While most sewing machines can be used for quilting, the most versatile quilting machines are those that come with special features that allow users to work on bigger quilting projects and finish in a faster, easier way.
That being said, considering the extensive number of quilting machine brands on the market, beginners might initially feel confused when it comes to buying a model that suits their needs and expectations. Therefore, it is recommended to properly take the time and effort to research various machines in order to find the best one for your needs, especially since investing in the wrong one can certainly be detrimental to your project.
Here are a few handy tips to help you find the best sewing machine for quilting that will suit not only your budget, but also your needs and level of expertise:
Analyze Your Budget
It is important to establish your budget before you start browsing through the different machines. Bear in mind that your budget should be established depending on how often you’re planning to use your quilting machine: indeed, a basic inexpensive model will certainly get the job done but it wouldn’t really suited for everyday use. By this token, while beginners can start out with basic models, more experienced users might feel better with a pricier machine that can easily sustain heavy duty use.
Some machines even come with aluminum casing to protect it from scratches and other forms of wear and tear. Your budget will also determine the individual features that accompany the machine: indeed, expensive quilting machines are normally equipped with a fast motor that can deliver over 1000 stiches per minute. If you can afford to splurge, it’s also a good idea to purchase a quilting machine that comes with additional features such as a wide table, different stitch designs and the likes. Of course, if you’re on a limited budget, you can still go for a budget-friendly that normally come with all the basic features.
To help you choose a sewing machine for quilting appropriate for your budget range, we’ve put together a list with the top models by price:
|Brother CS6000i||Laura Ashley CX155LA||Singer 9960||Brother PQ1500SL
A wide table is absolutely crucial if you’re going to indulge in big quilting projects. Indeed, beginners often make the mistake of buying an inexpensive machine with a smallish work table to save up on space: this can make your project far more difficult since you’ll need to repeatedly fold and refold your fabric to be able to quilt. A smaller work table can also lengthen your project time since you’ll only be able to sew smaller inches of fabric at a time.
If space is a major concern for you, you might want to check out quilting machines that come with detachable work surfaces. This feature allows you to very easily set up or remove the work surface according to the project that you’re currently working on. While specialized quilting machines almost always come with wider work tables, this is not the case with regular sewing machines. In such cases, it may be a good idea to invest in a separate and detachable table.
Needle positioning is another important feature that you should look out for when shopping for your quilting machine. An extremely handy albeit underrated feature, needle positioning can especially come in quite handy if your machine comes with zigzag stitch designs. This option also provides you with the perfect angle for sewing, which consequently allows you to place your stitches exactly where you want them. With an adjustable needle positioning feature, quilters can even use the guide on their presser feet to adjust the needle, hence ensuring a professional and practically flawless finish.
Drop Feed/Free Motion
The drop feed/free motion is found in practically every sewing machine that’s designed for quilting. Indeed free motion stitching is quite a crucial element in every quilting project since it provides you with complete control over your stitches. It is also nice to be able to adjust the feed dogs depending on your fabric’s heaviness so that you won’t have to struggle keeping the upper and lower fabrics synchronized.
With a machine that offers free motion sewing, users can easily move their fabrics across the work table in rhythm to the machine’s speed. Without the free motion sewing feature, this can be quite a tricky task to master which is why it’s quite important to look for this feature when you’re shopping for your quilting machine. The free motion sewing feature can also be used to create a variety of curls, swirls and other such designs while moving your project in just about any direction that you want to.
There are a plethora of additional features that you could look out for when shopping for your quilting machine. For example, some models even come with a special quilting and presser foot to facilitate your project. This feature can come in quite handy because it is designed to evenly feed every layer of fabric, hence enabling you to complete your project as quickly as possible. The presser foot can also be used for additional purposes such as making rag quilts, plaids, piercing with slippery fabrics or even to attach bindings to your quilts.
Most machines also come with specialized quilting stitches that will not only embellish your project. However, it is with more expensive models that you’ll be able to enjoy of over 100 built-in stitch designs to easily embellish your projects.
Other nice features to consider are the auto needle threader, one-step buttonholes, top loading bobbin and adjustable tension.