Best sewing machine for free motion quilting

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What is the best sewing machine for free motion quilting? A great question! When it comes to free motion quilting, look for features that will make life easier for you when quilting. Free motion quilting can be hard to do when you first give it a try, because you’re controlling the fabric and its direction while the machine is stitching.

We recommend using the best sewing machine for free motion quilting that your budget can allow for- not only will you save yourself time but also stress and hassle when you use a high-quality quilting machine with the right features. Machines like the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 are not completely suitable for quilting projects even though they are marketed as a quilting machine.

In this article, we have reviewed 4 machines which we believe deserve the title of the best sewing machine for free motion quilting and have had positive reviews from customers who have purchased them. Don’t just take our word for it!

Best sewing machine for free motion quilting


Quilting machineFeaturesPrice
Brother PQ1500SL quilting machine
1500 stitches per min
Auto needle threader
7 feet included
Removable wide table
5mm stitch length
7mm stitch width
Knee lifter
Precision pin feeding system
Lifetime tech support
Online live chat
25 year warranty
Check latest price
Brother XR9550PRW Sewing and quilting machine
165 built-in stitches
Auto needle threader
Drop-in top bobbin
Hard cover
Wide table
8 sewing feet
LCD screen
8 buttonhole styles
Drop feed for free motion quilting
Lifetime tech support
25 year limited warranty
Check latest price
Brother XR3774 Sewing and Quilting Machine
37 built-in stitches
Auto needle threader
Drop in top bobbin
Machine covr
Wide table
8 sewing feet
Instructional DVD
Dial selection
No LCD screen
Free arm
Extension table
Responsive foot pedal
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Juki TL-2000Qi Sewing Quilting Machine
1500 sewing speed
Auto needle threader
Low vibration
High quality
Extension table
Knee lever
Not for beginners
Great cust service
LED lights
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Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine, Up to 1,500 Stitches Per Minute, Wide Table, 7 Included Feet

Our top choice for the best sewing machine for free motion quilting is the Brother PQ1500SL sewing and quilting machine.

This is by far the best sewing machine for free motion quilting and will make your quilting projects more enjoyable and easier to do.

It has an advanced needle threading system with an automatic needle threader which makes it easier for you to thread the needle without wasting a lot of time and effort.

The drop-in top bobbin is jam resistance which is one less hassle to put up with!

The Brother PQ1500SL is a long arm sewing machine with a wide table which makes it easy to work on large quilting projects. The wide table can be removed for easy storage when you don’t need to use it and it has non-slip rubber feet and ruler markings to help you when you need to measure as you’re working on your quilting.

Buying a standard sewing machine instead of one designed for quilting will make it much harder for you to quilt because the machine doesn’t accommodate for large projects you’re working on.

There are 7 sewing feet that are included with the Brother PQ1500SL quilting machine which lets you use the best foot for your project depending on the fabric you’re working with. It’s always good to have a large range of feet included so that you don’t need to buy extra feet separately.

The handy knee lifter means you don’t need to take your hands off your sewing to lift the foot. Simply use your knee on the knee lifter and the foot will be raised without your help.

Brother also has a precision pin feeding system which makes it easy to feed different fabric thicknesses. All of these features help you with quilting projects which a standard sewing machine won’t be able to do.

There are 4 built-in feed dog positions with the black one being for free motion quilting.

The stitch length is 5mm while the stitch width is 7mm.

We love that the Brother PQ1500SL comes with a 25 year limited warranty and there is lifetime technical support available via phone, email or even live chat!


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Brother XR9550 Sewing and Quilting Machine, Project Runway, 165 Built-in Stitches, LCD Display, Wide Table, 8 Included Feet


The Brother XR9550PRW has been discontinued and now replaced by the Brother XR9550 sewing and quilting machine. It’s a popular machine that’s easy to use for quilting especially for beginners. We’ve chosen it as one of the best sewing machine for free motion quilting because it can be used by beginners to quilting.

It has a lot of features for the price you pay, so you can use it as a sewing machine or for free motion quilting. It has a drop feed especially for free motion quilting.

There are 165 built-in stitches with 110 built-in utility, decorative and heirloom stitches so you can work on all types of decorative projects and has 8 styles of buttonholes. This is great for when you’re working on clothing and other types of projects that have different buttonhole types. There are also 55 alphanumeric stitches available too.

Choosing the stitch you need is easy too- using a button, scroll through and select the stitch you need by looking at the LCD screen as you scroll through the options.

There are 8 sewing feet included which helps with holding different types of fabric that you are working with.

You’ll love the fast automatic needle threading system which makes threading the machine so much easier. The top bobbin is placed in the machine via an easy and jam-free drop-in system which again, makes life easier for you when setting up the machine for a new project.

There are start, stop and reverse buttons and the speed can be varied and controlled depending on what you prefer.

The Brother XR9550 has a wide table to help you manage your quilt when quilting and the intuitive, easy-to-use large LCD screen makes it easy for you to see when you are choosing the stitch or buttonhole you need for your project.

We love the hard cover to protect the machine when you’re not using it and to prevent dust from getting inside the machine.

There is a 25 year limited warranty and also tech support via online, phone or live chat.

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Janome 3160QOV Quilts of Valor Sewing Machine

The Janome 3160QOV Quilts Of Valor sewing machine is a great choice for the best sewing machine for free motion quilting.

It has 60 built-in stitches, which is not as many as the Brother XR9550, and 6 built-in buttonholes.

The top bobbin system is jam-proof, so you don’t need to worry about the thread jamming in the machine.

There’s a thread cutter button which when pressed, will cut either the top or bottom thread for you- no need to stop and get a pair of scissors!  There are also needle up/down buttons and a start/stop button which makes it easier for you to control your sewing machine when quilting.

To reinforce the stitching you can use the reverse button which makes the machine sew in reverse.

We’re really impressed by the accessories that come with this machine:


Hard Cover

Extension Table

Open-Toe Even Feed Foot

Open-Toe Darning Foot (which you need for free-motion quilting)

Zig-Zag “A” Sewing Foot

Overedge “C” Sewing Foot

Zipper “E” Sewing Foot

Satin Stitch “F” Sewing Foot

Blind Hem “G” Sewing Foot

1/4” Seam “O” Sewing Foot with Guide

Zig-Zag “F2” Sewing Foot

Automatic Buttonhole “R” Sewing Foot

Assorted Needle Set

Spool Holder (Large)

Spool Holder (Small)

Extra Spool Pin

Bobbins, Screwdriver, Lint Brush, Seam Ripper, and instruction book.


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JUKI TL-2000Qi Sewing and Quilting Machine

The Juki TL-2000Qi sewing and quilting machine is the perfect machine for free motion quilting projects.

It’s a high-end machine which we don’t recommend for beginners but for those who want to take the next step up the sewing and quilting ladder!

The sewing speed is up to 1500 stitches per minute and has an extension table that makes it perfect for quilting projects.

The machine has a very sturdy, high-quality build and you’ll notice that it has very little vibration as a result. This makes sewing and quilting much more enjoyable than when using a standard sewing machine!

There is a knee lever to help raise the foot without you needing to take your hands off your sewing project- this will make life easier for you!

It has an auto needle threader and LED lights to make it easier to see the machine as you are working.

Juki also provides excellent customer service.

While this machine is more expensive than the others, we can confidently say that you will agree that it is the best sewing machine for free motion quilting on the market and you will get your money’s worth!

We’ve written a more in-depth review of the Juki TL-2000Qi here.

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Best sewing machine for free motion quilting: buying guide

Can any sewing machine do free motion quilting?

Many sewing machines allow you to do free motion quilting so long as you can choose a darning foot for your quilting projects. Some machines come with a darning foot included in the accessories while others require you to purchase a darning foot separately.

Although many sewing machines allow you to do free motion quilting, we don’t recommend this as an option. The downside of using any sewing machine for free motion quilting is that they’re not built to allow large quilting projects.

You need a large extension able and long arm to help you move your quilt around. This isn’t possible with a regular sewing machine.

Many people end up sending their projects to a quilter to finish them because it is too complicated trying to use a regular sewing machine for quilting projects. This ends up costing a lot of money- you’d be better off investing the money in the best sewing machine for free motion quilting. Your machine will eventually pay for itself!

Free motion quilting isn’t just about being able to move the quilt around the machine. You need to be able to control the speed of the machine and how you move your hands on the quilting fabric so that you feed the quilt at the right time and speed to create the quilt pattern you desire- whether wiggles, rays or zigzag or other patterns.

What is the difference between a quilting sewing machine and a regular sewing machine?

The main difference between a quilting sewing machine and a regular sewing machine is the available work space. A quilting sewing machine should have a long arm and an extendable table so that you can spread out the quilt as you are working on it. This makes it easier for you to work on the quilt and produce a better quality quilt than if you were struggling with the small space of a regular sewing machine.

Having a larger working space helps you move the fabric easily as you are sewing.

What should I look for in a quilting sewing machine?

Look for a large workspace with an extendable table and long arm. Also look for after sales support especially for more expensive machines- you want to be able to easily contact customer support if you have any questions or issues. Brother offers online support including email and live chat which is great if you’re in the middle of a project and need quick and easy live chat support to help you solve your problem.

One final word

Free motion quilting can be a fun project providing you have the right tools, including the best sewing machine for free motion quilting. If you want more help with quilting I recommend visiting the American Quilter’s Society.

If you’re someone who is going to work on many quilting projects then spending extra money on the best sewing machine for free motion quilting will pay itself off very quickly. You won’t be sorry for spending the extra money and getting a high quality machine that will make it easier to quilt and save you hassle, stress and time.



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