Posted by Liz on June 25th, 2013 (Articles)

What Is The Best Sewing Machine For Quilting

If you’re looking for a sewing machine for quilting, you may be thinking ‘where do I start?’ Well, here’s some tips of what to look for from my experience, and some answers to common questions.

Can I quilt with a normal sewing machine?

Of course you can! But if you’re buying a new sewing machine I’d recommend getting a machine especially designed for quilting because it’s much easier to do other types of sewing on a quilting machine than try and do quilting and patchwork on a standard sewing machine.

The other advantage is that when you’re buying a quilting machine you’re likely to get some handy sewing machine accessories such as a walking foot and free-motion foot that you’d probably have to pay extra for when buying a standard machine.

Where can I get a get a quilting machine from?

Brother do a fantastic range, as do Janome, Pfaff and Husqvarna Viking. I love the look of this machine.


Where can I buy a quilting machine from?

You can buy online from loads of different quilting sewing machine specialists for example Cotton Patch or Sewing Machine Discount.

You can also buy sewing machines from quilting events and festival, such as the Festival of Quilts. Brother had a stand there last year (they sponsored a few of the competitions), as did Bernina, Husqvarna Viking, Janoma, Juki, Pfaff and K&K (Long-arm machines).

The advantages of buying from a festival is that you can often talk to other quilters that have that particular machine, the often have good deals and you can often try them out at the show to see if you like them.

There are also a few sewing machine shops knocking around. Of course it depends of where you live, but if there’s one near you it’s always good to support local businesses – especially ones that sell quilting supplies!

What features should I be looking for on a quilting machine?

  • Ability to lower the feed dogs – you need this for free motion quilting
  • Interchangable feet (e.g. free motion foot, walking foot, quarter-inch foot, button foot, embroidery foot, buttonhole foot, free motion foot, beading foot) – they all make life a bit easier. The individual feet can be very expensive so see which ones come with the machine
  • Plenty of room between the needle and the machine arm
  • Plenty of space to quilt on – a detachable quilting table is ideal
  • A needle that always stops in the down position – this means it is easier to keep the quilt in place when changing direction
  • Things that make life easier – automatic thread cutting, needle threader
  • A clear bobbin case so you can see how much thread you’ve got left

So what is the best sewing machine for quilting?

Now, I can’t tell you the definite answer (as I haven’t tried them all), but I can tell you what I think the best sewing machine for quilting is, because it’s the machine that I’ve had for over three years. It was a pressie from my mum and dad for my 21st birthday, and it was the perfect gift for such an occasion.


I have a Brother Innov-is 400, which is not in the current range any more but there are plenty more Innov-is quilting machines in the sewing machine sea. The Innov-is 550SE is quite similar I think. It has 400 different stitches and 3 alphabets so it will print names and messages. You can also design your own stitches if 400 is not enough for you (I’ve never felt the need – but it’s nice knowing that I could if I wanted too!).

You’re able to drop the feed dogs – perfect for free-motion quilting and comes with a walking foot, quilting foot and a table that’s handy when you’re quilting. You just take off the little storage box (which all the little feet fit into perfectly!) and slide the table on, and it folds flat which is great for trying to store it in between sewing. I just wish it was even bigger, for quilting my bedspreads! Here’s the link to the leaflet if you want to take a look.

It might seem expensive to you but a sewing machine is an investment. They last a long time, and you’ll create so many memories with your sewing machine.

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