and notions for the Modern Quilter! These are some of my favorites in my own sewing room.

  • What Quilting Rulers Should I buy?

    Yay for you! The decision to buy the right quilting tools is a big step towards being a really great quilter! But “which quilting rulers should I buy?” is often the very first questions most people ask.

    *If you are more advanced in quilting, I have suggestions for FMQ (free motion quilting) and longarm quilting rulers towards the bottom of this post!*

    I mean honestly, when you’re staring at a hundred different shapes and sizes… circles and squares, normal looking rulers and ones that look like they’re straight out of some sci-fi fiction glowing universe… yeah, it can totally get overwhelming. I get you…

    If you need help deciding what rulers are the best bang for your buck in quilting, you are in luck! :) These are the essentials that I use on every single quilt.

    I’m going to go through the reasons you should own at least a few (hint: you don’t need ALL of them!), exactly which ones you absolutely should own and what to expect cost wise because…

    Quilting tools can add up real fast if you’re easily swayed into buying everything that is pretty and promises to make you the greatest quilter alive. So let’s not forget that aspect! Unless you’re a billionaire chances are most likely that budgeting is something that you keep in check.
    (if you are a billionaire can we be friends? I make really great cookies and I’m totally a hilarious wing woman.)

    So let’s go through it, shall we?

    Why do I need Quilting Rulers/Guides?

    With the right tools, you’ll find that your work is easier and your skills and accuracy will soar skyward! – I am not even joking.

    If you’ve quilted for even a little bit, you’ll know that accuracy is important… no, wait. It is the golden key to quilting, because if you’re off even a little bit… The puzzle pieces don’t line up. Things can get all askew…. Then you are spending time with the darn seam ripper again and… and…. aaaannnddd…. ARGH!

    *Don’t even get me started….*

    • Quilting Rulers are clear. You can see through them to get precision that is un-matchable to whatever straight edge you can find in your house that you’ve been telling yourself will ‘work for now‘.
    • Fussy cutting is a breeze when you can see straight through your ruler… oh yes, it is magical! 😉
    • The measurements and guides are marked clearly and are easy to follow. – My personal favorites are the neon tools, from The Gadget Girls ( Not only are they bright and fun colors, but the markings are actually etched into the tools so the guides actually glow nice and bright no matter what fabric you have behind it!
    • I don’t have scientific reasoning for this but when you have the right tools… you just work better, smarter and more efficient. Your brain energy isn’t spent trying to figure out how you can DIY this or that or get by without… you have the focus to put into your quilting!

    I held off for the longest time on purchasing quilting rulers. Being a young mom – (baby formula will eat your budget alive!) I felt guilty spending even more money on myself because I was already conservatively buying fabric when I could. I just couldn’t justify it… until… another quilter friend said:

    How are you going to cook if you don’t have a stove? You could go build a fire in the backyard and get by, yes, but wouldn’t the investment on proper cookware be worth more than getting by and dealing with the current limits and frustration?

    Of course, you don’t need a stove to quilt, (and we’re well equipped in our kitchen thanks to the foodnetwork making my husband and I feel like we could totally kill it on Iron Chef) but I heard her loud and clear.

    I was wasting time using things around the house to cut my straight edges – and if you know me, then you know that Christen does NOT like to waste time. At all. I like to be a productive machine and live my life to the fullest volume possible! Any wasted time away from my family is unacceptable.

    I was blinded by the thought of not wanting to spend a little money on myself and my passion: quilting.

    Do you hear me on this?

    **PS – I’m going to link these to the rulers on the Gadget girls website because I really feel like of all the rulers that I have owned, they are the best quality and my personal favorite 🙂

    Ok, so… Bare Minimum – What do I need?

    Let me make this next part clear…. you don’t have to go out and buy everything in the world or spend a fortune right this very second. And I’m not just saying that to make you feel good. I mean it. Don’t think you have to spend a ton of money to be good at quilting! You can do a whole lot with just a little!

    If you want to start your collection of rulers and you are ready to make that jump, here is what I suggest. Pick and choose a la carte what fits your needs:

    6″x12″ Ruler – This ruler is probably my best friend in the sewing room (but don’t tell the others that, ok?) It is an easy size to square up your littles and make those quick cuts. All the guidelines are invaluble!

    6″x24″ Ruler – I know what you’re thinking… “Isn’t that almost like the 6″x12″?” and yes, you’re right EXCEPT that your fabric is 40″ wide and folded in half, I can use this big daddy ruler to make one single clean cut all the way across my fabric… I am like a genie. It is AMAZING. I have never once regretted purchasing this ruler. I also use it to help square up my quilt. – It gets used on every single quilt i make.

    Even-ups or Square Rulers – These beauties are pretty much the crown jewels of my quilting blocks. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. As you can see, they already have the seam allowance accounted for and they make squaring up 458 (yep…I did that…) 2″ blocks and HST a breeze.

    I would suggest at minimum buying the even measurements – 2″, 4″, 6″, and 10″ or 12″ – You can buy every size in between and even larger for t-shirt quilts that you want to make as easy as possible.

    Pssst: they also come in triangles and hexagons AND half-hexies! (you have to scroll through the diff pages on the website to see them all) – *Swoon* OMG! I know, girl. Perfect triangles with like no effort… surely we must be dreaming, but no. It is totally real and it is totally wonderful.

    How much should I look to spend?

    This is always a question people ask and this is always where I have a hard time answering.

    Usually, rulers are anywhere from $12-$30ish each. Some are more, it just depends on the purpose and the size of the ruler.

    Honestly, buy what you can out of the list I mentioned above. If you can’t buy them all, don’t sweat it. There are so many different ones out there but you will be doing great with just the essentials!

    Start with the 6″x12″ and really work that ruler! If you use it for a little bit, you may get a better idea of what you should buy next based on what your most used size pieces are.

    Is a holiday coming up? Your Birthday? Christmas? …um… Arbor day, perhaps? Ask someone you love for what you need (nicely)! I don’t want to hurt any feelings but none of us NEED another pretty candle, do we?

    I really hope you found this guide to rulers useful. If you are hungry for more, I will be making a video on rulers really soon. I’ll be including the ways I use my rulers plus some tips to store them and keep them essential in your sewing room!

    You can check out my YouTube channel here.

    A Word to my FMQ and Longarm Quilters…

    If you're looking to up your quilting game with some new tools, you're in luck! Don't just go buy what you THINK is going to be useful... read this first so you KNOW from a seasoned quilter what is going to be the best bang for your buck!

    YOU! My lovely beautiful creative quilters, you…. You are amazing and I am truly inspired by the beauty that you create… are you looking to up your quiling ruler collection a little bit too?

    FMQ does not have to be impulsive or make it up as you go – You can make it a little more structured with quilting rulers that you trace around either with your needle or a fabric marker.

    You’ll get drool worthy perfect quilting patterns that you can then quilt on your machine! The classic baptist fan pattern? A cinch when you have this right here.

    Check out the remarkables section on the Gadget Girl’s website for every shape you could possibly imagine!

    With these tools, your quilting is going to be so lit… which means really really awesome.

    Let me know what you think!

    These are 6 Quilting tools that I can't live without in my sewing room!
  • Quilting Tools I Can’t Live Without

    Look, I admire the quilting women of generations passed who just needed a needle (and it didn’t even have to be all that sharp) and some fabric to create a beautiful work of art…. but I just can’t do that. I LOVE all my modern quilting tools! There are so many that make my life easier and allow me to work more efficiently and save me time! SO I thought I would share them with you today. These are the Quilting tools I can’t live without!

    These are 6 Quilting tools that I can't live without in my sewing room!

    1) First off – My Sewing Machine!

    This beautiful machine is my sewing BFF. We’ve been together for a few years now and it has been worth every single penny of my investment and then some!

    Overwhelmed with the sheer amount of accessories you can have in the sewing room? - Read this list for the top 13 Must-Haves in the sewing room!

    I have the Janome 3160QDC. She is as absolute dream home quilting machine without going too deep into your pockets!

    Sewing machines are kind of like cars… some people prefer Ford, some people like Toyota. It is still going to run and do the job it set out to do, but some brands have a few more bells and whistles than others.

    Whatever you decide is “your” beloved brand, do yourself a favor and really consider where you want your skills to be in 3-5 years. When you buy your sewing machine, make sure it has those capabilities because, with regular care, you two will be besties for life!

    2) Wonder Clips

    If you’re the boss of your sewing space, these babies are like your personal assistant – behind the scenes keep everything together and organized.

    Must-Haves for the Sewing Room

    Also, bonus, they won’t stab you like their pointed job counterparts… I’m looking at you single pin that fell down in the carpet and was found later by my foot. ouch!

    3) Rotary Tools and Accessories

    My suggestion is if you invest in only one single tool, it needs to be one of these. Scissors just ain’t going to make the cut for modern quilting patterns and templates. (I mean scissors WILL cut… but not well… you know what I mean)

    I can’t even imagine being able to cut accurately without my rotary cutter!

    Overwhelmed with the sheer amount of accessories you can have in the sewing room? - Read this list for the top 13 Must-Haves in the sewing room!

    The one I use the most is this one. It is a Fiskars brand rotary cutter. I also have an Olfa brand one that I like, but the fiskars one just fits ergonomically in my hand better.

    Make sure you get one with an easy closing blade and make sure you train yourself to close it after every.single.cut. Sometime I will share with you what happened when my rotary cutter slipped off of my cutting table and fell on my barefoot. It didn’t hurt at all. In fact, I barely felt it… but the cut, and the blood…. close your rotary blades, ladies!

    I also highly suggest investing in a good self-healing cutting mat. Wait no, not a suggestion. You have to get one of these as well. Otherwise, you will destroy whatever other surface you have in your sewing room, as well as the rotary blade itself.

    6) My Rulers!

    This goes hand in hand with the rotary tools, but rulers easily are a category of their own.

    Overwhelmed with the sheer amount of accessories you can have in the sewing room? - Read this list for the top 13 Must-Haves in the sewing room!

    Your standard crafting and dollar store rulers will be sufficient for a while but they will show wear. When I bought quilting rulers for the first time… oh man, never again will I use anything else as a straight edge to cut with. (I truly was super budget in the beginning and I used a lot of amazon boxes as my templates and rulers! … gasp… I know!)

    My favorite brand is The Gadget Girls rulers. Besides being just absolutely wonderful people, their products are amazing quality and the selection is vast enough that if you’re looking for a specific function ruler… you will find it!

    You can also read my post Essential Quilting Rulers and why you need them.

    5) My Tiny Iron

    I wrote a whole different post on irons because they are essential in the sewing room (you can read the iron post here – Which Iron should you be using?)

    This little one is my favorite! – No, it doesn’t replace my big guns iron. But the little girl does a fine job of ironing my seams and not blasting hot hot steam all over my little fingers while working in tight areas!

    Tiny in size but powerful in uses and easily near the top of the list as most useful tool in your sewing room. Read more why THIS iron is my favorite...

    6) My SeamRipper

    Yes, something I wish I didn’t hold near and dear to my heart….. yes, my seam ripper is absolutely essential in my sewing room because… I don’t know, sometimes I’m a total spaz and I make terrible sewing decisions or even just spaced out silly mistakes. *shrugs* Thats just life. What are you going to do?

    My husband MADE me a good sturdy one. (Yes, ladies. The mister of the house is a crafty one too!) It makes a frustrating moment a little less terrible knowing that he loves me. 🙂

    Overwhelmed with the sheer amount of accessories you can have in the sewing room? - Read this list for the top 13 Must-Haves in the sewing room!

    7) Misc Notions

    To be honest, if I ONLY had the 6 items above… I would be able to survive just fine in my quilting room!

    You don’t need a ton of extra fluff and tools. But there are a few times where if my budget has allowed, I splurged on a few extras.

    Overwhelmed with the sheer amount of accessories you can have in the sewing room? - Read this list for the top 13 Must-Haves in the sewing room!

    These extras have included pretty pins, organizational bins and trays, Different sewing feet for my machine etc… but mostly just pretty little things that I find (and of course, have a coupon for it, so why not, right?)

    Fill your space with things you love!

  • A New Sewing Machine or Quilting Machine? – Hot Deals right now!

    Are you in the market for a new sewing machine? Or maybe you’re thinking about it?

    Perhaps you have a decent machine but it isn’t capable of doing all the wonderful things that you would like it to do?

    I was on amazon earlier *because Christmas shopping while sitting on my couch in my jammies, ya know?* and searched sewing machines to see what the going price was for a friend who is looking to upgrade. 

    I was blown away by some of the deals that are out right now! 

    I was blown away with some of the really good deals out there right now on Sewing and Quilting machines!  - I'm tempted to buy one for myself! One more machine won't hurt anything, right? :)

    Disclaimer: all pricing information is at the time of this post being published and therefore will likely change. Good luck to you finding a good deal like these!

    I love love love love my sewing machine. She and I are like two peas in a pod and get along wonderfully. I got lucky with a really great deal at just the right time. 

    If you’re in the market for a new machine, I hope you find your other half in this list!

    Janome 3160QDC

    This is the exact machine that I sew on. She is an absolute dream. And a heck of a good deal right now too!

    There is also the slightly newer model machine the 4120QDC That has a few more bells and whistles than my machine for just a few more dollars than the 3160QDC

    I mean, y’all know how I feel about my machine. It certainly isn’t any secret that I keep 🙂 I LOVE Janome and if they ever want to take me on as a spokesperson, I’ll jump on it faster than ants on a picnic! – But until then, I’m happy to continue to sing their praises anyways because these are truly great machines!

    Overwhelmed with the sheer amount of accessories you can have in the sewing room? - Read this list for the top 13 Must-Haves in the sewing room!

    SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960

    This is a really nice machine! And it is on sale for nearly 50% off right now. If you’re just starting quilting and looking for a good sturdy model to get you through the next years of your quilting journey, this is a really good deal. PLUS it comes with over 200 programmable stitches and so many accessories and additional  sewing feet!

    Juki TL2000QI

    This machine is FAST. Like wow, hold on tight, fast. It doesn’t have as many fancy add ons as the janome machines, but the juki is a really solid well built machine that you won’t be sorry you purchased. I knew a few people who own them and love them dearly.!

    Sewing Tables

    I have always admired these…The extension of the table for smooth and effortless quilting is just AMAZING. Your quilt just glides over the table fully supported like a dream.

    I might just be tempted to buy one for myself… I’m such a good shopper for me!! 😀

    And look! This one even has drawers!… because you know… tools and mom’s secret stash of a few dark chocolate squares. (I’ll gladly share with you but don’t tell anyone else, ok? Especially my kids. As long as there is a fully stocked supply of Dark Chocolate in the house, I hold the power.)

    All these items being on sale so much makes me so happy! Let me know if you spice up your sewing room with any of these shiny new and beautiful items!

    And if you need any motivation to just bite the bullet and upgrade your sewing rooms… check out this quick video on shopping math. (ignore the graphics and just listen to the voice of reason that my husband and I are still at opposite sides on. :’)

  • 20 Amazing Gifts for Quilters!

    Drawing a blank when it comes to something fun and creative for the quilter in your life? Or maybe you’re gathering ideas for your own wish list? You’re in luck! I’ve scoured the internet top to bottom! Take my advice… these 20 Amazing gifts for quilters are going to rock those cute little socks right off your feet! 🙂

    First off, these aren’t your typical “go-to” gifts. When I shop, I shop out of the box and unexpected because I love the surprise of “OMG. how did you know?!”

    Also, A lot of this list comes from Amazon because… I (big puffy) heart Amazon, ok? Prime membership has paid for itself a hundred times over in our house. When you have young kids or just don’t want to leave your sewing machine… ahem, I mean your kids are sleeping or whatever. Amazon will bring it to your door. The fed-ex man knows more about me than he should, but because it makes my life easier… I don’t even care.

    Let’s go shopping together, shall we?

    20 Amazing Gifts for Quilters

    1. I absolutely would be over the moon to find any of these socks in my stocking this year. Just look at them! The retro sewing machines are my favorite. I’m such a sucker for novelty socks.

    2. I might have a total girl crush on this girl right here because everything she makes is pure magic in the quilting world. Emily Dennis doesn’t even know I’m alive, but I’ve been admiring her quilts for a long time now. I am the proud owner of this book myself and I have to tell you that I give it a full 5 stars as far as the patterns and the communication goes. I also give it 5 stars for the layout of the book and overall design. It is modern perfection. And if I ever get to meet this lovely girl in person, I want to hug her. She is pretty awesome. Check out her website (Quilty Love) and order her book, Modern Quilts Block by Block. You will not be sorry!

    3. Novelty Pin Cushions are a great choice if you’re looking for something that the quilter will use every single day. I never get tired of fun little personal touches in my sewing room 🙂

    4. A quilt planner is an awesome way to keep up with your to-sew list as well as jot down deadlines! There are several different price points… you can judge how avid the quilter is and make the decision from there.

    5. I’m an organizing nerd. I make lists for everything. A friend got me hooked on these pens and I don’t even want to write with anything else ever again. These pens are like my ink-mate. We’re besties. You can find the Pentel Energel Pens in every color on Amazon. The purple is my personal favorite.

    6. Speaking of being organized… nothing is more satisfying than a label maker like this one.

    7. This coffee mug is the perfect way to say “I understand you and accept you as you are”. I like that.

    8. One of my favorite gifts that I’ve received was a gift card for $15 (enough to buy a yard or so of really good fabric) and an IOU ice cream date from a dear friend to catch up. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to make a meaningful gift. A coffee date and hug are good too!

    9. Another book that I have really enjoyed paging through and learning from is from Tula Pink – 100 Modern Blocks. If you’re into modern quilting/sewing… you’ve seen her fabric designs everywhere. Her bold prints in fun colors are what we modern quilters dream of! This book has small blocks and small easily doable sewing projects to take on one at a time.

    I did a full review of her book that you can read on this post for a more detailed opinion.

    Book Review Quilting Tula Pink

    10. Heres a fun fact… when handling a lot of fabric, your hands can get dry and sore. A small price to pay for such lovely quilts… but we shouldn’t have to suffer, right? If you haven’t tried this lovely french lotion brand, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. I assure you that you won’t look back once you do though. It is luxurious and pampering to the max! It is the good stuff (as my grandmother would say) A little bit will last a really long time.

    11. Craftsy subscription/blueprint – This site is pure gold for us crafters and quilters.! I’m constantly making a mental list of every class I would love to take on craftsy! You can Gift Any Craftsy Class by buying a gift certificate and then let the recipient choose the class that interests them most.

    Everything you need to quilt and sew at

    12. This one is definitely on the higher end of the gift costs, but if your quilter does not have one of these, you will be their hero. I spent a long time on my hands and knees laying out my quilts on the floor because it was the biggest space we had… then the dog would lay on it or the kids would run over it before I could get the layout finalized… that’s when I looked for something better and came across this. It is not permanent, which is really nice for quilters with a limited space. This Quilt Display frame is amazing.

    Your fabric pieces actually stick to the felt of the design wall, freeing up your floor and relieving your aching knees and back trying to lean over and design horizontally. Virtacle is totally to way to go!

    13. QuiltyBox is a fun company that is a monthly club. This is a monthly subscription box that arrives at your/their door with a different collection of supplies including fabric, patterns, notions, etc each month. Shipping is free in the US. It’s a total surprise because every single month is different!

    14. Are you a book hoarder like me too? Either of these books is a really fun addition to your quilting collection! Full of great ideas and a useful home for your beloved scrap pile! If you need advice on how to organize your scrap pile, check out this post. There are some good tips on products for cheap sewing room storage in this post too!

    15. Wear your passions! Look at these Quilter Shirts! I LOVE them!

    There is nothing like sitting around, doing your favorite thing while wearing your favorite thing. 

    When I found Maker Valley… I wanted to buy absolutely everything they have. I would wear these every day. No questions asked or explanation needed. Maker Valley has been making quilting-themed apparel (there is even a few sweatshirts!) for a couple of years now. They often come out with new sewing/quilting/knitting designs, so you’re sure to find something directly tied to your personality and style. You can buy these (and TONS more designs by visiting their website)

    These are gifts that quilters will go crazy for! I can't believe how many of these I want to buy for myself!
    These are gifts that quilters will go crazy for! I can't believe how many of these I want to buy for myself!

    16. I love to support other artists… etsy is full of both small time and big time artsits just trying to make a living doing what they love. 

    There are countless options on Etsy. I always love to support fellow crafters when I can. This needle ring is to die for. Oh, it makes me so happy!

    These are gifts that quilters will go crazy for! I can't believe how many of these I want to buy for myself!

    17. Tea and quilting go together for me… I love them both. Maybe its the calming aspect of each one? These are my pics for the perfect tea gift.

    18. Perhaps just a night (or even 20 minutes) alone is gift enough depending on the quilter. My kids are a little older now but when they were younger… I longed for a 10 minute shower. A bath would have been heavenly and these bath bombs are the perfect accompaniment to sink into bliss. 

    These are gifts that quilters will go crazy for! I can't believe how many of these I want to buy for myself!

    19. Thread Cutter Ring – You and your hubby can have matching ones because they make them for cutting fishing line as well! I saw these guys at the Houston Quilt Show a few years ago and he had a swarm around his booth every time I walked by. It started in the fishing industry and made its way over to the crafting industry.

    20. I discovered Uncommon goods several years ago and have always gone back to them when I need something really special. This Wanderlust Cross stitch map is perfect for the creative traveler!

    19. Lighting is key when you’re working on the same project for hours and hours at a time! I am not blessed with the right amount of lighting in my sewing room. I usually make due with what I have, but I got a little light next to my sewing machine just to use at night and I almost use it daily now because of the difference it made in my being able to really see what I sew!

    21. It has to be said… if you’re really stuck on what to give the quilter in your life… gift cards really do guarantee that they will have something they love 🙂

    If you’re looking to make something for a fellow crafter, check out my post on 14 Winning last minute Sewing Gifts!

    It also has to be said that something handmade with love is far more valuable than anything that can be purchased in a store. Who will understand the time and thoughtfulness that goes into a handmade gift better than another creative?

    You can check out these DIY tutorials for more ideas…
    DIY Sewing Machine Cover
    Make your own Quilt Ladder for $20!
    Fabric Basket
    Favorite 15 minute vacation accessories
    Quilters Christmas Decor

    Good luck! Where is your favorite place to shop for unique gifts? I’d love to hear your secrets!

  • 6 Tools for Faster Quilting

    I have found myself in this position before. It is kind of a circular theme in my life. And I may have overcommitted myself… again? Yay Adulthood! I promised a lot of quilts by the end of the year… and when you look at “just one more” it isn’t so bad, but 5 of those just one more projects and yikes. It becomes quite a pickle. In case you ever find yourself in this situation, I thought I would share with you my six tools for faster quilting!

    I have a few options. I could sit down and cry. I could not get any sleep for a few weeks. I could go back on my word and tell people I can’t do it (a viable option if push comes to shove)… or I could prioritize and get to work doing what I do and using the tip, tricks, and tools I’ve learned over the years to streamline the quilting process. (I’ll take door number 4, please!)

    These 6 tools are the ones that you need to have for faster quilting! With years of experience in quilting, these 6 tools are the ones that have helped me work most efficiently to get more work done in less time. Do you have them all?

    This post is going to go beyond telling you that an organized workspace makes all the difference. I love a well-organized space, and everything in its place certainly makes things run more smoothly, but we’re going to talk about actual tools that make you WORK FASTER.

    6 Tools for Faster Quilting

    1. Ditch those pointy pins!
      If you haven’t yet discovered wonderclips, you don’t know what you’re missing! These were my absolute favorite purchase from the quilt show a few years back. I swear by these no matter what sewing project I’m working on. They securely grab and hold on to whatever you want them to. No sharp pokes or sticks either so it is totally fine to put down your work and throw it in a corner to come back to later without having to worry about losing sharp pins in your carpet or stabbing yourself when you pick it up again.
      Wonderclips are also a timesaver in the fact that placing pins into seams takes two motions – one to insert the pin down into the work and another to pop the pin back up to the top of the work. It may sound like a petty fraction of a second to complain about, right? When you add it up to the hundreds of times you insert a pin, it takes time. Clipping takes one motion, and that’s it. This busy momma doesn’t have time to waste, and I LOVE my clips!
    2. A Quarter Inch Sewing Foot will save your tail
      Most seams in quilting are a quarter inch. It is like the unspoken golden rule in sewing. It is standard sewing law, and anything less or more makes you look like you don’t have a clue what you are doing. There are ways of getting the perfect quarter inch seam. I even wrote an entire post about it. You can read it here – How to Master the quarter inch seam.How to MASTER the quarter inch seam. Want to improve your beginner/intermediate sewing skills? do this and you'll be well on your way
      A dedicated quarter inch sewing foot makes your sewing faster. You do not have to watch a line on your sewing machine or keep an eye on your fabric. The quarter inch foot will do the fabric guiding for you. I use mine all the time for my quilt top piecing and general sewing. You can pick one up on Amazon for less than $10 by clicking here.How to MASTER the quarter inch seam. Want to improve your beginner/intermediate sewing skills? do this and you'll be well on your way
    3. The Walking foot
      Speaking of sewing feet, you are going to want to invest in one of these babies too. If I am not using my quarter inch sewing foot, I am using my walking foot. I use my walking foot when I am quilting or sewing several thick layers of fabric together at once. You can read more about a walking foot in this post that I wrote – What is a walking foot?Super important sewing tool. if you are wanting to quilt. you need one of these. I couldn't live without mine. Why do you need one? Read here
      Essentially, when you’re quilting, the feed dogs can move the bottom layer of fabric at a different pace than the top layer of fabric. As you can imagine, this is NOT ok. A walking foot takes care of this pesky issue when quilting and things turn out beautifully! 
    4. Rulers that are the right size
      When cutting squares or trimming blocks, it is a time-saving investment to buy square grid rulers in sizes you use the most. I have square grid rulers in just about every size from 2.5″ up to 13″. I know. It is obsessive and wonderful at the same time, but I use my 4″-8″ square blocks the most. If I need to trim up my blocks before piecing, I don’t have to worry about lining up grid lines and making sure my measurement is correct.  I just cut along the ruler block, and that’s it.  Saves SO much time. Try trimming 100 blocks that need to be 5″ with a 6.5″ grid ruler.  It takes forever.  Try trimming 100 blocks that need to be 5″ with a 5″ ruler.  You’ll be finished in no time. I really love all of The Gadget Girl’s products. Seriously, quality items and superior customer service. Check them out!

      I’ve tried a lot of thrifty ways of getting around this one over the years. I even used dry erase markers on my rulers so I wouldn’t have to count my lines over and over again (which is a decent way to save yourself some time if you aren’t able to get the rulers just yet.).When it comes to cutting and trimming your blocks to be the right size, having tools already in the right size works better 1,000% of the time.
    5. A reasonable expectation – Evaluate your patterns
      This may seem obvious, but it is worth saying… Real life comparison example: If you’re expected to bring the dessert to the next book club meeting, and you are short on time and not the best cook to begin with… now is not the time to experiment with cooking a decadently rich and finicky cheesecake. Most of us know our limits and would search for “quick and easy dessert recipes” on Pinterest, right? Get the job done and experiment with the cheesecake another day.

      Right. So in quilting, if you do not have copious amounts of free time and do not want a quilt that is going to be your life’s work… pick a pattern that is reasonably suited to your time constraints and to your level of skill! You’ll be less like to end up frustrated and wanting to throw in the towel. If on the other hand, you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, read these tips on how to up your game without losing your mind – How to challenge yourself in quilting.

    6. Sticky Notes and Managing your time in batches
      I use this method all over my house and my life to up productivity… I’m a productivity junkie, I admit it, but I love it and if I can improve an area of my life for the better by changing my behavior… I’m game. (that is a whole different post, but it applies a little here so I’ll briefly explain)Rather than bounce around your sewing spacelike a distracted gremlin cutting and sewing little bits at a time, reading the pattern and re-reading it again and again… take 5-10 minutes to make a plan.
      These 6 tools are the ones that you need to have for faster quilting! With years of experience in quilting, these 6 tools are the ones that have helped me work most efficiently to get more work done in less time. Do you have them all?
      Commit to finishing what you’ve started.
      -Pick your pattern
      -Gather/purchase your fabric in the right amounts required by the pattern
      -Cut all your pieces in one sitting if you can (all of them!) and label them in an organized manner so you can easily find them when you need them – this is especially helpful if you only have a small window of time to sew. Sticky notes are wonderful for writing a quick note on where you left off. Yes, I highly suggest writing notes to yourself. This momma’s brain runs on sticky notes.
      -Sew when you can. Even if its only 10 minutes while you wait for the kids to get their shoes on. (why can my kids always only find one shoe? I do not understand how in the world this happens and yet we do it every single day) Progress is progress, and little bits can add up to a lot. It also feels like less pressure if you’re only sitting down for 10 minutes than if you block off an entire day and spend it being in the shadow of your looming to-do list.

    I hope this list of 6 tools for faster quilting is helpful to you! Even if you try to put into practice one or two of these tools and it speeds up your work time, it will have been worth it. 🙂

    Please comment below and let me know if you have any amazing tips that you use to speed through your quilts!

  • DIY Sewing Machine Cover

    Hey there! Guess what? I made a cover for my sewing machine! I have seen a few at sewing events that I admired. Last weekend, I decided that it was my time. I knew that I wanted a DIY sewing machine cover and that I didn’t want to make a plain jane boring boxy cover… I wanted it to be grand and amazing and so much FUN!

    How cute is this DIY Sewing Machine Cover?!? I want to make one! She even lists tips to make your own cover. I love to sew. I need to make this.

    I love having my machine sitting out all the time in my office where I can sit down and sew at a moments notice (because, as a mom sometimes you only have a moment or two before its time to get up and go again, right?)

    This is what I came up with, and I am absolutely in love with it!

    I shared it on my Instagram just as soon as I finished it and I had so many compliments and several people asking for more detailed pictures of all the little sections (do you follow my Instagram? You should. We have fun sharing little bits of behind the scenes on all my works in progress!)

    (Look down under the pictures if you are looking for tips to make your own sewing machine cover.)

    It started with a cute paper piecing panel from QuietPlay – You can buy the pattern here. It was fantastic and easy to work with. The instructions were simple, and it came together in just under a few hours – An easy morning sew.

    I held up my finished panel and realized it was JUST the right size for the front of my sewing machine. *angels singing* yay! This spurred on another several hours spent at the sewing machine and me not getting the laundry done as I had hoped… who am I kidding? A fresh sewing project was a happy distraction from the housework I didn’t want to do in the first place!

    The Front

    I received a tin from my grandma a while back. It is an old round tin that is full of buttons and little bits of sewing supplies. So many buttons. Most of them just normal buttons, but there are some that are really pretty and fancy as well.

    My best guess for her button hoarding collection is just the depression-era mentality. Over the years, she clipped and saved every single button she could. She told me that if she was going to throw out a sweater or a blouse got a hole that couldn’t be fixed, she clipped the buttons off of it because… “you just never know.” You can even see the fabric still attached to some of the button backs in the photo below.

    Isn’t this collection just beautiful?

    I didn’t intend on this sewing machine cover as a piece of family history but I wanted to embellish my sewing machine cover. The two women who mean the most to me in this world happen to be my mom and my grandma. I went digging through collections of tiny things to find the perfect rainbow color button matches.

    The Back

    As for the little pieces donated by my mom on my DIY sewing machine cover, I pulled out a collection of crafty charms that she had given to me.

    Pockets are, like, SO important. I may have gone a little overboard, but you know what? I’m prepared for anything. This totally takes me back to the diaper bag days where that bag held my life, and I was ready for anything unexpected at a moments notice. *hands up mommas who have it together!*

    The big back pocket can hold my pedal and my power cords. The smaller pocket can hold my rotary cutter and any markers or smaller rulers.

    The Sides of my DIY Sewing Machine Cover

    If you like the little sewing machine lapel pins, you can purchase them from my shop! They’re so cute and make such a fun addition to a quilt swap or a gift for a sewing friend!

    The Top

    The top was probably the most complicated part of the whole project. I eyeballed most of this part and it took several tries to get the hole just big enough. Then I zig-zag stitched around the cut fabric to keep it from fraying.

    Another detail that I added was this fun little pin-cushion on top. (A little bit more sunshine!) I don’t see it actually being useful for sewing pins, but a few extra safety pins laying around are always necessary. And it helped make this beautiful button *POP*!

    If you’ve come here looking for ideas for a DIY sewing machine cover, you’re in the right place! Most quilters and sewists really like to put their own personal fingerprint on their sewing machine covers. I’ve never seen two exactly the same… just like us quilters. We’re such a fun breed, aren’t we? 🙂


    I highly suggest that you:

    1. Pull out your scrap fabrics! Find the ones that call out to you. That tiny bit of pink you just couldn’t let go of? This is the perfect project for it! Find a way to bring in all the ones that you love! Who cares if they don’t all match perfectly.My cover was made with scrap fabric only. The rainbow motif created itself, honestly.
    2. Decide on what sewing technique brings you the most joy. Is it paper piecing? Or is it random modern crazy stitching? Maybe you like things to be precise and meticulous with perfect piecing? This is the best place to showcase your favorite techniques!
    3. Look for little embellishments to add on! Little loops, ruffles, charms, pins, and buttons! 3D little fabric banners? Yes, please 🙂 Even embroidery is fair game! Add it all and then some!
    4. You can start out with a calculated plan or you can just start sewing and see where you end up. There are no rules.
    5. Do not get caught up in making it absolutely perfect! If you want it to be perfect, I guarantee you it never will be. But if you roll with the mistakes and make the most of it, you’ll grow as you sew and love the results!
    6. A fun suggestion is to ask some of your sewing friends for pieces of scrap fabric to add in. If they’re making covers too, donate some of your scraps. Share the love!
    7. Have fun! Do not let this frustrate you as you’re working on it. Focus on completing the bits of inspiration as they come to you!
    8. Consider using decorative stitches to add a fun flair.
    9. Measure Measure Measure. See Below! You’ll want to make sure that you measure correctly before cutting and add in a little grace room so that your cover will not fit so snugly around your machine.It is a dust cover, not a dust girdle!

    The most important rule is to have fun with it 🙂 Measure properly and then play with the fabric from there! Let me know if you have any questions or if you’re inspired to create your own DIY Sewing Machine Cover.

    Happy Sewing!

    How cute is this DIY Sewing Machine Cover?!? I want to make one! She even lists tips to make your own cover. I love to sew. I need to make this.