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Best Sewing Machine for Free Motion Quilting For 2021 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

best-sewing-machine-for-free-motion-quilting

The ability to create a unique treasure for a new baby, holiday present, wall art, or whatever you can imagine is indeed a gift. But just as a concert pianist might choose a Schimmel or a Steinway, so too the quilting artist should seek the highest quality quilting machine.

For free-motion quilting, or FMQ, you need a sewing machine that can handle the curious needs of the art, so when deciding on the best machine for your needs, there are some non-negotiables that you should make sure your machine has.

Any machine suitable for free motion quilting will allow you to lower your feed dogs – those metal plates on the machine surface that help pull the fabric through.

It’s vital to be able to lower the feed dogs so that there is no resistance when you feed the fabric through.

FMQ also requires a free motion foot. Most sewing machines designed with free motion quilting in mind will come with the free motion foot, also known as a darning foot. There are a few different kinds of

Pro-tip: If you end up having to buy a free motion foot separately, make sure that it is compatible with your sewing machine; they are usually specific to the brand.

Free Motion Quilting Sewing Machines Comparison Table

PRODUCT FEATURES LATEST PRICE
1. JUKI HZL-F600
  • 225 stitches
  • Good for light and heavyweight material
  • Wide sewing area
  • Box-feed technology
  • Automatic threading and trimming
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2. Brother PQ1500SL
  • High speed straight stitch
  • Push-button automatic thread trimmer
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Full range foot pressure adjustment
  • Automatic thread cutter
Check Price
3. Elna Elnita ef72
  • Computerized sewing and quilting machine
  • Multiple feet
  • Small and large spool holders
  • Straight stitch needle plate
  • Stitch reference chart
Check Price
4. SINGER 7258
  • Built-in needle threader
  • 6 1-step buttonholes and 100 built-in stitches
  • Top drop-in bobbin system
  • LED light
  • Programmable needle
  • Stitch selection
  • Bobbin winder stop
  • 100 Built-In Stitches
Check Price
5. Janome MC6650
  • High-speed sewing at 1000 spm
  • 6 LEDs in 3 locations
  • 170 stitches and 2 alphabets
  • One-push needle plate conversion
  • 10″ all-metal seamless flatbed
  • Needle threader
Check Price
6.JUKI HZL-NX7
  • Free-motion sewing
  • LED lighting
  • Digital tension control
  • Straight stitch feed
  • Pivot presser foot
  • Color touch panel
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7. Brother HC1850
  • Advanced needle threader
  • 130 sewing stitches
  • Drop-in top bobbin
  • 8-foot extension table
  • LCD Screen
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8. JUKI HZL-F300
  • 106 stitch patterns and 3 fonts
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutting
  • Wide extension table (sold separately)
Check Price
9. Bernette B77
  • Programmable foot control
  • Multi-function knobs
  • Semi-automatic needle threader
  • Dual feed
  • 500 stitches
  • 5-inch color touchscreen
Check Price
10. Janome 4120QDC
  • Built-in automatic needle threader
  • 120 built-in sewing stitches
  • LCD Control Panel
  • Top-loading bobbin system
  • One touch buttons: lock stitch, reverse, thread cutter, needle up/down, stop/start
Check Price

These two key features will allow you complete control over your fabric for easy maneuvering.

In addition to the free motion foot and the ability to lower the feed dogs, there are some other features to consider when choosing the perfect machine for free motion quilting.

Feet, not foot. Yes, in addition to the free motion foot, you may also need a walking foot, sometimes called a feed foot or a quilting foot.

Extension table. A machine that has a built-in extension table allows for sufficient workspace for a quilt.

Large throat: The more area there is between the needle and the edge of the machine, the better off you’ll be for quilting projects.

Built-in stitches: Many high-end machines these days come with built-in stitches so that your project comes out looking even and professional.

Free arm: A free-arm, which is available on most sewing machines (look for it in the specifications list) allows you to sew pieces together and fit into tight spaces.

Bobbin. You want a bobbin that’s easy to get to, so you don’t have to move your quilt to change the bobbin thread. You might also choose a large bobbin so that you don’t have to change as often.

Knee lift. Machines that come with a knee lift allow you to adjust the presser foot with no hands.

Needle position. For quilting, choose a machine that has an up/down needle choice so that the needle stays in place when you stop sewing.

Let’s take a look at the best machines on the market for Free Motion Quilting.

The Best Sewing Machines for Free Motion Quilting Reviewed

1. JUKI HZL-F600

Product Highlights

The JUKI HZL-F600 is our top pick for free motion quilting. With 225 different patterns and stitches to choose from, the unique design possibilities are endless. Included in the 225 stitch patterns are 16 automatic industrial-style buttonholes and 4 fonts of letter sewing.

The JUKI HZL-F600 comes with multiple presser feet, including an open toe, a patchwork, and an edge sewer. The large LCD display facilitates easy pattern selection.

One finger automatic needle threading eases your workload, and you can use your heel on the foot pedal for automatic thread trimming. There are a walking foot for sewing multiple layers and thicker denim and quilting fabrics. There’s also a special quilting foot, and you’ll be enamored with the 8-inch long, 4.5-inch tall throat.

The dimensions of the JUKI F600 are 14 x 23 x 16 inches (445 x 291 x 210 mm) and the machine weight is 21.6 pounds (9.8kg) and 33.4 pounds (15.1kg) total weight.

Features

  • 225 stitches
  • Good for light and heavyweight material
  • Wide sewing area
  • Box-feed technology
  • Automatic threading and trimming

What We Like About JUKI HZL-F600

Remember how we talked about easy bobbin threading? The bobbin on the JUKI HZL-F600 has its own motor, so you don’t even have to stop sewing in order to fill the bobbin.

The versatile JUKI HZL-600 never fails to provide a perfect stitch, is easy to set up, intuitive to use, and easily handles any quilting project.

We love that this machine has an automatic thread cutter and presser foot lever that you can operate with your knee, so you don’t have to move your hands from your quilt, and if you have physical limitations, this model makes it possible for you to keep quilting all day long.

The JUKI HZL-F600 is sturdy enough to easily and smoothly sew delicate and bulky fabrics, yet quiet enough that you can stay up late quilting without disturbing others.

What We Don’t Like About JUKI HZL-F600

Computerized machines may need more care if the electrical system glitches. It takes some practice to get the tension correct.

PROS

  • A great quilting partner
  • Great stitch variety
  • Large throat
  • Automatic thread cutter

CONS

  • Tension difficult to control
  • For experienced quilters

2. Brother PQ1500SL

Product Highlights

The Brother PQ1500SL is quick! With 1,500 stitches per minute, you can quilt more in less time. It has an automatic needle threader and a drop-in top bobbin that resists jams.

The PQ1500SL is a longarm sewing and quilting machine that is equipped with a wide table, 7 different sewing feet, and a knee-lifter, so you can lift your presser foot with your knee, leaving both hands free to maneuver your fabric.

Brother’s pin feeding system lets you easily sew with varying fabric weights.

Dimensions: 7.9 x 12.6 x 19.3 inches and 29.8 pounds

Features

  • High speed straight stitch
  • Push-button automatic thread trimmer
  • Built-in needle threader
  • Full range foot pressure adjustment
  • Automatic thread cutter

What We Like About Brother PQ1500SL

One great feature of the Brother PQ1500SL is the technical support that is valid for the life of the machine. You can get free technical support online through live chat or by phone.

We love the adjustable pin feed because it allows us to swap out the feed dogs for a single pin that extends from under the machine, moving all the quilt layers together or moving delicates without marks.

The knee lifter and extension table are musts for the serious quilter.

What We Don’t Like About Brother PQ1500SL

The Brother PQ1500SL does a great straight stitch but does not offer any decorative stitches.

PROS

  • Color-coded thread pressure and feed dog positions
  • 4 built-in feed dog positions
  • 5.7″ x 8.6″ needle-to-arm space
  • Dial selection

CONS

  • No stitch selection/li>
  • Tension issues

3. Elna Elnita ef72

Product Highlights

The Elna Elnita ef72 is a computerized sewing and quilting machine with excellent performance and enough features to satisfy any quilting project. With a 7-piece feed dog system, you’ll be sure to have a smooth feed no matter what fabric you’re working with.

The specialty needle plates ensure precise seams, and the bobbin winder will charm you, automatically stopping when the bobbin is full.

The Elnita ef72’s adjustable thread tension dial makes it possible to make easy adjustments depending on the fabric you’re using. It also has an extra high presser foot lift for when you’re working with bulky and heavy fabrics like denim.

You won’t have to worry about seeing with three LED lights to keep things lit at those quilting parties.

Dimensions: 26.4 x 21.4 x 15.5 inches and 33.2 pounds

Features

  • Computerized sewing and quilting machine
  • Multiple feet
  • Small and large spool holders
  • Straight stitch needle plate
  • Stitch reference chart

What We Like About Elna Elnita ef72

Elna is a trusted brand that makes solid machines with great features. The throat is spacious enough to accommodate thick quilt rolls.

The aluminum construction is sturdy and solid and will keep up with even the toughest projects. The needle plates are easy to change, and we appreciate Elna’s 25-year limited warranty.

What We Don’t Like About Elna Elnita ef72

Sometimes the machine gets jammed. Make sure to read the instructions before use.

PROS

  • Spacious throat
  • Handles a variety of fabrics
  • Good foot variety
  • Excellent lighting

CONS

  • Knee lift may not be included
  • Jamming problems

4. SINGER 7258

Product Highlights

The SINGER 7258 Quantum Stylist 7258 sewing machine accommodates both sewing and quilting. The programmable needle up/down feature makes sure that you don’t wreck the stitch you are working on when you stop the machine.

The SINGER 7258 produces quality, consistent stitching, and the drop-in bobbin, which is a top load and clear so that you can see what you’re doing, is easy to thread. The machine selects the best stitch length and width for you, ensuring consistent quality and saving time.

The free arm is accessible by removing the storage compartment if you need to connect quilt pieces.

Take off the Removable Storage Compartment to access the Free Arm, which makes it even easier to sew around trouser hems and cuffs, children’s clothing, and other smaller projects.

Dimensions: 14.5 x 7.5 x 12 inches and 14.6 pounds

Features

  • Built-in needle threader
  • 6 1-step buttonholes and 100 built-in stitches
  • Top drop-in bobbin system
  • LED light
  • Programmable needle
  • Stitch selection
  • Bobbin winder stop
  • 100 Built-In Stitches

What We Like About SINGER 7258

The SINGER 7258 allows you to customize stitches to personalize projects; you can adjust the stitch length and width and view on the LCD screen. The ability to set the maximum sewing speed is a great feature. Using the speed control lever, you can go faster for long seams and slower for more intricate designs.

See Related Topic: Best Walking Foot Sewing Machine

What We Don’t Like About SINGER 7258

The SINGER 7258 has a plastic piece on the handle of the needle thread that is prone to breakage.

PROS

  • Adjustable stitch size
  • High-speed stitching
  • Sturdy interior
  • Great price point

CONS

  • Not as good with bulky fabrics
  • Limited features
  • Feature3

5. Janome MC6650

Product Highlights

The Janome MC6650 Memory Craft is a top of the line sewing and quilting machine to help you complete your projects faster, whether it’s a simple or intricate job. The spacious 10″ metal flatbed accommodates any size project, and the MC6650 is precise even at high speeds.

You can control your stitches with one finger with the start/stop button. The memory stitch setting allows you to save your favorite stitches.
Dimensions: 26.4 x 21.8 x 15.2 inches and 24.2 pounds

Read Related Article: Best Sewing Machine for Home Use

Features

  • High-speed sewing at 1000 spm
  • 6 LEDs in 3 locations
  • 170 stitches and 2 alphabets
  • One-push needle plate conversion
  • 10″ all-metal seamless flatbed
  • Needle threader

What We Like About Janome MC6650

The Janome MC6650 has so many features to make life easier: it has an automatic threader and an automatic trimmer, a single needle faceplate for sewing edges, and a push-button stop and starts.

The stitch selection is fantastic, as is the memory needle up/down function.

Pro tip: We recommend that quilters add the extension table, knee lift, and ¼-inch presser foot to go with the Janome MC6650.
The plethora of LED lights makes it so easy to see what you’re doing and allows you to quilt well into the night.

What We Don’t Like About Janome MC6650

The Janome MC6650 doesn’t have a storage unit that you remove to get to the free arm. It does, however, have a longer than usual base. The Janome does have a learning curve.

PROS

  • Push button start and stop
  • Sews heavier fabrics like leather
  • 10” throat
  • Good stitch selection

CONS

  • Bobbin winding takes some practice
  • No free arm

6. JUKI HZL-NX7

Product Highlights

JUKI’s top of the line home machine is the HZL-NX7. This model is a Next Generation Long Arm Sewing and Quilting Machine. The computerized HZL-NX7 is an industry-quality machine designed for home use.

The JUKI HZL-NX7 has a color touch panel to change your settings. This is not your grandmother’s quilting machine; it’s a smart machine that allows you to adjust the thread tension, the pressure on the presser foot, the pivot function, the drop feed system, and automatically trim thread though the touch panel.

One of the biggest complaints quilters have is the difficulty in controlling the tension on their machine. The JUKI HZL-NX7 has digital tension control to eliminate this concern. It also has a memory setting so that you can store your favorite settings for different projects.

The presser foot has a pivot function that simplifies corner work. The needle stops in the down position so you don’t mess up your stitch, and the presser foot has an automatic lift so that you can move the fabric.

Especially for free motion quilters, the JUKI HZL-NX7 has a push-button function to lower the feed dogs for free-motion work.

Features

  • Free-motion sewing
  • LED lighting
  • Digital tension control
  • Straight stitch feed
  • Pivot presser foot
  • Color touch panel

What We Like About JUKI HZL-NX7

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What We Don’t Like About JUKI HZL-NX7

The JUKI HZL-NX7’s computer sensor is so sensitive that if you’re using a thicker fabric (as we do in quilting), the sensor won’t operate because it thinks the presser foot is still in the up position. This one glitch is the main reason this machine didn’t make the top spot on our list.

PROS

  • Generous throat
  • Color touch screen
  • Built-in walking foot

CONS

  • Sensor is too sensitive
  • Thread cutter lacking

7. Brother HC1850

Product Highlights

The Brother HC1850 is a computerized sewing and quilting machine that is loaded with features. It’s a sturdy, high-quality machine that is reliable and consistent. It’s perfect for quilting but can also handle your sewing and monogramming needs.

The HC1850 has an advanced feed system so that quilters can sew on almost any fabric. It also boasts 55 alphanumeric sewing stitches, a stitch reference flip-chart, 8 presser feet, a push-button stitch selector, adjustable sewing speeds, an automatic threading system, and a detachable foot controller.

The Brother HC1850 is equipped with specialty quilting features, such as a detachable wide table, a spring action quilting foot, and, of course, it’s more than capable of free-motion quilting.

Unlike some quilting machines, the Brother HC1850 is portable because it’s light, so it’s easy to take to class or a quilting party.
The LCD display illuminates your workspace.

Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.5 x 15.2 inches and 10.4 pounds

Features

  • Advanced needle threader
  • 130 sewing stitches
  • Drop-in top bobbin
  • 8-foot extension table
  • LCD Screen

What We Like About Brother HC1850

The Brother HC1850 has a terrific automatic bobbin winding feature. The top-notch feed system makes it easy to quilt on any fabric and produces precise and quality stitches.

The drop feed feature is designed for free motion quilting, and switching to FMQ mode is seamless (pun intended!)

We also like that you can choose to use the foot control or the controls on the machine, depending on your preference and what is most comfortable for you.

What We Don’t Like About Brother HC1850

The Brother HC1850 does not have an easy needle threading system. It also tends to jam and eat fabric.

PROS

  • Drop feed for FMQ
  • Good stitch variety
  • Multiple operating functions
  • Easy bobbin winding

CONS

  • Eats fabric
  • Needle threading not easy

8. JUKI HZL-F300

Product Highlights

The JUKI HZL-F300 is part of the full-size Exceed series. The 300 models is designed for sewing and quilting. The JUKI name is known, trusted, and respected in the industry, and this mid-range model won’t disappoint.

The JUKI HZL-F300 handles your quilting needs with ease and can handle both bulkier and more delicate fabrics, completing all tasks without damaging your precious project.

With the illumination of your workspace with LED lights, you can get through large quilting jobs more quickly with the speed, automatic threader and trimmer, and electronic sensors.
Dimensions: 17.5 x 8.3 x 11.4 inches and 25 pounds

Features

  • 106 stitch patterns and 3 fonts
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Automatic thread cutting
  • Wide extension table (sold separately)

What We Like About JUKI HZL-F300

The JUKI HZL-F300 is a sturdy machine that produces consistently quality stitches and handles both delicate and tougher fabrics.

It’s easy to set up, and we like the automatic threader and trimmer. Unlike many of the other machines we looked at, the tension control on this model surpasses expectations. The stitch patterns are designed for ease with free motion quilting, which we appreciate.

The JUKI HZL-F300 is a quality quilting machine that can also handle your sewing needs, all at a nice price point.

What We Don’t Like About JUKI HZL-F300

A number of customers reported that the JUKI HZL-F300 started out great but broke or stopped working quickly.

PROS

  • Accommodates multiple layers of fabric
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Easy to adjust tension
  • Great stitch variety

CONS

  • Questionable quality
  • Plastic gears

9. Bernette B77

Product Highlights

The B77 is a Bernette brand, but the manufacturer is the famous Bernina. Designed specifically for sewing and quilting, this machine is sturdy and gentle and is able to handle both heavier fabrics and delicate ones. It comes with 8 presser feet and a large extension table is also included. Adeptly accommodates a multi-layer quilt. The stitch quality is high and consistently precise.

The computerized quilting and sewing machine will allow you to get creative with your designs. The B77 comes with an impressive selection of accessories:

  • Bobbin (3)
  • Brush
  • Dust cover
  • Felt disc
  • Foot control
  • Free hand system
  • Lubricator
  • Needles
  • Screwdriver
  • Seam guide
  • Seam ripper
  • Slide-on table
  • Second spool pin
  • Spool net
  • Three spool discs (S, M, L)

Features

  • Programmable foot control
  • Multi-function knobs
  • Semi-automatic needle threader
  • Dual feed
  • 500 stitches
  • 5-inch color touchscreen

Dimensions: 22.4 x 17.3 x 13.7 inches and 32.2 pounds

What We Like About Bernette B77

The Bernette B77 has a spacious throat, coming in at 9.17 inches. The Bernina brand is known and trusted, so we feel confident using this machine, knowing it will be of good quality.

It comes with a lot of accessories. We like the large LCD display, which makes the difficult work of quilting a little easier.

What We Don’t Like About Bernette B77

The Bernette B77 is sturdy but sometimes moves while you’re quilting.

PROS

  • Designed for quilting
  • A whopping 500 unique stitches
  • Spacious throat

CONS

  • Machine moves during quilting
  • Some customers received a used machine
  • Feature3

10. Janome 4120QDC

Product Highlights

The Janome 4120QDC is a sewing machine designed for all types of sewing, including quilting.

The Janome 4120QDC has 120 built-in stitches, including 7 buttonholes. This model, made by top manufacturer Janome, delivers consistently high quality and versatility both in uses and stitch choices.

With a full LCD screen, the Janome 4120QDC cuts down on your work so that you can focus on quilting. With features such as on-screen stitch editing and an automatic thread cutter, you’ll save time and increase the control you have over your quilting. This control results from both the control panel and the fact that the computerized machine frees up both hands for quilting.

The Janome 4120QDC offers a 7 mm stitch width so that your intricate stitches will really pop. It achieves precise and quality stitches even at a high speed of 820 stitches per minute. Like some of the other higher-end machines we have looked at, the Janome 4120QDC is capable of corner pivots with the needle up/down feature.

The precision tension dial lets you set your tension and your tension stays there. The 4120 QDC comes packed with an extension table for extra sewing and working room. The stitch quality is excellent at speeds of up to 820 SPM whilst the special built-in features will help you cope with almost any sewing challenge. Pivot on corners with the needle up/down feature, control the maximum sewing speed for precision work, trim off threads with the built-in automatic thread cutter, thread the needle automatically – everything you need to make your sewing easier.

Dimensions: 15 x 19 x 10 inches and 22.2 pounds

Features

  • Built-in automatic needle threader
  • 120 built-in sewing stitches
  • LCD Control Panel
  • Top-loading bobbin system
  • One touch buttons: lock stitch, reverse, thread cutter, needle up/down, stop/start

What We Like About Janome 4120QDC

The Janome 4120QDC has an impressive array of push-button functions. You can press the start/stop button with one finger. There is also a button to switch to reverse sewing to provide reinforcement.

The lock-stitch button will finish a stitch for you so that you don’t get stuck with half a stitch–that’s an impressive feature!
The automatic thread cutter is a game-changer.

We also love the touch screen – each stitch has a recommended presser foot, taking the guesswork out and preventing mistakes.
The Janome 4120QDC is very quiet despite its power. And the bobbin threading is so simple.

What We Don’t Like About Janome 4120QDC

The automatic threading on the Janome 4120QDC is difficult because the hook is so small. There is a slight lag between when you press on the pedal to when the machine engages.

PROS

  • Lots of features to reduce the workload
  • Fully computerized with touchscreen
  • Lock-stitch button
  • Great for free motion quilting

CONS

  • Delay in the power on light after pressing the on button
  • Automatic needle threader ineffective

Final Verdict

The JUKI HZL-F600 is our pick for the best home free motion quilting machine due to its versatility and impeccable performance. With 225 stitch patterns (including 16 automatic industrial-style buttonholes and 4 different fonts for beautiful lettering), the JUKI HZL-F600 has just about every feature the quilting hobbyist and professional could ask for.

With multiple presser feet, quilters can find what they need no matter the fabric or project.

Whether your eyes are tired or you’re sewing into the wee hours, you’ll love the large LCD display. Also notable is the automatic needle threading that just requires the touch of a button, and to cut the thread, all you have to do is press your heel on the back of the foot pedal.

The JUKI HZL-F600 is tough but gentle, handling delicate and thick fabrics with equal aplomb.

Quilters will appreciate the 8 by 4.5-inch throat, which accommodates the bulkiest of quilts.

We love the second motor dedicated to the bobbin winder; the extension table for expanded workspace; and the quiet motor.

The free-motion sewing capabilities and computerized technology combine to make the JUKI HZL-F600 an obvious choice for any quilter. The knee lift, wide sewing space, and consistently smooth and precise stitching, the JUKI HZL-F600 gets our top rating.

BUYER’S GUIDE

To recap, some of things you want to consider when investing in an FMQ machine:

Adjustable Tension

Quilting requires regular tension adjustments, so you want to choose a model that has easy tension adjustment. Some models even have computerized tension adjusters.

Built-In Stitches

Some of the models we looked at do only straight stitches; the majority, however, have a wide variety of stitches to choose from, and some models can store your favorite stitches in the machine so you can find them again.

Extension Table

Some of the models we reviewed come with an extension table included, while others offer it as an optional upgrade. You’ll have to decide how important it is to have that extra workspace. If you already have a dedicated table for your machine, you may decide the extension is not a priority.

Metal Frame

A metal frame will ensure the durability of your quilting/sewing machine. There may be some attachments, like bobbins, that are plastic; you’ll have to assess your needs for what materials you choose.

Presser Feet

Many models come with multiple presser feet for different sewing and quilting tasks. At a bare minimum, you want to make sure you have a free motion foot and a walking foot. Most quilters have multiple free motion feet to accommodate a variety of projects.

The most important thing you need to remember is to check compatibility with your machine: if you use a foot that doesn’t fit your machine, you could compromise your whole machine.

Stitches Per Minute

Speed is queen (king) when you’re quilting. You want to look for a machine that has stitches that are high quality even when quilting at high speeds. If you’re working on a bed quilt, for example, you need to make long, uniform lines. You also have to quilt quite a distance to get all the way to the end of a queen or king quilt, so you want to go fast without sacrificing quality.

FAQ Section

Can I use more than one type of darning or free motion foot for my machine?

Yes! Depending on the project you’re working on, you may have different needs for the free motion foot. Some machines come with more than one, or you could order multiple types for different uses. Here are some of the features you might consider, and you may want to have a collection!

Open toe: If there is a space in the area where the needle sits, you have an open-toe foot. This comes in handy when threading the needle and pulling up the bobbin thread, and also allows you to see what you’re doing.

Closed toe: If your needle is completely enclosed in the foot space, you have a closed-toe foot. Although you sacrifice some visibility with the closed-toe foot, it has no edges, so you don’t have to worry about catching fringe or trim in the open part of the foot.

Spring: A spring foot allows you a little more freedom in movement but will also require you to keep your work steady. If you have a thicker quilting sandwich, the spring may be a valuable feature.

No spring: The lack of spring allows for less motion and does the steadying work for you. Bulkier fabrics may pucker with no spring. However, some machines allow you to adjust the pressure for the foot, in which case the spring would not be so important.

Large foot area: A larger area allows more fabric stability and may save your fingers. A large foot area holds thick batting in place and usually has markings to help you set your stitch width. The downside of a large foot area is that it’s hard to get to the edges of a frame.

Small foot area: A smaller foot area offers less control but allows greater access to edges and corners.

Metal: A metal foot is a little sturdier and not as bulky.

Plastic: A plastic foot is not as sleek, but it is see-through so that you can see what you’re doing a little better.

Will a larger that allow me to get my whole quilt under the machine?

A larger throat is a huge bonus for quilters who need more space for bulkier projects. That being said, it’s a good idea to avoid having the whole quilt under the machine at once–that’s just asking for trouble.

Try working from one direction for the first half of the quilt. Rotate the quilt, and work from the other direction so that you can complete the entire side.

What is the walking foot for?

The walking foot, also known as the quilting foot, has a number of uses. It’s a great stabilizer for a quilt sandwich. If you quilt long straight lines through the whole quilt, along borders, or between blocks with the walking foot, that will stabilize the layers, and then you can go over the secure layers with more intricate stitches.

What other quilting supplies do I need besides the machine?

We recommend getting a good pair of cotton quilting gloves, known as machingers. They are also sometimes called grippy gloves. You’ll want to use these gloves when you’re free motion quilting so that you can use your entire hand to control the fabric instead of just your fingers. And when you have more control over your quilt, you’ll experience less strain, preventing repetitive motion injury.

I’m having difficulty controlling the tension on my quilting. What should I do?

The first thing to remember is that each machine varies in the way it handles tension, so what works on one machine might be off a different one. If you’re working with fine thread, you may need to lower the top tension, which loosens it.

You could also experiment with using a smaller needle or moving the thread stand closer to the thread guide. If you’re working with a heavier thread, you may need to decrease the top tension, which tightens it. You may also need to lengthen the stitch when using a thicker thread in order to make it flat and smooth.

What is a quilt sandwich?
A quilt sandwich refers to the entire quilt together, before you are going to start sewing it. The sandwich includes the top of the quilt, the batting, and the backing.

What does the term stitch in a ditch mean?

A stitch in a ditch is a technique in which you stitch within a seam or very close to the seam to secure the edge of your quilt or other sewing projects. In order to stitch in a ditch, you secure the under-layer on the wrong side and stitch through the crack on the right side of the quilt, resulting in a finished edge on the inside that is invisible from the outside.

For this technique, you’ll need the walking foot, since it grips the bottom and top layers of the quilt so that you can feed the layers through at the same speed.

Do you have to use a foot for free motion quilting?

You can definitely FMQ without afoot; however, it’s a safety issue. You have a higher chance of puncturing your finger without the foot to protect your digits from the needle.

In addition, the free motion foot is a guide and offers stability–it’s not easy to control a large quilt and the foot helps.

What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.

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