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Quilting machines are large, expensive and usually only convenient for professional quilters who have the space and money to invest in all of the equipment needed; so what should the rest of us use?
You guessed it – a sewing machine that is also capable of quilting!
There are plenty of great machines out there to match a variety of quilting needs and to fit a variety of budgets, so in our guide to the best sewing machine for quilting, we will be highlighting the top ten models for you.
Let’s get started.
Things to Consider
Before you head down and compare the machines, we felt it was important for you to consider the following things before you make your final decision.
- Skill Level. Make sure that you choose a machine that matches your skill level.
If you’re new to sewing and quilting, then a full-optional machine that costs $600 or more is probably going to discourage you since you don’t know how to use it.
We suggest you start small and work your way up as you build your confidence. You can always sell the smaller, simpler machine and upgrade to something better at a later stage!
- How Often You’ll Use It. If you only sew or quilt occasionally, then setting your budget at around the $300 mark is probably a good idea.
Even as a skilled quilter, it’s rather a pity to have such an expensive machine sitting around and collecting dust and as many who sew already know, machines need to be used regularly in order to keep them running smoothly. Idle machines can develop problems and end up at the shop, which means more money spent repairing or servicing them.
Top 10 Sewing Machines for Quilting Ultimate Table
Consider Throat Width
The throat is where the machine curves and where most quilters have a hard time fitting their quilt.
Notice the difference between these two models:
If you plan to quilt larger pieces, then you should definitely opt for a machine like the one on the left that has a wider throat.
Large quilts just won’t fit in the area allotted on machines like the one on the right.
You’ll Need the Right Feet!
One of the most important things to remember when you purchase a sewing machine is that you might need to purchase separate presser feet that are specifically designed for quilting (if the machine didn’t already come with them).
- Walking Foot. This helps feed that thicker, bulkier material through the machine smoothly and efficiently.
Regular pressure feet included with the machine aren’t able to handle the fabric and the batting in the way that you need, so a walking foot is crucial to your success.
This one from Singer fits a variety of not only Singer models but also other brands of sewing machines such as Brother, Juki, Janome, Pfaff and more (see product for details).
- Blind Hem Foot. Some of you may just need to “stitch in the ditch” and outline the edges of each seam on your entire quilt surface, and for that, you can use a simple blind hem foot.
Your machine may already include it, but if not, you can purchase a universal one like this that is designed to fit quite a variety of sewing machine brands.
Top 3 Best Sewing Machine for Quilting Reviews
Your idea of the best sewing machine for quilting may be different from ours, but here are the top three contenders to help you decide which is best for your needs and budget.
Those with serious (or at least semi-serious) quilting intentions who are looking for a solid machine that will be used on a regular basis should invest in a Brother PQ1500SL.
Quilters love that this super speedy machine can reach up to 1500 stitches per minute, it has an auto threader, a needle positioner and built-in thread trimmer; another cool feature is the knee lever that allow you to lift the pressure foot. The four feed dog settings allow you to maintain control over the fabric and the fact that it includes a wide variety of feet that quilters will need is also another reason to love this machine.
We mentioned that throat width is something to take into consideration and this is definitely one that will allow you to fit the thicker, bulkier quilts on the right hand side. They also provide you with an extension table so you can work on wider areas without the quilt drooping down over the edge of the machine or the table you’re working on.
Overall, this isn’t a cheap machine but it is fairly priced among other machines and brands with similar features. We highly recommend it!
If you’re new to sewing or quilting and only plan to work on smaller projects (table runners, baby quilts or craft projects), then a machine like this is fine.
The HC1850 features 130 built-in stitches, it comes with an extension table just like the previous model, you get a DVD that will show you how to use it and it comes with all of the basic feet and accessories you’ll need to get started.
The one thing it’s missing is a walking foot, so head up into the “Feet” section above and you’ll find one you can purchase separately!
You can accomplish quite a few things with this machine and it isn’t too expensive; two things we love to see in one machine!
This Juki model is tough competition for the best sewing machine for quilting on our list (the Brother).
It has similar features (an automatic thread cutter, extension table, wide throat, etc.)
One handy feature is the needle down or needle up button, which allows you to choose whether or not you want the needle to stay in the down position every time you remove your foot from the pedal (which is handy for quilters since you’ll need to adjust things frequently).
This is best for those of you who plan to quilt because it does not come with a variety of stitches. This is a straight stitch only machine (no zigzag).
If you have other sewing projects that require a straight stitch only, then of course this would be fine, but just be aware of this before you purchase! Juki is a very reliable brand with a solid motor and parts, probably better than the Brother.