The Best Sewing Machines for Quilting

QuiltIf you love quilting, there is a good chance that at some stage you will be tempted to purchase a sewing machine which specializes in all those seemingly difficult stitches which could add a special touch to the labor of love which goes into making a quilt. Many of the newer machines on the market have features which might send you into a quilter’s heaven. The truth is though, that while these features, such as a stitch regulator, can make some quilting tasks easier, they do not necessarily magically turn you into a good quilter. The machines which are laden with technological features are great if you can afford it, but when it comes to quilting, some things are more important than others and many older machines actually already have the necessary features.

The Right Machine for You

If you are going to quilt, you will be spending a lot of time with your machine. You literally need to love it like your best friend. Quilting tasks are repetitive and there are lots of them, so if you don’t like your machine, you are not going to want to sit at it to do those tasks. Nor will you want to spend time practising to improve your skills. You could have the most expensive sewing machine in the world, but if you don’t feel comfortable using it for long periods of time it’s not the best sewing machine for quilting.

Sew a Straight Stitch

This might sound pretty basic, but it’s absolutely essential for piecing and quilting. A lot of small fabric pieces go into making a quilt and they must be pieced perfectly if the overall effect is to be pleasing to the eye. The only way to find out is to go and test the machine. Features always look great in print, but they don’t prove that the stitches will be straight. You should take some small fabric samples, threads and batting which you would normally use for your projects and test them on the machine you are thinking of buying. You should be able to easily adjust the tension to ensure the stiches are straight and not puckered, on all thicknesses of the various materials you have brought to test out.

Techie Must Haves on the Machine

Machine Feet

These often come as generic but it is best for quilting if you have a variety of machine feet which have been specially designed for the particular brand of machine you are thinking of buying. The feet you will need as a minimum are a walking foot, a free motion or darning foot, an edge stitching foot, and an open toe applique foot. The edge stitching foot will ensure you produce an accurate ¼ inch seam when piecing. If it isn’t available for your brand, then the ¼ inch foot will also work. The open toe applique foot will be necessary for decorative stitching should you wish to decorate individual fabric pieces before piecing.

Blind Hem and Zig Zag Stitches

These are necessary for any applique work you might want to do and will require you to adjust the tension, length and width of stitches. Most machines will have this feature.

A Sound Motor

When you are quilting, you will be stitching without stopping for long periods. It is imperative that the motor in the machine does not overheat while you are doing this. When you are piecing, you will not be constantly running the machine because you need to trim and press as well as stitch. When quilting, you could be stitching for hours.

The Ability to Disengage the Feed Dogs

You need to do this if you are free motion quilting. On new model machines, you can press a button to lower and raise them. Older machines will generally have a cover which you can put on to keep them out of the way. Either way, you need to be able to have them out of the way for free motion quilting.

Needle Position Control Should be Adjustable

You will need to be able to adjust the height of the needle when stopping the machine and you will need it when piecing, appliqueing and quilting. Ideally, you should be able to choose have the needle in either the up or down position when you stop the machine.

Pivot Function

This is excellent for chain piecing. You can raise the presser foot a little while the needle in down in the fabric when you stop the machine.

Variable Speed

This is a useful function to have for free motion quilting to aid control. It will allow you to place a limit on the speed of the machine when the pedal is pressed completely down and can save you from making mistakes which could take hours to fix.

Throat Plate

Your machine will come with a regular one with an oval hole and the needle will pass through it while you are stitching. You can get a single stitch throat plate which comes with a small round hole instead and it helps to create perfectly straight stitches, especially with free motion machine quilting.

The Bells and Whistles

Yes they are wonderful, but not entirely necessary and if you cannot afford a machine which has them, your quilting will not be any the worse for wear. There are basically three features to consider.

  1. Long Arm

Some sewing machines which are designed for quilting will typically have a larger area than usual to the right of the needle.

  1. Stitch Regulator

This is a biggie. If you buy a machine with one of these, you will be able to do free motion quilting with the feed dogs down and still do even stitching. Sewing machines for quilting are frequently advertised with this feature. It is however, very expensive. If you have the features as per above, you can learn to do free motion quilting with some practice (as well as the dedication and time to do the practice).

  1. Decorative Stitches

If you are going to make crazy quilts and nothing else, this can be a very useful feature. However, if you are doing piecing, applique, free motion and walking foot quilting, it really isn’t necessary.

Budget

The best sewing machine for quilting is one you can afford which has the features you need. The only thing to really think about other than this is that you will be using the machine a lot and your skill will increase with practice  Saving a couple of hundred dollars today, may cost you in the long run when you find you need a machine with a few more features. On the other hand there is a big difference between useful features and bells and whistles – often a couple of thousand dollars.

Conclusion

The best machine for quilting isn’t necessary top of the range, a big brand name or even new for that matter. It has to has to be a machine you can afford, has the features you want and one you have personally tested out and know you will feel comfortable with.

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How to Choose the Best Sewing Machine Needle

Choosing the Correct Sewing Machine Needle for Your Project

While it may not seem so, there are a many differences between sewing machine needles and to produce a great result with your project, it is a good idea to observe the differences. Many sewing needlebrands of sewing machines generally have their own brand needles so this will be a major determining factor. You can also seek out suppliers who manufacture and sell generic sewing machine needles and these will often be suitable for a variety of sewing machine brands. The type of fabric you are using and the project itself can also be major considerations when you are going to choose the best sewing machine needle.

Sewing Machine Needle Sizes

Machine needles come in a variety of sizes and broadly, they range from very thin to quite thick. The reason for these sizes relates directly to the type of project you are working on. For example, if you are trying to sew through many thicknesses, such as with a quilt, a tiny, thin needle will not do the job. You will need a specialized needle specific to the task and the brand of sewing machine you are using. Sometimes, you might even need a ‘double’ needle such as those that come with some machines and are used for quilting.

Fabrics Can Determine Needle Size

This is pretty much common sense if you can imagine the differences between stitching a repair on a tent for example, or making a pair of denim jeans and the fine work required if were making a prom dress or a baby’s christening gown. The general rule of thumb is the finer the work the finer the needle and if you stick to this, you can avoid frustrating things like breaking fine needles when you are sewing course fabrics. Think for a moment too, how you might actually see the needle holes from a thick needle in the seams of a satin prom dress.

Sewing Machine Needles for Knit Fabrics

To choose the best sewing machine needle for stretch fabrics, simply choose to purchase ball point needles. Sewing machine needles are typically sharp so they can pierce through the fabric. Ball point needles are necessary for knitted fabrics so they don’t pierce the fabric, but rather, slip between the weave of the fabric. Piercing a knitted fabric with a regular needle can result in a risk of breaking a thread in the weave and having it unravel. This can result in a small hole developing in your garment and you don’t need something like that to ruin your project.

Conclusion

So you can see that there are several factors that can influence the selection of sewing machine needles. To choose the best sewing machine needle, you need to look at the particular project you are going to be working on, the brand of sewing machine you will be using and the fabric you will be using. If you are able to take these factors into consideration, you will make a good choice and the finished product will reflect it.

How to Use a Sewing Machine

How to Use a Sewing Machine

Sewing machines are one of the most useful gadgets on the planet and since the original Singers came into the marketplace, there have been many technological developments which have impacted on the materials from which they are made, as well as their mode of operation. However, the basic principles remain the same and today it is easier than ever to use a sewing machine. Regardless of what you want to use your machine for, if you are starting out with sewing, learning how to use a sewing machine has never been easier.

Thread the Machine

Aside from plugging the machine in and switching it on, the first essential process which must be completed is threading the machine. Any lesson on how to use a sewing machine will focus on this and it is easier than it sounds, particularly on modern sewing machines. You should always start out by referring to the machine’s user manual because it will specify the exact process to follow to thread your machine. You will also find that there will likely be a series of directional arrows on the machine itself so that it becomes a matter of following the steps, one by one.

Fill the Bobbin

After you have threaded the machine, the other essential process is to fill the bobbin and again, this is very easy with modern machines. It usually involves clipping the bobbin onto its designated spot, attaching the thread to the bobbin, selecting the ‘bobbin’ function on the machine and let it fill. Again, individual machines will have the process outlined in the user manual and if the directional instructions on the machine itself aren’t clear, you can always go step by step with the manual.

Start Sewing

Once you have everything threaded, you now need to select your stitch of choice. On modern sewing machines, this is usually a matter of pressing a button on the control panel of the machine and you are ready to sew. It’s always a good idea to use some sample fabric and practice sewing until you have the hang of it. For instance, if you are doing seams, you will want to sew straight. There is often a guide on the needle plate which you can use as a guide to help you with this. Likewise if you want to use a zig-zag stitch for example, practice on a sample first before you try it on a project.

Conclusion

There is no mystique as to how to use a sewing machine and it doesn’t take long to become proficient.  At its most basic level, a sewing machine takes the upper thread and the bobbin thread and loops them together so that the stitches are strong enough to hold your project together. Modern sewing machines make it very easy to accomplish this and for anyone starting out with sewing, it doesn’t take long to move from practice samples to real projects. Learning how to use a sewing machine could be one of the most useful things you do.

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Sewing Machine Reviews

Sewing Machine Reviews Overview

Welcome! If you are in the market for a new sewing machine, you have come to the right place. I have created this website to give detailed and thorough reviews of the top rated sewing machine models currently available on the market. With the many models to choose from, it can be a daunting task to figure out which sewing machine will work best for you.

There are many great creative things you can do with a sewing machine and selecting the best sewing machine for your needs is paramount.  Whether you want to use your machine to create beautiful clothing, crafts, draperies or just  do alterations and mend clothes will determine which machine you should buy.   How often are you going to use the machine and how reliable does it need to be?  Are you a beginning sewer or advanced?  These are just some of the things you should consider before purchasing a sewing machine.

There are many different brands and types of sewing machines on the market. Each has their advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of sewing you plan to do. I know when I first started researching sewing machines I had no idea of the difference between all the different features and types of sewing machines, for example and the advantages of each, but after doing some in-depth reearch about sewing and sewing machines I can share my knowledge with you.

I have spent many hours and days compiling this detailed information so you don’t have to. This is your one-stop-shop when it comes to finding the best sewing machines. Read all of the reviews and compare and contrast different features by model so you can easily find a product that will meet and exceed your needs and expectations. I have also broken down the sewing machines by price as some are looking for the perfect solution within a budget.

In order to make your shopping experience easier, I am going to provide you with an in-depth review for a number of different models. Under each review you will find details on the product design, features, pros and cons, and actual consumer reviews to help give you a clear understanding of how the product will fit your situation. I will also provide a link to the best online price I found along with free shipping options when available.

I HOPE YOU FIND THIS INFORMATION ON SEWING MACHINES USEFUL AND HELPFUL. HAPPY SHOPPING!