Essential sewing tools for beginners | Making a crib quilt

I’ve been asked numerous times by new quilters what they should purchase first when beginning to quilt. I always suggest affordable notions and tools! With this in mind, I’ll share with you this week essential must-have tools for beginners while making a fun and easy crib-size quilt!

Basic quilting tools

Quilting and sewing tools for making this week’s crib quilt.




  • 1 yd [1m] red fabric to match the orange and yellow fabrics
  • 1 yd [1m] yellow
  • ¾ yd [.7m] orange
  •  ⅜ yd [.33m] binding
  • baby size batting

Quilt fabrics

The quilt will measure 39” x 51” before it is quilted, this is targeted layout.

An easy-to-make brightly colored crib quilt

The quilt blocks will be easy to make starting with the nine-patch being one of the easiest patchwork patterns. It consists of nine 3” x 3” finished squares.

Note: All blocks this week will measure 9½” x 9½” unfinished.

Nine path

To make the nine-patch we’re using a cutting mat, a rotary cutter and two rulers.

I recommend the HOBBY Cutting Mat/45mm Rotary Cutter Starter Kit – 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61cm). The mat size is big enough for any quilter to cut most required pieces for any quilt and comes with a 45mm rotary cutter. This mat has both inches and centimetres marking, it’s also a convenient size to take with you at retreats or workshops.

There are plenty of choices for rulers out there some are very pricy others like the SEW EASY Quilting Ruler – 12″ x 612″ (30.5 x 16.5cm), and SEW EASY Quilting Ruler – 24″ x 612″ (61 x 16.5cm) are more affordable. As these rulers are not anti-slip let me suggest spraying a layer of ODIF Grippy Non-slip Coating – 108g on the bottom side of the rulers. Grippy will greatly reduce the chances of your ruler moving while cutting fabric.

The next photo is of one ruler sprayed with Odif Grippy and one without. The one that was sprayed has an opaque finish. Once on the fabric, the opaqueness will be as if it had not been sprayed.

Sew Easy Rulers sprayed with grippy.

Before starting to cut the orange fabric into squares the fabric needs to be squares off. To do so ensure the selvage edges of the fabrics are perfectly aligned. Using the lines at one end of the ruler align them perfectly on the fold of the fabric then cut the raw edge.

Square off fabric and trim.

Once the first fabric is squared off cut two strips measuring 3½” x the width of fabric (WOF). Repeat this squaring-off process with the yellow fabric and cut two 3½” x WOF strips.

Why a 3½” strip when 3” x 3” squares are needed? To get 3” x 3” finished squares, 3½” x 3½” squares must be cut. The additional ½” will be the seam allowance.

Cut two 3½” strips.

From the 3½” strips cut the following:

  • 20 – 3½” x 3½” squares of the orange fabric
  • 16 – 3½” x 3½” squares of the yellow fabric.

Cut 3½” squares.

Pair and sew 12 orange squares to 12 yellow squares. Sew along one side using ¼” seams.

Note: All seams in this quilt are ¼”.

Sew an orange and yellow together making 12 pairs.

Sew four yellow squares to the orange fabric of four pairs sewn in the previous step.

Sew a yellow square to pair.

Sew the last eight orange squares to the yellow squares of the eight remaining pairs.

Sew an orange square to a pair.

Using the turquoise OLISO PROTM TG1600 Pro Plus Smart Iron press all squares. For this quilt, I pressed to the darker fabric.

Press seams toward the darker fabric.

Now sew four orange/yellow/orange units to four yellow/orange/yellow units.

Sew four orange/yellow/orange units to four yellow/orange/yellow units.

Sew the remaining four Orange/yellow/orange units to the yellow/orange/orange side of the previous step.

Completed block.

With all the 3½” x 3½” squares sewn, the four nine-patch blocks needed to make this week’s quilt are completed.

Nine-patch blocks for this week’s quilt.

With the four blocks completed, this brings today’s post to an end. Using tools such as the HOBBY Cutting Mat/45mm Rotary Cutter Starter Kit – 18″ x 24″ (45.7 x 61cm), a SEW EASY Quilting Ruler – 12″ x 612″ (30.5 x 16.5cm) and a SEW EASY Quilting Ruler – 24″ x 612″ (61 x 16.5cm) made today’s sewing easy.

Anyone who has been following me knows how I always have spare needles and blades in my studio. Today is no different. All blades will dull with time or an accidental nick can happen so, for this reason, get a pack of KOMFORT KUT Replacement Straight Blades (5PC) – 45mm (134″) on hand for when a new blade is needed.

Komfort KUT 5 replacement blades

Come back tomorrow to see my preferred method to make half-square-triangles.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series

 Go to part 2: Piecing shoo fly quilt blocks with Gütermann thread [a great notion]

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