Forget the fabric, a sewing machine is undeniably a quilter’s most important bit of kit. But knowing how to choose a sewing machine for quilting is a whole other ball game, and an often intimidating one at that. Luckily we’ve combined our know-how with our Brother Sewing Machine wish lists to highlight everything you need to look for when investing in a sewing machine. From stitches to speed control, feed dogs to walking feet, we’ve got you covered.
What should I be looking for?
First things first, start by considering your own sewing habits. If you like to attend classes, quilting guilds or sewing retreats, you’ll thank yourself for finding a lightweight and portable machine that you can pack up and carry around. For those who intend to sit and sew in an allocated space, a more sturdy, heavyweight machine will suit your needs better.
For basic quilt making, all you need is a quarter inch foot, a quilting foot and a walking foot. Look for a sewing machine where you can lower the feed dogs, to give you ultimate scope for free-motion quilting fun. A top-loading, drop-in bobbin is also handy, so you can see how much thread you’ve got left and don’t have to play ‘beat the bobbin’ too often!
What’s even more important for us quilters is space. Look at the throat width of a machine – will it be a tight squeeze to stitch a queen-size quilt in the space available? Consider the workspace size – does it have the option to add an extension table to help hold the weight of your quilt? The easier your machine can make your life the better! Asking yourself these questions will help you decide how to choose a Brother machine for ultimate quilting success.
Best sewing machines for quilting 2020
- Brother Innov-is A80
- Brother FS130QC
- Brother Innov-is NV1100
- Brother Innov-is NV1800Q
- Brother Innov-is VQ2
5 best sewing machines for quilting
Best for: Sociable, beginner sewists.
Sociable quilting calls for a portable machine – look no further than the Innov-is A80. Both incredibly lightweight and available with its own hard case, this sewing machine is just the thing to pop in the car and take to a friend’s home. The clear LCD screen provides all the information you could need and makes it an incredibly easy-use model to learn and develop your skills.
Best for: Those keen to learn and hone their craft.
If you’ve recently started on your quilting journey and want something budget-friendly yet long-lasting, try the Brother FSC130QC. With drop feeds, free arm sewing and a large extension table, experimenting with free-motion quilting is certainly on the cards. It’s a truly versatile machine that will see you through any project, from start to finish.
Best for: Hobby quilters of any ability.
For those looking for a reliable option that’ll see you through from beginner to pro, the Innov-is 1100 is the ideal machine. The advanced needle threader, automatic thread cutter and knee lift feature take the fiddly work out of the picture, while the accompanying hard case makes it easy to take on-the-go to quilting lessons and retreats. The Square Feed Drive System (SFDS) helps to ensure your fabrics feed through the machine smoothly and easily, for superior stitch quality with even the shakiest of starters. Plus, the sliding speed control lets you go at your own pace, no matter how slow!
Best for: Intermediate sewists.
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, treat yourself to the Innov-is 1800Q. Both piecing and quilting are made easy – the machine is designed with an 8.3in workspace to the right of the needle, giving ample space for your quilting projects. For more surface area add the wide table accessory, included with the machine, to hold the weight of your heftier projects. Fully automatic thread tension takes the guesswork out of the picture for you, and ensures the stitching is neat and easy on both your patchwork and quilt sandwiches. Plus, all the quilting feet you could ever need are included!
Best for: Ambitious and confident quilters.
This machine is perfect for those who want to achieve impressive quilting designs and make bigger-scale quilts from home. The extra-long 11¼in arm and pivot function of Brother’s Innov-is VQ2 give freedom to move your quilt around easily as you stitch, while the Continuous Automatic Pressure System helps to keep your stitches consistent for a professional finish. There’s even a range of distinctive stitches available, designed specifically for quilters! All your quilts will look like they’ve been given the special longarm treatment, without the hefty bill…
Looking to upgrade your machine?
If you want to buy a new machine or treat yourself to a newer model, Brother have everything you need! To explore their full range of machines, head to the Brother sewing machines website.