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8. Start Quilting on a Shoe String Budget Transcript

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Hey there. I’m Nicole Gilbert and you’ve joined the stop scrolling and start sewing podcast. Are you new to sewing and want to start quilting, but have no idea where to begin? Each Wednesday join me as I share the ins and outs of that quilt life. If you don’t have a sewing machine, have no idea how much fabric you need or you’re just trying to figure out where the heck to stick that bobbin, This is the podcast for you.

Welcome to episode eight of the stop scrolling and start sewing podcast. On today’s episode we’re going to talk about how small an investment it really is to start quilting, especially considering the years of benefits that most of your supplies will bring you. But first a word from our sponsor.

Today’s episode is sponsored by my fast track to quilting masterclass. I’ve never done a training like this before and I am so super excited to share everything I have prepared for you guys. You’ll learn the five stages you must master in order to be a successful quilter. The simple secret that can take your projects from meh to wow and so much more. If you’re interested in joining me, head on over to

Okay guys, let’s get sewing.

I don’t know about you guys, but new hobbies seem like they just take so much, so much time, so much energy and especially so much money. It is ridiculous. Did you ever feel like you just don’t start things because the overall investment, both financial and emotional is humongous. Well, it’s really not that expensive to start quilting. It seems like it would be. Since you know, Pinterest has us all in this head space where we see these gorgeous sewing rooms and all of these supplies and all of these goodies and you’re like, I just, I don’t got any of that. How am I going to start? Well, in this episode I’m breaking down the must have gotta have it. Items you’re going to need for quilting. And spoiler alert, it’ll cost you less than $150. Let’s be real. I’ve paid more than that for running shoes.

I’m going to mention very specific items and prices in this episode, but don’t worry, I’ll have links to everything over at the show notes at okay, so I’m going to do this in the order that you’re going to kind of use these items. So first I want to start with all your cutting supplies and I know that I spoke a little bit about this on episode two of the modern quilters circle, but I really wanted to give you exact dollar amounts, exact items for you to look for and purchase so that you really understood what the investment would be from you. And it’s a lot less than you think. So for cutting, for cutting supplies, you’re going to need a rotary cutter. And like I said in episode two, so that’s if you haven’t listened to that, um, I said that I use only a 45 millimeter rotary cutter and I think that if you just get one rotary cutter, that’s all you need.

So I suggest getting a Fiskars fashion stick, rotary cutter 45 millimeter size, and it is currently going for $19.99 on Joann Besides a rotary cutter, you’ll also need a pair of fabric shears. Now this again, I say you need it and I think potentially you don’t even really need this either. You could just use your rotary cutter. So now we’re talking like closer to a hundred dollars flat if you take this off. But fabric shears, I suggest Fiskars eight inch razor edge scissors, soft grip, and those are $29 and 99 cents. Now I do believe you could do your basic cutting with a rotary cutter. Like, you know, lay out your fabric. And especially if you use my folding technique, which I show everybody over in module two who’s enrolled in the Modern Quilters Academy. But with that folding method, you could really just lob off the end with your rotary cutter and you would be fine.

You don’t need fabric shears. Also scissors are scissors, bro, like if you really want to, you could just use a regular pair of scissors. What I don’t suggest , I always, whenever I bring up fabric shears, one of my very first things I say is, do not cut anything else with your fabric shears. And that is a hundred percent true. So if you take the time to invest in this pair of fabric shears, don’t cut anything else with it. But that doesn’t mean that a pair of scissors that you have in your junk drawer in your kitchen can’t cut fabric. They’re just not going to be only for fabric. But if you take the time to invest in fabric shears, take care of them and only use them on fabric. So that I just want it to kind of clear up that delineation. It’s not like, Oh my gosh, I need to have fabric shears.

They really are a nice to have item. By no means are they necessary. So along with the rotary cutter, I’m going to say you definitely need a six inch by 24 inch acrylic ruler. Now acrylic rulers kind of run the gamut on prices. I’ve seen some horrifically high prices on, um, acrylic rulers, especially once it comes to kind of interesting shapes. So like when you get to hexies and weird triangles and um, circles and petals and things like that, like those are crazy. Like they really are. They’re honestly, I get a little upset at some of the prices that I see on these rulers. But you actually only need one ruler to be a successful quilter. Now at certain levels for certain types of cuts, are you going to have to be really good at using that ruler? Of course, if you’re only going to use one, you have to master it in order to do some upper level stuff.

But I mean, I feel like that’s kinda with everything. So yeah. But a six by 24 inch ruler will legit do everything you need so you can get an Omnigrid, neon quilters ruler. And the reason why I love that one so much is that the letters and the numbers and the markings are in this bright yellowish lime green. And it’s so clear to see no matter what fabric is underneath the ruler. So I do love that one. And that is only $19 and 59 cents. And then lastly for your cutting, you’re going to need a cutting mat. And again, this is one of those things where you absolutely need it. I would definitely say, um, you don’t need to go bananas though. I found a 24 by 36 inch. And again, that is the size I suggest and it’s actually a huge money saver to get that size because if you get anything smaller than that, eventually you’re going to need the 24 by 36 so I’d rather you just make that investment upfront.

That being said, I found one on Amazon by Dahle and it’s $31 and 79 cents like, come on. That’s amazing. I have also found some pretty outrageously priced, $150 cutting mats. Don’t do it. So as long as they have like usually they will tout that they are five layers thick if it’s like an off brand. So when I say off-brand, I mean like not Fiskars, not Olfa, not Omnigrid, not Fons & Porter, like not those big, big names. Um, in quilting, if it’s an offbrand, they will almost always say made of five layers. So as long as it’s made of five layers and up. You’re good. It’s a good, it’s it, I mean it, it don’t do the job. Now there are some mats that are super, super flimsy, like don’t do that. Like it, that is one place where it’s not worth getting the $14 version.

The $14 version is not going to do yet, but this $31 one like heck yeah, that’s awesome. So I definitely keep that in mind. And like I said, I know I’m saying like very specific items and specific numbers. If you want any of these, you can just head on over to and I have all of the information there for you. So that does it for the cutting supplies that you absolutely need. So that is when we break it down, the rotary cutter, the six by 24 inch ruler and the cutting mat. So now head on over to the sewing supplies. So some of this stuff is like, Oh, well yeah. Um, so like thread you need thread. Obviously you need thread to quilt with. Um, but I’m not going to list that here because that’s, that’s a supply that you’re going to constantly be replenishing and um, it’s going to change depending on your project, depending on what colors you want to use.

So you need it, but I’m not gonna include it in this list. And also that’s like me saying like, well, you’re gonna need fabric. I couldn’t give you the appropriate amount that you have to buy because your project is going to want what dictates how much you need. You will need machine needles. So you can get singer titanium, universal quilting machine needles for $8 and 99 cents a pack and that’s a multipack. So you’ll get quite a few of machine needles in there for that. And yes, your machine probably has a needle, but you should replace your needle. Um, depending on the quality of the needle that you buy, it’ll vary how often, but you need to replace them because after a certain amount of quilting and piecing, your needle will get a little bit dull and it will start to punch a slightly larger hole in your fabric and you don’t want that.

So you do want to change it for that. And also things happen. And needles break. I have tugged on the needle thread a little too hard and snapped the end off. I have accidentally sewn over a pin and broke one, like you name it, I’ve broken it and it’s a bummer if you’re in the middle of like a good quilt session and you have to stop and go get a needle. So that, that’s a necessity. Having backup needles at all times, definitely a necessity. So $8 and 99 cents you also need, and this is a one or the other thing, a magnetic dish or one of those cute little tomatoes. I love my cute little tomato, but I do find the magnetic dish is easier to use simply because I can place it in front of my sewing machine and as I’m quilting and pulling the needles out, I just kind of drop them and they scoot their way over to the magnetic dish where the tomato, you have to be a little bit more focused because you actually have to stab it in there.

So that’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth. But you can get a magnetic dish, the dritz, ultimate pin caddy, which also comes with 15 pins, um, is only $10 and 49 cents. And like legitimately you will have that magnetic dish forever. Um, and that’s the thing with all of these items that I’ve said so far, there’s no reason why you can’t have it forever. Um, I actually, my magnetic dish actually was my husband’s grandmother’s magnetic dish and it’s got the like sale sticker on it from Woolworth’s in like 1960 and it’s awesome. Still works just the same as it did 50 years ago. Um, or if you don’t want to go the magnetic route and you want to go with a tomato, you can get one of those tomatoes for $3 and 49 cents. So dritz makes a large tomato pin cushion for $3 and 49 cents. Uh, so you just have to pick one or the other.

You don’t need both magnetic dish or the tomato. So with the rest of your sewing items that your need. So next step is going to be your straight pins. Now you can either do ball head straight pins or you could do flat head straight pins. So I will say that I personally like flat head straight pins, um, because they don’t kind of get in the way, they don’t rumble anything, they don’t add any, any depth. However, a ball head straight pin is way easier to remove as you’re sewing. So it’s kind of one of those things you have to learn which one you like better. But a ball head, straight pin, a singer pro series, ball head straight pin is currently being sold for $6 and 29 cents and that is a package of 200 or on Amazon you can get Lind kitchen, Flathead sewing straight pins for $7 and 99 cents.

And that also is a pack of 200. So I mean pretty darn good. Um, now for bobbins. Bobbins are something that you’re going to need. Your machine should have come with at least one bobbin and technically yes, that’ll get you by. But Holy cow, can you imagine unwinding and rewinding the same bobbim over and over again? So I do suggest having a handful on, on you at all times. Now you can get a pack of bobbins at Joann’s for $3 and 29 cents. So the different bobbin, there’s a different bobbin size for different machines. There are a handful of universal sizes, but it could be one of like five or six different sizes. So you’re definitely going to have to kind of hunt around. But um, if you did get your machine secondhand, you could just take the one bobbin that you’ve gotten there and take it to the store and line it up.

It should be a pretty easy, easy find. Um, now next up I will say, I would say you definitely do need a walking foot. Now if you’ve got a Pfaff like I do or one of the higher end Viking machines or higher end baby lock machines or really any of the high end models that are made for quilting, your machine probably has a built in walking foot, which is amazing. So you don’t need to get a walking foot. But if you’re using an entry level machine or a machine that’s not designed specifically for quilting, you may need to get an add on walking foot. And just because we’re talking about presser feet right now, also a quarter inch foot would be great just to always have a great marker for your seam allowances. And I actually found a universal machine presser foot kit on Amazon for $27 and it had 15 different presser feet in there.

So I mean you’re doing pretty good with that one. And then, wow, we’re sewing. Obviously at some point we’re going to have to baste our quilt sandwich together in order to actually quilt it. And you can choose to do that one of two ways. You can either do basting pins or basting spray. However, if you are interested in saving money, I would definitely suggest going the basting pins route as it is reusable. And you can get a package of 200 dritz, quilting, basting pins for $4 and 19 cents. Now if you don’t want to use pins, the alternative to that is basting spray, um, which obviously is not unlimited. There are aerosol spray cans and when you’re out you’re out and you’re going to have to replace them. So 505 quilting basting spray goes for $11 and 89 cents a can so far from drastically expensive, but you can use basting pins over and over and over again. And they are less than half the price.

And now we’re going to go on to ironing supplies and I’m going to tell you what are absolute necessities and you probably already have them. So this is like a zero investment moment here. So an iron, yeah, I’m going to say every single person listening to this probably has an iron or knows somebody they can borrow an iron from. And like the Gilberts are not ironing people. That’s just not how we roll in our house. This is a boy house. Everybody wears jeans and tee shirts and it’s just not, it’s not that serious here. Um, so I’ve got a really cool quilting iron and we don’t really have a home iron. But if you have a home iron, you’ve got an iron you’re set to go. Just use it while you’re quilting. And the other part of that, which I feel like is common sense is an ironing board.

You, you got an iron, more likely than not, you have an ironing board. But if you don’t have an irony board, you can always just use a leftover scrap of cotton batting. Put it on your cutting surface. Put a layer of quilting fabric on top and you my friend have an ironing board. So again, you do not need to go out and buy a lot of this stuff. You’ve got it, you’ve got it already. You just have to kind of think outside the box a little. So like I said, I have listed all of these items over on and I have links to all of them so you can like go right to Amazon, right to Joanne’s and pick up whatever you want to pick up. But just for reference, I had the list of must haves at $132 and 31 cents and that included the fabric sheers.

So I’m actually going to go ahead take those fabric shears off the list and now that’s $102 and 32 cents like, come on. Quilting does not need to be this big investment. You can have so much. I mean for me that’s okay. One night my family of five doesn’t eat out. I now have a hobby that will last a lifetime and all of these items that I’ve told you about that I currently have, I have them either as hand me downs from my husband’s grandmother or I’ve collected them along the way and I’ve had them all for years, like legitimately for years. So it’s not like by getting these items you’re like, Oh yeah, well I skipped out now and now I have to upgrade a year or two from now. No, I still use my basic Fiskars rotary cutter. I still use my Omni grid six by 24 inch quilting ruler and yes, there are a ton of nice to have things out there and I’ve done it.

Believe me, I collect them all like I’ve got, I’ve got all of the things my, my quilt room is pretty stocked by this point, but I didn’t start out there and you don’t have to start out there and I can guarantee you can make beautiful, beautiful quilts with the supplies that I have just mentioned. So again, head on over to to check out all of those supplies.

Also, don’t forget, if you’re interested in learning to quilt from me, please, please, please save your seat for my fast track to quilting masterclass seats are limited and they’re going fast. You can register by going over to

and guess what, guys? You’ve just finished another episode of the modern quilter circle. Thanks for hanging out with me and make sure you never miss an episode by hitting subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Now stop scrolling and start sewing.

Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
The Modern Quilters Circle