If you are just getting started with fabric, you will need a few basics. You will need a very large self healing mat. I got most of my stuff from Joann's with my coupon or when it was on sale. Might as well save yourself some money. Make sure you store your mat flat. You need to store your mat flat on the carpet or against something relatively flat if you are storing it vertically. I stored mine against the wall and a long shelf for awhile. Now it is always just lying flat on the carpet - I use it so much. You will also need a rotary blade. I use a 45 mm one from Fiskars. The one with the straight blade will work fine. You should change it once it starts to pull or you don't get an easy cut. Be very careful with this!You also need a long metal ruler and/or Quilter's rule. Since some fabric sheets are longer, it is easier to cut them with a Quilter's rule. I don't use the measurements on it as much as the fact as it is longer and I can get a longer cut with it.
Don't bother buying a smaller self healing mat if you plan on making any kind of art quilt in the future. You will want the longer, wider mat so you can cut fabric on it. It is worth the money now to get the larger mat. The one I use all the time is Olfa 24x18 mat. You may wonder how to get straight cuts of fabric. I get relatively straight squares all the time. I make sure that the fold on my fabric is to my left when I cut. When I cut, I always make sure that either my bottom or top is straight. I then cut my right end straight. That way, I have my right side and either my bottom or top straight. I cut what size I want. Remember to always measure twice and cut once. I always lean over and put more pressure on the rotary cutter so I don't have to go over it again to get a cleaner cut. When I line it up again to get my height or width cut, depending on how I cut it first. I line it up again with the bottom or top straight, cut a bit off the right to get it straight and then cut my pieces. It saves me a lot of time and aggravation. I know there must be a fabric grain this and that kinda thing but I don't pay attention to it. I am sure the quilting gods will strike me down one of these days, but I am not really good at following all the rules when it comes to my art'ng. Don't tell my 6th graders that!
One other thing, make sure you line up the top and bottom or your Quilter's rule or ruler with your lines on the mat really well. If you think it looks off, then it probably is. Remember to measure twice and cut once. If you don't put good pressure on your ruler, then you will probably move it while cutting and it will be off on your fabric. You can probably repair it on the mat. If not, just save the scrap for another project. Don't toss out the fabric! It can be used for something else. If it pisses you off, then just send it to me! I will put it to good use.
Hope it helps you out. I hope you have as much fun playing with fabric as I do.