Before You Shop: Important Features Beginning Quilters Should Look For When Buying Their First Sewing Machine

Posted on: 5 March 2015

Purchasing a sewing machine for your new quilting hobby can seem like an overwhelming task. With such a wide variety of machines to choose from, it is more important than ever to know what features are best for quilters.

While you can quilt with any basic machine, a machine equipped with additional features will make it easy to create any type of quilt as your quilting skills advance.

Zigzag and satin stitch

The zigzag stitch is useful for applique quilts, as the needle must be able to swing from right to left when creating the stitch. The zigzag feature enables you to perform satin stitching which is a popular choice for machine applique and adds rich detail to your quilt top.

Adjustable stitch length and width

Being able to adjust the stitch length is important. You will use long stitches for basting and short stitches to secure thread at the beginning or end of a seam. Adjustable stitch width allows you to widen zigzag and other decorative stitches. This is a feature that is useful when making crazy quilts.

Needle-down option

This feature allows the needle to stop sewing when in the down position. This is necessary when you need to pivot or adjust the fabric without losing your stitching position. Most quilts require lots of pivoting to achieve the proper stitch design.

Adjustable feed dogs

Being able to drop or cover the feed dogs is helpful when doing free-motion quilting. Adjusting the feed dogs gives you control over where and at what rate the fabric feeds beneath the presser foot.

An easy-to-access bobbin case

There is nothing more frustrating than running out of bobbin thread when you are in the middle of an intricate quilting design. A machine that makes it easy to change the bobbin thread will save you a lot of time. Stay away from machines that require you to take apart the machine bed or remove the machine from the cabinet to refill the bobbin thread.

Machine bed extension

An extended work surface is a machine favorite of quilters and is especially helpful when working on large projects such as a bed cover. The larger surface prevents the fabric from pulling and stretching while you are stitching it.

Knee-lift presser foot

Using your knee instead of your hand to lift the presser foot up and down is another time saver. Having your hands free to guide the fabric means less mistakes and better control when you are working on intricate details.

Knowing what features you need will arm you with confidence when shopping for your new sewing machine. You won't feel intimidated by all the choices available, and you can be certain your new machine will grow with you as your quilting skills expand.

For more information, contact The Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore or a similar company.