Are you looking for the best sewing machine for quilting?
I got into quilting fairly recently, after spending some time with fixing simple clothes together and revamping some older shirts and shorts that I hadn’t worn in a while – and boy, quilts are far more simple than I thought they’d be. They do, however, require a pretty decent machine. For those who don’t know, a quilt is a blanket made of three different pieces of cloth stitched together in a bit of a sandwich fashion. You start off with the top block, which is your first decorative piece of cloth, and then a bottom piece – in between, you’ve got padding, also known as wadding or batting, made of cotton, polyester or a combination mesh of both. So, essentially, it’s a thick, decorated blanket.
Which means you need some practice with the sewing machine before getting started on it. But when you do get started, you want a good machine for quilting – which is something that I looked a while for. My niece eventually lent this machine to me, which I personally consider the best sewing machine for quilting: the Brother HC1850.
The HC1850 is light, computerized and comes with a lot of stitches for you to work with. That’s the basic run-down – the computer interface lets you choose between quilting stitches, embroidery stitches, monogramming and the various different “heirloom” (ornamental) stitches the machine comes with, and the overall package gets you 160 computer-registered stitches.
I got this machine from my niece for my quilting adventures, but it also excels at basic sewing – she usually used it to stitch up thrift shop clothes, turning a couple old blouses or a pair of jeans into something she would wear. She’s pretty handy with sequins, as well – but that’s another story.
The HC1850 is great for custom work – especially quilts – because of the simple fact that you can drop the feed dogs below the machine’s plate, and that way just freehand the fabric the way you’d like. Usually, you’d have to use something like a piece of plastic from a folder or binder, to cover the feed dogs and put the fabric over them – but with the HC1850, you just need to hit a button and they disappear from sight. Really, really handy. I used to have problems with getting the hand and foot coordination right, too – I still suck at rhythm games – but thankfully, the machine lets you opt out of using a foot pedal in exchange for a quick button press with adjustable speeds.
Then there’s the monogramming. It’s basic, but still unexpected at this price range. Monogramming letters is a feature that usually costs quite a lot – then again, the monogramming on the HC1850 is as basic as it gets. No decorative letters or changing sizes; one font, one size. Still welcomed by me, however! I like stitching people’s names on quilts when I’m making them as gifts, and considering how much time I’ve been spending adopting this new hobby, a lot of family members have been completely outfitted with little cloth creations of mine, be it a quilt, pair of renewed shorts, or wallet (they’re surprisingly easy to sew with the right materials!)
It’s got a lot of unexpected features for an under $200 machine, and the fact that you can drop the feed dogs means you can work with a lot of flexibility.
Tons of stitches and embroidery, basic monogramming, and adjustable speeds – when you’re beginning, or even getting used to doing quilt work, I’d say that this is pretty much the best sewing machine for quilting.
For my niece and I, this is the best sewing machine for quilting – but for my sister, it’s too slow. If you’re used to faster work, or if you’d like to work on something big like a cloth motif, then this isn’t the right machine – it’s on the light side of things as well, which makes it perfect to carry around, but a pain to use when you’re looking for something that handles some truly heavy-duty projects. A good machine for the price, but if you’re tackling proper seamstress work, you’d want something stronger.
The Brother HC1850 is a bargain when it comes to price versus functionality, and with the fact that it lets you drop the feed dogs and work on freehand stitching for quilts and custom projects means it’s very versatile, as well.
Just don’t expect it to hold up with artistic stitching, and don’t expect beautiful monogramming, either – but if you’re looking for the best sewing machine for quilting, this is it.