(Updated for 2019)
Table of Contents
- 1 How We Chose
- 2 Comparison Chart
- 3 Best Sewing Machine for Quilting-Juki TL-2010Q Sewing Machine
- 4 Most Powerful-Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 5 Top Choice for Pro Use-Janome Memory Craft 6300 Sewing & Quilting Machine
- 6 Budget Buy-Singer Quantum Stylist 9980 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
- 7 Beginner-Friendly-Singer Modern Quilter 8500Q Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 8 Sewing Machine Buyer’s Guide
- 9 Sewing Machine Styles
- 10 Budget
- 11 Stitches
- 12 Stitch Length
- 13 Attachments
- 14 Straight Stitch Plate
- 15 Motor
- 16 Best Features for Beginners
- 17 Best Features for the Pros
- 18 Extra Features
- 19 Stitch Functions and Patterns to Look for
Since finding the best sewing machine for quilting can take a lot of time and research considering there are so many models to choose from, we’ve done all of the hard work for you.
We’ve found the top five models on the market that are not only incredibly powerful but fast to boot.
How We Chose
Looking at the dozens of leading models on the market and narrowing our choices down to the top five wasn’t easy.
First, we paid close attention to consumer feedback, from real quilters and sewers who have experience with the latest models. Each of the models we chose has something special to offer, whether it’s more accessories, speed, a more powerful motor, or it’s offered at a more budget-friendly price. Our choices were very diverse and designed to meet the needs of both beginner and pro sewers and quilters.
Next, we looked at speed, or each machine’s stitch per minute rating. If you want a pro-quality sewing machine that can save you serious time on each project, then this spec really matters.
Next up was durability. Can a machine handle heavy daily use? Is it powerful enough to work on a large quilt for several hours at a time without overheating?
Features, Extras and Stitch Options
Of course, features and extras was also an area we checked out, but ultimately, the amount of stitch options or extras is more a matter of personal preference. In fact, many pro quilters prefer a more basic model, such as a straight stitch machine because these machines tend to be faster and more powerful.
On the other hand, those of you who love getting really creative with stitching styles often prefer models that offer more variety.
Because of this, we decided to include both styles of machines on our top five list.
Pricing was our final stop. While price will be an important factor for most buyers, it shouldn’t be the determining one. Although, we do understand that if you’re on a tight budget, you’re going to need a quilting machine that’s affordably priced. So, we chose models that are available in a variety of price points, so you can find a top-selling sewing machine that will work with your budget.
Now, let’s begin by going over a brief summary of the five leading models of sewing machines on the market, starting off with our top-rated product by Juki.
This is a straight stitch machine that’s incredibly fast, powerful, and efficient. Best of all, it’s a model you can definitely rely on and one you can use for your home-based business. It’s loaded with some great features and has an intuitive setup that makes it very beginner-friendly.
Now, let’s begin.
Last update on 2020-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Sewing Machine for Quilting-Juki TL-2010Q Sewing Machine
This Juki sewing machine is our top-rated product for a number of reasons. It comes loaded with some great features, but the design itself is very straightforward, making it a great choice for sewers and quilters of all skill levels. Despite the fact that this is a straight stitch machine, it still has a lot to offer in terms of speed, power, and overall quality. Ultimately, this model is considered one of the toughest on the market, which is what makes it a solid performer in our book.
Most Powerful-Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine
This Brother sewing machine is very versatile and comes loaded with great features including an automatic thread trimmer, knee lever, thread tension dial, and much more. This is another straight stitch only model that’s perfect for the avid quilter in need of a tough, reliable machine that can handle big projects.
Top Choice for Pro Use-Janome Memory Craft 6300 Sewing & Quilting Machine
This model by Janome comes loaded with some great features including sixty-six stitch options, an intuitive design, and several automatic features that make this model perfect for pro use. While this may not be the easiest quilting and sewing machine on the market, it’s the best choice for pros. A sewing machine the user can depend on and a model that’s perfect for a home-based quilting or sewing business, this quilting machine by Janome has it all.
Budget Buy-Singer Quantum Stylist 9980 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
The Quantum Stylist comes loaded with stitching options, sewing tools, feet, and a wide range of accessories that both the beginner and pro quilter will love. It’s very user-friendly but also offers a solid performance that shows us it’s a model you can really depend on. Reasonably priced, well-built, and a pleasure to use, Singer has done it again by creating a versatile model that won’t hit your wallet too hard.
Beginner-Friendly-Singer Modern Quilter 8500Q Sewing and Quilting Machine
The Modern Quilter is another model by Singer that we chose for our top five list. Not only is this machine packed with stitching options, but it offers an intuitive interface and setup that makes it one of the most beginner-friendly models you’ll find on the market. But just because it’s so easy to use doesn’t mean it’s not packing some serious power. This model offers a solid performance and comes equipped with a wide range of automatic features that make it incredibly easy to use, making it the perfect choice for beginners.
Sewing Machine Buyer’s Guide
Quilting involves sewing several layers of material together so that the result is a warmer, thicker blanket. Most quilts consist of a total of three layers. The first layer of the quilt is where the design is placed, the second layer is the wadding, which acts as the padding, and the third layer consists of the backing, which is what holds the wadding in place. Just like with basic sewing, the user can use a variety of stitch styles. However, most quilters will choose the basic running stitch.
Quilting by hand can be very time-consuming. If you want to forego this slow process, purchasing the best sewing machine for quilting can save you both time and money. This is especially true if you’ve decided to start up your own home-based quilting business.
Purchasing the best sewing machine for quilting can seem exciting and daunting at the same time. It’s hard to know what features to look for and how to even begin your search considering there are so many models on the market to choose from.
If you want to learn how to use a sewing machine for beginners, basic models are a great choice and often feature simple controls and accessories that are perfect for newbies. But if you want to learn how to make a baby quilt that’s pro-quality, for your new business, then you may need to opt for a more powerful model that can withstand heavy daily use.
But before you dive in and hit that buy now button, there are some factors you should consider in order to ensure you get the best model that can withstand heavy use and a machine that comes loaded with some great features.
Sewing Machine Styles
There are a few major types of sewing machines: short-arm, mid-arm, and long-arm. Obviously, the names of the machines are based on arm size. A long-arm model will have the longest frame and can measure anything from ten to fourteen inches in length. Most beginners don’t need such a heavy-duty model.
Short-arm and mid-arm models come equipped with an arm that measures in at nine to twelve inches. A mid-arm features a wider throat space, compared to a short-arm model, which typically comes with a throat space of seven inches. Both types of quilting sewing machines are good choices for beginners.
A sewing machine used for quilting should have a large frame and large bobbin, ample lighting, and quilting feet. They should also have a minimum work-space of nine inches.
Many modern models of sewing machines offer free-motion quilting as opposed to long arm.
Determining your budget is the first step toward choosing a model that’s right for you. There’s no point in checking out top of the line machines if you’re working with a very limited budget. So, make sure you decide on a budget and stick to it. There are plenty of great quality machines available at a reasonable price, but these models are usually lacking in features and accessories.
If you’re searching for a sewing machine that’s perfect for quilting, you need to think about stitching variety. Most sewing machines come equipped with zigzag and straight stitches, which will allow you to do pretty much anything you want to do with your new machine, including quilting.
The number of stitch options will depend on how you intend to use your machine. Some models can come with more than 200 stitch styles, but you’ll find that you’ll only use a few different styles of stitches on a regular basis.
While you may end up just using a zigzag stitch, the ability to adjust both the length and width of the stitches is definitely an invaluable feature to have. While most models offer variable stitch lengths and widths, there are some lower priced models that don’t, so make sure you check before you buy.
A selection of presser feet can make a lot of difference in terms of sewing speed, style, and ease of use. Because of this, it’s important to check out which attachments come with your machine and which ones you’ll need to buy separately.
A walking foot is used once all of the piecing work is finished. This foot has an unusual look and its designed to provide an extra set of feed dogs for the top of the fabric, while basic sewing techniques usually only require bottom feed dogs in order to pull the fabric through as the needle is stitching.
The fabric on top will start to slide or slip away from the bottom layers, with the addition of batting, causing the fabric to become offset. Adding another set of feed dogs or a grip at the top will allow you to smoothly pull the fabric through, preventing the material from slipping. The walking foot is also a great choice for other projects that require sewing multiple layers.
A ¼ foot is another essential attachment you’ll need for quilting. This type of foot typically comes with a bar located on the right side of the foot, which will prevent the fabric from slipping away from the needle. This type of foot also has an opening where the needle comes down in order to allow the needle to move to the right.
A free motion quilt foot is designed to quilt the batting, top fabric, and backing together once the piecing is finished. The feed dogs are lower, and the user will freely move the fabric under the foot as the machine gets to work stitching the thick layers together. The foot will work to apply intense pressure to the fabric in order to prevent the thread from becoming tangled.
But for basic sewing, a selection of different width feet can be perfect for switching between stitching styles and widths.
If the model you want to buy doesn’t come with the type of feet you need, make sure you can purchase these attachments separately. Many models have feet that clip off and on, which can save a lot of time if you often switch between feet.
Straight Stitch Plate
An intermediate quilter will want a straight stitch throat plate, which allows the quilter to piece smaller pieces of fabric while preventing the fabric from becoming sucked into the bobbin area. This type of plate usually comes with top of the line machines however, it can also be found as a separate attachment.
A heavy-duty motor will make quilting much easier, especially if you use heavier fabrics or leathers.
If you are going to be doing any free motion quilting, we recommend getting a machine with a stronger motor that can handle a minimum of 1000 stitches per minute.
Best Features for Beginners
Finding a sewing machine that’s beginner friendly is a must if you’re totally new to sewing and quilting. You’ll want a model that features a simple, straightforward design that makes it easy to use.
A beginner quilter should look for a model that can backstitch, comes equipped with a variety of stitch options, and features ample lighting. Other features that are a must for beginners include a full throat, which is the space between the needle and the machine, which can accommodate larger quilts. The machine should provide uniform, high-quality stitches and offer a wide variety of both useful and decorative stitches.
Best Features for the Pros
A pro quilter will need a variety of options. First off, the machine should have both a full throat and a long arm, in order to accommodate advanced quilting techniques. The machine must also be both deeper and wider.
They should also search for a machine that allows them to change the stitch midstream. A free arm so they can use patterns and a strong thread tension that’s able to stitch through the minimum of four layers of material is also a must.
Advanced quilters will also need an adjustable stitching width, which will allow them to create their own unique designs, a clear base, a top loading bobbin, and a fully automatic needle.
- Knee lift: This feature may be necessary for some users, but this can depend on experience level. A knee lift provides the sewer with hands-free control while they’re sewing, and it’s typically used when quilting.
- Thread cutter: Just a simple press of a button and the sewing machine will cut the bottom and top threads for you
- Tension control: A great feature for beginners because it takes most of the guesswork out of tension adjustments. The machine automatically changes the tension level based on the type of fabric or stitch you’re using.
- Dual-feed: An extra feeding system that will work on the top layer of fabric, allowing multiple layers to evenly feed from the bottom and top. This isn’t the same thing as a walking foot because it’s integrated into the sewing machine and isn’t a separate attachment.
- Adjustable pin: This is perfect if you need to place a spool in a horizontal position to allow it to properly unwind.
- Speed control: This feature will allow you to put a limit on stitch speed. Some models will offer more speed options than others.
- Extension table: Some models will come equipped with an extension table which provides a larger platform for quilting and sewing. This is a perfect feature for free motion quilting.
- Adjustable presser foot: This feature allows the user to decrease or increase the level of pressure that’s applied by the presser foot. It can come in handy when you’re doing free motion quilting.
- Buttonhole stitch: You really never know when you need to make a buttonhole, and with an automatic buttonhole stitch, it’s pretty easy.
Stitch Functions and Patterns to Look for
Straight stitch with tie-off: The straight stitch with auto tie-off function is probably the most important and basic stitch a machine should have. The advantages that come with using a machine as opposed to sewing by hand include durability and speed. With this feature, once you press the foot control, the sewing machine can sew four stitches in reverse and four forward and continue to sew until you release the foot control. Once you press the reverse button at the end of the seam, a sewing machine sews the four stitches in reverse. Without this type of feature, you will need to manually pull the top thread end under the tie a knot with the bobbin thread end at the end and the beginning of every seam. This can be very time consuming and the stitches won’t hold as tight as they will with the auto tie-off function.
Blindhem stitch and foot: This feature is perfect if you need to hem skirts or pants or curtains.
Drop feed dog: If you plan on doing free motion quilting then this feature is important. The button will lower the feed dog to the chamber, allowing you to move the fabric with your hands instead of the machine’s feed dog.
Twin needle: This function can be used to sew decorative stitches or sew through tougher materials. While you can always stitch two times to achieve the effect, this feature does it perfectly parallel the first time.