Quilting Machines

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Depending on the quilting you expect to do and how much time you'd like to spend, an appropriate quilting machine can cost less than $200 all the way up to $10,000 and more.

Relax - most quilters are near the low end of this range and at the lowest end, you don't even need a machine at all.

Despite the many tedious hours it takes, some people still prefer traditional hand quilting for true pride in workmanship.

At the next level, conventional sewing machines are fine for most, if not all, of the stages of making a quilt.

Then there's a big step up to long-arm quilting machines, typically costing $1,000 to $2,000 and the frames that move the machine and quilt can easily cost just as much.

Finally, there are computerized and mechanized machines that can complete a quilt almost by themselves.

The Stages of Making a Quilt

Essential stages of quilt making and the demands they place on quilting sewing machines typically include:


The first step is making the individual pieces to be sewn together that can be almost any shape, a process that many people consider to be the most creative step.

Quilters can select various materials, colors, and fabric patterns, add embroidery and more.

This stage of quilting doesn't require a special quilting machine; just about any good quality sewing machine will be fine.

If you're especially creative, you might even do this by hand.

Some people enjoy embroidery machines that can do embroidery patterns. Although more expensive than a basic machine, the added cost is relatively small and the machines are quite easy to use.


The next stage is putting all those pieces together is appropriately called piecing!

Here you can be quite creative as you combine colors and textures into patterns for the overall quilt. Doing this by hand would be quite tedious, yet low-cost sewing machines are just fine.

A table extension accessory can be handy, making it easier to maneuver things as the pieced quilt grows bigger and bigger and a long-arm machine is a bit more convenient here if you make a lot of quilts, especially bigger ones.


The final stage is the quilting itself, combining the beautiful top layer with batting and a bottom layer.

This involves a huge number of fairly regular stitches, so it's truly tedious to do this by hand and many people do some machine quilting here.

It's this stage that puts the greatest demands on a quilting machine. Many sewing machines can handle that final quilting as long as they have at least one quilting stitch and a quilting foot which can often be found or added as a separate accessory.

With regular sewing machines, it can be time-consuming and a bit frustrating to manage a huge quilt under the small reach of the sewing head.

Here's where long-arm machines shine, making this stage a whole lot easier.

Having a frame that slides the machine one way and rolls the quilt the other way can make this final stage a breeze; however, at a cost of thousands of dollars and more, you need to make a lot of quilts to justify the cost.

Many people do the piecing of a quilt top themselves, than pay someone a much smaller amount to do the final quilting for them.

Choosing Your Machine

As you might expect, most people use the lower-cost machines which makes it important to choose a brand and model that's reliable, rugged, and has the stitches and feet you'll need.

A quilting sewing machine also needs to have enough power to handle the thick stack of pieced top, batting, and back fabric. When making a selection, go online to check for customer reviews with an eye out for those that mention quilting machines.

Enjoy Quilting More With A Quilting Machine and Frame Combo!

What Are The 3 B’s of Quilting?

Making quilts using quilting machines involves the same basic process no matter what the finished product looks like.

When preparing to stitch a quilt on a long arm quilting machine, one of those steps involves the “3 Bs of Quilting” to prepare the quilt sandwich.

Remember the 3 Bs when readying to mount a quilt onto the quilting machine to achieve perfection with every quilt project. 

Learn About the 3 B's of Quilting

The first and most notable part of every quilt project is cutting out the quilt piece and then assembling them with a quilting machine to create the quilt top.

This is the process that gets the most recognition from novice quilters as it involves stitching together all of the fancy top fabric, but this only creates the top.

It is the next step where the 3 B's come into play, where the quilting magic actually happens!

  1. Backing - The backing fabric is the base of every quilt sandwich that will eventually get stitched with a quilting machine. It should be laid out on the floor with the right side down, cut at least 4 inches larger than the size of the assembled top quilt, then pinned together if multiple pieces of backing fabric are required to make up the size. 
  2. Batting - Once the backing is sized, laid out, and pinned, the batting must be laid on top. The batting is essentially what creates the quilting effect between all of the quilting machine stitching sewn through the fabric layers. Cut the batting so it is smaller than the batting but slightly larger than the quilt top, then lay it in position, centered on the larger backing. Lay the quilt top on top of the batting, centered on the batting and backing. 
  3. Basting - After the quilt top is in place right-side up on top of the batting which is positioned squarely on top of the slightly larger backing, it is time to baste the layers together so it can be stitched on a quilting machine. Specifically using quilt basting pins, start pinning in the center of the quilt, working around and outward until reaching all of the edges. Place a pin every 3 to 4 inches throughout the whole quilt sandwich to secure the layers and prevent them from stitching.

With the 3 B's complete and the quilt sandwich fully basted with basting pins, it is time to carefully transfer the layers onto the long arm quilting machine frame for easy stitching.

Remember the 3 B's for getting through the quilt sandwich making process, then enjoy sewing it all together with a quilting machine!