5 Best Sewing Machines for Quilting and Embroidery

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If you’re new to embroidery or quilting, sorting through manufacturer specs for many sewing machines is daunting if you’re not familiar with the terms. 

To help you out, I’ll review the pros and cons of some of the best sewing machines for quilting and embroidery and walk you through features to look at before making your purchase.

Then you can feel equipped to choose the machine that will meet your crafty needs best.

best sewing machines for embroidery and quilting

Two Types of Sewing Machines for Quilting and Embroidery

There are two types of combination quilting and embroidery machines. It all depends on what you consider embroidery.

1. Standard Sewing Machine

All sewing machines technically “embroider” if you are open to free-motion embroidery or appliqueing with a sewing machine. 

On a standard sewing machine, there is no computerized component to import embroidery designs from your computer. Essentially, all embroidery must be done with you guiding the fabric and tailoring your machine’s stitch settings.

2. Computerized Embroidery Combo Machine

computerized embroidery machine

In contrast, with an embroidery machine that also sews, you can use built-in embroidery designs or import digitized designs from your computer. 

Simply hoop fabric and stabilizer, press go, and watch the machine embroider the design for you!

With these reviews of the best sewing machines for embroidery and quilting, I will focus on computerized embroidery machines that quilt also. 

However, if you are looking for a quilting sewing machine that does not do computerized embroidery, I recommend the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. You can also find more about this type of machine in my post about the best sewing machines for monogramming

How can an embroidery machine help a quilter out?

If you purchase a computerized embroidery machine that also quilts, there are many really cool things it can do that your average sewing machine can’t!

1. In-the-Hoop Quilt Block Piecing

in the hoop piecing example

With specially digitized embroidery files, you can create your own quilt blocks (like the Log Cabin one above) with your machine.

Piece In the Hoop is a fun book I recommend checking out to get an idea of how piecing with an embroidery machine is done.

All you do is place fabric onto your hoop, stitch a straight line (programmed in the design file), turn the fabric, press, and repeat. Soon, you’ll have an awesome, beautifully complicated quilt block!

While it might be a little slower to piece this way if you’re a pro at foundation paper piecing, it produces MUCH closer to perfect results for me.

2. Personalized Quilt Labels

finished quilt label

If you want to stitch words or names onto your quilt, an embroidery machine is perfect for embroidering quilt labels. Import your favorite font to your machine or use a built-in font, and then start personalizing!

3. Embroidered Blocks

doll quilt

If you want to have the main feature of a quilt block be a design or applique, an embroidery machine can easily take care of that! 

Also, an embroidery machine can add a stippling or other FMQ-like design to a block before the design so there’s no need to “quilt” after attaching the backing. 

Or, you can create an entire scene in a block with your machine. For instance, I made the entire dollhouse quilt above using my Brother Luminaire embroidery machine. 

I also love making quilts with embroidered blocks using my AccuQuilt applique dies and their free embroidery applique designs.

4. Replicating Long-Arm Machine Quilting

quilting the puzzle quilt

With edge-to-edge embroidery quilting designs dedicated to finishing quilts, you can embroider swirls, shapes, and any digitizable patterns onto the surface of your quilt.

Assuming you line up your quilt within your hoop perfectly, this produces tip-top results! (See some tips and finished products in my post about edge-to-edge quilting with an embroidery machine.)

Helpful SEWING Features for an Embroidery and Quilting Machine

quilting machine that embroiders

If you’re not already experienced with sewing and embroidery, here’s a list of sewing features to consider when choosing the best embroidery machine for quilting.

1. Throat Space

The throat space is the area to the right of the machine head where you’d be able to roll up your quilt.

If you’re planning on sewing king-sized quilts, a larger throat space will accommodate larger quilts more easily. 

2. Dropping Feed Dogs

If you still plan to free-motion quilt, you must drop the feed dogs. These are the spiky metal pieces on the sewing machine plate that move the fabric along.

Feed dogs are dropped with a switch on most quilting and embroidery machines. However, some older and more inexpensive machines require you to get out a darning plate for coverage. I’m not a big fan of added steps, especially when I’m in a hurry to finish a project!

3. Extendable Table

Most embroidery machines do not come with an extendable wide table. Many machines offer this feature as an added accessory, though.

The purpose of an oversized wide table is to help hold bulky quilts to the left of the machine. To be honest, I rarely use mine, but if this is a necessity for you, make sure you choose a machine that offers this as a compatible accessory.

4. Knee Lifter

knee lifter

I always scoffed at the need for a knee-lifter until I purchased a machine with one. Then I realized how much I had been missing out on!

Knee lifters allow you to raise and lower the presser foot with your knee rather than having to use your hands.

Thus, your hands can remain free to help with fabric placement underneath your machine presser foot. This makes sewing two ends of elastic together, for instance, effortless!

5. Stitches On a Quilting Machine

Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine, 138 Designs, 240 Built-in Stitches, Computerized, 5" x 7These are a few of the stitches and stitch settings you should look for on your new machine.

  • Straight stitch. Make sure the stitch length is adjustable or has several preset options, especially a basting stitch if you baste quilts with your machine.
  • Zigzag stitch. Preferably, choose a machine with adjustable stitch length and width, especially if you ever plan to applique without using a computerized embroidery file.
  • Piecing stitch. While not necessary, a piecing stitch can help with those perfect scant 1/4″ seams.
  • Dedicated quilting stitches. Many quilting and embroidery machines will have a couple of quilting stitches such as the invisible applique stitch or a hand-look quilting stitch. While not necessary, they are nice to have!

6. Helpful Quilting Presser Feet

SINGER | Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine with 600-Stitches, Electronic Auto Pilot Mode, Extension Table and Bonus Accessories, Perfect for Customizing ProjectsWhile you can do piecing with your everyday zigzag presser foot, a few special quilting presser feet can help make your job easier. If your desired machine doesn’t include a certain foot, there’s usually a compatible option you can purchase. 

  • 1/4″ piecing foot. Sew perfect scant 1/4″ seams with this foot. It is helpful for beginners who have not yet learned to sew precise seams yet.
  • Walking foot. If you’re stitching multiple layers together, a walking foot (or even feed foot) helps all layers of fabric feed at the same rate.
  • Spring-action quilting foot (aka darning foot). For free-motion quilting, this clear foot helps you see where your needle is going and where your stitches and designs are.
  • Quilt guide. You can insert a quilt guide to help you sew parallel lines of stitches.

Important EMBROIDERY Features On A Quilting Sewing Machine

Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine, 138 Designs, 240 Built-in Stitches, Computerized, 5" x 71. Embroidery Field

An embroidery machine’s most important differentiating feature is its maximum embroidery area. 

This is the largest design you can embroider without having to split your design and rehoop your fabric. If you plan to only embroider specialized quilt labels, a 4″x4″ embroidery area will do the trick.

If you plan on piecing large quilt blocks in the hoop or want to add large quilting motifs, it’s worth investing in a larger embroidery area. 

For instance, instead of rehooping 15 times while all-over quilting with a large hoop machine, you may end up rehooping 50-100 times with the smaller machine. But, buying that top-of-the-line machine can cost $10,000 or more, whereas the smaller hoop machine may only be 1/10th of the price. 

2. Built-in Designs and Fonts

All computerized embroidery machines for quilting include built-in fonts, designs, frames, and more.

If you don’t want to have to download designs and import them to your machine, take a look at the pre-loaded designs and fonts before purchasing.

I’ve typically found the fonts and designs included with all my machines to be lacking and instead prefer to create my own designs or download them, though. (Two helpful posts to check out: where to download free embroidery machine designs and where to download free embroidery machine fonts.)

3. Design Import Method

USB port on the side of both the Brother SE625 and Brother SE600

There are three common ways to import new designs to modern quilting and embroidery machines.

First, attaching your computer to your machine via a cable. Second, plugging in a flash drive. And third, sending the design wirelessly.

If you’re not tech-savvy or don’t have reliable wireless internet, make sure not to choose a machine with only wireless transfer!

4. Ease of Switching Between Features

When you switch from sewing to embroidery, you often have to change the presser foot to your embroidery foot and then attach the embroidery arm.

Some machines make this process easier and less time-consuming than others, so check out the switching process before making your final decision.

For instance, the higher-end Brother combination machine models allow you to sew with the embroidery arm still attached. 

5. Magnetic Hoop Compatibility 

dime snap hoop monster

Magnetic embroidery hoops are perfect for holding quilt sandwiches when adding stippling or other quilting designs. These are game-changers when it comes to finishing quilts. 

One big perk (besides ease of use!) of a magnetic frame is it eliminates the need for stabilizer and adhesives.

For higher-end embroidery machine models, you can check the dime website for Snap Hoop machine compatibility to see your options.

For more budget embroidery machines (those with 5″x7″ hoops or smaller), not all hope is lost, though, as many of these options have compatible Embroidex magnetic hoops on Amazon. 

Best Sewing Machines for Quilting and Embroidery

Here are five of the top sewing machines for quilting and embroidery that won’t cost more than your mortgage. If you have a local sewing shop, you can stop by and try out several of these models or the higher-end machines for each brand. 

1. Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

brother se1900 review

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FeatureSpecs
Embroidery Field5"x7"
Embroidery Designs138 designs, 11 fonts, 10 frames with 14 borders
Stitch Options240 stitches, 10 buttonhole options
Maximum Sewing Speed850 stitches per minute
USB ConnectionBuilt-in USB port

I’ve owned my Brother SE1900 for over two years now, and I still think it’s the best sewing machine for quilting and embroidery at its price point.

It has a nice-sized 5″x7″ embroidery area, which allows me to embroider a large selection of designs without splitting.

There are also 138 built-in designs (they’re ok, but I still recommend making or downloading others) and 11 fonts, 7 of which are in English. This large selection of fonts is VERY helpful if you’re looking to frequently monogram or add a name and brief personalization to a quilt.

You can also create your own applique shapes or frames from one of 10 basic shapes with 14 different border stitch options. Within the touchscreen, you also do have a lot of editing capabilities if you don’t want to purchase software.

In terms of sewing, the Brother SE1900 comes with 7 sewing feet (as well as the embroidery foot). A walking foot and 1/4″ piecing foot are not included, but these are inexpensive to purchase separately if needed. 

There are also an impressive 240 sewing stitches with the option to import new stitch files or create them on screen. So, no need to worry if your favorite stitch is not among the 240! It’s also fun that there are three different piecing stitches (needle left, center, and right) and several dedicated quilting stitches, too.

The Brother SE1900 also has a knee lifter, making a huge difference when I sew hands-free. Read all about it in my Brother SE1900 review!

If you want a larger hoop size on a Brother combo machine, consider the Brother Luminaire XP3 (embroidery area 10 5/8″ x 16″ and what I also have), Innov-is XJ1 (area: 9.5″x14″), Innov-is VM5200 (area: 8″x12″), or NQ3600D, NQ3700D, or NQ3550W (area: 6″x10″). Prices are much higher, but you can get so much more done with a bigger hoop. The Luminaire is especially fun because it has Quiltbroidery features!

I’ve also made a list of the biggest hoop embroidery machines if you want to buy big. Obviously, the larger machines are better for quilting, but they also cost five figures and thus aren’t accessible for most users!

2. Janome Memory Craft 9850 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9850 Embroidery and Sewing Machine

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Our local library has a Janome Memory Craft combo machine, and it’s amazing! However, Janome sewing machines are considerably pricier than Brother sewing machines and thus make more sense only for a very frequent hobbyist.

If you’re looking for an even larger hoop size than the 5″x7″ of the SE1900, though, the MC9850 has a 6.7″x7.9″ max embroidery size. It also works with smaller hoop sizes and has the option of a small free arm to help with small areas like cuffs.

There are 175 built-in embroidery designs and 200 stitches as well. Ways it is better than the SE1900 include programmable jump stitch trimming and a maximum stitch width of 9mm compared to 7mm on the SE1900.

It also embroiders up to 800 spm and sews at 1000 spm, which is a bit faster than the SE1900. (I rarely sew at top speed anyway, though!) However, it only has 2 monogram fonts compared to the larger selection on the SE1900.

It matches the SE1900 in that it includes a knee lifter, on-screen editing capabilities (no actual included software, though), automatic thread tension, and a built-in automatic needle threader.

3. Brother SE600 or SE625 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

My Brother SE625 embroidery machine

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FeatureSpecs
Weight14.3 lbs
Dimensions21.2" x 15.5" x 16.5"
Embroidery Field4"x4"
Embroidery Designs80 included
Stitch Options103 stitches, 10 buttonhole options
Maximum Sewing Speed710 stitches per minute
USB ConnectionBuilt-in USB port

I started my embroidery journey on the Brother SE625 embroidery machine, which is the gold-colored twin of the Brother SE600. I had it for about a year and then decided I needed a bigger machine when it turned out I enjoyed embroidery so much!

My Brother SE625 pieced well, and it embroidered well.  However, as I mentioned, the embroidery area was only 4″x4.” The throat space is also only 6.4″.

It’s one of the most inexpensive embroidery machines you can purchase, though, which is why I wholeheartedly recommend it to beginners. If you plan to embroider only a few times a year, learning to split designs and work with the 4″x4″ area is the most financially prudent option!

In terms of embroidery, the Brother SE600 has 80 included designs, and the Brother SE625 has 280 designs. The only difference between the Brother SE600 vs SE625 is the extra 200 designs on CD with the SE625 as well as a gold faceplate rather than the silver of the SE600.

In terms of quilting features, there are 103 stitch options, including 2 piecing stitches (needle center and right) and 4 decorative quilting stitches. It doesn’t have a knee lifter or wide extension table, but again, this is a pretty cheap embroidery machine. You won’t be disappointed with the stitch integrity, though, when sewing!

The maximum sewing speed is only 710 spm, which may be a bit bothersome if you piece like a fiend. 

4. EverSewn Sparrow X2 Combination Machine

EverSewn Sparrow X2 Sewing & Embroidery Machine, White

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EverSewn is a brand at the forefront of technology for entry-level embroidery machines.

Instead of USB transfer like all these other quilting embroidery machines, the Sparrow X has WiFi transfer. This means you can transfer designs and control the machine’s embroidering from your electronic device.

This is great news if you have reliable WiFi and are techy, but not so much if an advanced computerized embroidery machine scares you off!

This machine also reads all of the most common embroidery file formats, which is convenient if you have a library of assorted embroidery files and don’t want to have to convert them all before stitching!

Here are a few other stats for this machine that may help form your decision.

  • Max embroidery field: 4.75″x7″
  • Embroidery designs: 100
  • Stitches: 120
  • Presser feet: 8

The reason I haven’t ranked this machine more highly is it includes NO built-in fonts. While it’s not too much of a hardship to import your own fonts, it’s just not as quick to add labels or names without a built-in font!

You can also purchase this machine from Sewing Machines Plus.

5. Husqvarna Viking Designer Jade 35 Sewing and Embroidery Machine

husqvarna jade 35 sewing and embroidery machine

You can purchase this one from Sewingmachinesplus.com!

Our local JOANN always has the Jade Viking in the display area to take for a test drive. It’s fun getting to play around with it! Here are a few of its pertinent details. 

  • Maximum embroidery field: 6″x9.5″
  • Sewing stitches: 120
  • Embroidery designs: 70
  • Number fonts: 2 sewing and 1 embroidery, but software is included to design more!
  • Presser feet: 8

For the price, the Designer Jade 35 really is an impressive sewing machine that quilts and embroiders.

What differentiates it from some of the other machines on this list is the larger 8″ throat space and the nice-sized 6″x9.5″ embroidery field.

The one downfall is it’s just not as popular as Brother or Janome machines. That makes finding videos and tutorials online for complicated tasks more difficult if you’re a beginner!

Plus, I thought its interface was more complicated and difficult to figure out than that of my Brother SE1900. (I own 4 Brother machines right now, so I am a bit partial, though!)

One other fun thing about the Designer Jade 35 is it also comes with basic embroidery software, which will help you create additional fonts and monograms. It’s not a digitizing software for designing actual embroidery files, though.

If you want larger hoop sizes, Husqvarna also offers top-of-the-line machines such as the Designer Epic 2, Designer Ruby 90, and Designer Sapphire 85. 

19 Comments

  1. Hi. Awesome info. Do you know if either the Husqvarna Viking Designer Jade 35, or the Janome Memory Craft 9850 have the magnetic embroidery hoop? Also, I see you own and are partial to Brother. I own a Brother Se600 for about 2 years now and I’m not happy with it. I have constant issues with poor stitch quality( on straight stitching) no matter what I set the tension to. I feel like it’s a very quirky machine. I’ve owned a metal no frills Necci for over 40 years and although it can’t do what these new machines can, I could always depend on high quality stitches. Just curious on your take. I spend more time fixing this machine’s quirky issues than I spend sewing and at this point I want to buy a higher end machine. Thanks in advance

    1. I *think* the Jade 35 has a compatible DIME Snap Hoop Monster, but I’m not sure about the MC9850. I recommend checking out the compatibility chart on the DIME website, and you can verify for sure.

      And, yes, I’m pretty partial to Brother based on my experiences with them. (I own/have owned the Brother CS6000i and CS7000X sewing machines and also had a Brother SE625 and have a Brother SE1900 and Brother Luminaire XP2 with XP3 upgrade embroidery machines. I also have Brother 1034D and 1034DX sergers and a Brother 2340CV coverstitch. I have never had any issues with the machines except the darn coverstitch, which is more my frustration with the lack of a tension release when lifting the presser foot. So, that’s why I recommend Brother products! Oh, and I have an SDX330D ScanNCut, but I prefer my Cricut or Silhouette for a few reasons not having anything to do with the unreliability of the machine.)

      I’ve trialed all the other brands of machines while picking out mine, and Brother machines have the easiest-to-use embroidery interfaces, in my opinion. They’re also generally less expensive than competitor machines, and they are so popular that machine-specific tutorials and FB groups/YT channels are very readily available.

      As for stitch quality on the SE600, I recommend cleaning the top thread path with unwaxed dental floss, cleaning the bobbin case and surrounding area really well and trying out a new bobbin case [my machines come with two bobbin cases with two different tension settings, so this could be an issue], and also making sure that the #6 metal piece is in place where it should be. Also, in the rare event you aren’t threading with the presser foot up or placing the bobbin case in the correct direction, do that.

      Hope that helps answer your questions!

  2. Aly,
    Can you please tell me if there is a big difference between the SE1900 and the NS2750D sewing and embroidery machines? I loved your review on the SE1900 and was ready to purchase one, until I found a NS2750D for the same price!
    FYI, I plan to sew, quilt and do embroidery.
    Thank you!
    Olivia

    1. Usually, the NS2750D is more expensive, so if you can find the two machines at the same price, I’d opt for the NS2750D! It’s the same “machine” but includes Disney designs and the 5″x12″ multiposition hoop in the box with it.

  3. Hi! I am a beginner at sewing, quilting, and embroidery, but I am starting my job as a stay at home mom very soon. I want a machine with ease of use, max capabilities and max features, and the most up-to-date in tech (so I can design on my computer). I love your list but I’m drowning in it… which one is th best fo my situation?

    1. Sure! What’s your budget look like? The max capabilities will be on the higher-end machines, which can cost $10k-$20k, which is the reason I ask. I love my Luminaire XP2 (upgraded to XP3), and it’s currently Brother’s top tier machine with the most capabilities (like Quiltbroidery, which is handy for sure). Other great machines that have the max capabilities/features are Janome M17, Husqvarna Designer Epic 2, Pfaff Creative Icon 2, and Baby Lock Solaris Vision (similar to Brother’s Luminaire, but no Disney designs.) These are machines you’ll have to buy from a retailer in person, so checking out your local dealer will help you decide between them!

      One thing I will say is if you’re a complete beginner, these high-end machines are crazy awesome, but as a result, they’re much more complicated to learn to use in full.

      Also, do you already have digitizing software on your computer? If, for example, you already have Brother’s PE Design, a Brother machine might be preferred. mySewNet? Then consider Husqvarna to take full advantage of the compatibility between computer design and your machine.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Hi I already have a beautiful sewing machine

    But I am looking for a embroidery/quilting machine which one is the best I am just starting out and need some advice thanks Vicki

    1. If you only need an embroidery-only machine, I think the Brother or Baby Lock line of machines are easiest to use for new embroiderers, and some of the higher-end models have super helpful quilting features like laser previewing and built-in edge-to-edge designs and fills. However, which machine to choose largely depends on your budget. The larger the embroidery field on the machine, the quicker and easier it will be to add embroidery to a complete quilt…but the price increases drastically as the embroidery field size does.

      The “best” machines from these brands right now are the Luminaire XP3 and Baby Lock Solaris Vision, but these both cost more than $10k and are combo machines! Another good high-end Brother option is the Stellaire series of machines, which are significantly less expensive but still not affordable by any means.

      However, I started adding embroidery to my first quilts with a 4×4 machine and then a 5×7 machines (both cost under $1k), and they were able to get the job done perfectly, but the process took longer. (I recommend Brother PE545 or PE900 for the embroidery-only versions of this hoop size.)

      If you have a specific budget, I can give more recommendations, but I hope this helps for now!

  5. Very informative. I want to be able to quilt and sew. However, I want to be able to quilt a king. Is using one of these able to do a king without getting a long arm? I’m truly just starting out and doing research. Thank you for your help.

    1. I have a Brother Luminaire (13.1″ needle to arm), and it’s able to quilt a king with no problem; I just need to make sure the quilt is held well off the table so there’s no drag on my embroidery arm. I’ve not had success with my SE1900 quilting a king using the embroidery component of the machine; however, I can use my walking foot and sewing stitches to sew parallel lines, for example, to quilt a king. I’m not that great at FMQ (much prefer computerized embroidery!), so I haven’t tried that on my SE1900.

  6. I really appreciated your review! I am beginner at embroidery. I would like a Brother or Babylock machine that is an embroidery/sewing combo that also has enough throat space for medium size quilting. I don’t think I’ll be doing any king size quilts :). Could you recommend one that is user friendly and would do well with free motion quilting? I’ve looked at the Brother Quatro 4000 Innovis 6000D and I think it would be too complicated for my learning curve. I’m looking for something fairly straight forward. Thanks!

    1. Brother and Babylock are great choices! Do you have a specific budget in mind, and do you prefer new or pre-owned? One issue with newer machines is they have so many more features than the older models, which do make them a bit more complicated to use.

  7. I am looking at used machines. Most likely a Baby Lock Ellegante, but wasn’t sure how well it would do with free motion quilting.

    1. It has a decently large throat space, so I imagine it will do a suitable job with free-motion quilting.

  8. I’m a beginner and ready to upgrade from my mechanical Kenmore sewing machine. I sew basic quilts and looking for an embroidery machine to do some special things with a square or two. I REALLY like Brother SE1900 Sewing and Embroidery Machine and believe it will do all that I need. But I am wondering what the difference is between that and the SE2000? Thanks so much! I appreciate you and your wisdom to help beginners like me!

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