Quilting involves sewing through several layers of fabric and ending up with a colorfully designed quilt. Quilts may be of different sizes and can be made in various methods requiring manual sewing or sewing machines.
Not every sewing machine is capable of sewing quilts. The needle should be strong enough to penetrate through several layers, and you need ample free space for moving the hefty pile of fabric.
Also, it should be strong enough to bear the weight of the material and the motor powerful enough to sew quickly. Sit-down long-arm quilting machines are capable of offering all these qualities and much more in terms of speed control, stitch length modification, and similar other advantages. Compared to long-arm quilting machines, mid-arm quilting machines are less expensive but offer a similar stitching quality.
What Is a Sit-Down Quilting Machine?
Sit-down machines are used for efficient quilting. They operate by remaining stationary while you move your fabric to quilt. Modern users devised a technique of using the frame method on these machines.
Rails are utilized in this method. When the quilt is placed on rails, the fabric rolls, and you can quilt without the need to tackle the heavy material. This way, you can easily get your job of quilting done more easily.
The large throat space is the main feature that hobbyists look for in these machines. Both hobbyists and professional quilters have this type of machine on their wish lists.
5 Best Sit Down Quilting Machines Reviewed
The Juki TL-2200QVP-S comes with several advantages and provides enough support for free motion quilting. Though it comes at a speed of 2200 SPM, you can adjust it for your required speed using the speed regulator.
This is highly useful for users who prefer free-style designing as you can set the speed according to the design you want to do and your capability to move the quilt. When there is perfect coordination, you get pretty and neat stitches that enhance your quilt’s finish.
The perfectly positioned handwheel allows you to access it quickly. Its ergonomic placement is handy in dropping the needle at the right place on the quilt. Also, you can set your needle to stop automatically in an up or down position.
For this, you can do it without the help of a handwheel by using the touchscreen or a button provided and make it stop at a certain position according to your preference. The thread cutter button is useful in saving time and effort as it is done just in a push.
Without a thread cutter, you always need to keep snipping scissors at your arms, reach and pause your work, grab it, cut, and then resume. Similarly, the auto thread lock feature is also available for securing your stitches.
Husqvarna Viking Platinum 16 Long Arm Quilting Machine
The big space available with Husqvarna long-arm quilting machine is a boon for freestyle quilters. It allows flawless quilting with its large throat space that can accommodate king-size quilts easily. The 16” of free space is ample enough for smoothly turning and holding your quilt as it progresses.
You get a powerful motor capable of controlling the entire system efficiently. The 1500 SPM is impressive enough to get you through your projects quickly. There are three best speed options that come with this machine that can be selected from the touch screen.
From the touchscreen, you can also change even other settings that help you customize the machine to your needs. By picking the preferred mode, you get to use the settings of your choice. The bobbins are of large-capacity and do not need frequent winding.
Bobbins are provided along with the machine eliminating the need to buy them separately. You also get a four-spool thread stand along with this machine.
The TruStitch™ module keeps track of stitch regulation, ensuring perfect results. This mechanism is patent-pending, and it is used for regulating stitch length and tracking stitching motion.
The bright LEDs present on this machine illuminate the work area allowing greater visibility that allows you to work easily, even during the night.
Encore Elite 18 SitDown Quilting Machine & Table
The Encore Elite sit-down machine is a great addition to avid quilter’s skills as it has everything that a quilt needs to get done perfectly, including a bendable light. The 18” throat is spacious for passing any sized quilt easily, allowing you to work on your quilt in a focused manner.
Dreaming a design and achieving it is possible using this machine as you get the right supply of speed required to create that wonderful decorative stitch. The evenly spaced stitches and the adjustable speed are the major strengths of this machine.
The expandable table is good for both saving space as well as using it for big projects. So, you get to sew to your heart’s content when you desire and simply fold it back when you don’t need it.
The free-motion quilters appreciate this feature even more as it allows them to move the quilt freely without its weight pulling on the needle as the table bears it all. Coming to the needle, it does exhaustive work, and positioning it using a foot control is awesome as it helps in extending the life of the needle.
The preset bobbin winder keeps another bobbin ready for use as you are working on the current one. It means you never need to stop and wind a bobbin again in the middle of a project.
BabyLock Tiara 3 Long Arm Machine BLTR16-3
The 8.25” throat space and the 16” workspace present in this BabyLock sit-down sewing machine make it easier for a large amount of clothing to pass through easily. You can smoothly sew any size of the garment, be it small or big, without any interruption due to its excellent functioning.
Two LED lights illuminate the work area aiding you to see the details clearly. They last long longer and do not need frequent replacement, and give you the convenience of enjoying the bright-lit sewing area.
You can comfortably sit and adjust the table according to your requirement. A black screen provides you with various choices to control the functioning of the machine.
You can regulate the progress as well as the design, enhance or decrease lighting, customize software modes, maintain the stitch length and width, and select a stitch type. The LCD touchscreen also displays the type of foot required for the selected stitch mode.
The top speed of this machine is 1800 stitches per minute. The large M-class bobbins accommodate a large quantity of thread to keep you from frequent bobbin change.
Even if you run out of thread, you can wind the bobbin easily on the variable speed bobbin winder. It comes with a ¼ inch interchangeable hopping foot.
HQ Sweet Sixteen Long Arm w/ HQ Insight Table
HQ Sweet Sixteen is a dependable quilting machine that features easy-set tension. This exclusive provision helps in maintaining the right tension of the top thread and automatically adjusts it within seconds based on the thread you are using.
The 16” throat space and 8” vertical space allow you to quilt comfortably as the space is ample enough to move large fabric without any issue. The machine ensures you even stitches at all points of time.
There are 28 LEDs in the light ring that brighten the work area, allowing you to sew precisely even when the surrounding lighting is not enough. The timer facility helps you track the quilting time and set the alarm for setting a goal or reminding you of something important.
Though the machine comes with the ruler’s foot initially, you can change it to the open-toe for free motion quilting when you prefer. You also have an option to select the language from German, French, Spanish, or English on the color touchscreen.
The four basting stitch options give a new dimension to your quilting work. Overall, this is a well-engineered long-arm machine that helps in quilting professional-quality quilts.
How to Choose the Best Sit-Down Quilting Machine?
A long-arm sit-down machine is an amazing piece of equipment for quilting, but it is also expensive, meaning it is a huge investment. Checking how each of them caters to your requirements is important before purchasing one.
Domestic Sewing Machine vs. Quilting Machine
Domestic or a standard sewing machine can sew quilts, but it is no match to the effort required and output presented by an industrial machine. It is cheaper to invest in a domestic sewing machine if it is only one or two quilts you want to do and do not mind the quality.
However, quilting is one such hobby. You cannot stop at one once you start. Another issue with domestic machines is that it is not effective to sew through many layers of clothing efficiently.
Even when you are successful in sewing multiple layers, these machines cannot ensure even stitches under this condition which is not the case with industrial machines.
You need a good-quality industrial-level quilting machine to achieve professional-quality output with even stitches and a smooth sewing process. They may seem expensive when buying, but after seeing the result and the workload it can tackle, you will find it well worth the price.
The quilting process is elaborate and requires many tasks and the handling of a huge amount of fabric. All this requires large space to conveniently perform all these tasks. So, it is important to check how much work area is present for a model you are checking to ensure comfortable working.
The more space better it is to carry all that heavy fabric without damaging the needle or for easy maneuvering of the fabric. Also, keep in mind the space you can allot for this machine, and if you can get a foldable model, it will be more useful.
Speed is dependent on the motor power, and a powerful motor means higher quality. It will be durable and helps in completing the projects quickly.
When dealing with heavy loads of fabric, the machine should be capable of standing sturdy even after repeated loads. Machines made with strong material are capable of handling such abuse.
Here you get a wide variety of applications with different controls. They may be specific for a brand or generic. You just need to make sure they work well for you and have all kinds of adjustments you are hoping to find on your machine.
Some machines allow complete customization, such as choosing speed, stitch length, but some come with selected modes where you can only choose from a premade set of choices. Depending on your proficiency and preference, make sure that you get the right kind of technology-based machine.
When your sewing machine comes with all the necessary accessories, you can start quickly. Even if it is not accompanied by few optional accessories, make sure that your machine brand compatible accessories are available easily.
Meaning either your brand is producing the accessories, or your machine can accommodate the generic accessories without any trouble. If neither is the case, it will be hard for you to extend the machine’s functionality when you require it.
Sometimes you get them as a bundle but not as default with the sewing machine, which you can opt for if you need them. So, make sure you check your options and add all the necessary accessories and then conclude the price.
On the other hand, you also need to be aware of how these accessories function and if they are of good quality. Especially the bobbin size should be confirmed as you need large bobbins for quilting.
The speed, power, and convenience these machines offer is the main reason why quilters prefer these machines. Apart from these, each quilter has certain preferences. Few might want it to offer quick settings. Others prefer complete customizability.
For some, it is free-motion quilting friendly or extra large space. So, here are the 5 best sit-down machines for quilting that cater to various needs. I hope you will find your dream machine and create those beautiful quilts you have on your mind right now!