Brother PQ1500SL Quilting and Sewing Machine
Best for professional quilters
Producing 1,500 stitches per minute, this sewing machine for quilting can keep up with the fastest paces.
1 Brother PQ1500SL Review
Are you a professional quilter in search for the perfect machine? Then know that the Brother PQ1500SL can fit the bill.
What makes it stand out is the impressive sewing speed that goes up to 1,500 stitches per minute. Made to help you finish all quilting projects fast, it also features an automatic thread trimmer and proprietary F.A.S.T. needle threader for quick and effortless needle threading.
Its built quality is also impressive – from first glance, you’ll know that this machine is built to last. A durable frame and long fabric extension table can easily help you boost your quilting game.
Designed with free-motion quilting in mind, but suitable for all kinds of quilting, it also comes with plenty of built-in stitches, a feature that also makes it perfect for occasional sewing.
We also like the adjustable pin feed mechanism that lets you move all layers of your quilt at once – no doubt, the best sewing machine for quilting around.
SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
Best for the money
A variety of built-in stitches and fonts make it perfect for professionals and amateurs alike.
2 SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Review
Brother might top the charts as the best in class, but SINGER demonstrates that it’s possible to get a top-quality quilting machine for far less. Indeed, the SINGER 9960 showcases all features that make a quilting machine great, at a fraction of Brother’s price tag.
Ideal for professionals looking for an affordable unit as well as amateurs, this machine impresses with easy needle pivoting that makes it perfect for free-motion quilting. A speed control knob makes it super-easy to pass from one function to another, so you can tackle both simple and more intricate projects in no time.
Another highlight is the top drop-in bobbin that’s not only easy to find; it’s also easy to thread. Like our best in class, the SINGER comes with a simple press-off thread trimmer button, and it particularly stands out thanks to its 600 built-in stitch models.
Ready to tackle anything, from heavy-duty quilting to quick sewing of garments, this sewing machine for quilting is one of the best for most budgets.
JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine
Best for professional quilters
A heavy-duty quilting sewing machine designed to live its life in professional quilter or seamstress studios.
3 JUKI TL-2000Qi Review
At first glance, the JUKI TL-2000QI might not impress with its features. It only has one stitch available and is definitely less feature-packed than our other options. Yet, if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line quilting machine, know that it doesn’t get any better than this.
Just perfect for the free-motion quilting, it comes with impressive needle control – a feature that stops the needle in the down position for easier turning of your workpiece and more accurate design control.
Another thing that makes it perfect for free-motion quilting is the feed dog, that can be raised or lowered as needed, for accurate sewing of intricately curved stitches.
Adjustable sewing speed up to 1,500 stitches per minute, LED lights, and one-pedal operation are just some of its other highlights. It also features a wide extension table for a wider work area, as well as an aluminum die-cast arm and bed for lower vibrations and more comfortable operation.
Sure, you’ll have to pay for all these features, but if you’re looking for a range-topper designed to withstand heavy quilting, then this machine is undoubtedly it.
Brother CS7000i Computerized Sewing Machine
Best for low budgets
Seventy built-in sewing stitches make it perfect for amateur quilters and aspiring designers.
4 Brother CS7000i Review
Popular Brother makes its second entry on our list of best quilting sewing machines with the CS7000i, a feature-packed yet affordable sewing machine with outstanding quilting capabilities.
It’s perfect for the hobbyist quilter who doesn’t want to spend an arm and a leg but still needs a reliable machine. We particularly like the automatic needle threader and adjustable speed control – two features this machine shares with our best-in-class.
Seventy built-in stitches give you plenty of options to decorate your crafting projects. From utility to quilting to heirloom to decorative, this quilting sewing machine covers quite everything, and even comes with 7 auto-size buttonhole styles.
Seeing your stitching selection is easy, on the backlit LCD screen, and the only thing we like less is the table, that might not be wide enough for larger projects. Nevertheless, this machine is amazing, considering its price tag. No doubt, the best sewing machine for quilting for amateurs on a low budget.
Quilting Sewing Machine Buying Guide
What is quilting?
Quilting refers to sewing two or more layers of fabric and filling together with the purpose of making a thicker material. This padded material can then be used for making quilts, home décor items, or quilted garments.
What is a quilting machine?
In essence, a quilting machine is a sewing machine that features a variety of add-ons developed specifically for this craft. Some of the main differences between a standard sewing machine and a sewing machine for quilting are:
- Amount of workspace: Quilting sewing machines offer a larger work area than the standard models, which is needed for carrying on with bulky projects. Typically, this extra-space is offered by a wider throat, which is the distance between the needle and the vertical arm of the machine. Mid arm quilting machines usually have a throat between 12 and 17 inches, whereas standard machines rarely have a throat wider than 8 inches. Long arm quilting machines used in industrial settings usually have throats of at least 18 inches.
- Extension table: Some of the best sewing machines for quilting also have an extension table in addition to a wider throat. This extra amount of space guarantees more maneuvering room as you’re quilting.
- Feeding system: Most quilting sewing machines have automatic feeding systems that move all layers of your project together. This feature guarantees design accuracy, increased precision, as well as faster and effortless quilting.
- Higher sewing speed: Another feature that makes the difference between a traditional and quilting sewing machine is the sewing speed. A higher speed makes it possible to finish each project faster. Moreover, these machines are usually sturdier than those with lower speeds, and they are more durable.
What is long arm quilting?
Long arm quilting refers to the process used by professional quilters to quilt with a long arm quilting machine.
The best long arm quilting machines typically have a frame between 10 and 14 feet and a long arm system with a sewing head between 19 and 30 inches. Needless to say, most long arm quilting machines are used in professional studios or industrial settings.
What is free motion quilting?
As opposed to long arm machine quilting, free motion quilting is the process of quilting with a domestic sewing machine. This quilting style is used by most amateurs as well as many professionals, and it can literally be done with any sewing machine, as long as you can lower or disengage its feed dogs (usually done from a lever or switch on the side or back, depending on the sewing machine model).
For easier operation, however, it is recommended to invest in a sewing machine with a wider throat and possibly an extension table.
Is free motion quilting the same as free-hand quilting?
Newbies might find these two terms particularly confusing. Although they seem the same, though, they are not.
Free motion quilting is the process described above. Free-hand quilting, on the other hand, refers to quilting without a drawn pattern. This process is also called freestyle quilting, and it can be done either with a regular sewing machine, a serger, or an industrial, long arm quilting machine.
What size needle for machine quilting?
The most common type of quilting needle is the 90/14 one. This model has a sturdy shaft and rounder point manufactured specifically for machine quilting, as well as a wider needle eye designed to accommodate most thread thicknesses.
What is the optimal stitch length for quilting with a sewing machine?
If you’re using the traditional straight stitch for quilting, it is recommended to set the stitch length to 2.5 or 3.0 (about 8-12 stitches per inch). A slightly longer stitch is more suitable for sparkle, shine, or thicker threads, such as 30 weight rayon, while a shorter one is desired when sewing with monofilament or other thin threads.
How to make a quilt?
While the internet is full of quilting patterns and quilting tutorials, perhaps you’d like to know how to make a quilt before deciding to give this craft a try. Although it could seem complicated, quilting is relatively easy. Here are a few quick steps:
- Gather your supplies, including top and back fabrics, insulation, scissors, and threads.
- Cut the fabrics and insulation to the desired dimensions. For instance, if you want to make a standard twin quilt, cut rectangles of 39 x 75 inches from each material.
- On a table, place the back material with the wrong side facing you, apply the layer of insulation, then place the top fabric on top of the other two layers, with the right side facing you. Pin all layers together.
- Quilt as desired, either by following a quilting pattern or the free-hand quilting technique. If you decide to use a pattern, draw the lines with a heat erase marking pen on the fabric before starting, then remove them with an iron.
- Trim all threads and finish the quilt sewing a beautiful seam by hand. That’s it!
Features to look for in the best sewing machine for quilting
Finding the best quilting sewing machine can be daunting. Here are some of the most important features to look for before buying.
- Throat: Perhaps the most important thing to check before buying is the throat, aka the space between the needle and the main body of the sewing machine. The best sewing machines for quilting should have a throat of at least 8 inches, or quilting anything larger than a twin-size quilt will be near impossible.
- Stitch variety: While quilting machines don’t really need decorative stitches – as the embroidery machines do – a quilting sewing machine with many built-in stitches can give you the possibility to create more intricate patterns and unique quilting designs.
- Speed control: As mentioned above, the best quilting machines have higher speeds, and the ability to control them is always nice, especially if you’re a beginner.
- Knee lift: This funny-looking lever is activated with your knee and allows you to lift and lower the presser foot, so you can save a lot of time during the quilting process.
- Needle down stopping: Depending on the sewing machine model, the needle can stop all the way up, all the way down, or anywhere in-between. If you’re looking for the best sewing machine for quilting, get one with a needle that stops down, allowing you to turn all layers of material with less effort.
- Automatic thread cutter: Another feature designed to save you loads of time. This type of thread cutter allows you to cut the thread with a simple push of a button, so you won’t have to reach out for the scissors.
- Adjustable presser foot: Last but not least, make sure that the machine comes with an adjustable presser foot so that you can quilt both thinner and thicker quilts. In broad lines, the thicker the quilt, the lesser pressure you need to hold it in place while quilting.