When it comes to quilting sewing machines, you’ll find a different style for each sewing need.
From simple mending to making dresses, from embroidery to quilting – there’s a quilting machine for it!
When it comes to sewing machines for quilting, how do you decide which one is right for you?
First, decide what your quilting plans and projects will be. Are you only going to be piecing quilts, or do you want to do the top quilting as well?
If you’ll be doing free motion stitching, you’ll want something with a larger table area (also called the throat).
Then, decide what you are willing to spend. If you feel you need a top-of-the-line, computerized machine that does everything but the dishes, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars. (The Janome Horizon Quilt Maker Memory Craft 12000 can set you back over $5,000.)
Once you have a good idea of what you need and what you can spend, it’s time to talk to other quilters.
What sewing machine do they use? What machine would they like to have for quilting?
Serious quilters are going to invest in a heavy-duty machine, such as the Bernina 770 QE (around $6K), the Baby Lock Destiny II (around $8K), and the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200QCP (around $2K).
All three of these come with high recommendations from professional quilters.
Serious hobbyists also had recommendations for sewing machines for beginners; after researching them all, we put together our list of favorites.
But first, let's review the types of machines you might consider as you develop your sewing and quilting skills.
|Brother CS6000i (less than $200)|
|Brother Project Runway XR9500PRW (less than $200)|
|Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter (less than $300)|
|Janome NQM2016 (around $600)|
|Juki TL-2000Qi Long-Arm (over $600)|
What Are The Different Types of Sewing Machines?
All-In-One Sewing Machines
Some sewing machine brands have created versatile machines that can embroider and still provide serger and straight stitching options.
These are the absolute best sewing machines industry-wide and afford a professional level of quality. But with this quality comes a higher price tag.
Serger Sewing Machines
Serger machines allow you to add finishing touches to your sewing projects. They can certainly handle basic sewing chores with ease, but this machine also trims the seam and encloses the seam allowance or edge of the fabric all in one step. The more you spend on your serger, the more bells and whistles you'll get.
Some sewing projects can be done totally on a serger, but a serger can't replace your regular sewing machine. You will need Old Faithful for facings, zippers, topstitching, buttonholes, etc. — which a serger can't do.
Embroidery Sewing Machines
As with the other types of sewing machines, some embroidery machines are simple and easy to figure out, while others have additional features to create complex designs at the touch of a button. The more features, the more expensive the machine.
Be aware that many embroidery machines only offer an embroidery stitch, so you may still need another sewing machine for a straight stitch.
Now that you know a little about the different kinds of sewing machines for quilting, let's begin our review of the 5 best basic quilting machines for beginners.
The 5 best sewing machines for quilting
Check out our review of all 5 to discover what the best sewing machine is for quilting:
1. Brother CS6000i (less than $200) –
Brother Industries has been making sewing machines since 1908 when the Yasui Sewing Machine Company was established in Japan. With a focus on electronics and computerization, this company excels at keeping up with consumer needs and wants.
The CS6000i has 60 built-in stitches and can sew 850 stitches per minute. The feed dogs are droppable to allow free motion stitching, and it comes with a free motion quilting foot. An oversized, detachable table allows for larger quilt projects, and the needle threading system means no eye strain.
Overview of Brother CS6000i features:
- Simple to use, LCD display stitch selector
- Easy threading
- Automatic needle threader
- Easy bobbin winding
- Free arm for sewing cuffs and sleeves
- Easy-to-see, superbright work area
- Oversize table
- Adjustable sewing speed
2. Brother Project Runway XR9500PRW (less than $200)
This computerized sewing machine comes with 100 unique, built-in stitches and LED lighting for the work area.
The machine is lightweight and portable, and the Quickset feature helps you get back to sewing immediately after installing the bobbin.
Brother Industries makes a wide range of sewing machines for every need. A leader in the electronic industry (they also make printers, fax machines, computers, and more), Brother offers products that are known to be durable. (If you’re old enough to remember typewriters, Brother made those, too.)
Overview of Brother Project Runway XR9500PRW features:
- 100 built-in utility, decorative and heirloom stitches, each with multiple stitch functions
- Super-wide (7mm) zigzag and decorative stitches
- Built-in sewing font for basic monogramming
- Oversized wide table for quilting and larger projects. Comes with included hard cover
- Included accessories are stored in a compartment on the arm of the machine
3. Singer 7469Q Confidence Quilter (less than $300)
Much like the Brother machines, the Singer Confidence Quilter also has a “drop and sew” bobbin system, an extension table, and the ability to drop the feed dogs for free motion sewing.
An added feature of this particular model is the twin needle sewing capability – making it easy to run a double line of stitching for extra durability or extra fancy quilting. The LED lights keep the work area well lit, and the machine comes with 98 built-in stitches.
Singer has been in business for quite a while. First established in 1851 by Isaac M. Singer, their focus has been only sewing machines. To say they know “a little bit” about sewing machines is an understatement.
Overview of SINGER 7469Q features:
- Drop and sew bobbin system
- Automatic needle threader
- Programmable needle up/down
- Drop feed
- Heavy duty metal frame
- Bonus quilting feet
- Extension table included
- Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
4. Janome NQM2016 (around $600)
Truly a leader in the industry, Janome was the first to release a sewing machine with both programmable and computerized functions. They were also the first to sell long-arm quilting machines for use in private homes.
This National Quilt Museum (NQM) 25th Anniversary machine is built for convenience. From the thread cutter to the backlit LED screen to the extension table, this machine was designed with the quilter in mind.
Features such as the extra high presser foot lift, the built-in needle threader, the 7-piece feed dog (with the ability to drop), the 60 built-in stitches, and the slider for controlling speed all come together to enhance the experience of quilting.
Overview of Janome NQM2016 features:
- Janome Bobbins Blue 25 pack w/case
- 3 pack Janome universal needles (size 14)
- 60 built-in stitches, including 6 one-step buttonholes
- Automatic thread cutter
- Start/stop button
- Locking stitch button
- Memorized needle up/down and speed control slider
- LED screen with easy navigation buttons to make finding stitches a breeze
5. Juki TL-2000Qi Long-Arm (over $600)
Juki began making home sewing machines in 1945 and soon grew into an industrial sewing machine giant.
The TL-2000Qi is considered a mid-arm quilting and piecing machine. Besides being portable and lightweight, this machine has an extension table that can be added to make the work area 23 inches long – perfect for quilting!
This machine has a sewing speed of 1,500 stitches per minute – almost twice the speed of the other machines and includes a thread tension scale, speed control mechanism, and presser foot pressure adjustment capability.
Although it costs a little more, it’s well worth the investment if you enjoy quilting.
Overview of Juki TL-2000Qi Long-Arm features:
- Throat area: 8.5(L)x 5.9 (H) inches
- Sliding speed control
- One pedal foot control
- Auxiliary table included (dimensions 590 mm x 277 mm)
- LED light
- 1500 stitches per minute
- Stitch length 6 mm
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As you begin looking for your perfect sewing machine for quilting, consider making a list of the features you desire in a machine.
- Does it need to be computerized?
- What about lighting and an extension table?
- Do you need a needle threading system, a thread sensor, or an independent bobbin winding motor?
- How fast do you want it to stitch?
- Do you plan to do free motion stitching which requires the feed dogs to drop?
- Does it come with special quilting feet, or can you at least order them?
- Do you plan to do other sewing with this machine as well? Buttonholes? Embroidery?
Once you’ve decided on a machine, find a friend (or a local store) who has one. Ask if you can take it for a test run. Take some scrap material and thread along to see how it feels to sew with it. Check out all the features to be sure you understand how it works.
There are hundreds of different sewing machines available. Knowing what you need and what you can afford will help you find the best one for your quilting pursuits.
Do you have a machine you love? Leave a comment and let us know!