Advice for buying a new machine

For purchasing a machine for fmq, Leah Day writes:

I quilt on the Janome Horizon 7700, which retails for around $2000 – $3000, so it’s definitely on the expensive side of home sewing machines.
However, it’s far cheaper than any similar table mounted longarm, or similar sized home machine. The Janome Horizon also comes with hundreds of features like decorative stitches, a built in even feed system, and super bright lights.
I love this machine because it produces a beautiful stitch, comes with all the features I mentioned above (knee lifter, needle up/down, strong motor), and has proven itself to be a strong workhorse.
Please note that I do not use the "free motion setting" on the 7700 that is programed to drop the feed dogs. Instead I simply lower the stitch length to 0. This means the feed dogs still move up and down, but they no longer feed the quilt forward or impact your ability to move the quilt in all directions.
As with all big purchases, please take your time in selecting your quilting machine, and if you can, make sure to test drive it to see how the machine stitches in person. Take your time, ask questions, and always be 100% sure you’re satisfied with the machine before purchasing.
Good luck!
Leah Day
Free Motion Project

What will I look for in my next machine?

  • Locking stitch.
  • A computerized program that allows me to easily set my own ‘most used stitches’ on a panel where I can call them up anytime I like.
  • Ability to move the needle position on ANY stitch. Many machine programs that needle position for decorative stitches and I prefer to make that decision myself.
  • Large table to go with the machine, or a drop in table.. such a luxury that I should have!
  • Ability to lift the presser foot with either a knee lift or with some option on the machine. This is mandatory for a lot of machine applique as it’s your third hand and improves your sewing speed immensely!
Here are some of the major Sewing Machine company sites … and if I missed your favorite… leave the link in the comments!
Want to learn about Featherweights? There’s a nice write up here! I own a ‘white’ one.. in a pretty green case!
Roseann is a regular guest on my radio show. Listen to my radio show… I interviewed Leah on Sept 20 2010… and she will be on the show again very soon!


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