After learning how to sew, it is natural to want to learn how to quilt too.
However, you will need a good quilting machine for that.
There’s no need to ask your mommy or grandma to find the best quilting machine for you.
You can do that on your own if you know how to choose a sewing machine for quilting.
The task might seem a tad bit intimidating to the first-timers, considering the sea of choices available.
No need to panic, though. This article has got your back. You will land on the right product before the day ends once you have read it till the end.
How to Choose a Sewing Machine for Quilting?
This buying guide contains those must-have features that you should consider while choosing a sewing machine for quilting.
The first and most important factor is to go over your needs when selecting a quilting machine.
If you plan to switch to quilting occasionally for a change of taste, then there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a specialized quilting machine. A simpler model or a combo machine will serve you just fine.
However, if you’re adept at quilting or ambitious to become one, consider picking a higher-end professional model.
Tip: A quilting machine that strikes a balance between a lightweight and portable model and a full-fledged heavy-duty unit will prove ideal for both learning classes as well as regular home use.
Regular Quilting Machine or Long Arm Machine
Your intentions will lead you to two types of sewing machines: Regular Quilting Machine and Long Arm Machine.
Regular Quilting Machine: This type contains a 7-inch arm. It is perfect for free motion quilting. Besides, it allows users complete control over stitch length. Also, you can easily guide the quilt in the desired direction with your hand.
A regular quilting machine is also budget-friendly. Therefore, it is ideal for beginners and hobby quilters.
Long Arm Machine: This type is equipped with a 10 – 14 foot frame to easily tackle thick quilts. Its speed and ease of use are also exemplary so that you can create several large and high-quality quilts every day with minimal effort.
However, they’re top-notch machines that cost a fortune and are thereby suitable for advanced and serious quilters.
You don’t need a plethora of stitches, most of which are not even used in ages.
Three stitches are indispensable: straight stitch, blanket stitch, and zigzag stitch with adjustable length and width.
If your selected model contains a few decorative stitches, that’s cherry on the top.
Those extra stitches will help you decorate your quilting projects artistically.
Sewing Machine Feet
Like stitches, three feet are a must-have for a quilting machine: a walking foot, a ¼” foot, and a darning foot – also known as a quilting foot. Some generous brands include these three feet in a package.
Feed Dog Lever
Try to find a model with a lever to lower the feed dogs. This feature makes quilting a breeze. Otherwise, you’ll have to place a separate cover over the feed dogs to pull them down.
Get a machine with the largest throat space possible. Throat having broad width will allow you to easily do machine quilting on quilt tops of larger beddings.
Large sewing Bed
Go for a model having wide bed space to smoothly piece together or quilt large projects. A sewing machine with a small bed space will only accommodate mini quilts good for babies or pets.
A quilting machine that comes with an extension table is even better.
Having a speed control feature will bring more convenience. It will enable you to drive the machine at a speed you can comfortably handle to avoid spoiling your craft.
You can either bring it down to a turtle’s pace to carry out applique work or run it at a bullet train’s speed to quickly sew long borders.
Some Additionals Features for Regular Quilting Machines
If you pick a regular quilting machine, look for the following extra features for added convenience.
- Alterable Needle Position (Right/Left, Up/Down)
- Pivot Ability
- Free Motion Quilting
Some Additional Features for Long Arm Option
When you choose a long arm machine, make sure it comes with the following components.
- Stitch adjustments
- Frame adjustments
- Capable of upgrading, especially if you select a computerized machine
- Machine’s weight
Brand to Choose
Whether you pick a beginner’s model or a high-end one, you will come across dozens of brands to choose from. Going for a renowned brand is essential because it’s a promise of reliability.
Brands like Brother, Juki, Singer, Grace, Janome, Bernina are popular for manufacturing durable and reliable quilting machines. You can go through their arsenal to pick a model that fits your bill.
Price & Warranty
It boils down to your budget range in the end. A quilting machine can cost you as low as a couple of hundred dollars or as high as 5 – 10 grands.
Simpler and less fancy models fall under the first category, whereas long arm design falls in the second group.
Fancy models are tempting, but you should invest in a model befitting your skill level.
Warranty will also help in your decision. Most machines have a warranty of around 25 years, which is pretty decent. You will find lifetime warranties in many long arm machines.
Be mindful of the fact that wear and tear related issues aren’t covered in a lifelong warranty. Therefore, spend money on a product that suits both your budget and work needs.
We have said all that needed to be said. It’s time to wrap up the show. This buying guide gives you a simple formula.
Applying it to your search will help you pick the quilting machine best for you.
I am sure you will not get intimidated during your next purchase once you go through the must-have factors.
Whether you plan to quilt occasionally or pursue it seriously, there’s a model for you out there. It’s time to start your hunt to find the one made for you.