When researching sewing machines, there are a lot of factors to consider. Since my specialty is quilting, I’ll give you the deets on what I’ve found to be the best quilting sewing machines.
It’s time. You’ve sewn a couple quilts, become totally addicted (I mean, it’s hard not to), and now realize the old hand-me-down Singer just isn’t cutting it. The tension keeps getting off, the light doesn’t work, and every so often, the bobbin comes unthreaded leaving you oblivious and happily humming along until you pick up your chain piecing only to have it all fall apart.
AHHH! The frustration is there, but what about the money? Quilting ain't cheap - especially if you have a tendency to hoard fabric...which inevitably becomes second nature to all quilters. Below is a list of great quilting sewing machines for every type of budget.
Before jumping in, I do have one stand-alone piece of advice: test drive. Go to a few different dealers and jump onto a few different machines. Each brand has its own quirks and before assuming that “I’m get’n a Singer cause I’ve always had a Singer.” Each machine will have a different feel, a different sound, even a different stitch. This machine is going to become an extension of you, so make sure that it FEELS right.
I would also remind you that a lot has changed in the sewing machine world over the past 5-10 years. And since you will be servicing your machine every couple years like a good little quilter, you want to be fairly close to your sewing machine dealer.
ahum. Now to the list. (And note, that prices may vary based on your dealer and as new machines are released)
- Singer 8500Q, $650: This is the least expensive machine on this list, but don’t let that deter you from reading more about it. The extra large sewing space and extension table measures 22” x 14”. Few other more expensive machines can compare to that! A few more features include: 215 built-in stitches, knee lifter (that means that you can lift your foot with your knee, rather than reaching around the side of your machine) and an automatic needle threader.
Husqvarna Viking Opal 650, $700: This computerized sewing machine has all of the bells and whistles a quilter needs, without a ton of extra features to drive up the price. The generous 8” sewing surface and long arm makes it a breeze for machine quilting larger quilts. This machine also won the “Best Buy” award by Consumers Digest.
Brother PC660LA Laura Ashley Sewing Machine, $700: This machine is making the list for a few key reasons - you can buy it at Joann Fabrics (which means no matter where you live, you’re never very far from a Joann Fabrics), it comes with a wide table and extra quilting accessories, 138 different stitches, free-motion stitching and an easy-to-view back-lit LCD screen display.
Pfaff Passport 2.0, $700: Don’t let the small size of this machine fool you - it’s got a lot of features. With 70 different built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader and an option for free motion quilting, this is a great machine for a newbie.
Juki HZL-F400, $900: For the price of this machine, it really does have it all! It has a built-in knee lifting lever, free-motion sewing AND an automatic thread cutter. Another cool feature about Juki is that the tension system handles invisible thread so well, you're hand-look quilt stitches look perfect every time.
- Janome 3160QDC, $1,000: This is a full-featured machine made with a quilter’s needs in mind - 60 built-in stitches, a one handed needle threader and needle up/down. Weighing in at only 12lb., this pint-sized machine is a bona fide quilting Mighty Mouse!
- Juki HZL-F600, $1,200: This machine has a large LCD display with easy pattern selection. With a wide 8” sewing surface and 255 different stitches, you’ll easily be able to crank out quilts at an alarming rate. Some other features include an automatic needle threader, an extra high foot lift and a built-in knee lift. This is a sturdy machine that gets great reviews from its owners.
- Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0, $1,400: This machine’s high resolution touch screen and large 8” sewing surface can really get you excited to quilt the night away. You also get features like: 201 built-in stitches, automatic thread tie-off, free-motion sewing and a bobbin sensor (that means NO MORE oblivious sewing of non-existent stitches!).
- Janome Skyline S5, $1,500: This computerized machine has top of the line features at a mid-level price. It has 170 built-in stitches, an advanced start/stop button AND an automatic thread cutter (one of the best features a quilter can ask for).
- BERNINA 330, $1,500: If you talk to any quilter off the street, they will usually have a strong opinion about which brand of sewing machine is best, BUT, be warned, that if you buy into the BERNINA family, you are buying into it for life. My BERNINA friends won’t even consider a different brand. Would I use the word cult? maybe 😉 OK, but now to the features: a color LCD touch screen, 97 different stitches, a built-in needle threader, the ability to wind a bobbin while sewing (pretty cool) and a lifelong bond with every other BERNINA owner.
- Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2, $2,600: Aside from the beautiful design of this machine, it's also the cream of the crop when it comes to features. Basically, dream up any feature you would want, and YES, this machine has that. Some of them are: an extra large sewing surface, automatic thread cutter, 47 different quilt stitches with over 200 other decorative stitches, electronic knee-lift and a PFAFF exclusive - Integrated Dual Feed (absolutely even fabric feed from both the top and the bottom).
- Brother Laura Ashley Innov-is NX-2000, $2,800: In addition to winning the “Best Buy” Consumers Digest award, this machine has 1,000 spm (stitches per minute) forward, reverse and side to side. Some other features include a built-in needle threader, automatic thread cutter, 460 different stitches and a wide 8.25” sewing surface to the right of the needle.
- Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q, $2,800: This machine is pretty much the FUBU for quilters. On top of the color touchscreen, free-motion sewing can be done with any stitch! There are over 300 stitches, side-motion sewing, an automatic thread cutter, built-in needle threader and the Exclusive Sensor System automatically and continuously senses any thickness of fabric for perfect fabric feed.
- Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP, $3,200: If you are a serious enough quilter, and want a strong, sturdy and long-necked machine, I encourage you to look into some of the older used models too. Dealers of all brands usually have some refurbished machines you can test drive. Now for the bells and whistles, and ooohhh are there a lot: a high resolution LCD touchscreen, 270 different stitches, a locking stitch button, automatic thread cutter, 1,000 spm sewing speed and an extra long 11” sewing surface.
- BERNINA 770 Quilters Edition, $6,000: This sewing MONSTER has all of bells and whistles your quilty brain can imagine, so I’m just going to skip over that and get to the really exciting part. If you are a dedicated free-motion quilter, this is the machine for you. A special stitch-regulating foot provides high-speed free-motion stitching assistance with both straight and zigzag sewing speeds. So say goodby to janky stitches and crazy tension problems!
I hope this list helps in your search for the perfect sewing machine. If you have any questions OR reviews on any of the machines mentioned, feel free to leave a comment or email me.
If you have really specific questions, please reach out to your local sewing machine dealers. Just remember that they want to sell you THEIR machines, so call a couple different peeps before settling in on one brand. Quilting sewing machines are not a one size fits all type of thing. If you sit down at a $700 machine and feel good, that’s great! And if you sit down at the Bernina 710 and realize that it’s the love of your life, well, start saving your pennies! 😉
96 thoughts on “Quilting Sewing Machines: Which One Is Best For You & Your Budget?”
I am glad to know that there is a lot to consider when purchasing a sewing machine. That is cool that you can get a sewing machine for different purposes, such as quilting. That is smart to consider getting a well known brand machine that has a good reputation.
What sewing machine do you use?
I use a Janome Memory Craft 7700. I’ve been using Janome since the day I started sewing…15 years ago, and I’ve yet to find a brand I like more.
I have been using Bernina now for 20 years and for me I would not use another brand. I have small Jenome but it does not even compare to the Bernina.
Which Bernina do you have?
I really like Singer 8500Q but the self cutting feature does not work correctly. I had then ship me a new one thinking it was broken and the self cutting feature does not work correctly on the new one either. Other than that everything else works beautifully. I love sewing on it.
Yikes! That’s a huge bummer because the self cutting feature is incredibly convenient and helpful. I hope the Singer people continue to replace/fix your machine until you get one that fully works!
Sorry, I guess I’m not as with it as I thought, I don’t know what FUBU means. I have a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire but have an open mind to other brands and found all your reviews helpful except for the 960Q mainly because I don’t know what FUBU means. Is it bad? Is it good? Help?
haha This really cracked me up 😉 And trust me, you are totally with it. My stream of consciousness is just very hard to follow. FUBU is a brand of apparel that was made popular in America in the 90s. It’s an acronym – For Us By Us. What I meant when I said that in the review is – the sewing machine was designed for quilters by quilters.
So yes, in my opinion, it’s very good! xo
That is too funny especial I was in High School and College in the 90’s 🙂 Great Review page, thanks again!
Gosh I would love to find out if you have the same issues as me. My bobbin gets caught up a LOT and I have to pull all the thread thru and it sure messes up whatever I am sewing.
I have a Singer Heavy duty. I love sewing on it, but it does have it’s quarks. I also have my grandmother’s singer from early 20th century. It is foot peddle run and I like it’s feel better then the new one. Only trouble is the belt broke and I haven’t found where to get a new one.
You can try here: https://singer-featherweight.com/products/belt-treadle-leather-for-antique-singer-machines
My mom used an old lamp cord with a slightly fuzzy covering. Then sewed the ends together with strong carpet thread
Hi Suzy. I need upgrade my old Brother sewing and embroidery machine. My options are Janome 8200QCP. Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 930. Bernina seems to be very expensive. My budget is around $.2200 thank you.
I want a machine that is solid and a little cheaper. My mother has the Viking sewing machine. She says that it works great for around the house and it’s not too far out of my price range. Thank you for the reviews!
Viking is a great brand that offers exactly what you’re looking for – sturdy and affordable. I know a lot of quilters who happily sew on Viking sewing machines. Good luck on your purchase!
My earthly time is running out, and I don’t want to spend time learning to run a computerized sewing machine. What is the best NON-COMPUTERIZED machine for both regular sewing and quilting?
I would say get a Juki. Those are fantastic machines that are very sturdy.
Juki HZL-F600 is a performance based sewing machine I like it even the price is a little high.
Thank you for the reviews. They are very helpful. I just started quilting recently and I’m finding my basic machine limits me. I’ve been saving for a newer machine. Very good advice that I should test drive the ones I’m looking at.
HI, could you add a $ category for us broke folks/students? 😀 I have a Janome at home but need one for the dorm room. Thanks
Done and done. I’m adding that to my list of posts and I should have something for you in a couple weeks. Check back! 🙂
Hi All. I have been sewing for years but have recently begun quilting. I currently have a Pfaff creative 1475 which I have had for 25years. It has been an amazing machine with very little problem but I finding it too small for quilting, especially the neck size. I am wanting to upgrade and are presently deliberating over the Pfaff expression 4.2 or the Janome MC8900QCP. This is mainly because of my current Pfaff being so reliable and hard working and my sister who is an avid quilter has a Janome and loves it. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks
Both seem to be great machines – I think it comes down to personal preference. I actually own both a Janome and a Pfaff, but have always felt more comfortable with the Janome. If you have the opportunity to visit a Janome and a Pfaff dealer, I would. Sit down at both machines and decide which feels more natural to you. Good luck and congrats on getting a new machine!
You have really got a nice pair of machines!
I am currently using my 60+ year old Singer Featherweight which I love deeply. It’s only fault imho is the small area to the right of the needle…. barely 5″. What I would like is a machine with at least 11 inches but few bells and whistles. I’m also unconvinced about the reliability of a computerized machine having experienced the durability of my Featherweight. Does such a machine exist? Very basic features with large throat area? Feed dogs down and needle up/down would be great but throat space #1
What you’re looking for is incredibly reasonable, but not easy to find these days. Most machines that are high enough quality to have a larger throat space are also usually computerized. I’ve been sewing on computerized machines for almost 15 years and have yet to have a single issue – if that helps to put your mind at ease. I started with a Janome and now sew on a Bernina – both have been incredibly reliable.
After some searching on the internet I think there are a couple options. You could buy a refurbished machine that is a bit older so it’s not computerized. Here is one example. This new Juki machine also seems to get pretty good reviews and it has a throat space of 8.5″.
I would still recommend asking a local sewing machine dealer (or two) what they think. An added perk too is that you will get the best deals on refurbished machines if you shop local. Good luck with your hunt!
Can you please explain the FUBU reference – Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960Q, $2,800: This machine is pretty much the FUBU
Hi Barb! FUBU means “For Us, By Us.” In this case, it means that particular sewing machine is designed for quilters, by quilters.
I.now use a singer 319. It has the largest harp of the all metal machines. I would not take it places with out a roller case!
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response Suzy. I’m happy to hear that your computerized machine is proving to be durable. Do you have a recommendation for a fairly uncomplicated computerized machine with a really spacious throat? Like 10″+?
What a great series and list of machines. As we go in to dealerships to shop, do you have a list of things to look for? What are the quilters’ best friends in a machine? Free motion quilting? Arm length? Table size? Even feeding?
It’s really up to you as a quilter. I love my automatic thread cutter, large throat space, and BSR free motion quilting so much, now that I’ve grown accustomed to those features, I could never not have them. I think it’s smart to make your own top 5 list and then see what machine checks those boxes.
Hello Suzy Thanks for your complete review.I’m using “Brother cs6000i 60-Stitch” that is the awesome too.
I love the lcd option mainly.
I’m torn between, being able to afford a nice fancy machine and being frugal. I’m a beginner so I feel like maybe a plain jane machine is best but I also don’t want to miss out on other features that I may want a couple years down the road. What would you do?
There’s a lot to think about, and I completely understand going back and forth on what to do. Consider this purchase like you would a car purchase. It’s going to be an investment, but it’s up to you how much you’re going to “drive the car” and how many miles you plan to put on it. Do you really need all of the extra features? Or do you just want it to get you from point A to point B?
Before I bought my car (actual car, not metaphorical car. lol!) I went to a car show and sat in a bunch of different models. I was shocked that doing just that completely changed my mind from what I thought I wanted to what I actually wanted. This is true with sewing machines too. I highly recommend seeking out a couple dealers and trying different machines. If there is a quilt show in your area, almost always sewing vendors are there as well – so in one swoop you could try all of the main brands.
Hi, do you use a Bernina now? What one if so? I’ve got an Elna at the mo and just keep having problems with it. It’s Christmas soon so may ask my bf for a new machine! Thanks, Mary-Ann x
Well, I love Janome machines and here I would like to select Janome Skyline S5. This Janome Skyline S5 sewing machine has top of the line features at a mid-level price. Thanks for sharing beautiful collection.
Hello. I am looking at getting a new machine- possibly a Bernina. What is typically the difference between the Quilters Edition and the non Quilters Edition?
The main difference (I’m aware of) is the QE series comes with added accessories specific to quilting – such as a 1/4″ patchwork food, a walking foot and the BSR free motion foot. You can read more about the new B570 QE here – https://suzyquilts.com/bernina-570-qe/ To get a more detailed answer, I recommend calling your local Bernina dealer. Find a dealer easily here. Good luck!
Hi, I’m currently in the market for a decent quilter’s machine, I have done a bit of research and have it narrowed down to three machines that I think will serve my purpose. I was hoping you could help me in my decision making. My 3 choices thus far are the Janome 3160QDC, Janome 4120QDC and the Husky Opal 650. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Before becoming a Bernina owner, I sewed exclusively on a Janome for almost 15 years, so my opinion will be biased towards those machines. The main differences that I can see between the Janome 3160 and the Janome 4120 is the number of stitch options, (the 4120 seems to have twice as many), the 4120 has a built in thread cutter (which is nice) and the 3160 doesn’t, the 4120 has a LCD screen (which in my opinion doesn’t really matter) and the 3160 doesn’t. Although both machines have the exact same sized work space, W 6.8″ x H 4.5″, the 4120 is 2 lbs. heavier, which means it won’t rattle around as much when you’re sewing fast. If you would rather be more mobile with your machine, however, 2 lbs. lighter might be what you want. Lastly, consider the price. After seeing those differences, is a Janome 4120 worth $100 more than the 3160?
Hi, I’m currently looking at buying a new sewing machine, and I’ve been sewing on an old 1969 Sears Kenmore. So I’m not yet attached to one brand and sort of feel like I’m starting from nothing since the Kenmore is such a basic machine. I love the large work space of the Sapphire 930 compared to the others in that price range. Would you have any other recommendations that would be similar to that one? I don’t do a whole lot of embroidery so the amount of stitches doesn’t really matter. I just need something that will go through vinyls and leather but also has enough room that I can work on quilts with it as well.
I have a few questions
I am looking at janome 8900 or 8200
Is it worth the difference in price?
Any comment for the elna model? I amooking at the 760
You always provide such great information for us Suzy. I learned to sew and still have my Grandmother’s Singer Slant-o-Matic – top of the line in her day. It sews like a dream. I have a two Baby Lock machines. One I purchased used with embroidery capabilities and another less expensive model for carting around with me. I stick with Baby Lock because a. I love them and b. I have a considerable collection of feet! Thanks for sharing and doing all the research.
I have a 42 year old Elna SU that has never been serviced and yet still works perfectly. About 25 years ago I started quilting, loved it, and started waiting for my old machine to die. A few months ago I realized that wasn’t going to happen, LOL, so I started researching new machines with actual quilting feet and drop feed. I tried the Singer 8500 (Modern Quilter) — the thread cutter worked the first time, then only cut the top thread after that. More importantly, the tension was a mess, no matter how much I adjusted it. Sent it back and after much more research I decided the Brother NQ 1300 PRW was the right model for me. I just purchased it and am quickly learning how to use an electronic machine! I LOVE it! Everything I needed and more. Wish it had 11 inch throat, but didn’t want to spend a couple thousand more just for that. Thanks Suzy for your great info, and making it so much fun.
I have the same Elna machine as Rebecca and it still works perfectly as well 🙂 However, I never used it for quilting, which I am now interested in. This is probably a dumb question, but is Baby Lock worth a look? I saw some video using it and it looked good but since you didn’t mention it here I wondered.
I know a lot of people who really love their Baby Lock machines. I think the higher end models are probably worth a look.
I find it very sad that Singer isn’t what it used to be. I read somewhere that the name is now owned by a large conglomerate called SVP (Singer, Viking, Pfaff) and most of their machines are made in China. This may or may not be true. However, made in China doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality because I have a machine made in China and it’s a gem. Perhaps some manufacturers’ design specs are better than others.
Your NQ 1300 PRW is a GORGEOUS machine and is rather like the “baby brother” (pun intended) of my Brother VQ3000 Dreamweaver (which is made in China by the way). It’s one of two machines that I use for quilting and ordinary sewing: a 50+ year old Kenmore 158 (made in Japan) and the modern Dreamweaver which is a few years old. They are both solid, heavy, wonderful machines. The Kenmore was made when sewing machines were built to last. It runs very smoothly, makes beautiful stitches and is fabulous for piecing, but has virtually no “bells and whistles”. It’s very dependable and like your Elna, if maintained it will outlive me. It’s that well made. It will do FMQ, and has a decent sized harp space to push a quilt through, but the Brother machine is MARVELOUS when it comes to FMQ. It’s a previous generation from today’s Dreamweaver, which is incredibly expensive but I was lucky to buy it from a dealer at less than half price (it was a demo model) It has almost all the same bells and whistles as the newer model but doesn’t do embroidery, which holds no interest for me. I LOVE this machine and use it almost daily. It has almost a foot long harp space, a superb lighting system, the needle up/down feature, pivot feature, a laser guide, true auto-threading, auto thread cutter, a special motorized belt driven walking foot (which is superb) and lots of other goodies – too many to list. I make quilts, clothing, bags, kitchen articles, upholstered articles and more on this machine and have a great time doing it. I’ve been sewing since age 7 and am a crazy sewing addict. I’m glad you like your Brother machine, needless to say I’m partial, but if you ever decide to buy an additional machine with more room for quilting, take a look at Brother’s straight-stitch PQ1500. It’s a straight-forward mechanical unit with a HUGE harp space – wide and tall. It’s not exactly cheap but I’ve been watching it’s pricing for a while. Even though it lists for about a thousand, I’ve seen it on Amazon for roughly half that price. We are all different and there are lots of different machines available so I’m sure if or when you go looking for something with a larger harp you’ll find another machine that’s also just the right model for you. Good luck and keep on quilting!
Choosing very, very soon between a Janome 6700P and Bernina 570QE for art quilts (some thread painting, free motion, appliqué, satin stitching, etc.) Having “test driven” both machines, I’m leaning toward the Janome…it just feels so solid and smooth (and at a significantly lower price.) Bernina has more “bells and whistles” but at a price, and it felt just a little less “solid” and a little louder. Would love your thoughts/comparison of both since you own both Janome and Bernina machines. . Thanks very much!
I’m so glad to read that you are choosing between two quality brands. Full disclosure, I’m a BERNINA ambassador, so on the record I’ll tell you to get the BERNINA 😉 Off the record, I can tell you that both are very sturdy and will last you a long time. The guts of BERNINA machines are very solid – made from an incredibly strong metal. Other brands, however use plastic for some parts of their machines. That’s not necessarily bad, but some people are bothered by it. Both machines, however, use digital interfaces, so as computers can tend to break down, unfortunately the sturdy mechanics of machines mean a bit less. Some sewists choose to only sew on vintage machines for this very reason.
One major difference between the two brands is how they use free-motion quilting. It sounds like you will be doing a lot of that. Janome machines use standard free-motion principles of lowering the feed dogs and giving you free reign. The B570 QE, however, uses a motion sensing BSR (BERNINA Stitch Regulator) so that you don’t get skipped stitches and learning is a lot easier. If you already know how to free-motion sew without the BSR, this feature won’t matter very much to you.
One more thing a lot of quilters consider when buying a machine is what tribe they want to join. Each brand offers different assets, machine tutorials, dealer relationships and sewing communities. Those might also be things to consider when making an investment in such a nice machine. Good luck and let me know what you end up choosing! xo
I love quilting! However, I don’t love my current Sears Kenmore machine. I am looking at either the Juki F600 or the HV Sapphire 930. Both in my “budget” but so torn. I don’t know anyone with a Juki, and my friends all tell me HV is the only way to go. I’m not so sure. I have reviews
That way they are no longer the gold standard they were back in the day. I have been reading and watching many videos on the Juki and it has all the bells and whistles I dream of and more. Help! I want to buy this next weekend, I have quilts cut and ready to make! Thank you!
Well I can tell you that I know LOTS of quilters who sew on Juki machines and really really like them. I actually know more quilters using Juki than HV, if that makes you feel any better. 😉 What I always tell people, though, is that it’s best if you can find a dealer and test drive the machine yourself. I’m not sure about Juki dealers, but I bet you could at least find a HV dealer in your area.
I’ve loved my Singer Modern Quilter. Got a great deal at 500 when it was running at 800. BUT I work it hard, it’s all I do in my spare time and I’ve had to pay for servicing 3 times at $150 a pop. The tension goes and can’t be fixed by myself. This time I worked on a very plush minky quilt and the motor sounds like an old truck. It’s dragging and now the tension is off again. I care for this machine like it’s my baby. Keep it clean, oiled and fresh needles. I’m now realizing that after this servicing, it’s out priced itself. I’m ready to move on. I’m spoiled by the deep throat but rarely use the specialty stitches. Bernina?????
If you’re interested in a BERNINA, it would definitely be a longterm investment – those machines are built to last.
That’s exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks!
This was a very helpful review and has at least helped me narrow the pack! I’m off to my sales stores next. 🙂 Thanks!
SUZY I LOVE your blog and all the information is so helpful. I have recently retired and picked up quilting again after35 years. It has certainly changed quite a bit. I have upgraded from my Walmart basic Brother of >15 years, to a Soprano Baby lock that I love. However, It appears I didn’t research it enough because I’m finding FMQ to be very difficult for me. There is no stitch regulator for it, so what is my next step? I have thought about investing in templates to finish my quilts, but not sure if i jest need to make the leap to something bigger. I am not able to stand for long periods of time, so other than a longarm, what other options are out there? I’m going to my first quilt week next month and hope to look at what is available. Any suggestions would be so helpful. Thank you for all the education.
I wish there was a way to compare side by side. Is there? I’m a newbie to quilting and I’m hooked!(thank my wife for that)
Some sewing machine dealerships carry more than one brand so you can do this very thing!
I’m looking at a Baby Lock Soprano to replace my Bernina QE150 which is more than 15 years old. Seems like there are some nice technology innovations since then. I have a Baby Lock Quilters Choice Professional. I adore it but it’s only straight stitch so I only use it to piece and FM or walking foot quilt. My friend has urged me to get the fabric thickness sensor feature on the equivalent Brother machine. In BL it seems like the Aria has that under the name of dual feed. But the Aria has way more than I need (USB stuff etc.). And it’s twice the price. So my question is, what are your thoughts on dual feed? The Soprano doesn’t have that. Is there a Bernina model that does? The Aria is almost 4K but the Soprano is 1,500.
I currently sew on both a BERNINA 770 QE and a 570 QE – both have the dual feed – which is really REALLY nice. Both machines, however, are going to be more expensive than $1500. Is it possible for you to go to a BERNINA and Baby Lock dealer so you can test out both machines? There’s actually a couple dealers in my area that sell both brands, which would be so nice for comparing side by side.
Are you using the dual feed for piecing or machine quilting? I have a 530 and have considered upgrading to the 570
I use the dual feed for all piecing and the walking foot for quilting.
Wondering if anyone has experience with the Baby Lock machines? Especially the Brilliance. I’m a quilter with fair to moderate experience and have been sewing on my Mother’s Viking 230 which is 30+ years old. Looking for more functionality and stitches to begin free motion quilting.
This is a great question to post in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group! There are so many experienced quilters in it, I’m sure someone will have a great answer for you.
What is the largest quilt you would try to quilt on a Janome Skyline S7? I bought one about a year ago and enjoy sewing on it, but at the time, I had no intention of ever quilting. As Craftsy became Bluprint, I started looking around at what had changed and wound up watching your Mojo Minis class and a few others. I am now starting on the one thing I said I would never need my machine to do. I am starting with throw size or smaller projects (have several lining up) but have already planned a twin quilt and could see doing larger. My dealer suggested the possibility of trading in my S7 on a Memory Craft that I was told was much the same machine but with a wider neck (from 8″ to 11″, if I recall correctly). How significant is that difference? Thanks!
When quilting anything larger than a baby quilt, you will be grateful for all of the extra space you can get – even if it’s just 3″. Do you need a wider throat space? No. But does it make quilting faster and easier? Most definitely. You won’t be cramming and rolling as much fabric into a small space.
I have a janome 9400 and I am considering moving to Bernina because I have so much trouble with broken thread and skipped stitches when I am free motion quilting. It seems like the better I get at free motion, the worse this machine performs. I’ve had it in for repairs numerous times and they can never find anything wrong. I’ve been struggling with this machine for 2 years. Is bernina a better brand for free motion?
Bernina has a great free motion feature – BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator). This will prevent your stitches from skipping. Maybe you should go to a Bernina dealer and try it out?
Thanks for the info! Looking into an upgrade from my beginner machine. Any thoughts on the Juki TL2000QI High Speed Sewing and Quilting Machine? Do I need multiple stitch options if I just want to continue piecing and get into some basic quilting?
You really don’t, but all machines seem to come with an abundance of stitch options. No idea why…
I have a Bernita 440 QE. I bought it from a dealer 350 miles away, so quick lesson on how to use it, then I was on my own. Although the first couple of years were great, now I’ll be having a great time machine quilting and boom! It stops and there’s a knot underneath. I’ve had it to two different dealers and a Juki dealer/machine repairman (he listens better) multiple times. Now it’s skipping stitches. So disappointed.
That’s so annoying! Is it still under warranty? I would definitely call the dealer where you bought it and complain. They need to hear what’s going on and they might have a solution.
I’m considering upgrading my inexpensive brother machine for a Janome MC 6650. I haven’t found a lot of reviews but was curious if you though this would be a good machine for quilting? I’m a newbie (in the middle of my first quilting class) and wouldn’t want to make a mistake on such a big purchase. https://www.janome.com/machines/sewing/mc6650/
I see a lot of great features on this machine, including a wide throat. If you live by a Janome dealer, I highly suggest going there and sewing on it as well as the step up and step down machines. It’s possible you can be happy with a less expensive machine. OR that will solidify your resolve in getting the 6650.
Thanks for the advice! I find your site so useful for a beginner.
In your opinion, would the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 960q or the Janome Memory Craft 8900 qcp be the better investment? Thanks!
The Brother HC1850 is reliable, flexible and versatile. It is also easy to use and easy to transport. In fact, there’s a built-in handle for easy portability, a must if you want to take your machine to a sewing class. The Brother HC1850 has features that will appeal to crafters, quilters, and garment makers. For example, you can do free-motion quilting with this model, which any quilter will appreciate.
The Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine only weighs about 10 pounds, which makes it ideal for bringing along to sewing circles and classes.
Hi Suzy, I am now addicted to your website! I am thinking about upgrading to a machine with a larger yoke. I have been sewing on a Pfaff tiptronic 2020 since my kids were tiny and they are both out of college now. I am likely to go with Pfaff because I adore the local store/owners and that’s what they sell. The names have changed since you wrote this post. Do you have any thoughts between Choosing the 710 and expressions 720? Or any other Pfaff in that price range?
Also, I have inherited a lovely singer featherweight. So far, I have just done straight stitching on it. What sort of quilting patterns can I do on that machine?
Thanks for sharing
I’m a die hard fan of janome. They providing a lot within a small budget. Thanks for your suggestion.
Excellent web site you’ve got here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
we love singer because of the price. appreciate your article for reference.
Thanks for sharing
Fun to read all the comments. Great information! Because of the pandemic, I have been looking online and driving myself crazy! Large harp, lots of stitches, auto tension are all important to me. The Janome MC8200QCP and MC8900QCP are of interest but the 8900 doesn’t seem to be available anymore. The 8200 is available from Amazon w/bonus of things including trolley for $1,999. Spoke to local quilt shop. Told them budget max $2,500. They came up with MC9450 at $3,500..OUCH! It doesn’t seem THAT much better than the 8200. A Shop seems wiser than Amazon but $1,500 is quite a leap. Any thoughts about the MC9450?
I have been quilting for 7 yrs with a janome 8200 QC I love it. I have had zero problems. Well worth the money. Has beautiful free motion stitches. I pieced a quilt top in my rv using a singer feather weight from the late fifty’s . . It did a great job. If you don’t want to free motion quilt. Machines that sew a straight stitch will do the job.
Hi Kathy. I’m considering Janome 8200QCP, is in offer now for $1,999.99. Can you sew bags with it, works well with a few layers of denim?
I am a huge baby lock fan and just upgraded to the Crescendo. I was surprised that BL didn’t get a mention in your ratings
Thank you for sharing and letting us know which quilting machine is best for me.
I know this is an old article, but you’re my trusted source for machine info when mine just bit the dust this weekend mid-project! Unfortunately, most of these links are out of date 🙁
My parents had a Viking dealership so I started out with a top of the line Viking in the 1970s. It lasted forever. Eight years ago I bought a Viking 960Q. Three years ago I bought a Janome 3160QDC to take to classes. Looks like I made good choices according to your review.
Suzy, I just sent a question about your opinion, what you think about Janome 8200QCP and Viking Sapphire 930 but forgot to mention that I’m not a speeder, I need consistent good quality stitches, bug sewing space, no fighting over tension or other issues, friendly use and lasting. My budget around $2200-$2500. The Janome is in this range of price. Thank you.
Hi! Love your website! I’m wondering if you have a recommendation for a machine for a beginner sewer/quilter.