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Best Sewing Machine for Quilt Class

What machine is a good machine to take to quilt classes?


It really depends upon the kind of quilting classes you are taking.

Machine Quilting Classes

If you are taking a machine quilting class, bring the machine you will use for machine quilting.

When I teach, part of my job is to help you get your sewing machine adjusted properly. I do this by checking the samples you are stitching. We'll tweak as needed to get it just right.

What I notice in students that bring their spare, usually lighter, sewing machine, is that they are, generally, not well versed in the workings of this spare machine. Because they use it so infrequently, winding a bobbin, threading and installing a walking foot are foreign. Not all students, but definitely a fair number.

So the student starts off feeling bad or inadequate because "...I can't even get this foot on...". Not a good way to start a class that's going to last for six hours.

It's hard for the teacher, because this takes time away from the actual class activities. I know when I teach my classes, that if there is any extra time at the end, I'm going to try to pack it with as much extra information as I possibly can. New ideas, other ways to push the skill...anything I can do to motivate my students to go home and practice!

Everyone misses out when one student comes to class and doesn't know how to set up her machine.

If you've used a "class" machine, you've only learned to set that one up for machine quilting. You'll need to transfer what you've learned to your "regular" machine. The fine tuning, though not hard, does come easier with practice.

I've also had students (probably a couple of times a year) that have been sold the wrong walking or darning foot for their sewing machine and didn't know it. I can't even begin to imagine the frustration if you tried to install the foot at home, was sure it was the right one, because, hey, that's what the store sold you, and you couldn't get it to work. Bringing your regular machine to class solves/prevents that problem.

Piecing Class

If you can make a nice quarter inch seam on your "class" machine, by all means use it for a piecing class.

Several of the gals in my bee have the little Janome Gem, a 3/4 size sewing machine. It's a light weight (about 12 lbs.), low cost sewing machine that they've found great for class and bee. You would need to check to see that it's got the features that you would need for a class machine.

Technique Class

If it's a new technique for you, again, I would suggest your regular sewing machine.

You'll be learning new ways to use your machine which means different settings. Your teacher will be able to help you find what works best for YOUR machine during class.

What I Chose to Do

When I take a class, I've paid for it in both time and money. I am determined to get the most out of it. Not having to learn a "new machine" just makes the whole process easier.

The problem is, and I dare say it is the same for most quilters, my regular sewing machine is pretty heavy...and a pain to have to lug up and down stairs and in and out of it's cabinet.

So, instead of purchasing a new, lighter "class" machine and all the extra feet and spending the time learning how to use it, I purchased a rolling sewing machine bag instead.

It's cheaper than a new machine, there's nothing extra to buy, nothing extra to learn. And it makes lugging my favorite Viking Designer I so much easier!

I hope this has helped with your question.

Readers, if you have another solution, especially if you're sold on using a separate class machine, please share it by using the 'Comment' link below.


Julie Baird

Comments for Best Sewing Machine for Quilt Class

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Buying a class machine?
by: Karen C

I, too, have a couple of Berninas, but, the wear and tear of taking one to Guild meetings and classes is too much and messes up tension, etc. Plus, they're very heavy. I have a rolling bag, which helps.

But I'm seriously looking into buying a simple machine that can travel. Can anyone give me feedback on the Janome 2212 or Gold Jem 660?

Can they do free-motion?

Other suggestions?

Two class-y machines with built-in handle
by: TJ Legge

I have two light weight machines, both with built-in carrying handles, and both do a great job of piecing.

My 55-year-old black and gold Singer 301 does only straight stitching, but does it beautifully. They sell for about $200 on eBay, and you can almost certainly take care of all servicing yourself. I use it more often than the Singer Featherweight. A side benefit is that the Singer 301 feed dogs drop - I learned FMQ on this little beauty!

My second choice is Janome 3160. If the class involves a bit of zig-zag, or could benefit from needle up-down and a thread cutter, this little star comes to class with me. I also got this one used.

Both of these machines are also on standby at home if I don't want to change thread on my Janome 8900.

Need a Class Machine
by: Kathkwilts

Even if my machine didn't weigh so much, I'd want a separate machine for classes and guild meetings. The wear and tear and the risk to my Janome isn't worth it. I've had machines dropped by "helpful" friends and one friend borrowed my machine, sewed over a quilting pin, which broke and ruined the entire machine.

still have to carry =(
by: annie toy


I like the idea of not having to buy another machine...brand. I have "lots" of Berninas right now. But, I find that even with a rolling bag...any kind, I still have to carry up and down stairs, otherwise the machine take a "hit" on every stair

annie =)

From the Editor: I'm with you on that, Annie! If they could only come up with a 'levitate' button on the rolling bags, they'd finally have the PERFECT tote!

And then have it be 'bigger on the inside than the outside' (like the Tardis--if you're a Doctor Who fan) so all my stuff would fit in one trip...

I think we'll have to dream on! :D

~ Julie Baird

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