Quilting is a fun hobby that produces beautiful pieces. It is not uncommon for quilts to be passed on from generation to generation, and to be cherished by family members for years.
If you want to start quilting or if you have been quilting for years and are looking for a new quilting machine, we have your back. Even though it is possible to quilt on a regular sewing machine (quilting machines are nothing more than sewing machines in the end) several features make it much easier and enjoyable to do so.
Best Sewing Machine for Quilting Under $500
The most obvious is the bigger workspace – quilts use heavy fabrics and a lot of material. An ample throat is also essential, and an extension table highly recommended.
We know everyone would love to stay on a budget, so we will focus on the best sewing machines for quilting under $500. Believe us, there are plenty!
1. SINGER | Quantum Stylist 9960
The Singer Quantum Stylist is one of the best quilting machines on this price range, and that is due to its throat and table size. The included extension table provides a wide working space that no other can match.
It allows you to work with layers, big pieces of fabric and it gives you space to do so. It stitches eight hundred and fifty stitches per minute, it is not the fastest in the market but it is good for home use.
The faster a sewing machine is, the more the motor rattles, and that is one of the reasons they are built with a metal heavy frame.
Another great aspect is the sheer number of feet that this machine comes with, which will help you tremendously in completing quilting projects.
One that you need to try and use is the open toe foot – it increases the visibility of the stitches, you can see and guide your work much better. The Singer 9960 also has a large collection of built-in stitches, six hundred to be exact.
Although quilting usually requires regular stitches, using decorative ones may just be the step up you want. It is a beautiful idea and will take your quilts to the next level.
2. Brother Quilting Machine
This fantastic sewing and quilting machine is one of our top choices since, as always, Brother delivers on quality and built. As a quilter, you know how important it is to have a fast machine, and this one reaches up to one thousand and five hundred stitches per minute!
It also comes with a very wide table, measuring 8.6″ in width, ideal for quilting. There is a feed dog adjuster feature that is designed to help sewing different types of fabric, such as velvet.
Many quilters like to mix and match textiles, so a feeder dog combined with a presser foot can make a big difference. This is one of the Brother models that use the F.A.S.T. technology, an advanced needle threading system that makes threading completely out of your mind.
You can program the needle to stop in the up or down position, depending on your needs. It does make it easier to rotate fabrics when the needle is lowered, however!
3. Janome Sewist 500 Sewing Machine
The Janome Sewist is a solid sewing machine with all the basic features you need. Although it does not have a wide sewing table, it does have a free arm choice, which helps with moving the fabric.
There are twenty-five stitches, including utility and stretching ones. One of the things that require a bit of a learning curve with sewing is the pressure to use. This is especially true with quilts, because of the different fabrics and many layers used.
The Janome Sewist has a presser foot included that helps greatly on this learning curve and makes it easier to control what you are doing. There is a needle threader feature, drop feed bobbin, and there are plenty of accessories that come with, like bobbins, extra needles, and a screwdriver.
The best thing about it is that it’s easy to use and compact to store. It also includes a hard case for storage, which we think is a nice little treat.
4. Janome Magnolia 7318 Sewing Machine
Janome has so many different models at such a wide price range that we know you can find one for you. The Magnolia is a superb beginner sewing machine, and its compact size is also great for those with little space.
There are eighteen stitches, and they are all clearly marked on the side so you can check on them. The bobbin is loaded from the top, the best option for a jam-resistant and tangle-free sewing session.
The dials on the side are meant to control thread tension, stitch length, and to select the stitch you want. It is a straightforward sewing machine, good if you don’t want a computerized one full of features. The buttonhole footrests secured inside a little drawer in the machine when not in use, and all the other basic accessories are included as well.
As this is a mechanical machine, it does not have the feature of choosing the needle position, but this is something you can get used to.
The quality of the stitches is impressive, and professional quilters use this model for simple, but impeccable, designs.
5. Janome Computerized Sewing Machine DC2013
The Janome DC2013 is an easy to use the appliance. The buttons are very user friendly and adjusting the different specifications is intuitive. Because of that, this model is quite popular among beginners.
There are also a lot of accessories and features included, like decorative stitches and different feet, which means you can grow into it and learn more advanced techniques in your own time.
This is a great investment since you won’t need to buy another one when you’re not a beginner anymore! The manual is simple and written in many languages, so you can be sure you’ll be covered.
6. Brother Quilting Machine CS6000i
The CS6000i is considered a quilting machine, so you know all your needs will be met. Even though it is a budget machine, it is on the list to be the best sewing machine for quilting under $500, and the reason for that is its table.
It is wide and long, ideal for quilting and patchwork projects. There are sixty built-in stitches, including many decorative and buttonhole ones. This model also does not shy in terms of accessories and includes ten sewing feet, many needles, bobbins, and a protective case.
The LCD display shows the stitch you are using and all the project information and also makes it easy to change from one to another.
The other buttons are located on the top of the device, and you can use them to start and stop, do reverse stitching and control speed.
7. Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
What makes the Janome HD3000 so special is that it not only has a metal frame, but also metal gears. That adds extra strength and is a powerful ally to sew on the many layers required for quilting – the fabric, batting, binding, and seams.
It comes with a visual guide for stitching, showing you which foot to use with each stitch. Really useful! It has the basic needle-threading and free-arm features, and a number of elemental stitches.
It does not have a lot of decorative ones, however, so it is best for those who like to stitch on a straight line.
Buying Guide for the Best Sewing Machine Under $500
The throat space of the sewing machine means the space between the needle and the body of the machine. Imagine you need to sew the end of a squared fabric, and to go around the whole edge.
There’s going to come a time when the fabric will need to be on the inside of the sewing machine, between the needle and the body. If that space is too small, your textile will be cramped and you’ll have no space to move around properly.
That’s why a sewing machine with a large throat is ideal for quilting, a craft that uses such thick and layered materials.
The table refers to the base of the sewing machine where you rest the fabric to sew on. Similarly to the throat area, you want a wide table that gives you ample space to quilt. Some machines even include an extendable table.
When you see the needle position feature on a sewing machine, this means that you can choose where the needle will stop when you pause sewing: up or down. This is useful to allow you to move the fabric freely.
An automatic thread cutter is a god-sent feature that will save you a lot of time and avoid annoyances. You don’t have to reach for a pair of scissors or step away from your machine, everything you need is right there.
Having a myriad of sewing machine feet is a must for any sewist. They can change completely how the sewing goes and are great for specific tasks. The good news is you can usually purchase them separately, but it is always good to buy a device that already includes the basic ones.
A quilting foot sometimes called walking foot, is essential to help you with layers. The ¼” foot is also handy and it comes with most sewing machines. Other feet are the open toe one, darning foot, and the hopping foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does free motion quilting mean?
Free motion quilting means using a regular sewing machine to stitch a quilt sandwich, without the aid of feed dogs. Feed dogs are the devices that move the fabric in between stitches. That means you are the one moving the fabric, and you can do so in any direction.
What do I need to start quilting?
Starting with the obvious, you will need a sewing machine. You also need the fabric of your choice and batting – the filling that goes in between the two pieces of fabric.
That is called the quilting sandwich. Other accessories are a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, fabric shears, ruler and thread.
Can any sewing machine be used for quilting?
Yes, with some practice you can quilt with a regular sewing machine. That is what free motion quilting means.
What is the difference between patchwork and quilting?
Quilting is sewing layers of fabric together to make a quilt. There are usually three layers of fabric. Patchwork means stitching pieces of fabric together to create a patchwork quilt. The pieces are normally of different shapes and colors.
What size needle do you use for quilting?
The most common size of quilting needles is 90/14. They are also made especially for quilting, and have a rounder point.