best sewing machine for quilting

starthomeFebruary 9, 2012

I am looking for a good sewing machine for quilting. I like the machines that have the manual start/ stop button. I looked at a Pfaff ambition that looked good and a Juki F600. I have never heard of this brand. I was told they make industrial machines and are branching out into the home sewing machine market. It looked pretty nice. It weighs 30 lb. This is heavy to carry but it is probably well made. I also looked at a Janome 3160 QDC and a brother project runway edition. Any suggestions?

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I personally have very little experience with different sewing machines, however, I asked a repairman with years of experience which machine would he get if he were a quilter, and he immediately replied Juki. (This was after DH bought me the Viking that I have now.) But then again, he's looking at them from the mechanical point of view, not the user's.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 6:39AM
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I would suggest you try as many machines locally as you can. Service is important so if there's a sewing machine servicing center or rep in your area, that could be a deciding factor.
Even if you don't do any free motion quilting now, you might want to try that at some point, so getting a machine that is capable of dropping the feed dogs could be important. Needle up/down is important to me, but that's a personal preference like your manual stop/start button.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Everyone will have a different opinion. This has been discussed before, and your should search and read some of the old posts on this topic. Search for "sewing machine" on this forum and you will get a number of hits.

For what it's worth, I have a Juki that I love. I also have a Brother and a Singer (45+ years old).

Here are a few of the discussions:
If you could buy a new sewing machine for quilting

Need sewing machine advice please

What brand sewing machine

Why all those sewing machines

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:14PM
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I first feel that service is upper most importance as there are several good machines on the market. My personal choice would be Janome 6600P but did recommend Juki to my DGD when she was looking for a new machine for her growing business with baby diapers.
I am lost without push button s/s.
On thing I would investigate if you choose Janome is a new evenfeed foot that they have that was Pat. by Phaff. Sound like it will replace a walking foot that is wonderful for quilting but much less bothersome.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 7:23PM
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starthome - I have to say that I own 3 Pfaff sewing machines-one that is 40+ years old, so I am a bit biased.I make my quilts on a Pfaff Quilt Expressions 2048.
I looked at the Pfaff Ambition online and watched a few YouTubes - this machine has some very nice features. I also like the start & stop button (and the speed slide!) so you do not have to use the foot pedal. The different needle positions are going to allow you to sew with precision. The extra lights are good (mine has very poor lighting) and the 8+inches in the throat area - a big plus for making quilts. The front of the machine is sleek and clean so you do not accidentally hit a button and change your setting. The IDT -aka walking foot is the same design as on my 40 year old machine ---it is wonderful --it works and is not bulky.
If you have a local dealer -- who is an authorized Pfaff dealer and repair shop, and you like them....I would put Pfaff at the top of the list for my money. Make sure you get free classes to teach you how to use the machine.
A good, experienced dealer for any machine you purchase is very important.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 8:35AM
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Thank you for the suggestions. It was also helpful to look back on previous posts listed by lola99. I joined pattern review as one of these posts recommended at found several detailed reviews of the machines I am interested in.
I am a little confused on how to look for previous discussions on a topic because I entered sewing machines and it listed lots of posts, most of which had nothing to do with sewing.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Be sure you restrict the search to this forum. That will cut down on unrelated results. Your search should look something like this:
(Ignore the lines of blue numbers - they were just part of the page)


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Thanks, I that was very helpful, especially the picture.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 3:41AM
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Go for the JUKI HZL-F300 Sewing and Quilting Machine.

I recently purchased the 300 by JukI and I love the machine. General sewing, monograming, and quilting once you find and buy the additional presser feet is easy and comfortable. You can be as complex as you need to be, or keep it simple. Caution, if you move your machine around a lot, this one is pretty heavy.

Here is a link that might be useful: JUKI HZL-F300

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:57AM
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This forum is where I started in my search for a new machine. Now I'm hooked on this great group.

I have an older Pfaff that I bought specifically for the dual feed. I still love it, but wanted something with a wider harp...the area between the needle and the arm at the right. For free motion quilting I bought a straight stitch Babylock Jane.

The newest features that make sewing easier for me are push button needle down and reverse. My new straight stitch machine also has an automatic thread cutting that I LOVE.

Mostly you need to try any machine you consider with the fabric you plan to sew on. I have a single hole plate for piecing that I bought years ago. It really helps in starting on a corner when sewing triangles. How the machine feeds makes a difference to me since I hate pinning except to make joints meet. If the machine feed prevents traveling it's great, thus my dual feed Pfaff.

I can't stress enough how important trying machines was to my recent purchase. Some felt stiff, some I hated the size of the foot, etc.

Enjoy the search and especially, have fun with your new machine.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:56PM
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I did not try a multitude of machines as I'm more of an impulse buyer sometimes, foolish I know, so don't do what I did. My first upgraded machine in 2009 was a Bernina 200 series and I had issues w/ the tension. I got so !@#$, I stopped sewing for a while, and then in March of this year reluctantly traded in and up to a Bernina Aurora 440 Quilters Edition. This particular one came with the BSR (Balance Stitch Regulator). Love it!!!!

Since getting my Bernina, I've been sewing like a mad woman and enjoying every minutes. I still feel like a novice, but the BSR has allowed me to play with FMQ with much more confidence. I also love the speed control, which allows me to run like a ninja or move at a snail pace. The up /down needle function can be set to auto, which I really like. I do not like the threader, but that could be me. I also have solid service in the vicinity. I've not really needed the service w/ this new Bernina, except one time and that was operator error! So I do think convenient service is important.

Another friend of mine just purchased an Elna and she loves her machine, sorry don't know the model.

Good luck on your decision and have Fun!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 5:00PM
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I don't think you can go wrong with Juiki or Janome... both solid workhorses.

Another feature you really want to consider is an automatic thread trimmer (a button with a scissors icon)... many of the machines that have the stop/start button have this too, but not all. I personally never use the stop start button because I'm a control freak, but I couldn't live without thread cutter.... If a whole huge quilt is under the machine and you need to cut the thread for any reason, it is so nice to not have to remove the whole thing!

Which Brother model are you consider, btw? Just curious... I have the PC-420, so if it's that one, I have about 4 years of personal experience with it and can answer many questions... However, as happy as I've been with it, I'm currently looking at Viking and Bernina for something with emobroidery functionality and snob appeal :o)

Hope you find the perfect is half the fun! And when you get it home, you can easily blow several days just playing with the features and stitching out the decorative stitches just for fun!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 9:27PM
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