In this review, we will compare the features of top 5 best sewing machines for free motion quilting in the market. This guide will definitely help you to save time and pick the right model.
Before we go into details of the products, it is important to highlight that the top sewing machine for free motion quilting according to our research is SINGER 9960 Sewing And Quilting Machine. As a full-featured sewing and quilting machine, it comes with a lot of accessories to make your quilting projects an absolute clinch. With a considerable throat space and other features, it is one of the finest and reliable models in the market.
Top Rated Quilting Machine Comparison
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SINGER 9960 Computerized Sewing And Quilting Machine
With 600 stitches already built-in to the machine, you can be sure to have plenty of stitching options to choose from. People have been loving this feature as it means that you’re able to be highly creative with the designs that you come up with.
The table for stitching can be easily extended. As a result, you’re able to increase your work area which lets you complete larger projects.
The bobbin system is also very easy to use. There’s a section at the top where the bobbins can be loaded in for easy insertion. You’re then able to see how many bobbins you have left to use by looking through the clear cover.
The SINGER 9960 comes with 13 different buttonhole styles already built-in. Using the machine for buttonholes is super easy as it’s a process that only involves one step. All you need to do it put the button in the buttonhole area and the sewing machine automatically sews a hole in the precise style that you choose.
The threading system is also incredibly easy to use as it enables you to have the whole machine threaded within a matter of seconds. This means you can put more time into stitching your fabrics.
Brother CS6000i Sewing And Quilting Machine
No matter whether you are experienced in using free motion quilting machines, the Brother CS600i would be the best option. It comes with a slider that you can use to adjust the speed of the sewing machine. This lets you have total control over how fast or slow you want to stitch.
We liked how they’ve fitted an LCD display that lets you see information on the type of stitch that you’ve selected. This makes it easy to know exactly what type of stitch you’re using to avoid mistakes.
There is a range of 8 quilting and sewing feet available as well. Therefore, intermediate users have more options to choose from when sewing or quilting. They include walking, overcasting, spring action, monogramming, buttonhole, zipper feet, and more.
Users have been loving how it comes with an automatic needle threader as well. This is super easy to use by simply using the lever and watching how the thread gets pushed automatically through the needle. It’s a great feature for saving time for you to focus on stitching.
The larger design of the table means that you’re provided with more space to use when stitching quilts.
Brother XR3774 Free Motion Quilting Machine
The Brother XR3774 Free Motion Quilting Machine is an excellent option for both quilting beginners and intermediate users due to how easy it is to use. It’s also a more affordable option for which makes it a great start for beginners to learn how to use sewing machines for free motion quilting.
We were impressed with how there are a total of 37 stitches included that are all unique. In addition to this, you’re provided with 74 different stitching functions to use. These are great features that beginners can use to learn from.
To help you achieve high-quality buttonholes, there’ a one-step auto-size buttonholer which is simple to use. Moreover, there’s a DVD included that lets you learn how to get started with free-motion quilting. It comes with demonstrations for you to follow step-by-step.
People have been liking how there’s an LED light fitted to the sewing machine as well. This enables you to see the area that you’re stitching, regardless of how dark your environment is.
Brother PQ1500SL Professional Quilting And Sewing Machine
Brother’s PQ1500SL Quilting and Sewing Machine is of a more professional standard. It comes with an advanced needle threading system known as F.A.S.T. which enables the machine to handle the needle threading process. It’s super quick and convenient to let you start on your projects without delay.
We were impressed with how there’s a presser foot pressure dial that you can use to make adjustments. These adjustments can be achieved by using the different colors that are available to alter the height of the feed dog. Users find this feature to be particularly helpful when it comes to stitching fabrics that have different thickness levels.
You’re also able to have more control over the tension of the thread that you’re using. This is due to the thread tension control system that has been fitted. It lets you have more precise tension control that you can alter depending on the type of project that you’re working on.
To ensure that you’re able to work with larger pieces of fabric properly, the table can be extended to 5.7 x 8.6”. This larger workspace makes it a lot easier to handle bigger projects.
Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine
An LED light is available with the XM2701 model by Brother which lets you easily see the area that you’re stitching in. We also liked how there’s a system that lets you make buttonholes in specific sizes.
This is a result of the single-step auto-size buttonhole feature. It’s super easy to use and provides you with precise buttonholes.
Users have also been liking how there are 27 stitches built-in to the machine. These include stitches for blind hems, decorations, quilting, and more. Switching between the different stitching options is also incredibly easy as a result of the dial that can be turned for the various options.
You can be sure to have an easy time threading the needle with this machine. There’s an automatic needle threader available that enables you to have the needle threaded within seconds by simply touching a lever.
People have been liking how the system for using the bobbin is super simple. It involves a Quick-Set Top Drop-In feature that works to keep the bobbin securely in place. As a result, you’re able to have an easy time stitching quickly and with accuracy.
What Is Free Motion Quilting?
Free motion quilting involves sewing and stitching designs in a way that lets you be completely free. It lets you have total control over the direction that you want to stitch over the quilt.
How to Free Motion Quilt on a Regular Sewing Machine?
Regular free motion quilting on home machines are usually made to work with feed dogs. Therefore, to use a standard sewing machine for free-motion quilting, you’d need to find a specific foot.
Some sewing machines may come with a foot that you can use for free-motion stitching, but others won’t. A darning foot can also be implemented to normal sewing machines that you can use for stitching quilts with free motion.
How Do I Become A Pro on Free Motion Quilting?
One of the best ways that you can improve your free motion quilting skills is to practice as much as you can. If you’re a complete beginner, it can be difficult to learn free motion quilting at the start.
However, staying consistent with practicing often will ensure that you see constant improvements. It can also be a good idea to look up tutorial videos and copy the steps until you’re able to do it on your own. Some of the quilting machines mentioned in this review come with tutorial DVD’s that can be useful.
We also recommend setting up your free motion quilting home sewing machine in a space where you have more room. This ensures that you’re provided with more room to work with which can make things a lot easier when dealing with larger pieces of fabric.
It may be a good idea to keep the feed dog lower to ensure that you’re able to have a better grip on the material that you’re stitching. Furthermore, if the machine has an automatic thread cutter, it could be worth considering switching it off.
This is because the automatic thread cutters can sometimes cut the thread too early. Usually, you only want to cut the thread once you’ve completely finished stitching.
What Features Should A Free-motion Machine Have?
- Quilting Table
- Quilting Stitches
- Thread Tension
The size of the table that you’re using for stitching quilts is an incredibly important aspect to think about. If you’re going to be using it for larger quilts, ideally, you’d want to select a machine that has a large enough working space.
You can also find sewing machines for quilting that comes with extendable workspaces. These can be handy if you’re looking to stitch fabrics of different sizes. Furthermore, some machines enable you to detach the table too.
One of the main aspects of using a sewing machine for quilting is the stitches. You want to be sure that you’ve selected a sewing machine that comes with stitches that can be used to quilting.
Many machines come with a variety of quilting stitches that you can use to experiment and be creative with.
A thread tension system is crucial when it comes to using a sewing machine for quilting. This is because the tension required for stitching quilts is different compared to stitching other fabrics.
Depending on the machine that you choose, some options come with either an automatic or a manual thread tension controller.
Some sewing machines come with just one feet option for you to use. You’ll want to consider whether the machine allows for additional feet to be added. Having more feet options can improve the experience you have with your quilting projects.
How to Maintain Quilting Machines
To ensure that you can carry on using your quilting machine for a long time, there are some steps that you can take to maintain it properly over the years. Check out the following ways to maintain your quilting machine:
- Oiling your machine regularly is important to ensure that you minimize friction and allow for smoother operation. Avoiding too much friction ensures that the machine can continue being used for years.
- Using a hardcover can keep your machine free from dust. Some options already come with a hardcover, whereas others will require you to purchase it separately. They can help you avoid having to clean it all the time due to dust accumulating
- Keeping your sewing machine stored in a safe place will prevent it from being accidentally damaged when it’s not being used. Many people prefer setting it up somewhere permanent rather than having to move it around all the time.
Can You Do Free Motion Quilting With A Regular Sewing Machine?
Yes, it’s absolutely possible to do a free motion quilt with your regular sewing machine. What you should know is that you need to be able to disengage your machine’s feed dog to allow you to swap foot. This is necessary because free motion quilting is basically a technique where you sew in any direction on the quilt’s surface to add stitches.
Unfortunately, your standard sewing machine doesn’t give you that range of motion by default. Hence, you need to tweak your sewing machine a bit and that involves taking down your feed dog and swapping the foot. If you own a new sewing machine model, you should not have any problems disengaging your feed dog as they come with this capability. But, if your sewing machine is an older model, there’s a chance you may not be able to disengage it easily. If that’s the case, you can simply cover your sewing machine with a special material known as the Supreme Slider.
What this material does is to provide a cover that’s slippery enough to allow your quilt glide through with ease. While the Supreme Slider is a second option here, there are sewers who prefer it to the first method that requires you to disengage your feed dog. It would be wise to try out both methods to see the one you’re most comfortable with.
Meanwhile, if you’re going to disengage your feed dog, be sure to have a special free motion presser foot handy. The reason is that your standard machine is made in such a way that the standard presser foot works with the feed dogs. Some sewing machines come with a special free motion foot. If your machine doesn’t have a free motion foot, you may want to get the darning foot which fits a wide range of standard sewing machines.
How to Do Free Motion Quilting With A Basic Sewing Machine?
You can’t lower your feed dogs on most of the basic sewing machines. To do free motion quilting on a basic sewing machine, you need a darning plate to cover the feed dogs. Also, you need a special foot to do a free motion quilt. If your machine did not come with a free motion foot, get a darning foot. Once you’re ready to start, take out your presser foot and its holder.
Afterward, proceed to fix your darning foot. To do this, position your quilting foot’s pen above the machine’s needle clamp screw. Be sure to align the presser bar and the quoting foot’s lower left. Tighten the screw holding the presser foot in place with a screw driver.
To do this, you’ll need to hold your quilting foot with your left hand while your right hand tightens the screw. Ensure the screw is securely tightened to avoid your needle touching the presser foot and breaking/bending. Locate the drop feed lever that’s at the machine’s rear on the base. Slide the lever to the left to lower the feed dog. When that’s done, switch on your sewing machine and choose a stitch.
Spread the fiber taut using both hands and move your fabric at a constant pace to allow you to sew uniform stitches at roughly 2.0-2.5mm in length. When the swing is done, slide your drop feed lever to the right then turn the hand wheel to raise your machine’s feed dog. The process is the same if your machine has a free motion foot.
Free Motion Quilting With Advanced Sewing Machine
Using an advanced machine for free motion quilting makes your job considerably easier. Most advanced quilting machines have the “drop feed” feature which allows you to lower feed dogs.
Advanced sewing machines like BERNINA have stitch regulators which helps to adjust the stitch length to hand speed to allow your stitches to remain even. Before you start free motion quilting, note that you don’t need your feed dogs.
The idea behind free motion quilting is that you’re able to move your quilt smoothly in all directions. This helps fill your quilt with a lovely texture. On older machines, you’d have to do this manually. Thankfully, newer sewing machines make provisions to help drop feed dogs with ease.
To begin free motion quilting, thread your sewing machine using matching colors in both the bobbin and the thread. This is important because you may see little dots of bobbin thread on the top of your quilt if your tension is not perfect. Using matching colors will help make sure those thread dots do not ruin your quilt.
Before you head off to work on a proper fabric, try a test run on a piece of fabric to get your quilt right. It’s better to use 100% cotton material for your test run as this makes your job a whole lot easier. With your test fabric, you can make practice samples, play around with different thread combos and determine which one works for you.
When you’re satisfied with your result, you can go ahead to work with your real fabric. With the advance sewing machine, you don’t have to worry about getting a darning foot. Advanced sewing machines are easier to work with as they’re more sophisticated and while this is true, you still need to get your quilting ideas in place.
What Stitch Do You Use For Free Motion Quilting?
When using a stitch type in free motion quilting, you’re not limited to just a single stitch. Depending on what you want, there are several types of stitch that would work well in a free motion quilt. That said, most sewers learn to use the stippling stitch first. It’s a simple stitch that’s easy to meander. It gives you all the flexibility and freedom you need to get creative with your quilt.
With stippling, you are more in control of the final product and can impose your style in a variety of ways. With this stitch style, you can cover a wide area with large stipples. You can also give your quilt a different look by making small stipples.
Another stitch style that would be good for quilting is the echo quilting. If you’re outlining a shape, this is the kind of stitch you should be using. The great thing about echo quilting is that it can work on any quilt. Its simplicity means it’s a great option for sewers who are new to quilting.
You can also try quilting feathers if the aforementioned stitches aren’t what you want. This stitching style is particularly appealing for many sewers because they can fit into small and large spaces, shrink all the way in or stretch out. You may also go for Pebbles. Often called bubbles, this free motion quilt stitch style is versatile and will be a great fit for quilts of all kinds.
Depending on your preference and the area you’re quilting, you can alter the pebbles to small, medium and large.
Lastly, you may also try out the meandering stitch. This stitch is best for landscapes and is quilts. Any of the 5 stitches mentioned above can work for free motion quilting. Whichever one you choose you depend on your desired end product.
What Is The Best Stitch Length For Free Motion Quilting?
For most sewers, the standard stitch length for free motion quilting is 2.5mm. While that number works for many people, do not be fooled to believe it’s the gospel. Stitch length for free motion quilt varies. Your ideal stitch length will heavily depend on the type of thread you’re using. The best stitch size for your free motion quilting will depend on your thread’s weight.
Thick threads require long stitches while skinny threads require short stitches. Remember that the purpose of your stitch is to accentuate the thread’s beauty so it’s important to focus on that. While free motion quilting, your stitch length is regulated by how quickly your sewing machine is revved and the speed of your hands.
A slow machine and a slow hand will certainly present big stitches, while fast machine hands and machines present tiny stitches. Next time you’re doing a free motion quilt, consider these variables and be sure to make the right. This is not to say there’s anything wrong with 2.5mm. In fact, this stitch length seems to work for many sewers who are still learning the ropes.
But, if you’re experienced and would love to get more professional end product, it’s best to choose a stitch length that works well with your thread. Although that may be a little challenging, you can always do a test run on a piece of fabric to be sure you’ve got the right length. Try practicing with a 100% cotton fabric in solid colors.
The solid colors ensure you’re not distracted by a busy print. Alternatively, you can simply set the stitch length on your sewing machine to ‘0’ and allow your hand and needle speed to do all the magic.
All of the five machines mentioned in the list are great for free motion quilting. After detailed research our number one pick is the SINGER 9960 Sewing And Quilting Machine. It’s the most cost-effective quilting machine in the market. 60 built-in stitches, wide quilting table, LCD display this machine. A maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches-per-minute. The auto threader and auto cutter also will save you a lot of time.
However, it’s a good idea to consider the other choices in our review as well. Maybe you’ll want to consider the best quilting sewing machine for the money, or ones that have features that are more beneficial for your specific needs.
Hopefully, you can use the details found throughout our review to pick the best sewing machine for quilting that suits your needs.