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50 Everyday Household Items You Can Use When Quilting

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Here are fifty things from around the house that you can use when quilting. You may be familiar with many of them, but you may learn something new too.

And if you enjoyed these tips, then make sure to check out my video compiling suggestions/tips from viewers of 25 more household items to use when quilting. You can find it here:

If you want to see the entire list, check out my blog post here:

 

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108 thoughts on “50 Everyday Household Items You Can Use When Quilting

  1. I like to use the clear cutting mats from the dollar tree for templates. There are usually 2 mats in a package for a dollar.

  2. Use an old seam ripper along the brushes of your vacuum cleaner. Run along the length in a few places and when you turn it back on, most of the thread gets sucked up. The remains are easily dealt with.

    1. Ah, that’s a good one, but I would an add an important tip, make sure the vacuum cleaner unplugged before you do that, and look out for things that might be part of the vacuum cleaner and not thread. I always have threads wrapped around the roller. Thanks for watching.

  3. I use old cookie cutters to make templates.

    1. Me too. I love cookie cutter templates. Thanks for watching.

  4. I have old ironing board and use peg hooks on it and I use it as a place to store stuff my husband hung it on the wall

    1. Found an old wooden ironing board at a thrift store (remember when one could go to thrift stores? Like six months ago?) and I use it as an extension of my sewing table to manage large quilts Gives them somewhere to go within hanging over the table edges and distorting the shape

    2. That’s a great idea. I recently threw out an old ironing board that was in bad shape. I should have kept it!

  5. Over the door shoe holders work great for things like zippers things that come in rolls a sunny window to make a mirror image.

    1. Good tip. Thanks

  6. My husband was nice and curved my safety pins pool noodles work grea

    1. That is awesome! I might have to recruit my husband into doing that for me.

  7. I mark my old Rothery blades with a “P” and my husband and son can use it for whatever they need

    1. Good tip.

  8. I use minkie blankets as backing on my denim quilt. They eliminate a need for batting on jeans quilts. They’re $20 at Costco for a queen size.

    1. Oh I bet it’s super soft to use that kind of blanket. Thanks for the tip.

  9. Sheets have such a tight weave they’re hard to quilt

    1. My mom’s quilt group used 180 thread count for their charity quilts. They have a looser weave

    2. Thanks for the info and for watching.

  10. I find a small mint tin works well to hold those tiny appliqué pins. I also use coins and washers to form circles for appliqué: use a running stitch around the center of the seam allowance , pull the thread to form the circle around the coin, use hot steam iron to set the shape. When it cools down carefully slip the coin from the circle and tug up the thread to reform the circle. Goes faster than it sounds and makes stitching go much faster with less fuss

    1. Interesting method for the circles. Thanks.

  11. An Emory board helps push fabric when machine sewing; a thick one can be used to help thick fabric over the feed dogs by lifting the presser foot a little.

    1. Another good tip. Thanks.

  12. Cut a piece of rubber shelf liner to place under foot pedal. Keeps it from sliding under foot.

    1. mathangel az Thank you a zillion times..about the shelf liner!!😊

    2. Great tip! Thanks.

  13. I cut small pieces of that rubber shelf liner to put under my quilting rulers. They kind of stick to the ruler and keep it from sliding while cutting. I also use small pieces in my handsewing kit for pulling the needles when hand quilting. It also is great for keeping the cell phone from sliding when leaned against a coffee cup.

    1. Great tips! Thanks.

  14. The plastic sheeting from Christmas packages is one of my favorites. Besides templates it also makes ideal shim stock; as it comes in various thicknesses.

    1. Christmas packages?

    2. That’s a great tip.

  15. Bed sheets will not hold up for the long haul

  16. I loved this video. I am a newbie and am finding that quilting can be an expensive hobby if you run out and buy everything brand new; so, this video was really helpful. I sat with pen in hand and wrote down your list of helpful ideas.

    1. Thanks for watching and I’m glad you found it helpful.

  17. I have been told that “rags” can be used by bundling and sold to be broken down for industrial applications. Even our money has scrap denim in it. Look at paper money the particals are denim

  18. Thank you Claudia.
    I have just read a lot of tips from fellow sewers. It’s a great forum for ideas.
    Your tips were very useful to me I am a novis quilter but enjoy it so much. It can be expensive especially fabric. You came up with some really good ideas. Well done. Greetings to everyone from London.

  19. I used a towel for place mats and they are fantastic. Very absorbent if you happen to spill something.

  20. Thanks Claudia! I have shared many of your videos with my quilting group. We love these!

  21. I roll my quilts (if they are big and heavy) on those pool noodles.  They work really well and you can stick pins in them to hold quilt from shifting.  Cost is about .50 cents to $1.00

    1. Great idea!

  22. The vinyl bags that sheets and pillowcases and other bedding items come in are great storage containers. I’ve used the pillowcase size to store smaller speciality rulers, templates and patterns. The larger ones can be used to gather together project pieces, patterns, etc. I’ve also used a really big one from a mattress pad as a storage container and a transportation method when taking a number of quilts to a meeting or show. Keeps items clean and organized.

  23. Awesome practical tips!

  24. There are some great tips here. I have some tips that I’ve used for years that others might find handy too…if your machine has a hard case/cover, turn it upside down and use it as a garbage bin; attach a plastic bag to your chair /table/the reverse lever of the machine for thread/off cuts; tie or stitch a piece of scrap fabric around the body of your machine to stick pins in; use a camera-lens-puffer or plastic straw to blow any loose dust/thread/fluff out of the feed dogs; when packing up at the end of your sewing session, grab a fridge magnet and quickly fun over the floor around your sewing area to pick up any stray pins before vacuuming… 🙂

  25. You just made me subscribe to your channel

  26. One caution to add to all of fabulous tips is: if you have an ELECTRONIC machine (not just electric), you need to be careful using magnets around them.

  27. Bed sheets are good for sewing strip blocks. I can’t imagine doing these blocks without the bed sheets. And regular paper with squares are the best to use for designing quilts.

  28. I have used Mandela designs from a adult coloring book I have colored in and love the finished product.for designs.
    You can make a pin holder out of large round magnets from auto store and putting one in a jar top….also they have wand magnets that make great pin pick ups.
    I prewash my fabrics after watching a quilter that took three blocks and showed the difference between washing and not washing. I have been using vinegar rinse to set the colors so far it has worked.

  29. Fleece makes a terrific backing for lap quilts or throws. Nice and cozy to cuddle up with and read on a cold day.

  30. That rubber shelf matting, grip stuff, cut a small piece to go under each hand while doing FMQ. No need for gloves or finger stalls

  31. I use round mint tins for my rotary cutter blades..I back quilts with fleece. It is very warm and hangs nicely..

  32. Luggage packing bags for projects. Different sizes and open netted tops are great. You can see what is inside and some have handles to carry around. They compress to the size needed and save space. They are stackable and the ones with the netted top allow the fabrics to breathe.

  33. Some of these ideas are good for camping. Only good batting for customers.

  34. Sheets are good for children. They make a nice backs.

  35. Thank you for your hints. For great value magnetic bowls you can’t go past an auto accessories shop, they have the best & are great value for money.

  36. Last winter I made a patchwork denim jeans quilt where the backing was an almost new pastel tartan bed sheet. The batting was large pieces of pale fleece fabric. All materials were thrifted for a total of about $12 Australian. It looks amazing and is incredibly warm. I even kept some of the jeans pockets in the patchwork and I embroidered flowers on the pockets for interest. It’s not huge , about 1.5metres by 1.2metres but I love it so much I am looking out for more jeans and sheets etc from the thrift shops to one day make one large enough for my double bed. 🙂

  37. I like to use gardning gloves for quilting and also a parts dish from auto parts store they are magnetit 4inches around and I also use a bingo wand to pick up those droped pins.

  38. Happy to know that am not alone in this matter. I have used cheaper variety of towels for quilted bags and tea-cosies runners etc. Works wel

  39. I use the prescription bottles for my broken needles. I label the lid, then when it’s full I lock it and tape it up for discard. The wider bottles I put my dull rotary blades in there and label the lid for paper only.

    1. old yoga mats cut to size are useful for putting under sewing machines. They also help to quieten the machine. They also work under the foot control to stop them slipping across the floor.

    2. Great ideas

  40. Go to Dollar Tree and buy 2 gallon zip locs! Much better than gallon ones

    1. Good tip!

  41. Sewing friends, the lower end shoe stores will save shoeboxes for you..just ask 🙂

  42. I’m glad YouTube suggested your channel to me! 😍

    1. Thanks.

  43. Pick up red & green clear plastic plates or cups from the dollar store @ Christmas time. Hold them up, look at your layout thru them & bingo! Instant Value Checker. (& cheaper than fancy glasses) The red plate is great for every color but red, use the green plate for your reds.

    1. @Nanette C I hope I’m explaining it correctly, but basically value of a fabric is if it is dark, medium or light, no matter what the color. Sometimes it can be kind of hard to tell on certain fabrics. When you look thru dark red you only see darks, mediums and lights, you don’t see the colors. It’s pretty cool to see. Fabrics that you might think are dark, really aren’t as dark and vice versa.

    2. @Nanette C
      No question is stupid. We’ve all been there: someone had to tell *us* about all of this stuff at some time too.

      Value is the intensity, the brightness, of the color.
      Or, as Google puts it: “Color value refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue. Adding white to a hue produces a high-value color, often called a tint. Adding black to a hue produces a low-value color, often called a shade.”

      You need to balance the intensity of colors in your quilt. You may be doing this subconsciously. You wouldn’t put a neon-pink strip in an otherwise pastel-colored strip-pieced baby quilt…it would look bizzare. That’s an extreme example, but do you see what we mean? Sometimes when a fabric “just doesn’t fit” with the rest of the fabrics in a quilt, it’s the *intensity* of the color that is to blame.

      Mind you, sometimes a quilt has a very narrow value range i.e. a baby’s pastel quilt, a toddler’s primary-colored quilt, or a teen’s neon quilt. What can make such quilts a little ‘boring’ is the lack of variety in the fabric values. In those cases, the fabrics’ ‘texture’ (the actual or visual feel of the fabric) & interest (the print on the fabric), as well as the quilt pattern itself, become more important to keep the quilt well-balanced & interesting.

      However, some colors can fool you. That is why seeing the colors thru certain filters, or in black&white, can show you what the *comparative* intensities of the fabrics are. It allows you to pick a well-balanced set of fabrics at the beginning * & to move the blocks around before the final assembly, to keep all of the more intense colors evenly mixed with the others.

      * NOTE: Precuts take the work out of selecting a mix of values for your quilt since the *designers* balance the fabric intensities within the collection. You still have to check that the value is balanced within your blocks & final block placement however.

      In summary, value is something you want to quickly check early in the fabric selection process & again right before your final assembly to keep your quilt ‘balanced’ & interesting.

      Sorry for going on & on. Hope this helps.

    3. What’s a value checker? Or a value lol. I’m sorry if I sound stupid.

    4. That’s a good idea!!! Thanks.

  44. I keep the square trays that mushrooms come in for my blocks that are ready for chain stitching. I put all the bits for 1 block in each tray and they stack on top of each other neatly.

    1. Nice idea. Thanks.

  45. Get a Bissel 3 in 1 vacuum for $20 at Wal-Mart to pick up threads and fabric bits. Great for pet hair too. Lightweight.

    1. Donna F thank you!

  46. Thank you, Ms. Claudia. This will help someone who is just learning and think they need every new tool in the store (like I did at one time, lol). ❤️❤️

  47. I like to see who is talking instead of just hands moving.

    1. Yep. I’m working on it. I’m kind of camera-shy and I don’t have great equipment yet. One day soon hopefully.

  48. Thank you for the tips.

  49. This video was useful thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks!

  50. Thank you for the tips. I know this has nothing to do with quilting but I like to use the skinnier part of the ties to make belts…. get a couple D rings sew them on and you have a quick colorful belt : )

    1. Good idea. thanks!

  51. A cheap pair of gardening gloves with the rubber dots for grip work well for free motion quilting and are much cheaper than quilting gloves but breathe better than rubber gloves

    1. Absolutely I have both and find I use the garden gloves more frequently. Also easier to come off and on your hands when you need to pick up something fine or adjust the machine

    2. @MadHatters Original, I got a pair of arthritis compression gloves that cover finger joints but leave fingertips open, and (!) these guys have super grippy gel grip dots on them. Ten bucks. Totally worth every penny.

    3. Quilters gloves are only $5 on Amazon and include a double width wrist support band. 😊

  52. I save the clear plastic containers that salad greens come in and store many different things in them, especially different size squares and strips. Even fat quarters….

    1. That’s a good idea. That’s such heavy duty plastic. Thanks.

  53. I use fleece blankets as batting/backing. Great for charity rugs.

  54. Fleece works great for a jean blanket backing. No batting needed

    1. I use fleece for backing for baby quilts. Warm and soft.

  55. I have used polar fleece and old fuzzy blankets as backing fabric.

  56. Thanks for the tips. I use gallon size zip top bags for my WIP. I try to get the ones with a writing label printed on them so I can write what the project is and who it is for.

  57. I used an old flannel sheet to rescue a favorite kids blanket which was loosing a little batting and basically coming apart at the seams. I used it like a quilt back and saved the well-loved front design with some super basic rows of straight quilting. I’ve also used a very thin fleece blanket from Big Lots to line a crocheted winter jacket to give it warmth and insulate against holes in the weave. When I deconstruct upholstery and need to make a pattern, a kraft paper roll (from Home Depot) is a life saver (especially with the rounded cushions, fold the kraft paper in half to draw the rounded edge equal to both sides – open to see if it looks reasonable or if it needs a little extra trimming to be correctly rounded).

    1. Interesting tips. Thanks.

  58. Thrift store fleece blanket as a design wall? Genius!!
    Prescription bottle bonus idea: I prefer not to put bent pins & needles into the trash. They might poke through. So I keep an empty script bottle to put them in, then eventually throw the bottle away.
    Regarding bed sheets: Learned the hard way…Pilot brand Frixion pens took the color completely out of my higher-quality cotton blend sheets. There are small white x’s everyplace I marked my fabric. Also, if you hand quilt and use a sheet for the backing, the high thread count sheets can be difficult to get your needle through.

    1. Thanks for the tips!

  59. Try makeup brushes for cleaning and getting lint out of the machine.

    1. Great idea! Dunkmangoes!

    2. That’s a great idea. Thanks.

  60. Very useful! Thanks. The placement you have in the background can be used to keep your foot control of the sewing machine from sliding around the floor while sewing or quilting.

    1. Gail Zee I finally found something for my slick wood floor. I use one of those foam mats for in front of the sink that I bought at Wal-Mart to put my foot control on. NO more slide!

    2. That’s a great tip. Thanks.

    3. duckmangoes my foot control still slides around even though I use that rubbery placemat. It’s a wood floor. I am always trying to find

      The control!

  61. Ty..

  62. Fleece works great as a batting. It does not shrink or pull apart and is easy to quilt by machine. Printers tape will not leave a residue like does the masking tape. A very small paint brush is another item you can use to get lint out of your sewing machine. You did a great job!

    1. Painter’s tape

    2. Thanks and I love the idea of the small paint brush!

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