Before we get started with sewing our pieces together, I wanted to discuss a couple of things. We have already talked a bout necessary supplies for making a quilt, but I wanted to talk specifically about supplies for piecing and then also give you some information about seam allowances.
There are lots of sewing pins out there — when I first started quilting, I used some thick, heavy duty pins. They got the job done, but I have found that thinner, patchwork pins are easier to use and give me better results. I usually buy either Clover Fine Patchwork pins or Little House pins and they are both great quality.
Some sewing machines work better with some brands of thread, so if you are not loving the thread you use, it is worth trying something new. I usually use Aurifil thread, but I have also had good luck with Gutermann or Mettler. The more important thing is the weight (or thickness) of the thread that you use when piecing. You want the thread to be thin so that your seam isn't bulky and most people consider 50wt thread to be the best for piecing. I prefer to use cotton thread, can use cotton or polyester thread for piecing.
Sewing Machine Needles
Pretty much any universal needle should work for piecing your quilt, although you may find that some brands work better with your machine than others. I like to make sure to replace my needle regularly (this can prevent skipped stitches and other issues) so I buy a bulk box of these Schmetz needles — they are great and one box lasts a long time!
Do not feel like you need a fancy iron to get started, any iron that gets hot will work. I have been using this Chi iron for years (although lately I have been testing out this Oliso iron) and they both get the job done. There is some debate about whether you should use steam and/or starch when pressing your fabric or quilt blocks. I don't use steam or starch and have great results, but do what works for you. I do keep a bottle of Flatter (unscented, I feel like the scented kinds are too strong) nearby in case I need it.
Quarter Inch Foot
This will lead us into our next topic — I highly recommend getting a quarter inch foot that works well with your machine. Most modern sewing machines will include this foot, but you may have luck trying a different one if you don't love yours (just make sure it is compatible with your machine). I sew on a Janome MC6600p and it came with a quarter inch foot, but I purchased a different foot (it's called the O2 foot, also made by Janome) and it has been much better.
Quarter Inch Seam Allowance
Did you know that when we say to use a quarter inch seam allowance, we actually mean to use a SCANT quarter inch seam allowance? I put together some graphics about this that will hopefully explain the difference.