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Designers' Favorite Quilting Notions

We asked quilting experts what notion or gadget they couldn't live without. Use these tips, gadgets, and notions to help you with your next quilting project.
  • Design

    My design wall. (a design wall, pictured) —Valori Wells

    Electric Quilt 6 has changed the way I plan quilts. I love that you can scan fabrics into your fabric library so that you can play with the placement of fabrics before you start cutting and sewing. —Tammy Johnson

    I always use the little green reducer. It helps me balance all of those colors and textures that I use. —Linda Lum DeBono

    My iPod Nano - whether I listen to music or books on CD, my iPod keeps me focused and happy. —Mary Sorensen

  • Irons

    My favorite iron—one of those Rowenta Steam Generators (pictured)—allows me to press dry and then set the piece with a shot of steam. —Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Co.

    I have a Rowenta tank steam iron...another best thing that I bought! —Avis Shirer of Joined at the Hip

    A wooden iron (pictured), I use it for paper piecing because I don't like to get up to iron every little seam when paper piecing. —Cori Derksen of Blue Meadow Designs

    I could never live without my iron. I even travel with one! I press every step of the way. There is no way you can end up with perfect piecing, great appliqué, or a nice flat quilt top with out pressing each step of the way. I could live without my sewing machine but never my iron! —Cynthia Tomaszewski of Simple Pleasures

  • Starch

    Niagara spray starch (pictured) in the green bottle (not the can). It’s great. —Alice Berg

  • Cutting

    I love the Bias Tool (pictured). It gives me the confidence to cut stripe fabric for binding. —Roseann Meehan Kermes

  • Templates

    I wish I’d known about template stamps (pictured) 30 years ago. I wouldn’t hand piece without them, now. —Cindy Blackberg

    Putting a loop of tape or double-faced tape on the back of a template. It’s helped us to cut more precisely without the template slipping. —Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of FunQuilts

    Freezer paper—It’s inexpensive, accessible and perfect for making templates and pattern pieces. —Amy Butler

    Freezer paper—It can be used in so many ways. —Alex Anderson

  • Bias Tape Makers

    We love the Clover Bias Tape maker tool (pictured) which we use to make binding. The Clover Binding Tool helps us bind totally by machine. Our quilts are machine washed and dried and the binding has to be very durable so the machine stitching aids in that. —Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of FunQuilts

    The fastest and easiest way to make bias vines for appliqué. —Cynthia Tomaszewski of Simple Pleasures

    You can make bias tape with this tool in less than 30 seconds! —Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts

  • Marking Tools

    Chalk marker—I usually mark lines as I quilt, then dust them away. —Alice Berg

    I really like the Clover marking pen that you can use on dark fabric. —Mabeth Oxenreider

  • Needles & Pins

    Clover Needle Threader (pictured)—My eyes don’t work like they used to and it saves time and frustration when threading my little needles. —Mary Lou Wiedman

    With a needle threader, I can thread ANYTHING! —Pat Sloan

    I love my magnetic pincushion. I don’t have to even glance at putting my pins away. I simply toss my pins in the general direction of the pincushion, and it grabs them every time. —Myra Harder of Blue Meadow Designs

  • Appliqué

    Toothpick-turn appliqué (pictured): I learned this great appliqué method from my dear friend, Laurene Sinema. Use a round toothpick to turn the ends under rather than a slick needle. Let the toothpick rest between your lips to gather a little moisture - that's the magic of this technique. Try it I think you will like stitching with a toothpick too! —Renée Plains

    YLI silk thread is so thin (yet strong!) that it sinks into the fabric hides the stitches. —Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts

  • Seams and Binding

    Fork pins (pictured) have changed the way I join seams. —Roseann Meehan Kermes

    I use hair clips to hold binding when I am hand sewing it down to the back of the quilt. No more pins sticking me. I only use three—one where I begin which stays on the quilt until the last stitch of binding is ready to be done. Two holding the binding where I’m sewing. As I remove one, I put it back on beyond the other one. —Lila Taylor Scott

    My Binding Miter Tool because I can cut separate binding for each side of my quilt, insuring that parallel sides are the same length and THEN miter perfect corners on my bindings. —Jackie Robinson of Animas Quilts