Quilting is a fun and rewarding hobby that people of all ages can enjoy. Whether you want to make quilts to express your creativity, or you plan on turning this skill into a potential business someday, getting into quilting is surely worth your time and energy! After all, what better way to make great use of your idle time than to create something beautiful and functional.
But here's the thing – not all sewing machines for quilting are created equal. It can even make you feel a little overwhelmed to find dozens of options in the market. If you're a beginner quilter, or even if you've been quilting for quite a while, getting a new sewing machine may feel like a huge chore to deal with. You probably just want to get to the store, know exactly what you want, pay for it, and start quilting. No complications necessary, right?
So to take the load off your shoulders, we've gathered for you these tips on what to look for when shopping for the best sewing machine for quilting under $1000-$1500. We also recommend a great item that you might want to check out when you're dabbling in the world of quilting, so you can get the best experience from your purchase.
1. Stitch Styles
You would want a sewing machine that features various stitches types. Okay, maybe not hundreds of them since you're not likely to use every single one of them. But at least stick to the basic ones including zig-zag, blanket, and straight stitch. If the machine offers more, then that's a bonus. However, it's not entirely a necessity, and it may only add to the total price of the item.
2. Needle Up/Down
Adding to the functionality and convenience in using the machine is some kind of a switch for the needle up and down position. It would be great to have a button setting the needle to the down position once you pause stitching your quilts and applique. The good thing about this feature is that it prevents the fabric from shifting right underneath the needle while allowing you to rotate the quilt top and turn the corners with ease.
3. Drop-In Bobbin
Want something more convenient for your sewing machine? Then why not look for one with an easy to use drop-in bobbin? You will find this feature on the top portion of the machine bed and close to the pressure foot. There is no need for you to get another bobbin case, which spares you from unnecessary trouble and expense.
4. Auto Thread Cutter
It can be a little tedious to go through an extra process whenever you need to clip your threads after each seam. The solution? You can find a sewing machine with an auto thread cutter. Save on your thread and make the piecing much cleaner and flawless.
5. Needle Threader
Threading a needle can sometimes be a pain to deal with. Well, that's before an instant needle threader was invented and incorporated into modern sewing machines. This feature allows you to just press the lever, which then causes the threader to go low enough to reach the needle's eye, and wraps the thread before you release this lever. There are also instant needle threaders now that simply do the work with just a single push of the designated button. It's all too easy!
6. Roomy Quilting Space
Naturally, you want to have plenty of room for your quilting project. It may be nice to get a lightweight machine, but if this would mean compromising the space you get for your quilt, then it may not be even worth it. If you can find a unit with a bed that you can extend, then it's much better. More space = more convenience!
7. Sewing Machine Feet
For quilters out there, be sure to look for a machine with three types of feet such as the quilting or darning foot, walking foot, and the 1/4-inch foot. If you can find one with more feet, then that's a bonus for you. But never settle for a machine that lacks these feet types.
Now that we have a clearer background on the essential features of a good quality sewing machine for quilting, let's head over to our highly recommended product for this category – the Brother PQ1500SL. For those who have a background on sewing machines, you've probably heard of this brand because of its practical features and reasonable price tag. This one is not an exemption, as you'll be impressed with what this bad boy can do when it comes to helping you complete your quilting projects.
Here are a few things we rave about this sewing machine for quilting from Brother:
1. Automatic Thread Cutter and Efficient Needle Threader
No one wants to fiddle around with the needle each time threading is needed. With the needle threader in this machine, you can get the job done in seconds. It's a real time-saver, plus you can focus more on your beautiful quilt and not have to worry about the threading part.
2. Sturdy Build
This is not at all like those lightweight machines with a flimsy feel. It is actually pretty heavy, quite like those industrial machines. It may sound cumbersome for those who feel like wanting to switch the machine around sometimes, but if you want a durable and solid workhorse for your quilting projects, then the Brother PQ1500SL has got to be it.
3. Metal Feet
We love the sewing feet included, which are made from solid metal. This surely gives you a super strong and sturdy feel to the machine – nothing cheap or low quality at all.
4. Bobbin Case
Changing bobbins is a breeze as it is found on the side part of the machine. If you do free-motion quilting, the bobbin case is right in front of you – and this makes it convenient to change the bobbin.
Limitations To Consider
Just a couple of things worth mentioning about this machine, though. First, the light does not seem to be very much adequate. It's not as bright, yet not exactly too weak at all. Adding an extra light source would make it easier to work with the machine at night. Also, this machine's speed may surprise you at first because it can go very fast. So better not to max out its speed, so you can still have better control.
This is without a doubt a great sewing machine for quilting that is a true value for your money. It may have some quirks, but when it comes to performance and reliability, it never fails to impress any avid quilter who wants a solid machine that will not disappoint.