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Quilting is a process in which layers of fabric are sewn together to make a quilt or quilted garments. These days, it is not limited to just a quilt or quilted garments, people also make floor mats, bed sheet covers, cushions, wall hangings, table runners and much more. It all depends on the quilter and on what they are quilting. Now if we talk about the question “do you need a special sewing machine for quilting?” that you really are here for, then we can look at the following article.
Do you need a special sewing machine for quilting?
The answer to this question is very simple. It all depends on your choice of quilting. Quilting can also be done on a regular sewing machine. Yes, it is not necessary to buy a new sewing machine for quilting only. But if we talk about it on the professional level you might need one.
First of all, you need to know the depth of your work and the alternations you can make to your regular sewing machine according to the demand of your project. Then you will be able to answer this question by yourself.
Quilting machines are not very different than the regular sewing machines that you use to sew your clothes with. But there are some special features to them that may catch your interest and you might want a new one. These features add ease to your work and offer you a proper space for your work. Let us see what specialty differentiates a sewing machine especially designed for quilting from a regular sewing machine that is used to sew clothes on a regular basis. The following are the main features that separate a regular sewing machine from a quilting one.`
What kind of sewing machine do I need for quilting?
You must be thinking while reading this article about what kind of machine you should buy and what kind of machine you need for quilting. The answer is quite simple, yet a bit complex. We have mentioned all the details on the features that differentiate a quilting machine from a standard sewing machine.
As quilting involves sewing different layers together, it must be clear that it will take a lot of space in order to adjust those layers on the sewing machine. A regular sewing machine is not that much wide, and the working space adds a luxury component to it because on a regular basis, we sew normal clothes with it, and they are not that much heavy also not as much thick either.
But for bulky items, like quilting, a comparatively larger area is required to hold all those layers together so that they all can be sewn all together at the same time.
This works pace is called as “throat” of a sewing machine. The longer the throat, the larger the working area offered by the sewing machine and the easier it is to hold that load together while quilting.
2. Extension Table
A common feature that gives you room for your work is the extended table that comes with the sewing machines that are especially designed for quilting. This is an optional accessory for a sewing machine, but it can be very useful. It gives you the extra space to hold all that weight on the other side too. This way, it helps the sewing machine to make stitches properly without any added tension on the needle and also on the dog feed due to the heavyweight of the quilting material.
You can fix this extension table against your sewing machine. It will give your machine an extra working area which will be the best for the sewing machine, especially while quilting and sewing borders and bindings.
3. Acufeed Foot
Another important accessory that comes along with almost all of the quilting machines is the dual-feed foot. This foot helps to move the quilting fabric from both, top and bottom sides, in sync.
This lets the machine give the perfect and even stitches on both sides. Otherwise while quilting, all the layers of your project would not move in sync with each other and it will make a bunch of gathered thread at the bottom and it will be very unpleasing to the quilter.
4. Patchwork or quarter inch foot
While quilting, your sewing machine needs to pierce through all the layers of the project. A quarter-inch foot helps to sew narrow seams of ¼ inches wide. This is ideal for quilts that have a narrow seam allowance and it also keeps the stitches accurate. It will allow you to keep the same distance on every corner of the quilt for precise quilting so that each corner will have the same seam allowance and will look the same.
For almost all the quilting machines, these feet come as their accessory, but you can also buy them separately if you do not have them already.
5. Free motion foot
Free motion foot is another important accessory added to the quilting machine that allows the quilter to quilt freely. It is best for the people who love to do free motion quilting. It keeps the stitches in the perfect distance and almost eliminates the chances of skipping stitches.
It protects the stitches from puckering at the bottom and gives you fine, equally distanced stitches that are perfect for quilting. It also keeps your finger to get in the way of the needle of your quilting machine while freely moving your project during quilting.
There is an open toe version to this foot which allows you to see the formation of stitches and is very useful for quilters. You should set your needle to the left position and lower your dog feed for the best results.
6. Walking foot
Walking foot is another important feature of a quilting machine. It helps to keep all the layers of fabric in place with the dog feed and move them together as you sew stitches on your quilting project. It gives best results for straight-line quilting. It is also useful to sew heavy and slippery fabrics that are not easy to hold on a sewing machine.
There are a lot of decorative stitches that a quilting machine can offer you. Usually, quilting is done with simple running or straight and rocking stitches. But the trend has changed now. People like to make new designs while quilting. You can have a variety of stitches to choose the best one for your quilting project. It adds good aesthetics to your project.
8. Speed and Stability
Quilting needs accurate stitches with precise distancing. At a professional level, a quilter needs a quilting machine with good speed and stability. If you are a professional, you might need one with high speed and one that can remain stable by withstanding that high-speed motor. Quilting machine offers you high speed and accurate stitches by keeping itself stable during the process of quilting. They have special stability features that make it extremely sturdy, like an extra-wide flat bed and a large work space.
Can you do quilting on a regular sewing machine?
Yes, quilting can be done on a regular machine if it can handle the load of those layers that you are trying to quilt together. The sewing machines that are in the market these days are all multi-purpose sewing machines that give you a range of functions.
You can set the sewing machine according to your project and it will give you the desired results. But if we talk about the layers with heavy fabric that are not easy to penetrate and rollover, you might need a heavy-duty quilting machine for them.
But usually, if you want to quilt something, you can just simply alter the settings which include the foot, the stitch you want to use, and the position of the needle and the dog feed, according to your quilting project.
The most common foot that is used for quilting is the quarter-inch foot or the walking foot. The quarter-inch foot helps you keep the seam allowance narrow and same on all sides. You can check the markings on the foot and keep the same distance for all the corners by simply placing the quilting project on that mark.
The other one of the most common used foot is the walking foot. This will hold down all the layers properly and will allow all of them to move all together in accordance with the dog feed. Other feet are also mentioned above. You will have the idea by reading their functions about which foot you need for your particular quilting project.
You can just simply select the foot and replace it with the regular foot of your sewing machine, set the needle according to the fabric and the length of the stitch you want for your project. This way, you can quilt on your regular sewing machine easily. All the feet are available for almost all of the machines so you can buy them easily.
What is the best sewing machine for free-motion quilting?
Free motion quilting is a type of quilting in which the quilter has full freedom to move the quilting object according to his/her will. For this type of quilting, a specific foot is used that is called a free motion or a darning foot. This foot is extremely useful to the quilters for free motion quilting as it allows them to move the layers freely and give the perfect stitches without any puckering of thread at the bottom.
The best sewing machine for free motion quilting according to us would be:
The best sewing machine for free-motion quilting is Janome MC-6300P. it has a range of options to select from. Different built-in stitches, high speed of 1000 stitches per minute, drop feed especially made for free motion quilting, self-threading and knee lift presser foot. Following are the features of Janome MC-6300P:
- Larger throat space gives you more working area, especially for quilting.
- Variety of stitches. (You can choose from 66 built-in stitches.)
- Self-threading, (You do not need to thread your machine, it will do it itself.)
- Knee lift presser-foot
- Drop feed, especially for free-motion quilting
- 5-piece feed dog, you can adjust them accordingly
- Built- in needle threader
- Adjustable needle position also keeps the memory of the needle position of your choice.
- Always end the stitch with the upper needle position.
- Automatic thread cutter
- Locking stitch button
- Twin needle guard
- 4 one-step buttonholes
- Automatic thread tension control
- Snap-on presser feet
- Reverse button
- Speed control slider with a high-speed of 1000 stitches per minute.
- 5 memory banks
- Individual and combination stitch editing
- Last stitch memory
- Auto declutch bobbin winding
- Extra high presser foot lift
- LCD display
- Adjustable foot pressure
- Rotary hook bobbin system
- 7mm max stitch width and 5mm min stitch length
- Vertical thread delivery system with dual thread guide bar
- Extension table included
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Presser Foot Collection
It comes with different presser feet for different purposes. You can use a different presser foot by just changing the presser feet with the help of a button.
The presser feet will snap off by just pushing the button and then you just have to lower the ankle onto the foot and snap another one back on. Following are the standard presser feet that come with this sewing machine:
¼ inch foot:
Quarter inch foot is a famous foot for its ¼ inch markings that enable you to sew or quilt a project with the same ¼ seam every time.
3-way Cording foot:
It will hold one, two or three cords or threads in place. This way, as the cords or threads are attached to the foot, the required design can easily be made by placing the cords or threads perfectly. This foot is especially used for couching.
It also comes with an automatic buttonhole foot that helps to make a buttonhole on the fabric for different things such as cuffs, cushion buttons, trousers, pants, and others.
Blind Hem Foot G:
This foot helps to invisibly hem the sides of the fabric. The side of the fabric fits against the guide in the foot and the groove underneath prevents the unnecessary slipping. The needle swings over the metal guide of the foot creating a limp in the upper tension. This way, the pick of the stitch seems almost invisible.
Free motion or darning foot:
It is used for free motion quilting. It allows the quilter to move the layers smoothly without skipping any stitches and puckering.
Open toe Satin Stitch foot:
This foot gives a better view of the sewing because of its open toe design. It is used for quilting, cut work, and applique.
Used for memory craft embroidery and computerized models.
Used to wrap the thread around the edge of the fabric with the help of an overcasting stitch.
It is used for zigzag sewing.
10. Zipper foot:
Used to sew zips and piping onto the fabric. This foot can be used to sew on both sides of the zipper. You need to adjust the position of the foot accordingly.
- Heavy duty machine that has a range of functions from sewing, quilting to also embroidery.
- It gives you a number of stitches to choose from.
- It comes with different foot choices.
- It works very fast with adjustable speed and is very smooth and sturdy.
- Expensive (yet worth it if you are or want to be a professional.)
- Quite heavy as it weighs 18 pounds.
- No free arm.
- Cannot change the width of the blind hem.
Conclusion - Do You Need A Special Sewing Machine For Quilting
So, in the end, we can say that you can do quilting on any machine. You just need to change the foot and your machine is ready. For the best results, we would advice you to keep the dog feed low and also set your needle to the left needle position. The reason for this is that the lower positioned dog feed will not interrupt the motion of the quilting project and will allow the layers to move freely under your command. The position of the needle will give you neat and precise stitches.
We hope that you found our article on the topic helpful. We do heavy research before publishing any kind of information, so we can say that all the above-mentioned information is authentic and reliable. We collected all the information for your convenience and hope this article was informative for you and now you can decide for yourself on the question, “Do you need a special sewing machine for quilting?”, and hopefully the answer would be a lot easier by now. 🙂
If you have any other queries about quilting that we have not discussed or anything you want us to write about, let us know and we will be at it as soon as possible.