How to Buy a Long Arm Quilting Machine

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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When turning quilting into more than just a casual hobby, it is often important to find and purchase a high quality long arm quilting machine. These machines can be used to create or follow intricate patterns in the material, adding another layer of texture and beauty to your quilting creations.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Research features and functions. Modern long arm quilting machines should be capable of multiple functions beyond stitching. They should work with a variety of weights of fabric, filings, leather and ticking.

  2. 2

    Familiarize yourself with their operation panel. Some control panels for long arm quilting machines are practically archaic, while others have so many features that they can be indecipherable for a non-technical user. Find a control panel that fits your style of use best.

  3. 3

    Examine the computer compatibility of the machine. Although most quilting machines can be connected to computers with Windows, they may not be compatible with the operating system that you have available.

  4. 4

    Check on the needle speed. Every quilting machine works at a different rate of speed. Some individuals work with materials that can be sewn at high speeds, while others must be sewn at slower speeds. A standard range of 1000 to 2000 RPMs should work with most fabrics and sewing styles.

  5. 5

    Delve into the expected lifespan of your long arm quilting machine. Ensure that your quilting machine producer has a history of machines with a long life. Ask other quilters about the machines that they use, how long they have used them and how well they work for the types of material you use.

  6. 6

    Explore the available stitch lengths. All modern long arm quilting machines should have a range of stitch lengths with a minimum of 3mm.

  7. 7

    Investigate the available after sales support. You will have your quilting machine for a lot longer than the month or two you spend researching your purchase. Ensure that you can receive support for your machine for years after paying for it.

Tips and warnings

  • Three good locations for researching and purchasing longarm quilting machines include the American Professional Quilting Systems, Handi Quilter and Gammil Quilting Systems (see Resources below).

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