Best Sewing Machines for Quilting

Sewing Machines

Regardless of whether you’re an experienced quilter or a greenhorn learning the ropes, an industrial-grade long-arm quilting machine comes in very handy. But most quilters and seamstresses neither have adequate room for housing a long-arm quilting/sewing machine nor can afford such a machine. Additionally it takes a lot of effort on your part to make the most of a quilting machine with a long arm.

Long-arm quilting units require you to stand for hours at a stretch for pulling/pushing the immensely heavy machine head which can take a toll on your health. So you’re better off using a high-quality standard quilting and sewing machine for completing your needlework assignments conveniently and speedily. In this review we take a close look at the some of the best sewing machines for quilting.

Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing an appropriate sewing machine for quilting, you can do without a highly sophisticated unit stacked with topnotch features. Opt for a sewing machine that is sufficiently portable for carrying to quilting classes yet durable enough for regular domestic use. Pay close attention to the following aspects before you make up your mind for once and for all:-

  • First and foremost check out the various stitch types that the sewing machine comes integrated with. The most common types of stitching you need for quilting comprise the ‘blanket stitch’, ‘zigzag stitch’ (modifiable or alterable for length and width), and straight stitch.
  • Choose a unit that lets you position the needle to the left or right of the center as per your working needs. This feature helps quilting in increments from the stitching foot’s periphery you’ve selected, including the traditional ¼” stitched seam width for quilting
  • Ensure that the sewing machine features a ‘drop-in’ bobbin that is more convenient to use compared to a bobbin that’s popped into the front of the sewing machine’s platform
  •  Also make sure that the machine comes with a switch at the backside that helps in lowering the feed dogs. With a lever for managing the feed dogs, you’re relieved from using a separate cover for placing over the feed dogs when you’re quilting mechanically
  • Sewing machines featuring ‘needle up-or-down’ knob comes to your aid when you’ve to bring the stitching to an end. Additionally, this functionality enables you to keep the fabric or material steady beneath the needle which in turn aids in turning the quilt top or corners effortlessly
  • It is better to opt for a machine that allows you to align the needle threader with the needle’s eye simply by pressing a button downwards on the sewing machine’s head
  • A machine with an automatic thread cutter spares you from the hassle of using scissors for clipping threads towards the seam’s border. This add-on feature checks unwarranted wastage of threads or yarns but also keeps you your projects neat and tidy
  • Going for a sewing machine integrated with speed control permits you to stitch slowly (essential for appliqué sewing) as well as sew speedily for embroidering on borders of coverlets
  • Make sure you choose a unit with a larger or broader than normal throat width. Buying a sewing machine with an ultra-large throat width comes in perfectly handy when you’re working on very large coverlets or quilts
  • Always go for a machine that comes equipped with a darning/quilting foot, a walking foot, and a ¼” feet (for the ¼” seam flexibility).A sewing machine with these feet are indispensable for quilters
  • Selecting a machine fitted with an extended bed means you get a large surface to work on your quilting or darning projects
  • See to it that the machine you finally choose allows you to place bobbins or spools that can hold a good volume of yarn

Product Reviews

Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine

The Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine offers you the leeway of creating quilts and dresses that suit your taste, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned quilter or novice. Designed intelligently, the CS6000i incorporates a suite of automatic and advanced features, including 60 integrated stitches that comprise stitches for quilting, embroidery, darning, and much more. At the same time this sewing machine from Brother features 7 distinct stitches pertaining to single-step auto buttonholes.

This quilting machine also features an automated needle threader that frees you from the worry of threading the needle manually. The machine also has a ‘free arm’ that lets you make cylindrical pieces such as collars, sleeves, trousers legs etc. You can hem up to a maximum of 850 stitches per minutes with the help of this affordable sewing machine.

Features

  • Easy threading courtesy the numerical diagram printed on the machine
  • User-friendly LCD stitch selector
  • Modifiable sewing speed
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Versatile bobbin winding
  • Extra large work table

Pros

  • Suitable for seasoned dressmakers and quilters as well as beginners
  • Ideal for a variety of quilting and sewing projects
  • Tough yet portable: Shaped out of robust but lightweight plastics
  • Integrated compartment for storing accessories  

Cons

  • Automatic backlit LCD panel prevents you from adjusting the illumination manually
  • Not suitable for using with heavier materials such as leather or canvas

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JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine

A veritable workhorse, the JUKI TL-2000Qi sewing and quilting machine can accomplish 1,500 stitches per minute. Featuring an aluminum die-cast frame which helps minimize shudder during operation, and an auto-needle threader, the TL-2000Qi performs beyond your expectations. With the help of this machine you can accomplish any quilting or hemming project impeccably but also in a short time span.

If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art quilting machine capable of dealing with different types of fabrics in multiple layers, then look no further.

Features

  • Automatic needle threader
  • Included extended table for larger workspace
  • Aluminum die cast bed and arm for low vibration operation

Pros

  • Comes with an extensive table having a large working surface
  • Hi-speed straight stitch quilting machine
  • Knee lift switch
  • 3-quilting presser feet
  • Automatic needle threader

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No detailed instructions on how to take advantage of the machine’s features

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Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine

The Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine from Singer comes stacked with an array of easy-to-use functionalities making it perfect for intermediate and inexperienced quilters. For a start, the 9960 has 600 integrated stitches (including 13 fully automatic 1-step buttonholes and 5 alphanumeric fonts) for giving full vent to your creativity. The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Sewing Machine is chock-a-block with features including but not limited to inbuilt thread cutter, needle threader, and preset stitch length and width.

The Quantum Stylist sewing machine’s handy features enable you to get started with your quilting projects and complete them easily. Features such as ‘direct button stitch selection’, ‘start/stop button’, and ‘stitch editing’ also help in processing your stitching orders with speed without compromising on quality.  You can view stitch functions such as stitch width and length, tension settings, and needle up/down position with crystal clear clarity owing to the prominent LCD screen.

A large extension table built into the Quantum Stylist computerized sewing machine offers you a broader workspace for your projects.

Features

  • 5.5” throat space
  • 850 stitches per minute
  • 600 inbuilt stitches
  • Sturdy metal frame
  • Broad extension table

Pros

  • Drop-in bobbin mechanism
  • 13 quilting and sewing feet
  • 13 incorporated single-step buttonholes

Cons

  • The walking foot renders the quilting bar unusable
  • You may not be able to detach the bobbin from the spindle if you let the bobbin winder fill a spool

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Janome MC6650 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine

The Janome MC (Memory Craft) MC6650 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine has everything going for it to assist quilters to finish projects faster. This computerized quilting-cum-sewing machine features a built-in extension table and a host of incorporated stitches, and multiple accessories that enable you to complete your projects effectively and speedily. A broad all-metal flawless flatbed serves as your ideal work space for processing small and large, simple and complex quilting projects.

The Janome MC6650 Memory Craft quilting and sewing machine features 6 inbuilt button holes and 170 integral stitches, letting you handle any type of needlework. Sewing and/or quilting becomes a breeze thanks to the highly accessible LCD display and interactive control panel. To get started you just have to draw the needle threader downwards, position the yarn in the hook, and drag backwards.

Changing bobbins is a breeze owing to the jam-proof top-loading bobbin mechanism; simply following the track automatically brings up the bobbin thread. An automatic thread cutter button helps in trimming the upper and lower threads. The reverse stitch button aids in strengthening and buttressing your stitches while the lock stitch button helps complete the stitching.

Features

  • 10” all-metal smooth flatbed
  • Intuitive start/stop knob furnishes fingertip stitching control
  • Default favorite stitch setting
  • 1,000 stitches per minute
  • User-friendly LCD screen and control panel

Pros

  • 6 LEDs for excellent illumination
  • Needle up/down with memory function
  • 170 stitch varieties
  • Single-push needle plate conversion together with 2 included plates

Cons

  • Remarkably expensive
  • It’ll take time for beginners to become acquainted with all the features

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Brother PQ1500SL High Speed

If you wish to complete your quilting and dressmaking projects with perfection bring home the PQ11500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine from Brother. Every dressmaker or quilter worth his or her salt will find the Brother PQ1500SL, capable of hemming up to 1,500 stitches per minute. A push-button automatic thread trimmer comes to your aid when you need to expedite your working rate but without sacrificing quality.

An integrated needle threader goes a long way in rendering the threading process straightforward and easy as well as time-saving. A single pin plainly extending from the underneath of the sewing machine performs the same function as the built-in feed dogs, and therefore substitutes the latter. The versatile pin feed system shifts all quilt layers in unison or can also move downy velvet without leaving behind traces of feed dog spots.

The Brother PQ1500SL high speed sewing machine also comes equipped with an extension table and a knee lifter for quilting. Four extra feed dog settings facilitate optimum fabric control while the full-scale foot pressure adjuster offers great convenience when working at a stretch.    

Features

  • Adjustable pin feed mechanism
  •  4 built-in feed dog positions
  • Built-in knee lifter for hands-free operation
  • Included 11” x 21.5” table attachment featuring adjustable legs with non-slip rubber feet and cm/inches markings
  • Automatic needle threader

Pros

  • Comes with all necessary components and accessories for quilting and sewing such as ultra-large extension table, seam guide, and 5 bobbins
  •  Drop feed control
  • Automatic needle positioner

Cons

  • Many users have reported that the automatic threader is of inferior quality
  • Empty bobbin indication is missing
  • Power cord is somewhat short

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Conclusion

In this review on ‘best sewing machines for quilting’ we explored products to suit most quilters’ working requirements and budget. Almost all the quilting machines reviewed above will enable you to complete both simple and sophisticated projects. While some machines can work on multiple layers of a wide range of fabrics, a few have designed to use with specific materials.