Quilt With Ease: How to Choose the Best Quilting Sewing Machine
For quilters, few activities bring more joy and satisfaction than snuggling under a hand-stitched quilt on a cold winter night. Piecing together fabrics to create beautiful works of art inspires creativity and warms the soul.
However, without the right quilting sewing machine, those stunning creations can become frustrating and laborious. Quilting requires a machine tailored for managing large swaths of fabric, thick seams, and free motion stitching.
That’s why I’ve created this guide to picking the perfect quilting companion for your needs. We’ll explore:
- Key factors to consider when buying a quilting sewing machine
- Reviews of the top 4 models for quilters
- Answers to frequently asked questions
Let’s get quilting!
Choosing a Quilting Sewing Machine: Key Considerations
When evaluating quilting sewing machines, keep these top factors in mind:
- Throat/Work Space Size– A wider throat facilitates rolling and manipulating large quilts. Look for at least a 6” throat size.
- Extension Table– Expand your work area with a quilting table for supporting fabric.
- Feed Dogs– The ability to drop feed dogs enables free motion quilting.
- Stitch Selection– Look for utility stitches plus decorative stitches optimized for quilting.
- Automatic Needle Positioning– Lowers needle down or raises it up with the press of a button. Very handy when quilting!
- Bobbin Features– Quick bobbin changes are crucial to keep projects moving efficiently.
- Heavy Duty Metal Frame– Provides necessary support for frequent quilting.
- Warranty– Protect your investment with at least a 1-year warranty.
- Budget– Prices range from $200 for basics models up to $2000+ for advanced longarm setups.
Now that we’ve covered key considerations, let’s explore top-rated quilting machines in detail.
Reviews: Best Quilting Sewing Machines
After extensive analysis, I’ve identified the top 4 quilting sewing machines representing quality across different price points and feature sets:
1. Brother CS6000i
The Brother CS6000i delivers an incredible value-for-money as an entry-level quilting machine. With 60 built-in stitches plus a quilting foot, it provides great functionality without breaking the bank. Convenient automatic needle threading and a one-step auto-size buttonhole makes it very user-friendly. The large extension table offers ample support for fabric. A 25 year limited warranty provides peace of mind.
Best For: Beginner and intermediate quilters seeking great quality at a budget price point. Ideal for smaller quilts.
Pros: Excellent price for the included quilting features. Very easy to operate and maintain. User-friendly even for novices.
Cons: May not handle daily heavy quilting workloads long-term. Smaller throat size than pricier machines.
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
2. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
Ready to take your quilting capabilities up a notch? Enter the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. With an astounding 600 built-in stitches, you’ll have endless creative options for quilting projects. The heavy duty metal interior frame provides skip-free quilting. Convenient capabilities like the programmable needle up/down make free motion quilting a breeze. Customize stitches using the mirror imaging and elongation functions. This machine offers advanced features while still being beginner-friendly.
Best For: Intermediate to advanced quilters seeking heavy duty construction plus extensive creative and programming abilities.
Pros: Robust metal frame built for frequent quilting. Huge variety of utility and decorative stitches. Unlocks customization options.
Cons: LCD interface less user-friendly than touchscreens. Noisy operation compared to other computerized machines.
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
3. Juki TL-2000Qi
Experienced quilters who prefer the precision of mechanical machines will love the industrial-quality Juki TL-2000Qi. The aluminum die cast arm and bed provides skip-free sewing even at high speeds up to 1500 SPM. Automatic threading, retractable feed dogs, and a gyro balanced system resulting in vibration-free operation makes this Juki a quilting Cadillac. It’s built to withstand the rigors of constant quilting work with ease.
Best For: Advanced quilters who appreciate the fine-tuned performance of mechanical sewing machines and understand how to make manual adjustments.
Pros: Premium construction made for longevity. Smooth, vibration-free stitching. Juki is the undisputed leader in mechanical sewing.
Cons: Manual adjustments like tension required. Significantly higher price than computerized machines. Limited built-in stitches.
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4. Janome MC9900 Horizon Longarm Quilting Machine
Once you experience quilting on a professional-grade longarm like the Janome Horizon, you’ll never go back! With a generous 12″ throat capacity, even the biggest quilts glide smoothly under the needle. Stitch regulation maintains perfect uniformity no matter your speed. The precision handles offer superior control for free motion work. Gain efficiency with the stitch counter, pre-programmed patterns, and on-screen guides. Serious quilters will love the high-end accurate stitching this longarm machine provides.
Best For: Passionate quilters ready to invest in next-level quilting efficiency. The longarm configuration speeds up all projects.
Pros: Loaded with specialized features to make quilting silky smooth. Huge throat capacity. Stitch regulation provides precision.
Cons: Significant financial investment. Steep learning curve. Large footprint.
Our Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Quilting Machine FAQs
For those in the market for a quilting sewing machine, a few key questions commonly arise:
What’s the difference between a quilting vs. standard sewing machine?
Quilting machines feature wider throats, larger work areas, and specialty quilting feet. They’re optimized for thick quilt seams and fabric layers – features lacking in basic home sewing machines.
Should I get a mechanical or computerized quilting machine?
Most quilters prefer mechanical machines for their durability and lack of motherboards/electronics that could fail. However, computerized models offer great built-in stitch variety and customization abilities. It comes down to personal preference.
What makes free motion quilting easier?
Retractable feed dogs enable free hand motion. Hand cranks or stitch regulation provide speed control. An open throat or long arm configuration gives ample surrounding workspace. These features improve free motion quilting ease.
Is a longarm quilting machine worth it for a casual quilter?
Longarms represent a major investment meant for frequent quilters wanting high-volume efficiency. Casual quilters won’t get the value from a longarm setup that they would from a quality mid-range quilting machine.
Can I use a quilting machine for regular sewing too?
Absolutely! A quilting sewing machine has all the functionality required for garment sewing, crafts, home decor and more. Quilting machines are optimized for thick fabrics, but handle lighter fabrics with ease.
I hope these FAQs have provided helpful insight into selecting the ideal quilting sewing machine for your needs!
Start Quilting Today!
As you can see, choosing a quilting sewing machine is an investment – financially and for your creative spirit. Take time to consider your experience level, project size, and features needed. Then select a quality machine that fits within your budget.
I hope this guide has armed you with the knowledge to shop confidently. Visit a specialty sewing retailer or browse top rated models online. Before you know it, you’ll be churning out gorgeous quilted creations with ease and efficiency! Happy quilting!