5 Tools Most Quilters Don't Really Need

With quilting or sewing, there are a good number of tools you must buy just to get started. After the essentials there are many more to consider, and you might wonder if they’re worth the investment.

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In preparation for our big move, we’ve been simplifying and decluttering big time. My sewing room is no exception! I cleared out miscellaneous tools that weren’t getting used often enough to warrant the real estate. Here are a few that I didn’t make the cut.


5 Tools Most Quitlers Don’t Really Need

No. 1 Wool Pressing Mat

Sure these mats press a slightly crisper seam than a regular ironing board. Is it life changing? Not to me. Given the costs, I’d only recommend this tool if you travel often and need to bring your own pressing mat. Even then, you could make a portable mat for much less!

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No. 2 Diamond Ruler

I love sewing patchwork diamonds! But, guess what? You don’t need a ruler for that. You can cut diamonds with most large, multi-purpose quilting rulers. Your 6” x 24” ruler or 8” x 24” ruler probably has diagonal lines designed to help you cut diamonds. Learn how to use it and give it a try before investing in a diamond ruler.


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No. 3 Mini Iron

Once a generous reader heard that I was interested in a mini iron. She sent me hers because she hardly ever used it. Well, I owned it for several years and hardly ever used it. Sensing a theme? Even when I was pressing small appliqué, I often wouldn’t go to the trouble of getting it out. Shrug.

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No. 4 XYZ Temporary Marking Tool

Don’t get me wrong, you totally need temporary marking tools. However, you probably don’t need the particular temporary marking tool suggested by the pattern. Disappearing pens, water-soluble pencils, chalk, etc. - they’re all pretty much the same, functionally. If you are happy with your current marking tool, you can save your pennies.

No. 5 Die Cutting machine

Die cutting machines cut multiple layers of fabric into particular shapes determined by the cutting dies. I do like these for cutting circles, which are a pain to cut otherwise, and enjoyed it for my clamshell quilt too. But when cutting straight-line shapes, I prefer a rotary cutter. The main reason? Die cutting is more wasteful of fabric and doesn’t seem significantly faster to me.

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Some people love these machines because they really struggle with cutting accuracy or have pain while cutting. If that’s not you, you’re probably not going to use it all that often. Even so, it does come in really hand occasionally, so think of a die cutter as a nice extra!


Remember, this is just my two cents. Doubtless there are many sewists who use these tools often. I don’t mean to disparage, just to offer my perspective.

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