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What is a Long Arm Quilting Machine? (2023)

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If you’re a quilter, you’ve probably been apprehensive about the more difficult elements of yo. craft. Getting a long-arm quilting machine into yo. home, with the convenience it offers, may sound tempting.

The integration of these machines has both positive and negative sides. With yo. quilting practice. Yet they remain a remarkable tool.

long arm quilting

Do you need a long arm quilting machine, what can they really accomplish and what functions should yo.s have?

We cover all this and more, so read on!

Long Arm Quilting: An Introduction

First of all, what is long arm quilting?

long arm quilting sews a quilt top, batting and back together to complete the quilting process. Because most quilts are exceptionally large, I cannot complete this process without the help of a long arm quilting machine – unless you are doing it by hand.

To reduce the size To understand long arm quilting, you need to know what the machine looks like. For starters, they are exceptionally large.

The top, filling and backing of a quilt in a steel or aluminum housing about the size of a British telephone box.

While working on the quilt, the head of the machine moves on its vertical and horizontal axes to increase the reach and cover the entire project. This will keep the fabric you choose in place, so you won’t miss stitches or accidentally pile up.

Does that sound like a lot? When you first look at a long-arm quilting machine, it certainly seems to be. However, modern technology has made the long-arm quilting process a little easier.

If you prefer, you can work the old-fashioned way with a long-arm sewing machine. and finish yo. quilting by hand. However, you can also find a computerized long arm quilting machine that will quilt yo. designs for you.

The (incomplete) history of the long arm quilting machine

The first long arm manual quilting machine was commissioned in 1871.

This early quilting machine only included a quilting frame to fold the fabric into place, and he used limited machines to make it work.

Seamstresses and quilters who wanted to use the machine had to move the fabric themselves to sew the top, batting and back together.

In 1877, the design and improved to include a crank that allowed the machine to operate without electricity.

quilting machines

This design is somewhat similar to what we see today. However, the look of long arm quilting machines is constantly strengthening.

Nowadays you can find machines that are shorter, taller, more compact and taller. These designs have strengthened to suit quilters everywhere.

C.rently, ten major companies in North America are developing these machines for the modern quilter, including:

  • A-1 quilting machines.
  • APQS.
  • Bernina.
  • Gammill.
  • The Grace Company.
  • Handi Quilter.
  • Husqvarna.
  • Juki.
  • PFAFF.
  • Tin Lizzie.

Brother and Singer are of two well-known North American companies who have cornered the market with the craft of sewing.

However, these two companies are so diverse that we often outdo them when comparing their quilting machines to those produced by the above companies.

The gears behind quilting machines

How does a long arm quilting machine work though?

Specifically, the machine itself uses different roll bars that move along metal tracks.
Some of these roll bars direct the seamstress’s design work using the machine. Others, known as feeder bars, offer beds on which you can place the top and back of a quilt.

Does that sound like a lot? That’s because it is. Working with a long arm quilting machine requires a lot of practice. Therefore, integrating computer electronics into these machines has been an immense advantage for some beginners.

Long arm sewing machines that rely on manual support give you more control over the design. of yo. quilt, of

However, if a long-arm sewing machine is computer controlled, that system allows you to pre-select yo. design and then view it when the machine is on. the work goes on.

There are of arguments about the validity of this process, but if you are looking for help with a complex design or after a long day of work, computer automation can save you time and stress.

Finally, long arm quilting machines also have tables of different sizes. The larger the table provided, the larger the quilt you can make.

These tables are also ideal for recording patterns to follow when working manually.


mid arm quilting machine

Framing the long arm exercise

The most important thing is the frame. This is where the quilting machine gets most of its size. Determining the size of the frame you want determines the size of the project you can choose.

It also determines how much space you should allocate for the craft in yo. house..

Long frames

Longer frames can of support larger quilting projects. However, these frames are more than just long.

Before p.chasing such a machine for yo. home, be s.e to take a three-dimensional look as they are roughly the size of British telephone boxes. Some of the largest can weigh as much as 7,000 pounds.

If you want to p.sue major projects ambitiously, consider several factors.

To start with, what are the non-length meas.ements of yo. machine? Where in yo. house or apartment will it fit?

How will yo. own height affect yo. ability to use the machine? Do you want a stationary model, or can you work more effectively with a height-adjustable quilting machine?

Short Frames

If you’re on the short side or want a smaller quilting machine at home, you’re in luck. Short frame variations, or mid-arm quilting machines, are readily available for you to use.

These frames are usually up to 5 feet high and use larger clamps to hold quilt tops, batting and backings in place.

These frames can also , either by adjustability or by special requests to the

As such, if you find yo.self not If you’re content with yo. smaller frame, or if you’re moving to a new house with more space, you can increase the size of yo. machine with little effort.

Sometimes it’s easier small to start with and upgrade over time, rather than going for a bigger frame right away.

Still, it’s important to choose the quilting machine that comes with fits yo. personal style and needs, so don’t let size stop you from getting a perfect fit.

This video shows an example of how long arm quilting machine works.

Advantages of long arm quilting machines

Although they may seem complicated to use, there are several benefits of investing in a long arm quilting machine for yo. craft room.

Here are a few ways these advanced machines outweigh their disadvantages with advantages:


It seems odd that a machine with a maximum height of seven feet is useful to own. While it may not be the most size-friendly crafting tool, a long-arm quilting machine will save you a lot of time.

For example, you don’t have to wait for controlled workshops or work days to get yo. hands dirty. quilt design.

Some make spaces and similar organizations have long arm quilting machines available within their facilities, but these are usually members only or only for a few days of the week. If you have a long-arm sewing machine at home, you can work at a leis.ely pace.

In addition, because some long-arm sewing machines , you can rely on a computer algorithm to tackle the more difficult aspects of yo. design. You don’t have to struggle to work at a slight angle and leave yo. seam ripper in the drawer. more ambitious projects the easier to complete.


You can also choose how and to what extent yo. automaton . Manual quilting machines, in particular, allow you every step of yo. binding and design process.

You can choose how much energy you put into a particular design element over the of a day.

You can also define the finer points of yo. design and change it if necessary if the project develops in unexpected ways.


Finally, a project you complete using a long arm quilting machine is completely yo. own. You don’t have to rely on a or workshop to make yo. perfect quilt. You have yo. fingerprints every step of the way.

For some, this ability to work through an entire quilting project from start to finish is a real testament to skill. For others, being able to give away completely homemade quilts as gifts is a unique point of pride. check. Be proud of yo. achievement, take a break, and then start all over again.

The Disadvantages of Long Arm Quilting Machines

That said, a long arm quilting machine is not for everyone. There are a few notable drawbacks to the machine that can keep you from making this expensive and physically large investment.


As you may have noticed, long arm quilting machines are not small. Getting one into yo. home can be a real challenge, no matter how handy the machine itself is.

You may need to clear out space you don’t have or are crowding out. an already cluttered craft room.

In addition, if you live on a second, third or higher floor, yo. house may not handle 7,000 pounds in one area.

If you ever need to move him to a new house, you’ll probably need professional help, even with the smaller models.

In In any case, the physical bulk of this machine can rule it out as yo. chosen tool. This will make you lose the ability to work on a project in yo. own time.


Long Arm Quilting Machines are also quite expensive.

Singer and Brother sewing machines raise eyebrows when their price tag approaches $1,000. The average long-arm quilting machine costs $4,000 by comparison. This is not a tool for the faint of heart. If you’re planning to get this machine into yo. home, make s.e you take yo. craft and how to use this machine seriously. Several thousand dollars are not something most of us can easily throw around.

In some ways, that high cost makes a long arm sewing machine better for professional quilting. business as opposed to hobby work.

long arm quilting machines

Experience and ease of use

It can be extremely difficult. For starters, you need to teach yo.self how to work with a machine that PLISs4O.xkVp is much bigger than yo.self.

More, so you’ll need to learn certain quilting habits that are in yo. practice integrated as this machine works in a certain way and does not require McGray solutions.

Combine these factors with automation, and many quilters face what an impossible learning seems.

Buying a long arm quilting machine: is it worth it?

In light of Is all this worth buying a long arm quilting machine? It all depends on you.

If you have the space in yo. budget, and you think you can quilt more effectively with it, go ahead. However, if you’re a hobby quilter, it’s a good idea to leave this machine in the store.

This video inspects how to buy a long arm quilting machine.

Long arm quilting machines are fascinating sewing tools and have been around for over a cent.y.

However, their use remains highly specialized. Therefore, don’t rush to buy one unless you are absolutely certain that it will weekly.

Even then, take the time to familiarize yo.self with yo.self with these machines. After all, the heart of quilting and sewing is patience – and these machines demand a lot from it.

Do you have experience with a long arm quilting machine?

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.