Let’s talk about quilting machines, you and me. If you’re looking for a sewing machine to use for quilting it can become rather bewildering. There are so many makes and models, where do you begin. Well I’ll try and make it a little easier for you. In this post I’ve put together ten of the questions most often asked about quilting machines. I’ve sourced them from both Google, and from what I’ve been asked many times in the shop. So, shall we begin….
What sewing machine is best for quilting
There is no ‘best machine’ because no one model of sewing machine will suit every user. And so the real answer to the question is, which machine do you like best. All the manufacturers have what they call ‘Quilting Models’. They all come in different sizes and with various features. Some machines are wider, as you look at them, and they are generally called ‘Long Arm’ machines. These long arm machines are often described by the length of the space between the needle and the body of the machine. So there are 8 inch, 10 inch, 11 inch etc. etc. etc. The longer the arm of the machine, the more space you have to work with. If you plan to create large quilts, of say six or eight foot in length, then a longer arm will certainly make things easier.
However, not everyone wants to create such a huge quilt, and certainly not if you’re just starting out in the quilt world. It is often more sensible to begin with a more manageable plan. Patchwork is often the way the beginner chooses to start. These are usually smaller and in the region of 12 inch squares. So if this is your plan then a regular sized machine will do the trick.
Which is better Bernina or Juki
After browsing the internet and various forums, you will see that everyone has their own opinion. Some prefer Bernina, some Juki, some Brother and some Janome etc. etc. etc. But people still ask, which is better Bernina or Juki? For many years Bernina has been the machine of choice for many quilters. And there is no doubt that Bernina sewing machines are a top quality make. They sew very well over a wide range of fabrics. Also, they have various features that appeal to the quilter such as, BSR and Dual Feed.
Juki sewing machines have become more and more popular, and they have some excellent models to choose from. But the question again falls into the personal choice category.
Is Janome better than Bernina
Another – which make is better question. So my answer is – some people like sprouts and others despise them. So just because Mrs Jones at the quilt club swears by one make or another, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the same as her. So again, what sewing machine is best for quilting – the one that suits you best.
In our store we have over fifty machines on display in our showroom. Everyone is welcome to call in and talk to us about their requirements. We can then begin to narrow down the choice and recommend the best options. This is how you should decide on a quilting machine.
How much is a Good Quilting Machine
Down to brass tacks – how much is a good quilting machine. Well, if we begin with a standard sized machine, one with a few quilting accessories – such as an extension table and a walking foot etc. Then the Janome 5060QDC at £519 (March 2023) is as good a place as any to start. You will need a machine that can make use of a Walking Foot, to help feed the various layers of fabric and wadding, and one with a strong motor. Quilting can also become addictive, so you may end up sewing for hours on end.
At the mid range you should expect to pay £2000 – £4000. And at the very to end of the scale prices can range from £6000 and much higher. Just remember, paying more is a decision made because quilting has become your love and passion. The five hundred quid machine will still keep you happy.
What sewing machine do Professional Quilters use
This is a tricky question because there isn’t one simple answer. It also depends on how you determine what is a professional quilter. From a purely commercial point of view, you could say it is someone who charges to create a quilt to order. Or it might be someone you send all the smaller pieces of your patchwork project to for them to produce one large quilt. This type of professional quilter will often have an arsenal of machines of various types. They may have a large long bed machine set on a frame for working on large quilts. They may also have a smaller standard or medium long arm machine for more intricate work.
Then, there is the quilter who works quietly from home making their own quilts. They don’t sell the quilts they make, or even make them up for other people. But the standard of work they produce can easily be described as ‘professional’. This is the backbone of the quilting world. Men and women who love what they do and use whichever machine, or machines, their budget allows. And over the last forty odd years, I’ve met many people who produce fantastic work on the most basic models of sewing machines.
What is a Good Beginners Quilting Sewing Machine
When people call in and ask what is a good beginners quilting sewing machine, I ask them what experience they have. Some people have read an article in a magazine or a blog and decide they’d like to try quilting. They may have never used a sewing machine before. Others have joined a quilt club, or signed up to a class or workshop. So they may have used a few sewing machines, already. And if the teacher uses a particular make and model of machine, they often want to buy the same.
However, again everything depends on the individual – and their budget. As I mentioned earlier, a sewing machine that costs around £500 will set you off quite nicely. You can pay less, you can pay more. But bear a few things in mind. A quilting sewing machine will often have to sew through a number of layers of fabric with various weights of wadding sandwiched between. So it has to be a strong machine. A walking foot is often very useful to prevent slippage, and to feed the top and bottom layers of fabric evenly. A small extension table will also provide extra support for your work. And an electronic speed control will help you keep to a manageable speed.
But everyone is different. Some people call in the shop and want the cheapest possible option – despite any compromises. Others want to buy the most expensive option. My general advice would be to call in and let’s have a chat. You are welcome to try any of the machines we have on display, and we are always happy to help and offer impartial advice. It’s the best way.
What to look for when buying a sewing machine for quilting
I’ve covered the question – what to look for when buying a sewing machine for quilting – in previous comments. But here’s a simple list of what you need to think about before you begin quilting, and decide on any particular machine to buy.
- A good quality machine – The top brands are Bernina, Janome & Brother. Juki machines are also very good.
- Try a few machines yourself before you buy – call in for a demonstration
- A walking foot and an extension table, even a small one, will help you with your work.
- If you have the budget, and you’re serious, buy a machine with a longer arm – they start at around £900
- Buy your machine from a dealer (a shop/store) that you can return to for help, advice and tuition
- In six weeks you might be fed up with quilting and take up synchronised swimming instead.
What sewing machine is in love of quilting
This was one of those funny Google questions – but it must have been asked… So let me turn it around a little bit. In general terms, Bernina sewing machines always seem to be one of the most popular choices. They are expensive but they are fantastic machines and produce excellent results. A Bernina sewing machine is something most people work their way up to. If you buy one, make sure you buy from a dealer you can return to for help, advice and tuition. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s important.
Do I need a special sewing machine for quilting
You need to consider the points I previously mentioned to help you choose. Mainly it boils down to a good quality machine that will cope with thicker fabrics. And long happy days of quilting.
What is the difference between a sewing machine and a quilting machine
If we ask ourselves the question – what is the difference between a sewing machine and a quilting machine – the answer is usually, Size. Although many general sewers enjoy using a machine with a longer arm, the long arm machine is generally aimed at the quilter. Such large projects require more space to work on. Whereas, most sewing projects don’t necessarily need as much room to work on.