Comprehensive Guide To Find The Best Sewing Machine For Quilting 2017
Having a regular sewing machine at home is always handy. But if you’re thinking of making your very own quilts or unleashing your creativity by stitching layers upon layers of fabric, you’ll need a good sewing machine for quilting.
With the right machine, you can set your artistic side loose and quilt through the fabric and stitch different designs. You don’t have to do it the old-fashioned, hand-stitched way either because the best quilting sewing machine will do the work for you.
This guide will help you find the best sewing machine for quilting 2017, focusing on the important things that you need to look for.
We have handpicked some of the best options for you – whether you’re a novice or an expert. There are pros and cons of each machine, and reading through the reviews will help you pick what suits you best.
- 1 What is the best quilting machines for beginners
- 1.1 1) SINGER 7469Q Confidence Quilter Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.2 2) Brother Designio Series DZ2400 Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.3 3) Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.4 4) Brother XR3774 Full-Featured Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 1.5 5) Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Sewing Machine
- 1.6 6) Laura Ashley Limited Edition Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine CX155LA
- 2 Quilting Machines for Medium to Advanced Quilters
- 3 What is the quilting machine and why do you need one?
- 4 What is your purpose for buying a quilting machine?
- 5 Buyer’s guide to find the top rated sewing machines for quilting
- 5.1 • Quiltable workspace
- 5.2 • Stitch consistency: Does it come with stitch regulator?
- 5.3 • User-friendliness
- 5.4 • Quality of motor
- 5.5 • Variable speed settings
- 5.6 • Lowered feed dogs for free motion quilting
- 5.7 • Stitches
- 5.8 • Pivot function
- 5.9 • Feet for quilting
- 5.10 • Lighting on sewing surface
- 5.11 • Bobbin size
- 5.12 • Thread cutter
- 5.13 • Table sliding feature
- 5.14 • LED
- 5.15 • Needle up/down
- 5.16 • Freehand system
- 5.17 • Warranty and after-sales support
- 5.18 • Noise
- 5.19 • Customization
- 5.20 • Thread adjustment
- 5.21 • Test drive
- 6 What are the advantages of a good quilting sewing machine?
- 7 What are disadvantages of the long-arm quilting machine?
- 8 How much do quilting machines cost?
What is the best quilting machines for beginners
If you’re new to quilting, it’s best if the machine you get has all the essential features that you need. Having the best sewing machine for quilting beginners will make it so much easier for you to learn the ropes, and will guide you as you master the quilting process.
If you get something for an intermediate or high level of difficulty, you might only end up frustrated.
So for starters, take a look at these quilting machine reviews for beginners:
1) SINGER 7469Q Confidence Quilter Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
True to its name, the SINGER 7469Q is a great confidence builder for beginners because of its computerized sewing ability and other features.
With 98 built-in stitches, seven automatic one-step buttonholes, an automatic needle threader, a drop & sew bobbin system, and a programmable needle up/needle down system, this sewing machine gives you enough room for flexibility and creativity.
The SINGER is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to sewing machines, and this isn’t an exception. You get a heavy-duty metal frame, standard accessories, as well as the online support and tutorial videos that you need to get started.
It also comes with 1/4 Inch Foot, Open-Toe Foot, Darning & Embroidery Foot, Even Feed Foot and an extension table, which allows you to use it as both sewing and quilting machine. It’s also customizable, as it can quickly adjust the stitch width and length.
While this has positive reviews, some of the drawbacks mentioned for this machine are the fact that it doesn’t come with a case, it’s 110-voltage that’s the only ideal for the US and Canadian use.
2) Brother Designio Series DZ2400 Sewing and Quilting Machine
Another great option for beginners, the Brother Designio Series DZ2400 is also a computerized machine that you can use for both sewing and quilting.
For more creativity and flexibility, this machine has even more built-in stitches for you to choose from, totaling to 185 (130 sewing and 55 alphanumerics).
It also has 12 sewing and quilting feet, eight automatic one-step buttonholes, a maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute, and easy threading.
Aside from giving you the full range of accessories that you need, this also has a larger workspace of 5.7” x 3.8”, and this makes it decent for quilting or for sewing larger garments.
The sewing area is brightly lit, and the LCD gives you all the information that you need, with only one touch required for easy stitch adjustment.
It is a feature-rich sewing and quilting machine, so users are generally happy with this purchase.
Lack of Automatic thread cutter
No presser foot pressure control.
You can read the full review of Brother DZ2400 here.
3) Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
The HC1850 is another useful computerized sewing and quilting machine from Brother. It has 130 built-in stitches, 55 alphanumeric ones for monogramming, eight one-step buttonholes, and a large backlit LCD screen.
It comes with many different presser feet, one of which is the quilting foot that’s needed by quilters.
This is useful for quilters because it also comes with a detachable wide quilting table and 14 quilting functions. It also equipped you with the ability to do free-motion quilting.
You get an instructional DVD, a bilingual user’s manual, free support and 25-year limited warranty. The quick-set bobbin and automatic needle threader also make everything so much easier.
If you’re looking at quilting bigger pieces of fabric, you might find the workspace is not big enough, and the presser foot doesn’t raise much to accommodate the larger projects. Also, if you’re into monogramming, the letters cannot be adjusted to be bigger.
4) Brother XR3774 Full-Featured Sewing and Quilting Machine
Like the other Brother options, the XR3774 is also a sewing and quilting machine that’s easy to use and quite jam-packed with features. It has a wide table that’s suitable for quilts, and what’s great about it is it’s the least expensive of all the sewing/quilting machine options from Brother.
It has lesser stitch functions compared to other Brother options, but you can still do a lot with the 74, which includes 37 unique built-in stitches.
It also has eight sewing feet and an automatic one-step buttonholer, as well as a built-in needle threader and top drop-in bobbin that’s resistant to jams.
Because this is the most affordable and has the basic stitches, it’s ideal for those who are just learning to sew or quilt. It’s lightweight and easy to bring around.
Lack of thread cutter
No carrying case either.
Here is our review of this machine.
5) Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Sewing Machine
Of Project Runway fame, XR9500PRW is another good option for beginner quilters. It’s a limited edition sewing machine so if you think this is the one for you, waste no time.
This one is ideal for quilting because it comes with an oversized wide table for larger fabrics and projects. Unlike the other Brother sewing machines, this one comes with its hardcover, so you don’t have to look for one.
With this sewing machine, you get 100 built-in stitches (utility, decorative, and heirloom) and 140 stitch functions, so you get great flexibility.
You also get the standard needed accessories, together with a needle position button, an automatic needle threading system, and a super easy bobbin-winding system.
The only qualm that quilters, in particular, have about this is that while it’s a great sewing machine overall, it’s made more of plastic. Also, while it comes with seven other accessory feet, it doesn’t have a walking foot.
Read our full review of the Brother XR9500PRW here.
6) Laura Ashley Limited Edition Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine CX155LA
Another limited edition option from Brother, the Laura Ashley CX155LA is computerized and even has basic monogramming capabilities.
With a suitable range of 155 built-in stitches, eight one-step automatic buttonholes, and 55 alphanumeric stitches, you can do so many wonders with this machine.
You also get an LCD screen display that clearly shows you your settings, as well as a complete set of designer accessories to make the process easier.
Other helpful features include an advanced needle threading system and a jam resistant Quick-set drop-in top bobbin, but perhaps the best thing about this machine though is the extra wide table that you get.
With a brightly-lit workspace that gives you more space than others, this machine is better for not just for quilting but for working with large projects.
While this is one of the factors that makes the sewing machine unique, one limiting factor is the design. It’s great if you’re into feminine and floral, but if you want something more neutral and professional-looking, then this may not be the machine for you.
Quilting Machines for Medium to Advanced Quilters
The following quilting sewing machine reviews are helpful for medium to advanced quilters who are looking for the tool with the right level of difficulty and more functions:
1) SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist
SINGER 9960 gives you 600 built-in stitches and 19 presser feet to choose from.
You also get 13 automatic one-step buttonholes, an automatic thread cutter and needle threader, a needle up/needle down button, an automatic stitch length and width regulator, as well as a top drop-in bobbin system.
It also has an extension table that makes it ideal for quilters, as well as it comes with hardcover.
Aside from all of these attractive features, you get monogramming capabilities with five different fonts. As an advanced quilter, you know what you want. This machine offers stitch editing capabilities that help you get your desired pattern.
You also get an electronic auto pilot and speed control which give you more control and helps you achieve error-free stitches.
The thing you have to consider is that the 9960 model cannot be mounted on a cabinet.
Despite all those fancy features, it is still not as heavy duty as it should be.
All in all, you get a good quality machine that’s loaded with features but at a fraction of the price.
2) Brother PQ1500SL High-Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine
Another good option for intermediate level quilters is the PQ1500SL from Brother. This high-speed straight stitching machine can sew up to 1,500 stitches per minute, as well as a time-saving needle threader and thread cutter.
You also get four different feed dog settings, an adjustable pin feed mechanism, a knee lifter, and foot pressure adjustment.
The 12”x18” extension table is ideal for those who are quilting or working with larger fabrics because it gives you more room. The workspace is also pretty generous. It is bigger than most other sewing machines so you can work on larger quilts.
The easy-to-use quilting and walking foot are also great feet options that make this machine ideal for quilters.
While this has positive reviews and does the job well, there are some issues that advanced quilters have pointed out. When you’ve been sewing for years, you tend to get used to certain ways of doing things, and this is where you might encounter problems.
For one, everything, including the needle threading, is oriented to the left. It makes it counter-intuitive.
3) JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine
Another high-speed option with 1,500 stitches per minute is the JUKI TL-2000Qi sewing and quilting machine. A great thing about this machine is that even if it is high-power and high-speed, it works with low vibrations, and that’s thanks to the aluminum die cast arm.
This semi-industrial machine works with a one pedal control and has automatic thread cutting capabilities. It’s also famous for its stitch quality.
For quilters, you can quickly lower the feed dogs for free motion quilting, and it comes with the necessary feet you need – free motion foot, walking foot, and straight stitch quilting foot.
You also get ample of working space and a wide extension table. It is ideal even when you’re working with larger and thicker fabrics.
It is not a top loading bobbin machine, so if you’re used to that, then this may take some adjustment.
It’s also not computerized in any way, but it’s good for quilting. However, if you’re used to having a digital display on your machine, then you’ll have to go back to basics.
4) Juki HZL-F600 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
JUKI does have a computerized option, and that’s the HZL-F600. With 255 sewing patterns that range from utility and decorative to alphanumeric, you can come up with so many stitches using this sewing and quilting machine.
It has a large LCD that measures 33mm x 66mm, so you can quickly select your pattern and settings. You also get access to 16 industrial style button holes.
What makes this ideal for quilters is its workspace, which measures 8” x 12 ¼”. It is certainly larger than your average workspace. It will tackle your large quilt projects with ease.
You also get different snap-on presser feet, including walking, patchwork, open toe and more. It also has a knee lift lever as well as a handy quilt guide to make quilting even easier.
Because of all these great functionalities, users are quite happy with the performance of this machine.
The only issue some have is that they find the machine a bit noisier than most others, so if you’re sensitive to noise, then this is something you should take note of.
5) Janome 1600P-QC Straight-Stitch High-speed Machine
An even faster option is the Janome 1600P-QC, which can sew up to 1,600 stitches per minute. At this speed, it’s one of the fastest sewing and quilting machine available on the market, so you’ll need this if you have projects that need to be finished quickly.
There’s also a quick needle up/needle down feature to make things easier for you.
The best thing about this industrial-grade machine is that even if it gives you the power and capacity of professional machines, it’s engineered for quiet operation. It also has a sleek and stylish design that you wouldn’t normally expect from an industrial machine.
It’s ideal for quilting because of the bonus features, which include a ditch quilting foot and a heavy-duty darning foot with darning plate.
It doesn’t come with a walking foot, and the needle threader is not as automatic as you would like. Still, this is a good option for quilters and is certainly worth considering.
What is the quilting machine and why do you need one?
It’s important to understand how different a quilting machine is from a regular sewing machine, and why it’s exactly what you need.
In essence, a quilting machine is a special sewing machine that allows you to quilt. Quilting means working with multiple layers of fabric and sewing them together to create quilted material.
Typical quilting machines are massive – much bigger than your regular sewing machine – and that’s because you need a throat that’s about 20 or more inches long. Without this large opening, quilters will have a hard time maneuvering and working with the bulk of the material.
The good news is that there are all-around sewing machines that also give you the quilt function.
That means you don’t have to work with a huge quilting machine. You just need to make sure that your sewing machine has the capabilities to lower the feed dogs, free-motion quilting, a darning foot and a walking foot.
What is your purpose for buying a quilting machine?
Answering the question what is the best sewing machine for quilting, may not be as straightforward as you think because there are so many options available. What you need to consider first is why you’re buying the quilting machine in the first place.
Typical uses for a quilting machine that you may require quilting machine for:
• Making quilted fabrics
If you plan on making any quilted fabric, then you need a quilting machine. Quilts are often found in the bedroom, and bedcovers, in particular, look fantastic when quilted.
The multi-layer nature of quilts gives you extra warmth during winter. If you want a machine for this purpose alone, one with the straight line quilting function will suffice.
• Adding texture to your quilts
If you want to add texture to your quilts, a quilting machine with a free-motion foot will help unleash your artistic side.
Simple straight lines can add some depth and texture to your quilt, and you just have to experiment with the spacing.
For instance, with ‘matchstick quilting,’ you can stitch a series of straight lines and put them close together. It adds a different texture to your quilt.
• Appliqué projects
An appliquéd quilt is when you work with different shapes of fabrics and attach it to a background sheet. Various methods can be used for appliquéd quilts.
However, the key thing that makes this different is that instead of having to quilt various fabrics on top of another, all you have to do is appliqué pre-made (or you can make them yourself) shapes and designs onto the base layer.
• Quilt art
While most quilts are used either as a bedcover or as a blanket that you can wrap around yourself while you’re relaxing on your sofa, there are also those that create quilts to display.
If it’s for display, it most likely involves quilt art. Aside from free-motion quilting, some quilt art projects also require the appliqué method.
Buyer’s guide to find the top rated sewing machines for quilting
The best sewing machines for quilting are unlike the regular sewing machines you may be used to. Features to consider before you purchase quilting machine:
• Quiltable workspace
Remember that you’re working with larger fabrics, so you’ll need more horizontal and vertical space compared to regular sewing projects. You want the quilt to flow freely, so ideally, you need space of:
o small quilts – about 5” throat space
o medium quilts – 6”-8” throat space
o full-size quilts – about 9” throat space (and at least 12” table space)
• Stitch consistency: Does it come with stitch regulator?
The accuracy of your stitches is also important, and you want a machine that gives consistent stitches each time you use it. A good way to ensure this is to check if it comes with a stitch regulator.
Read reviews to gauge how easy it is to use the quilting machine. Ideally, you want your machine to be as user-friendly as possible. You don’t want to spend most your time reading the manual and trying to figure out what goes where.
• Quality of motor
A reliable quilting machine requires a solid motor, especially if you want to use it for heavy-duty work. The quality of your motor will also dictate how much power your machine has, and has a say in how durable your machine will be.
• Variable speed settings
If you have a variable speed motor, you can set your speed and pick a maximum even when the foot pedal is completely on the ground. It gives you maximum control over your speed even as you do free motion quilting.
• Lowered feed dogs for free motion quilting
Quilting requires lower feed dogs because you’ll need space for all that fabric. So it’s best to check beforehand if it’s possible to do this with your machine. Alternately, you can get a machine with a feed dog that’s already lowered.
You need a great single stitch or straight stitch throat plate. If you want to do appliqués, you need the zig-zag and blind hem stitches.
There are many other decorative stitches, and these come in handy if you’re into crazy and artistic quilts. For traditional quilting, however, all of these additional stitches aren’t necessary.
• Pivot function
The pivot function allows you to raise the presser foot a bit while the needle stays down in the fabric when stitching stops. It is ideal when you’re chain piecing and saves you time.
• Feet for quilting
From the walking foot and free motion foot to the edge stitching foot, you need to make sure that your sewing machine has feet appropriate for quilting.
A walking foot is best if you’re a beginner. An open toe darning foot gives you good visibility, and it is useful for bigger quilts. You should also check if you have feet that snap on and off easily.
• Lighting on sewing surface
Check if your sewing machine has a built-in light that illuminates the sewing surface because this allows you to view your work with precision and confidence.
• Bobbin size
The larger your bobbin, the better, because you would want to quilt continuously and not stop in the middle just to change the bobbin.
• Thread cutter
Having an automatic thread cutter is ideal because it saves you so much time and energy (you don’t want to mess with layers of fabric just to cut the thread).
• Table sliding feature
If you want your quilting machine to be portable and easier to carry around table sliding feature is a must. It makes storage easier as well and makes the free arm accessible.
Computerized machines come with a LED screen, and this helps you note your stitch type, speed, and the other settings that you have chosen.
This digital display can also come very handy if you don’t want to change the settings each time manually. It also tells you if your thread has run out.
• Needle up/down
The automatic needle up/needle down feature can be helpful because it saves you time from having to either use the foot pedal or manually position the needle in the down position using your hand wheel.
If you have this feature, all you need to do is press a button. The needle up/down feature is especially vital when it comes to putting together patchwork quilts.
• Freehand system
Higher-end quilting machines come with a freehand system that allows you to raise or lower the presser foot with your knee. It frees your hand and saves you time and energy as you drop the feed dogs and release the upper thread tension.
• Warranty and after-sales support
You must check the warranty agreement and whether or not service and support are easily reachable. It’s also good to check if the company can give you additional installation support.
Sewing machines can be very noisy, and this could be very bothersome indeed. Some machines, however, are made to be extra quiet (or at least quieter than most), and this could be something that you can benefit from.
The ability to customize is important for quilting because it entails more creativity than normal stitching. Check if you can customize stitch length, width, space, and other settings. Higher end machines can even secure or save your customized stitches for you.
• Thread adjustment
Check is it easy to adjust thread tension because it is also critical in quilting.
• Test drive
It might be worth doing a test drive of the machine so that you get the feel of it. Looking at the features and reading reviews will be helpful, but there’s nothing quite like trying it out for yourself at a trade show or the actual store.
What are the advantages of a good quilting sewing machine?
You know you have the best quilting sewing machine 2017 in your hands when you’re enjoying the following benefits:
• Makes quilting hassle-free
The point of a good machine is that it should do all (or most of) the work for you. Pick a machine that’s user-friendly and easy to operate, so that you can quilt with no hassle. You can even consider a computerized machine so that you don’t have to figure out the stitches.
• Comes with everything you need
If your machine is complete, you don’t have to bother with buying additional feet or any other applications. Because your purpose is quilting, in particular, you will need to ensure that it has all the features you need to quilt.
• Gives maximum flexibility for multiple needs
A good machine offers flexibility. If you have a quilting machine that allows you to do regular stitches and quilt at the same time, then imagine the many things you can do with it.
• Lasts you a long time
Check the power of the motor and the overall durability of the machine, as well as the credibility of the brand or the seller. You want a machine that you can rely on no matter how many quilts you’re making and no matter how thick the fabrics are. A good quilting machine is in it for the long haul and gives you great value for money.
• Gives you great support
Purchasing the machine is not enough. If you manage to land a good quilting machine, you should also get a good warranty agreement and great after-sales support.
What are disadvantages of the long-arm quilting machine?
There are those who think it’s still best to get a long-arm traditional quilting machine than a mid-arm sewing machine with quilting capabilities. If you’re making a king-sized quilt and you want it done in a day, a long-arm will do you good.
If you’re quilting regularly or for commercial purposes, then going for a long-arm machine is a valid option. That said, there are drawbacks to the long-arm quilting machine that you also need to consider:
• Takes space
You’ll need a lot of space (think 10 feet for a quilting frame!) if you’re thinking of working with a long-arm quilting machine, and not everyone has that luxury. If you’re bent on getting a long-arm sewing machine, making sure you can spare a big enough workspace.
• Much more expensive
Compared to your normal sewing and quilting machines, your long-arm quilting machine usually costs a bit more. The advantages are there, but you should also be prepared to shell out thousands of dollars for it.
• Difficult to operate
There are newer models available, but a traditional long-arm quilting machine will typically make you stand while you work, pushing and pulling a 20-50 pound quilting machine head. You will also need additional lighting.
How much do quilting machines cost?
The cost of quilting machines range from a few hundred dollars to almost a thousand dollars, and the choice would just depend on your budget and what features you’re looking for.
The lower end quilting machines can be as affordable as below $300, while the medium range machines cost around $300-600. For those who want the higher end quilting machines, you should be willing to spend around $900.
If you’re planning to quilt anytime soon, it’s important that you get the perfect quilting machine to help you out. With this comprehensive guide, you now know all the features to look for, and you even have a great list of options to start picking from.