This is how you DIY a quilt ladder. I’m going to tell you how I took a $150 Blanket Ladder and recreated it for less than $20!…
Absolutely no rocket science involved. You can do this too!
It happened the other day… I fell hard in love with a quilt ladder that I saw on Pinterest. It was everything I ever wanted and then some! Absolutely love at first sight. Perfect to display my lovely quilts and get them out of the neatly folded pile on the floor in the corner. I loved everything, that is… except for the price.
$150?! I’m going to let you stop for just a second and re-read that. Yes. One-Hundred-and-fifty-dollars! No way, right?
Let me say that I really like to shop on Wayfair. I actually have several pieces in my house from Wayfair and I love a good bargain, but not on this item. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
My excitement was momentarily halted. $150 can buy a LOT of things. (It can buy A LOT of fabric for example.) But the heart wants what the heart wants….
I lay awake that night in bed (that’s where I think most women plan their to-do lists and figure out their mission to save the world… all in the quiet hours of the moonlight while the kids are sleeping) and planned it all out in my head.
I made a plan to go to the hardware store and get the supplies the next day. This was happening.
Side note: I’m a huge Ana White fan. Here is her website so you can check her out. I look at the amazing things she is able to create and build on a normal family budget and I always feel empowered. If she can do it, I can do it. Maybe you’re not into building your own furniture. That’s totally ok. But sometimes when a girl has expensive taste and lives on a budget, desperate times call for desperate measures. The woman is a straight-up genius when it comes to breaking things down in a way that makes it easy to understand.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a 6ft. tall and 20-inch wide blanket ladder with 5 rungs.
What you need:
(1) 1 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft. Poplar Board – $6.82 Each – I really like the way that the poplar board takes on the stain. It doesn’t leave a streaky wood grain texture. The coverage is pretty even and smooth.
Saw – If you don’t have a chop saw, you could do this by hand with a hacksaw.
(Optional) Stain or Finishing method of your choice – See below for what I used.
(Optional) Felt pads to put at the top of the ladder where it leans against the wall so it doesn’t mark up your wall.
(Optional) Clear Coat so that you don’t have to worry about the stain getting on your blankets.
Ready for a super easy tutorial??
How to DIY a Quilt Ladder
You already have your 2 outer pieces for your ladder. Those are your 6′ tall pieces.
Step 1: Cut your 8′ long piece of wood into (5) 18″ sections. These need to be exactly the same length or your ladder will be wobbly. You’ll have just a little bit left over.
Step 2: Lay them out on the ground to make a ladder.
Step 3: Space our your pieces. Use your measuring tape and your pencil to mark where your ladder rungs go.
I put my ladder rungs 13 inches apart, but started 18 inches from the ground and left just 6 inches at the top so that I could actually hang a blanket on the bottom bar.
Measure from center hole to center hole.
Step 4: Dab a little bit of wood glue on the end of each bar then attach with a screw from the outside of each side piece going straight into the center of the end of each bar.
Step 5: Stain it the color of your choice and let it dry and air out completely (so it doesn’t stink up your house or your blankets.)
I used this stain from home depot. It came in a tiny little can for less than $4.
I didn’t even use a tablespoon of the stain. I have enough for many more projects. You can ask around to see if your friends have any leftover stain from a project in years past.
Make sure you use gloves every single time you use any wood stain. I got excited and did not. The artist in me should have known better. But also, seeing several of my fingers stained light grey did not even phase my husband. He is used to the messy art effects by now 🙂
I chose to only stain the top section of the ladder and paint the rest for a ‘dipped’ paint look. I happened to have the white paint already in my garage from another project, but you can buy the “sample paint” cans for a really affordable price. It comes in a little can about the same size as the stain pictured above. They can even tint it to the color your request. You don’t need much paint at all to finish this project.
See how nice and even the wood stain took to the poplar wood? I love it.
Finish with a clear coat if you think your stain may get onto your blankets.
Step 6 – Paint the lower half of your ladder. It started to rain at my house and I wasn’t finished with my project so I brought it inside, put down some dollar store trash tablecloth and brought out soup cans to prop up the ladder while I was finishing it. Be resourceful!
Step 7 – Give your ladder ample time to dry. You can add the felt pads to the top of your ladder to keep it from marking on your wall if you choose to.
When you are sure that your ladder is all dry, load up your beautiful quilts and be happy with all the money you saved….. yes… lots of money saved. Speaking of… I think I shall go shopping for more fabric! 😉
If you have any questions, please contact me or leave a comment down below! I’d love to see your projects that you complete! Tag me in your pictures #ISeeStarsQuilting.com
Did you know that we quilters and sewists alike have our own language? When I first started quilting, I had no idea what all the short-hand and code words were… It felt like I was reading some cryptic message. I muddled my way through because wasn’t about to risk looking like I had no idea what I was doing by asking silly questions! Lucky for you, you have me. And today we’re going to answer “What is the quilter’s code?”
There are so many words, phrases, and acronyms that might make you want to crumple up your sewing pattern and be done with it. Really? Why all the jargon? Why can’t it just explain things clearly?
I’m here to break things down for you.
This group of terminology is going to be so useful as you grow your skills as a quilter.
I’ve put together every single set of shorthand and abbreviation that I’ve come across as a quilter so you can be informed and knowledgeable and ready to KILL IT in the sewing room!
**Be sure to pin this post using one of my images so you can refer back to it when you run across something that puzzles you.**
[Did I miss something crucial? Or a tiny detail? Let me know by emailing me here.]
What is sewing terminology?
Sewing terminology just that. It is our own little language of terms and phrases used within the sewing world.
I have a video below with some of the most popular terminologies. Keep reading the list below to see more quilter talk!
What is the Quilter’s Code?
Butter your biscuits! This is the code to all those funny words you may or may not skip over in an effort to understand the bigger picture when reading a quilting/sewing pattern.
Anchor stitch: A machine stitches sewn with zero stitch length, to keep from pulling out. It holds the rest of your stitches in place. This term can also be used to refer to when you stitch backward for a couple of stitches, to anchor it. (also see back stitch)
Appliqué: The process of stitching a piece of fabric to another piece of fabric by sewing close to the edges of the shape. Typically cut into a fun shape and then fused in place and sewn around the edges of the shape.
Appliqué scissors: Also known as duckbill scissors, one blade is wide for safe trimming around edges.
Back Stitch: (also see anchor stitch) The process of stitching backward over the loose threads at the beginning of a project to secure the threads so they don’t come loose and the fabric pieces come apart. This needs to be done whenever the thread is broken, or you are about to break it.
Baste: The technique of machine stitching with a long stitch length to temporarily hold two pieces of fabric together before they are stitched together permanently. A backstitch or a knot is not used in case the threads need to be pulled out and removed. AKA, a temporary stitch.
Bias: A woven fabric does not have a stretch across the grain line from left to right, and up and down. There is no stretch in the grain. However, diagonally across the grain is the bias, where the fabric will give a bit, which is why making garments “on the bias” or “cross-grain” give a woven a nice drape.
Bias Tape: Pre-made strips of fabric in various sizes that are cut diagonally across the grain to give the fabric some movement so it will turn curves nicely.
Binding: In quilting, it is the use of a thin strip of fabric (similar to bias tape, but not necessarily cut on the bias) to hide the edges of the raw quilt edges to give a nice finish. This is usually the last step to finishing a quilt.
Blanket Stitch: Handstitch used for finishing a fabric edge.
Bobbin: The thread that comes up from the bottom and meets the thread from the spool to form the stitch. Bobbins need to be wound up and inserted properly into a sewing machine.
Bumblebunching: AKA that ” oh what the &^#*!?” moment when you see the annoying tangled loop of stitching on the bobbin side of the fabric. It is a result of improper tension applied to the sewing machine.
Buttonhole: A small cut in the fabric that is bound with small stitching. The hole has to be just big enough to allow a button to pass through it and remain in place.
Clipping Corners: The process of snipping of the triangular piece of seam allowance off of the corner of a seam to prevent bulk in the corner when turned inside out.
Clipping Curves: The process of removing triangular pieces of fabric to allow the seam to lay flat along a curve when turned inside out. In an opposite curve, small slits can also be made around the curve, so it is allowed to spread apart when turned inside out. Also known as notching.
Crosswise Grain: The threads of woven fabric that run across the grain of the fabric, which runs the length of the bolt. The crosswise grain runs from selvage to selvage. Crosswise grain also runs the width of fabric, salvage to salvage.
Cutting mat: A self-healing board used for cutting fabric on. They are often marked with measuring grids.
Darning: A technique used by “scribbling” the needle over a torn section of fabric or a hole to repair. This requires a darning foot so the feed dogs will not direct the fabric.
Darning foot: A presser foot with a circular opening that doesn’t clamp down over the fabric and is used with dropped feed dogs for free-motion stitching or mending
Darts: A wedge-shaped piece of folded fabric used to shape garments to lay on the body where it tapers.
Double-needle: 2 machine needles attached to a single shaft, that sews two parallel rows of stitches at once with two spools of thread and a single bobbin.
Drape: The fluid way that a quilt hangs and folds over surfaces when snuggled.
Ease: Distributing the fabric on a curve evenly to join to another curve (usually going in the opposite direction) to get a good fit. Commonly used in sleeves.
Edge Stitch: The process of stitching on the exterior side of a project near a fold or seamed edge to keep them in place. Also can be known as Top Stitching if done away from an edge.
Embroidery: A hand-sewing technique used to decorate fabric with needlework designs in brightly colored threads. Can also be done on a pre-programmed sewing machine.
Facing: The fabric used to finish the raw edges of a garment such as the necklines, armholes, and waistlines. This is used to make the finished edge look nice and lay flat.
Fade-out pen: A fabric pen with ink that disappears 12 to 24 hours after marking. (mine is purple!)
Feed Dogs: The feet that move the fabric under the presser foot of the sewing machines that control the length of the stitch.
Finger Press: The heat and force of your fingertips can easily put a crease in the fabric without using an iron.
Free-motion embroidery: Hand-guided stitching with dropped feed dogs on hooped fabric.
Free-Motion Quilting: The use of a darning foot to eliminate the feed-dogs (the feet that move the fabric) so you can move the fabric freely under the needle and effectively “draw” on the fabric with the thread in whatever shape comes to mind.
Fusible: Fabric that has heat-sensitive adhesive on one side that enables it to bind to another fabric.
Fusible basting tape: A temporary adhesive tape that permanently fuses.
Fusible interfacing tape: Available in a variety of narrow widths, this tape heat fuses to fabric to stabilize a seam or edge.
Grading: A process of trimming the seam allowance to reduce bulk in the seams.
Grain: The lengthwise grain of threads running through a woven fabric.
Grosgrain ribbon: Characterized by woven ridges, grosgrain ribbon is very stable and comes in many widths. This is a really fun texture to add to baby quilts to give baby something to play with that is sturdy and withstand lots of touching.
Hand: A term used to the feel and texture of the fabric. “This fabric has a nice hand to it.”
Hem: The act of finishing the bottom of the fabric to finish it, so no raw edges are seen.
Interfacing: The term for a variety of materials that are used on the wrong side (either fused or sewn in) of fabric to give it more stability or loft or whatever the desired effect may be.
Interlining: A lining used on the back of the fabric, but sewn together with the fabric, so the two fabrics act as one during construction.
Machine tension: Controlled by disks to apply drag to the machine thread. Adjust for the thread and fabric variances.
Match point: A point marked on one pattern piece so it can be matched to a similar point on another pattern piece.
Miter: When two strips cross at right angles the line formed by connecting the inside and outside corners.
Mitered bindings: When bindings meet at a 90-degree angle, and a 45-degree seam divides them causing a diagonal seam.
Muslin: An inexpensive, normally un-dyed fabric used to create pattern pieces, or to test out a garment before using the more expensive permanent fabric.
Nap: Some fabrics like velvet or velour have a pile, and the fibers don’t quite lay vertically, but in a particular direction. This is known as the nap. You can feel the nap if you run your hand back and forth across the fabric. The nap should run downwards in the project. You can see this on minky as well if you have a preference on how it looks when you run your hand across it.
Notions: Small accessories used to aid in sewing: scissors, needles, thread, seam ripper, zippers, etc.
Ombre: Closely related tones of color that graduate from light to dark
On-grain: The same as grain, straight-of-grain, or warp threads. It is a line parallel to the selvage on fabric.
Outline: The outline of a pattern is usually the cutting line unless it is marked as a fold line.
Overlay: This refers to the top layer of fabric when there is a different one underneath.
Patchwork: The art of sewing small pieces of fabric together to make a larger fabric or design, then usually quilted to be made into a quilt or bag or another project.
Pattern: A template on paper or cardboard from which all of the pieces of the garment are traced onto fabric. All the parts are then cut out and assembled to create the final piece. A set of sewing instructions with sized templates used to assemble a sewn item.
Piping: A trim of a fabric-wrapped cording inserted into a seam to embellish a garment or project. The cord is wrapped in bias tape so it will curve easily around all seams.
Pocket: A rectangle of fabric inserted into a garment accessible from the finished outside edge of the garment to hold small items.
Presser foot: A small piece of metal near the needle on the sewing machine. It is the function that keeps your fabric in place while you sew.
Preshrink: Wash fabric before cutting or sewing.
Pressing: Using an iron to press a seam nice and flat before sewing. A nicely pressed seam turns out much better when sewn than if the pressing is skipped.
Pre-Wash: After fabric is purchased, it may be pre-washed if it is to be made into a garment or project that will be machine washed and dried. This way the fabric will be pre-shrunk, and the garment won’t shrink after it has been made up. Typical pre-wash is washed in cold water on gentle, and tumble dried on low. Then the finished garment can be treated this same way.
Quilt: Coverlet or wall hanging made from small pieces of fabric sewn together in batted layers and topstitched, or the action of topstitching the quilt layers together.
Quilting: A method of sewing (or tying) two layers of cloth together with an inner layer of batting between it. A Quilt is a finished blanket made by Quilting.
Raw edge: The edge of the piece of fabric after it is cut but before it is hemmed. If left raw, the fabric might fray.
Right Side: The “front” side of the fabric; usually the distinctly printed side of the fabric.
Ruche: A pleated or gathered strip of fabric used to embellish a garment or project.
Running stitch: A hand-sewn stitch that weaves in and out of the material. This creates a dashed line effect.
Scrim: A term used in batting where a thin layer of polyester is added to the cotton to be needle punched into, this gives stability to your batting so it won’t break apart within your quilt, Scrim adds poly to your batting so it will no longer be 100% cotton.
Seam: The line where two pieces of fabric are joined together by sewing them with thread.
Seam finish: Any technique that finishes the raw edges of a seam.
Seam Allowance: The small space of fabric between the raw edge and where the seam is sewn. Common seam allowances range from ¼ inch to as much as several inches. Woven fabric can fray, so the seam needs to be sewn away from the raw edge for security.
Selvage: The edges of a raw fabric that runs along each edge with the grain of the fabric. The selvedge edge is the way commercial manufacturers finish the edges of the fabric, so it does not fray as it is sold.
Serging: A method of looped threads over the raw edge of the fabric to finish the edge to prevent fraying.
Slipstitch: used to join two folded edges or one folded edge to a flat surface, for an almost invisible stitch.
Stitch-in-the-Ditch: A quilting term used to describe the method of stitching along existing seams in a patchwork piece or quilt top to quilt it together with the batting and backing.
Straight stitch: A simple, straight stitched line.
Tailor’s chalk: A piece of chalk used to mark fabric. Super helpful for ‘sketching’ ideas and stitch lines on your quilt without harming your actual fabric.
Tension: The amount of “pinching” done to your thread as it flows through your sewing machine. Thicker fabrics need a higher tension (a harder pinch, so the thread doesn’t flow out too quickly), and thinner fabrics need less tension (a lesser pinch to let the thread out easily to prevent puckering).
Thimble: A protective implement worn on the finger or thumb when sewing.
Top Stitch: The process of stitching on the exterior side of a project to finish seams or folds to keep them in place. Usually paired with a longer stitch length which looks more professional and can make it easier to go in a straight line. Also can be known as Edge Stitching if it is done near a fold of fabric.
Trim: A pre-made decorative accessory that can be sewn into your project and add just a little bit of flair or visual interest.
Tulle: A fine netting commonly used for veils or gowns.
UFO: Slang for “Un-finished object.”
Under Stitch: Sewing a line of stitching along the seam allowance to the facing or lining to help keep it flat and prevent it from popping up and creating bulk under a seam. Very similar to stitching in the ditch.
Walking foot: A presser foot that steps across the fabric instead of sliding to facilitate even feed.
Wash away stabilizer- Provides support to fabric, then dissolves in water. It is especially useful when embroidering onto fabric.
WIP: slang for “Work in progress.”
Whiskers- Tiny, frayed threads from raw seam edges.
WOF: Width of fabric. Salvage to salvage. You will find this abbreviation in many patterns.
Wrong Side: The “back” side of the fabric; usually the opposite side of a distinctly printed fabric.
Yardage: A term for an undefined length of fabric.
Zigzag stitch: A zigzag stitch is a literal stitch made with a zigzag pattern. Often used to sew along raw edges to prevent them from fraying.
Zipper foot: An attachment for a sewing machine that is designed for installing zippers.
Zipper teeth: Can be metal, plastic, or nylon coils each “tooth” contains the locking mechanism that holds the zipper together.
Whew! I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to give you a full glossary of answers to the question “What is the Quilter’s Code?” and there you have it!
So… did you pass the test? Did you learn something new? Let me know in the comments how you measure up!
If you knew far less than you thought you did, no worries… it takes experience and a lot of projects to work up to a fluent vocabulary this size!
Happy Sewing! Keep learning, Keep reaching and keep lighting the fire to your curiosity! There are beautiful things out there to be made!
If you’re looking for Cheap sewing room Storage Ideas, I have the perfect list for you! I compiled all my favorites into one place for you!
But first, I need to get something off my chest today.
Sewing is not a cheap hobby. Did you know? – I hate to be the one to tell you this, but if you think you’re actually going to save money by making your own clothes and quilts… you need to just stop and go to Target (or Walmart or a thrift shop). Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But its better you hear it up front from me than later from your bank account when you’re fully engrossed and past the point of no return.
You aren’t making just “blankets”… you’re making a QUILT that has love and thought stitched into every single fiber. Every thread. Every decision from the beginning to the end. There is love.
You don’t just pick blue fabric because you like the color blue… you spend time browsing through the fabric store and every shade of blue to find the perfect one.
A particular star pattern fabric reminds you how you sang “twinkle twinkle little star” to your child every day when they were little and brings a smile to your face when you work it into their quilt.
The orange thread? That’s the phase they went through in high school where everything was neon orange. Everything.
Hours spent browsing through your magazines or Pinterest files for the perfect pattern? All worth it when you find it!
Quilting involves the mind, the imagination, planning and carrying out projects hour after hour, picking out mistakes, curses mumbled under your breath and reworking a design until its absolutely perfect.
You may be wondering if quilting is perhaps a little bit of insanity as well? – The answer is most likely yes, but most of all it is LOVE.
If you think modern quilting is just some dainty art with fabric no one wanted that your grandmother used to do… you are so wrong.
If you receive a quilt as a gift, love it. Use it. Pull it out on a chilly night with your favorite book and wrap yourself up in every loving stitch like a warm hug. That is exactly what the quilter would want you to do.
My kids went back to school today, so I took myself on a little green tea and tapioca fueled field trip to my favorite shopping spots so I could scope out the best deals and ideas for you! But I also spent a little time doing this today too… It was lovely.
Cheap Sewing Room Storage
With what I said above in regards to sewing not being a cheap hobby, I meant it, but that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING has to cost you a pretty penny!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, to learn more, click here.
One of the biggest hassles with quilting is that you accumulate a bunch of stuff. For more info on the “stuff” you need. See the links below:
If you do not have a dedicated craft or sewing space/room, don’t sweat it. You can still be organized with cutely little containers and baskets that allow you to clean up in a jiffy. That’s actually how I rank all my storage habits being that my sewing space is actually in the formal dining area of my house and thus open to the rest of the house. Me and my mess in all its glory for everyone to see.Can I clean it up and out of sight quickly?
I’ll give you the Target Pick and the Dollar Store Pick.Also, a disclaimer: My dollar store looked like a tornado hit it. Someone was cleaning house for back to school or something because …yikes. I did try to clean up a bit in a few of the pictures for you, but soon realized it was hopeless as the whole store was chaos.
These sewing baskets are great for your tool storage! They are usually found at the big box craft stores or on Amazon. They come in a plethora of adorable hard to resist cutesy fabrics! It’s great for hauling your tools around and keeping your things together in one nice little place. You can tuck this little box in a corner or a closet and be ready to grab and go at any moment!
Also, that is my dog. He name is Lizzie and she was rather tired of me working yesterday. Playing was a much more pressing task. 🙂
WIP Project Storage Boxes
(AKA – Work in Progress) There are also these boxes which I talked briefly about in this post. Scrap Fabric Storage! & What to do with them! I love them. It is the same method I use for my kid’s playroom organization. Leggos are quick to clean up if you can just throw them all into one bin and plop them on a shelf for easy access later. Really, do we ever actually grow up?
Target Version: It is a simple shelf bin from Target. I paid $3 for it. It is pretty sturdy plastic. And in my favorite teal color! Right now you’re looking at my EPP projects. (That project will never end.) This is my WIP -work in progress- box. Sometimes I’ll switch it around, but it usually holds my projects until completion.
Whenever I have to clean up my mess or move to a more pressing project, everything (EVERYTHING) goes into the box. It keeps everything together and in one place. Then I can pull it back out later that day or later that month and not have to hunt down a pattern or fabric swatches or what have you. It is all together and easily kept.
Dollar Store Version: I found this one isn’t as… shall we say decorative?… as the target one, but hey, it’s a dollar. And if it is going in a closet where only you will see it… buy five of them 😀 It’s official name is a “dish bucket” (clearly they don’t see the potential that I do)
Dollar Store Version #2: If you have a specific spot you’re looking to fit a basket, check these out. There are a ton of options. *Again, sorry for the mess in the store!* These can be used as drawer organizers, tool organizers or catch-alls for scraps. The biggest is about the size of a small bathroom trashcan.
Dollar Store Version #3: These may be more seasonal with back to school and college dorm shopping etc, but my dollar store also has these nice fabric bins. Still $1 and a little more ‘farmhouse chic’ than a dish bucket. 🙂
Amazon Picks for Medium Storage Solutions:
If you have the luxury of having more space to store all your supplies or your own craft space, you have to own some of these… and probably a lot of them because… I don’t know how, but a small side hobby can get out of hand rather quickly and before you know it, well, it just happens. There is no explaining… obsession and love settle in and here you are looking for sewing storage solutions. (no judgment. I gotcha!)
Target Version: Your selection is by no means small. I mentioned these 3 stack drawers in my post here. Scrap Fabric Storage! & What to do with them! I still am so happy with these because they are perfect for my OCD brain that likes things in rainbow order. These were about $15 each at the time of this post.
I saw these fun colored version today that takes up a little less space (and is cheaper!) Under $10 each.
There is also a huge assortment of plastic shoe box sizes that are great for storage as well. Again, all sizes… mix and match and find the one that calls out to you!
Dollar Store Version: I can’t, in good faith, recommend anything for larger storage at the dollar store. You are free to make the judgment on your own, but I find that a lot of it is rather flimsy and while it’s only $1 right now, you’ll be replacing it down the road again. There are a few exceptions, I’m sure… but I’m not sure I would take the risk.
Amazon Picks for Bigger Storage:
Silverware drawer organizers work great for these!
Target Version: I found these in the Dollar spot for back to school, but they have these close to the office supplies too.
Dollar Store Version: There are a ton of different options. Not all of them super cheap looking. I found this cute pink clear one that is perfect for pens and pencils as well as scissors. (I totally purchased this one, because …PINK!)
Amazon Picks for Drawer Organizing:
Itty Bitt Storage
Target Version: I found these in the dollar spot section. They were $3… but I’ve seen them in the cosmetic section as well. Each drawer comes all the way out for easy access to whatever treasures you store inside.
Dollar Store Version: These are a little bigger than a baby food jar, and made out of plastic with a tight fitting lid. I would guess its the perfect size for storing a modest button collection or safety pins, maybe needles? Anything itty bitty that needs containing.
Bonus Mom Tip: Do you have a toddler that needs a little distraction? Grab an extra bag of these little containers and fill them with different items. Buttons, dice, feathers, dried noodles, jingle bells etc. They all make different noises and the child will love shaking them like crazy. If you’re careful and strategic with your toys, you can pull these out only when you’re sewing and sewing will become an enjoyable activity for the both of you!
Make Your Own Storage Version: Check out this post. The Perfect Easy Catch the Mess Fabric Bin It is beginner friendly but you can easily add your own flair to it if you like and take it up a notch. I use these baskets for my little things like magic clips, stray thread catcher, tiny scraps… what have you. It works and its fun when I use my favorite fabrics. (Side note: my kids have several as well!)
Amazon Picks for small storage:
Keep it together
These you can purchase at both Target and the Dollar Store. Perfect for keeping bundles of fabric together!
Also available on Amazon: If you don’t feel like going out today 🙂 Hello prime shipping, right?
These are some of my favorite cheap sewing room storage finds 🙂 I also love to make these as gifts. You can find the tutorial for the image below here The (Less than) 5 Minute Pin Cushion
The Dollar Store Version: I love these because they are cheap (obviously). There is usually a large selection to choose from too… and even some with silly sayings.
You don’t have to use a mug though! Feel free to experiment and play around with different cups or bowls. I think this one is an ice cream dish? but how cute would it be with the right fabric!
Goodwill Version (or thrift store shops): I have actually found several really beautiful teacups that I have repurposed for this exact DIY. Part of the fun of this hunt is that you’ll never know what you’re going to find!
If you don’t want to make your own, you can easily find so many cute ones that are already made for you out there! Check out some of these cute finds to dress up your sewing space and bring in a little happiness too!
Pin Cushion Amazon Finds:
One last thing that I saved for last because it is not a necessity, but man does it make it nice to store fabric! These thick pieces of cardstock paper are intended for keeping comic books uprights for storage (at least that is what Amazon says they are for) but they are perfect for wrapping your fabric on as mini-bolts. Everything is all the same size and easy to see when you line them up on a shelf!
what is your favorite cheap storage finds? Where do you find your best budget finds? Let me know in the comments and do share your fun finds!
Do you love a quilter? Are you looking for gift ideas? Maybe it’s gift swap time in your quilt group and you need some fresh ideas. I’ve compiled a list of gifts that quilters will go absolutely crazy for!
These gifts are guaranteed to be winners!
Quilting is a passion that stitches it’s way into nearly every part of our lives.
A dedicated quilter’s mind never wanders far from quilting, right? You may be at a baseball game or walking through the grocery aisle and contemplating quilt layout ideas and before you know it, you need to find a scratch piece of paper because you just HAVE to write this down before you forget it… I find myself doing this all the time.
If you see a quilter staring out into a field of flowers, there is a 55% chance she is contemplating and planning a quilt with the inspiration she just gained from the coloring in the flower blooms. – ask anyone. It is true. Inspiration comes from everywhere.
Let’s get to the gifts quilters will go absolutely crazy for!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, you can click here.
There is nothing like sitting around, doing your favorite thing while wearing your favorite thing. Any super fans out there? Success by complete emersion, right? That’s my theory.
When I found Maker Valley… I wanted to buy absolutely everything they have. Just look at these shirts! 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)
Gifts You Can Make To Give
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that come from your own heart and hands. I love to make things for other people and a completely customized gift is wonderful to receive!
Since so many of you are creatives, I would be crazy not to share a few goodies with you.
Here are a few links to projects you can make yourself!
This 5-minute Pin Cushion is created using things you already have around the house (or a quick trip to the dollar store). My favorite ones I’ve seen are from people who repurpose antique teacups that have been chipped or lost their pair. Creatives who re-purpose, for the win!
These next few ideas are tutorials that I detail out every single step in the process. And they’re all FREE tutorials. Bonus!
The zipper pouch is used absolutely everywhere in my house. I love it! I highly suggest giving it a try, even if you’re a beginner. The step by step tutorial will help you along the way.
Side note: I use the Perfect (easy!) Catch-All Fabric bin as a thread catcher. It’s brilliant and I love having something pretty and useful next to me while I’m working! It is a great way to use up fabric scraps and has so many opportunities for making it your own!
Cliche, I know… don’t stop reading yet. Just give me just a moment to show you these… I promise you’re going to love them!
This sterling silver spool of thread with needle and scissors charm set is so sweet. Quilting and sewing can always be close to your heart! For $32 you can find these quality charms as a set here at Charmed Collections. I’m smitten over all of their sewing-themed necklaces.
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!
Another fun itty bitty treasure that quilters can’t seem to resist are these tiny lapel pins. Several quilters out there have designed their own and some fabric companies as well for their loyal followers. I honestly have no idea what to do with them… but I love them. And I will continue to collect them until I die. (FYI, I apologize for the language on the other pins that show up on this particular Amazon listing)
The Pampered Quilter Collection
I know teachers may be tired of receiving (yet another) bottle of lotion, but I won’t ever tire of it. You know why? Because these hands are tired! Constantly working, constantly touching and gripping. I need something luxurious to bring them back from their dry and overworked state.
L’Occitane Lotion – I am a sucker for French products. Their beauty products outweigh the ones made in the US in my opinion, because of the quality standards and natural ingredients. This particular lotion is my go-to. It’s fancy but the price isn’t, you know? It’s completely reasonable and the quality is outstanding. It’s perfect for softening rough, or tired hands and feet and it does not feel greasy. A little goes a long way. I’ve bought multiple bottles and given them as gifts too. If you’re looking for something luxurious and useful, this is a great gift!
Don’t ask me why, but quilting/sewing and tea always go well together. Maybe the appreciation of time spent on a handmade gift is like appreciating the slow brewing of a good cup of tea? This is my favorite tea pot. Just look how pretty it is! I swear every time I use it, I feel like the queen. It’s the perfect size for two and it is safe for use on the stovetop. – also, its less than $15!
Depending on your quilter recipient, a box of these Organic & Natural Bath Bombs and the guarantee of 20 minutes alone might make his or her year! Spoiling yourself in a nice warm bath is not just for children! These are under $30 too!
Notions for the Sewing Room
A quilter always needs new toys (at least I know I do!). And its fun to use a special set of pins on a project and remember who gave them to you. It makes it extra special.
Throw a few of these into a cute gift box, put a bow on it and you are good to go!
Just to give a little more explanation on some of these…
Wonderclips are super heros in the sewing room. when you don’t want to use pins (because you’re tired of poking yourself or worry about other little hands in the middle of your work), but still hold everything together… these are my go-to.
Quilter’s Pins – I really love the length of these pins. they are perfect for holding multiple layers of fabric.
Rotary Cutters – My favorite is by fiskars. It was one of the first that I purchased and its stuck with me through thick and thin. A lot of other quilters prefer the Olfa brand. To each his own…
A Hera marker is a handy tool used for making a crease on fabric – perfect for marking quilting lines without having to use writing instruments
Seam ripper – Can you ever have too many? Personally, I would invest in an ergonomic one or one that is a little higher quality simply because… I don’t care how good of a quilter you are… you’re going to be spending time with your seam ripper. Make sure its a tool that doesn’t break, get dull or leave your hands crippled after working with.
Thread snips – I love these tools! Always handy to have nearby your machine.
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.
Absolutely a category of their own!
These are all the favorites that I have used and I can recommend. (note, there are some that I have used and do, NOT recommend. Not that my word is the law, but… over the years you learn every sewing rooms needs multiple pairs of scissors)
The Sew Sampler Box from Fat Quarter Shop
There are a few companies that offer the monthly subscription boxes out there. I personally have heard good things about all of them, but have only tried the sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop. So this is not a bash on the other companies! I just only give my opinion on things that I know and have used personally!
I hope that I have given you plenty of fun ideas to either beef up your own personal Christmas list or ideas to give your quilting BFF something they will LOVE and use. Hopefully I haven’t overwhelmed you or driven you crazy. If you’ve made it down this far… I guess I’m pretty safe 🙂 BUT in the event, you’re still not sure which gifts quilters will go absolutely crazy for… (really? because I just told you like, a ton of ideas!)
If you’re overwhelmed by the number of choices, or you’ve waited too long and time is running out… the ever saving gift card is here to your rescue!
You don’t have to make it impersonal or like you were unprepared with a gift. Just give it to your favorite quilter with a note that instructs them to spoil themselves on something they’ve been wanting in their craft room. Personally, I would be elated with these instructions!
You can get a gift certificate from your favorite local quilt shops or the larger chain stores as well.
If you have any other great suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments!
Have you ever walked down the batting isle at the craft store and immediately wanted to crumple into a ball on the floor or walk away? I mean, yikes… sometimes too much of a selection isn’t a good thing. I’m going to demystify quilt batting for you and help you choose the right quilt batting for your quilt! It doesn’t have to be a complicated process!
First of all… you’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by this. I am mostly self-taught in quilting, so the number of times that I’ve sat there with a confused look on my face and then turned to google for answers is like, infinity by now. (Don’t even get me started on the bottles in the shampoo aisle)
In order for me to make a decision, I need to know that I’m as informed as I possibly can be. If you think decisions like these should be some type of “quilter’s instinct” that you don’t possess.., it isn’t. Developing your own opinions is one of the most crucial steps to becoming a happy quilter. The only person who knows what you really like is YOU. But there is a little more to it than that… Let’s dive right in and get to it, shall we?
Choosing The Right Quilt Batting
There are four different main types of batting, cotton, polyester, wool (and more recently mainstream) bamboo. In addition to that, there are some batting blends that combine batting types.
Let’s do a quick overview…
Cotton batting is made from natural fibers is one of the most favored by quilters for its soft texture and comfort. 100% cotton batting is usually 1/8″ thick.
Cotton is my personal go-to quilt batting. I love the drape of a quilt with cotton batting. It is a little stiff just after your quilt it, but after a good run through the wash and some good snuggles, your quilt will feel more “broken in” and will loosen up.
You can buy cotton batting in organic & non-organic fibers. If your curious little mind wants to know what “organic cotton” means, you can read this post I wrote on What Makes Fabric Organic)
You’ll also notice that with cotton there is a ‘white’ and ‘natural’ coloring. This is just bleached fibers vs. unbleached. If you have any patches on your quilt top of white or really light colored fabric, I suggest going with the white cotton batting because the yellow tones of the natural fibers can show through and yellow your lovely crisp white fabric.
Polyester batting holds its shape and thickness really well compared to other fibers. It tends to be thicker but lighter and keeps you warm without the weight. Its very air-y if you look at it compared to cotton batting. It’s non-breathable but resists mold and mildew. Polyester batting thicknesses are 10 oz is 1″ thick, 6 oz is 1/2″, 8 oz is 3/4″, and 4 oz is 3/8″.
Wool batting is very lightweight and is used for its warmth. Those warm but scratchy shirts you wear for layers in the winter time? Sandwich it between some pretty fabrics, and you’ll lose the scratchy but maintain the warmth! Win-win. It’s also a really fluffy texture after it has been quilted. Wool batting is ½” thick and resistant to creases. Wool does not ever get fold lines or creases, even after months of being folded. Say what? Yes! This is really nice for a quilted wall hanging as you will never have to worry about wrinkles, which is pretty impressive.
Bamboo batting is made from 50% bamboo and 50% organic cotton blend batting. It is very breathable and ideal for machine quilting. Bamboo batting is hugely ‘green’ regarding how it is processed into luxurious fiber using pollution-free methods with little waste.
Bamboo batting is the high-end batting option. Have you ever touched a cheap cotton fabric and then felt a 100% organic cotton fabric? –It is like night and day, right? It’s soooo soft. This is essentially bamboo batting next to every other batting out there.
Bamboo batting drapes soooo nicely, dries quickly after washing and doesn’t allow mold or mildew to form. It’s pretty awesome, but it’s also expensive and an investment. If you’re working on a gorgeous, heirloom, generation to generation forever quilt, you might want to consider it because it will last a really long time. The quality is worth the price for such a treasure
Poly Blend Batting
If you find yourself torn between what your wallet says you can spend and a desire to really produce a soft and snuggle worth quilt, a poly-cotton blend may be your answer.
Polyester blends tend to cost less if you’re looking for an economical option. It is also easy to work with and warm. Poly blend batting is also a winner if you suffer from allergy issues as it resists mold.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I USE FOR MY QUILT?
Often THE PRICE is also a determining factor. Let’s face it… we’re not up to our eyeballs in a cheap little hobby here. Quilting can be expensive. Pricing does tend to vary by brand, but a general expectation is that polyester is on the lower cost end, followed by cotton, then wool, and then bamboo at the higher end.
It’s easy to cheap out on the batting because you can’t see it in the finished quilt project. However, you do need to understand that the batting is often the determining factor on how your finished piece looks and behaves.
WARMTH is another consideration – Wool is the warmest, followed by polyester and then cotton. Cotton and wool breathe better than polyester. If you live somewhere that it snows four months out of the year and you need warmth, you’ll really get good use out of a heavy quilt vs. a climate that is much warmer may only use that heavy quilt once or twice a cold season.
Feeling like you learned something?
That big scary isle of white and off-white quilt batting shouldn’t be so scary anymore. Now when choosing the right batting, you’ll know the positives of each type and how they tend to behave. Just like you can’t jump into algebra without knowing how numbers really work, you just needed a little back study. It is pretty much the same thing with quilt batting… ok so to compare algebra and quilting is a little unorthodox. I can quilt, but I’m not very good at algebra. At least with practice, my quilting improved… ha!
Ok, we’re not entirely done yet though… stick with me.
The most crucial factor in Choosing The Right Quilt Batting
This next step is KEY to deciding which quilt batting you’re going to choose. It is understanding how the batting that you choose actually affects your actual QUILTING. – As in the designs that you carefully stitch to keep your quilt sandwich together after you’ve done all the piecing work!
Each batting comes with a suggestion rating for how closely your quilting lines should be so the batting doesn’t shift or come apart within the quilt. This rating will significantly affect how much quilting you’re going to have to put onto your quilt.
In order to hold the layers together securely, you will need to be sure not to leave any space open larger than this rating describes.
Personally, I’ve seen ratings anywhere from 3″-10″… see how much that could affect your design? A larger rating is best if you’re just looking to quilt a few lines to hold the piece together and get it done quickly! A smaller rating is fine if you’re planning on a tighter more detailed quilting pattern.
Standard Batting Sizes
When you purchase batting, you can buy it prepackaged, in standard sizes for crib, twin, full, queen and king size quilts.
Craft 36″ x 45″ Full 81″ x 96″
Crib 45″ x 60″ Queen 90″ x 108″
Twin 72″ x 90″ King 120″ x 120″
When I first started out quilting, I would get my coupons out and buy the queen or king size batting and then cut it up into several quilts at home so that I could use my own custom sizes.
Alternatively, you can buy it off the bolt in your own custom size. This is a popular choice for longarm quilters or those who like to buy in larger quantities.
A quilting friend and I went in together on a big bolt on Amazon (hello prime delivery!) and split the roll and the cost. Storage is kind of an issue for the larger rolls of batting, but it is easy to just hide away in a closet and I really like having the batting at home (and already paid for!) instead of having to run to the store for every quilt.
At the end of it all, a lot of finding out what you like and don’t like comes down to experimentation. 100% cotton is statistically a favorite among quilters, but a cotton-poly blend? Don’t knock it till you try it as a way to save a few dollars! Next time you’re having a panic attack in the batting aisle and feeling inferior in your quilting skills, take a deep breath and hold your head high… you got this, momma.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tools and notions at the craft store? (or excited perhaps?) What do you choose that is really going to be useful in your sewing room? – This list of 13 Must-Have Tools in the Sewing Room will guide you to the ones you actually NEED and calm the sheer overwhelm!
If you are new to sewing or a veteran looking to pick up a few new fancy tools to make your life a little more comfortable… I’ve got you covered!
This post contains affiliate links to products I own, use and love.
13 Must-Have Tools in the Sewing Room
Let’s just get this one out of the way first, because while you don’t HAVE to have one to sew, I believe you’ll be a much happier and more productive quilter when you do own one! It doesn’t have to be the most expensive model. There are tons of options out there for every price point.
Personally, I’m in love with my Janome 3160QDC. I have had her for a few years, and we’re totally besties forever now. (PS – This Janome 4120 QDC is a newer version of my machine, and comes with all the bells and whistles/accessories just a little more money up front.)
This Brother CS6000i on Amazon is a really great model for starting out. Less than $150 and includes a good quilting table and decorative stitches. It will grow with you for a long time before you feel any need to upgrade your machine.
Ugh. I have a love/hate with iron. I feel like such an old peasant woman slaving away in the hot sun every time I use them, but yet I’m also really impressed with the crisp, perfect smoothness of my fabric. I’m aware of the 2parallell feelings and still don’t understand how they coincide at the same time.
This is my favorite little iron. I use it every single day. I actually wrote a whole post on it that you can read here. It is perfect for pressing open seams as you go… and its smaller size lessens accidental finger burns and steam scorches.
Another iron that is absolutely loved and put on a golden pedestal by the quilting community is the Oliso Pro TG1600. This is the mac-daddy of all irons. It is a $170 workhorse. I do not own it (yet), but I have a friend who uses it, and I’m totally guilty of bringing a few yards of fabric over to her house to work on while we visit over coffee from time to time. — Good friend’s share their goodies!
No matter which iron you select, be sure that it will quickly become one of the hardest working tools in your space. And if you’re wondering… Do you HAVE to press your seams when you sew… I’ve got your questions covered.
Rotary Cutter & Blades
When you first start sewing, I guarantee you’ll think you can do just fine with scissors and that tiny-pizza-wheel-of-potential-missing-fingers are not a priority for sewing tools. Wrong, my friend. Get the rotary cutter. Learn to use it properly. You will save precious time in the sewing room by being extremely precise and consistent the first time you cut, every single time. I use this one, and I’ve had it for several years now with no signs of wear and tear to it.
With a rotary cutter, you’ll need a proper cutting mat to not only protect any surface you cut on, but to protect the blades of your rotary cutter as well. There are so many on the market and in stores. I’ll recommend my two favorite ones.
18″ x 24″ Self Healing Mat from Fiskars – It is a good size when you’re cutting larger pieces of fabric, but it also protects your work table if you’re working on smaller projects too. Very handy to keep around.
This 14″ x 14″ rotating cutting mat from Fiskars is handy to have when you need to trim multiple sides of a piece and don’t wish to move the piece around.
All it takes is one project with this mat, and you’ll be glad you have it!
Yay! one of my favorite tools in the sewing room! I love the precise superpower that a good ruler can give you! My favorites are made by The Gadget Girls. I love the neon green and ‘glowing’ markings that make it really easy to align my fabric properly and make perfect cuts. Before you think you have to own 100 different ones… take a look at this post to see the Essential rulers and why you need them.
Face it… Once in a blue moon… we may get a day where we can sew all day with beautiful natural lighting and hours of uninterrupted sewing time… sweet bliss! My reality usually has me sewing just after the kids go to sleep in the late evening hours or random bits of kidnapped time here and there. I can’t rely on mother nature to give me proper lighting. The light on your machine isn’t meant to be the light source for your entire project. This little lamp is easy to bring out when you need it or fold it up and put it out of the way when you don’t. I also love the adjustable shade of lighting that it has!
Scissors – Fabric & Paper
I’m going to do my best impression of an old grandma and shake my pointer finger in your face for a moment. – Please DO NOT use your fabric scissors on your pattern paper! It’s a surefire way to dull your scissors and renter them less than worthy to perform the job you are asking of them! You should have at least two pairs of scissors in your sewing room. I always buy the cheapie scissors for my patterns and whatever else comes up in the craft room and save my good scissors for fabric ONLY.
If you’re going to be sitting for a while. You are going to need a comfy chair! I got mine from IKEA. You can see it at this link here. I love it. For lack of a better way to put it… the curve of the chair holds your rear end just so to make hours spent at the machine quite comfortable and at an affordable price too!
Buy yourself a good one at the beginning so you can look at your problems in the face and conquer them. This one is still my favorite seam ripper because I like the rubber “eraser tool” on the end, but I also love the one that my sweet hubby made for me too 😉 I go back and forth between the two. You can read more about seam rippers in this post that I wrote.
From clipping your rows for quilting, to quilt binding … even something (safe) to distract a curious toddler for a few extra minutes of sewing, magic clips are a very useful tool in the sewing room when you don’t want to use straight pins.
Tool Organization Method
I’m a sucker for places like The Container Store that gives me the feeling of really having my life together because everything has a place and a place for everything. I’ve tried several different methods, and this is my favorite organizer for my essentials and quick grabs in the sewing room. It’s simple, but it works and is easily transported elsewhere if I need to move it. The bin I have cost less than $20 and is apparently not being sold anymore, but there are several others on Amazon with the same general purpose.
Lastly, the truth is, as you begin sewing you’ll need to acquire a few little things to make your craft a little easier along the way. You do NOT need to purchase the whole aisle of notions… just a few will give you happy quilting vibes. These are my favorites 🙂
Good Luck out there. Remember you DO NOT NEED to buy everything at once. If you do, you will be overwhelmed and will likely give up before you even begin, right? Start with these 13 must-have tools in the sewing room and shoot for learning one new skill each quilting project. You will continue to grow and change in your skills, and your projects will show your growth as well.
Do you have any “must-haves” that I’ve left off the list? What are your favorite tools in the sewing room? Make sure and tell me about it in the comments below.