Amy Heard

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What To Look For In A Sewing Machine For Quilters

Shopping for a sewing machine to quilt is a serious affair. There are so many things to think about before you can decide on a specific model. Do not let this standing between you and the desire to quilt. Landing the best sewing machine for quilting is possible if you know how.

A - Sewing Machine Features

Stitch Variety

Some sewing machine brands use the number of stitch types as their product’s selling point. While this feature can be useful for garment-making sewists and those who love to decorate, quilters do not always care much about how many types of stitches a machine can perform. The reason here is quilters will mostly use straight stitch anyway.

When you keep the number of stitches out of the way, you can narrow the list down to the best basic sewing machine like here and come up with the best quality sewing machines.

So in short, when you are considering two machines, do not let the number of stitches be the deciding factor.

Harp Space

A large harp space is better for quilters

The harp space has another name called the throat space. That is the amount of space in between where the motor is housed and the needle.

This might not be so important for regular sewists but quilters will take this really seriously. Just think about it. Quilters usually go from the center and sew to the sides, so a lot of time they will have to fit half of the project into that space.

A machine with a small harp space will not accommodate a large piece of quilt and makes it harder for you to maneuver the project. My latest upgrade was to switch to a machine with a larger harp space, so bear in mind this feature when you shop for yours.

If you are serious about quilting and can stretch your budget enough, consider buying a machine with a throat space of 8” or longer. I know not many people can afford to pay nearly $1000 but if you can, you are in for a real pleasure.

For those who cannot that kind of machines, there are tips you can apply to make use of your domestic sewing machines to quilt large projects.

Automatic Thread Cutter

I know some machines can cut the thread automatically when you press a button or the foot pedal. This feature can save you a ton of time and thread.

Knee Lift

This tool will stick out of the sewing machine and is triggered by your knee. When you give it a push, the device will lift the presser foot without your taking your hands off the project.

You may not see the point of this tool right away if you are a beginner, but for those who have been quilting for some time; this is a life-saver.

Speed Control

New quilters may have difficulty keep up with the speed of the machine when they first start out. For free-motion quilting, you will appreciate a machine that allows you to slow down or speed up when you need.

Needle Up Or Down

This might not sound like a big deal but it actually is. Different machines will have different needle position when the machine’s motor stops running. It can be either up or down.

For quilters, opt for one with the needle down, which can increase accuracy. A machine that allows you to decide where the needle land is also a good choice. To know which machines have the down default needle position, read these Expert Reviews On What Is The Best Sewing Machine For Beginners You Should Buy to find out.

Presser Foot Pressure

The presser foot’s main function is to keep the project in place when you sew. An ideal machine for quilters will let you adjust how much pressure you want. Thicker projects call for less pressure and so on.

Pay attention to presser foot pressure on quilting machine

Do not get me wrong, I do not mean that you will have to deal with thick fabrics. What I want to say here is most quilting projects have 3 layers, the top, the bottom, and the batting. With this many fabric on top of each other, you will want a machine that has this feature.

If you cannot adjust this setting on your machine, you may run into dragging or puckering issues when you quilt.

B - Budget

There are a lot of sewing machines available on the market right now at many price levels. When it comes to quilting, I do not recommend going after the cheapest.

Please know that a cheap machine is an entry-level machine and vice versa. The one you want is something that can sew through all three layers of fabrics with ease. Other machines might put you through constant problems with tension.

What you want is something dependable so that you can focus on creating beautiful quilting projects and are free from technical problems. Quilters, you do not want anything under $400, trust me.

C - Where To Buy A Sewing Machine


Where you get the machine from matters more than you might think.

Think about it, you buy a machine from a dealer; he or she will also be the one who teaches you how to use it. The dealers will probably service the machine if it runs into a problem that you cannot fix yourself. This is more of a relationship.

I do not mean that you should not buy online. As long as the dealers offer the kind of service that you are comfortable with, there is no reason why you should not buy from them.

Test The Machine

If you can go to the shop yourself, test the machine you intend to buy yourself. A machine might sound good when you read the review but it might not the one for you when you actually use it. This step is even more crucial if you are shopping for your best first sewing machine. And if you do, go to this site to find some suggestions.


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