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Since purchasing my Brother Luminaire, I’ve been able to sew, embroider, and quilt more projects than I ever dreamed of from home.
Gone are the days of trekking to the local library with a quilt sandwich to stand and ache while using their longarm machine for quilting.
Instead, I can piece and quilt in my sewing room and not have to worry about (as much) drag with bigger projects stuffed into the workspace of my sewing machine.
If you also dream of expansive workspaces and are looking for a large throat sewing machine for quilting, I organized all the research I did before purchasing my Luminaire.
Check out this list of the sewing machines with the largest workspaces!
Why is throat size important?
Quite simply, the more space you have to the right of the needle, the larger the project your machine can easily accommodate.
Wide throat spaces are handy for free-motion and ruler quilting, giving you more space to maneuver. And, if you ever want to use a quilt frame like the Grace Cutie Tabletop Frame or Flynn Multi-Frame Quilting System, you need at least a ~9″ throat space for sizeable designs.
Best Large Throat Sewing Machine for Quilting
Now, here are the current largest throat sewing machines for home use on the market.
I am not including mid-arm or long-arm quilting machines, as I consider those to be “quilting machines” rather than sewing machines.
However, I will include machines that function as sewing and embroidery machines–for some machine manufacturers, their largest workspace machines are found only in combo machines.
Workspace Area: 13.5″ x 5.5″
Max Sewing Speed: 1,300 spm
Stitches: 400 stitches + 8 fonts
Presser Feet: 23
The sewing machine with the widest throat right now is the Janome M7 Continental sewing machine.
It’s also the fastest home sewing machine available.
The M7 has a full metal frame, a strong DC motor, and professional-grade features, making it a favorite of serious quilters.
In addition to the ample workspace, the Janome M7’s 26.7″x15.7″ extension table helps relieve drag for bulky projects.
I’m jealous of the workspace accessories drawer, as I have to remove the accessories compartment from the free arm on my Luminaire when I attach the extension table.
Other features I’m drooling over include the SFS-i Intelligent Feed System. What this does is drop the feed dogs until the fabric is positioned. When you start sewing, the feed dogs automatically raise and grip the fabric.
I also love how it has an independent bobbin winding motor that lets you keep sewing while the bobbin winds.
Other helpful features include Janome’s Quilt Block Advisor, the AcuSpark app, and their AcuFeed Flex Plus system (an improvement over the well-loved AcuFeed Flex system).
Now, the Janome M7 also has an embroidery combo counterpart, the new Janome M17 Professional Sewing and Embroidery Machine.
In addition to an identical 13.5″ x 5.5″ workspace, the Janome M17 also has the industry’s largest embroidery hoop, allowing users to embroider up to 11.3″x18.2″ designs.
With a 1,200 max embroidery speed, 850 sewing stitches, and 1,230 built-in embroidery designs, the Janome M17 is an advanced (yet pricey) machine that currently leads the industry.
I probably would have purchased it if it had been available when I purchased my Brother Luminaire.
For quilters, the Janome M17 includes Janome’s first stitch regulator, the AcuStitch Regulator.
I know using a stitch regulator is a debated topic.
Still, I love it on our library’s long-arm machine, and I’d be more likely to free-motion quilt than use my embroidery machine for quilting if I had a regulator. (Brother doesn’t have a stitch regulator for their home machines.)
Technology-wise, I think the Janome M17 combo machine leads the pack.
However, I’ve found learning to use Janome embroidery machines to be a little more complicated than Brother machines.
- Throat Space: 13.1″
- Max Sewing Speed: 1,050 spm
- Sewing Stitches: 824 stitches
- Embroidery Hoop Size: 10 5/8″ x 16″
- Embroidery Built-ins: 1,554 designs on XP3 (including Disney!)
I own the Brother Luminaire XP2 (now upgraded to XP3), and I love this machine.
For quilters, Brother’s patented “Quiltbroidery” is so helpful for users who prefer to quilt with a computerized embroidery machine.
You can create your own designs or use the built-in designs for fills or continuous (all-over or edge-to-edge) quilting.
And, the XP3 features more edge-to-edge designs and features than its predecessors.
The Luminaire also lets you put it in “free-motion sewing mode,” which will automatically lower the feed dogs and adjust the quilting foot height.
A straight stitch needle plate is also included, which is easily switched out with the press of a lever.
This machine doesn’t include an extension table, which I use with piecing, but I negotiated the inclusion of the compatible one when purchasing my machine.
The Luminaire also has a colossal LCD touch-screen and an included stylus, although you can plug in a mouse via USB. (To be honest, I use my finger far more than I should!)
One of the largest hoop embroidery machines also, the Brother Luminaire XP series lets you embroider designs up to 10 5/8″ x 16.” The huge size has allowed me to complete some excellent applique quilt blocks like the Anita Goodesign one above.
The machine also works wirelessly with the Brother SDX330D and SDX325 ScanNCut machines. This means I can cut applique fabric on the SDX330D using the embroidery designs I send over from the machine.
Other features of the Luminaire that I love include using multiple Brother embroidery apps to monitor progress, the ability to scan and auto-digitize simple designs, camera and projector features, and the laser lines to make creating those scant 1/4″ seams much easier!
- Throat Space: 13.1″
- Max Sewing Speed: 1,050 spm
- Sewing Stitches: 1500+ stitches (includes fonts, utility stitches, decorative stitches, fills, etc.)
- Embroidery Hoop Size: 10 5/8″ x 16″
- Embroidery Built-ins: 901 designs on Vision
Baby Lock and Brother sewing and embroidery machines are often made at the same factories and thus mirror each other in look, features, and use.
Both the Baby Lock Solaris and Brother Luminaire machines have the same large throat space (totaling 65 square inches), fast stitching speeds, and general quilting perks.
As with Brother’s top-of-the-line, the Baby Lock Vision does the math for you regarding embroidering perfect quilt borders and sashing and doing edge-edge quilting for quilts up to 118″ square.
I also love how these smart embroidery machines take the guesswork out of the equation, especially when it comes to echo quilting.
And, the included digital dual-feed foot (called the MuVit foot on Brother machines) makes stitching in the ditch or straight-line quilting so much easier!
One big difference is that Baby Lock machines do not include Disney designs; Brother is the only manufacturer allowed to sell Disney embroidery machines with built-in Disney designs.
Another difference is that Baby Lock’s trademarked technologies (like IQ Intuition) are named differently than Brother’s. However, their proprietary apps mimic Brother’s, as do their technologies.
4. Husqvarna Designer Epic Series and Ruby 90
- Throat Space: 12.2″ (310mm)
- Max Embroidery Speed: 1000 spm
- Sewing Stitches: 844 on Epic 2
- Embroidery Hoop Size: 350 x 360mm (13 3/4″ x 14 1/4″)
- Embroidery Built-ins: 756 on Epic 2
The Husqvarna Designer Epic and Designer Ruby 90 are two top-of-the-line combination sewing and embroidery machines, with the Epic 2 being the more fully-featured machine. (The Epic 3 is only available for preorder at this point but looks to be arriving at the end of 2023.)
In terms of specific quilting perks on these machines, there are three helpful modes for free-motion stitching: free-motion with a ruler, free-motion floating, and free-motion with the spring action quilting foot.
Both machines also have built-in dual feed technology to assist when quilting, and the Epic 2 has lasers to help when sewing straight lines. Furthermore, the Epic 2 has a max stitch width of 9mm, which is wider than the usual industry standard of 7mm.
Perks for machine embroiderers include their deLuxe Stitch System, which adjusts thread tension for you as the machine stitches, and the optional ribbon embroidery attachment.
Furthermore, these models are compatible with trademarked technologies like JoyOS ADVISOR and mySewnet.
- Throat Space: 12.2″ (310mm) x 5.1″ (140mm)
- Sewing Stitches: >500 stitches
- Sewing Speed: 1,050 spm
The Pfaff Performace icon is a sewing-only machine with a large throat space matching the size of the Epic 2 and Ruby 90. It led the market in size and features before the Janome M7 Continental debuted.
Quilting and sewing perks of this large throat quilting machine include an extra-large bobbin, integrated dual-feed system, increased height under the sewing head, and extra strength for thick fabrics or quilts.
There’s also a large 10.1″ LCD screen, a feature more commonly seen on embroidery and sewing machines.
Fun patented stitch techniques on the Performance Icon include Radiant, Lace Edge, Floating, and Ribbon stitches.
The Performance Icon also has two embroidery combo counterparts, the Creative Icon and the newer Creative Icon 2.
- Embroidery Hoop Size: 350 x 360mm (13.78″ x 14.11″)
- Embroidery Built-ins: >800 designs
- Max Embroidery Speed: 1,050 spm
The Pfaff Creative Icon and Creative Icon 2 combination machines have the same workspace size as the Performance Icon. They also include the features of the Performance Icon but add the function of embroidery.
Notable embroidery features include the ImageStitch app to auto-digitize images with your phone and ActivStitch technology, where the machine senses and then regulates embroidery stitching.
Pfaff details their Creative Icon stats here if you want to learn more.
- Throat Space: 12″
- Max Sewing Speed: 1,200 spm
- Sewing Stitches: 1,764 stitches and 19 buttonholes
- Embroidery Hoop Size: 15.7”×10.2″ with optional Jumbo Hoop
- Embroidery Built-ins: 460 designs and 12 fonts
The Bernina 8 Series currently includes two sewing and embroidery combination machines: the Bernina 880 Plus and Bernina 880 Plus Crystal Edition, which partners with Swarovski.
With a throat space of 12″, the Bernina 880 Plus has an ever-so-slightly smaller throat space than many of the other large throat sewing machines mentioned here. However, the Bernina name carries so much weight within the sewing industry that the difference in size may not be a dealbreaker.
Quilting perks of this machine include the Bernina dual feed, jumbo bobbin, and their version of a stitch regulator.
This machine also has the largest number of stitches (1,764!) of any of the machines in their stitch library. Of course, you can also create your own stitches on the screen. (Because my machine has an embroidery feature, I don’t often create my own stitches to sew. Decorative stitches are finicky to perfect compared to hooped embroidery.)
Regarding embroidery, the largest hoop included in the box with the Bernina 880 is the 145x255mm hoop. However, you can purchase the jumbo 15.7″x10.2″ hoop for more space.
Another thing I love about Bernina embroidery machines is their hoops secure fabric much better than my larger Brother hoops, which means less movement and puckering during the embroidery process.
- Throat Space: 12″
- Max Sewing Speed: 1,000 spm
- Sewing Stitches: 28 on Jazz II and 200 on Allegro
If you’re looking for the best quilting sewing machine with a large throat on a small budget, check out the Baby Lock Jazz II or the newer Baby Lock Allegro.
When comparing the two, the Allegro, being a newer machine, has more computerized features (actually has a screen vs. the Jazz not having screen), more stitches, and even a couple of built-in fonts.
At less than $1,000, the Baby Lock Jazz II, though, is popular amongst quilters thanks to its 12″ workspace and no-frills composition. It’s also one of the few “big” sewing machines that can be purchased online rather than from an authorized dealer.
Because the Jazz II isn’t “snazzy,” it doesn’t have automatic reverse or reinforcement stitches or automatic thread cutting. However, it does have a knee lifter and a programmable needle up/down option.
Other Sewing Machines with Large Throats: By Manufacturer
The above large throat sewing machines for quilters are enormous and also costly.
If you aren’t ready for quite that much of a machine, many other machines exist that are more affordable and have slightly smaller (but still very impressive) workspace areas.
I’ve listed these by brand and included links where you can purchase many of them online.
The Baby Lock Chorus and Baby Lock Ballad are sewing-only machines with workspace areas of 11.25.”
The Baby Lock Altair is a sewing and embroidery combination machine with an 11.25″ workspace. It is similar in features to the Brother Innovis XJ1.
The Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200QCP, Memory Craft 9450QCP, and Memory Craft 9400QCP, and Memory Craft 9410QC are sewing-only machines with an 11″ workspace for quilters.
Two options for Janome 10″ workspace machines include the Memory Craft 6700P and Memory Craft 6650 sewing machines.
The Juki HZL-NX7 is a great Juki sewing and quilting machine with a 12″ throat space.
The Pfaff Creative 3.0, Pfaff Creative 2.5, and Pfaff Quilt Expression 720 machines have 250 mm (9.8″) sewing areas.
The Brother BQ2500, BQ3100, Innovis XJ1, DreamWeaver VQ3000, and DreamCreator VQ2400 all have throat spaces of 11.25.”
The Innovis XJ1 is a sewing and embroidery machine, while the others are sewing-only machines.
The Husqvarna Sapphire 85 sewing and embroidery machine has 250mm (slightly less than 10″) of space to the right of the needle.
Machines in the Benina 790 Plus line and 770 QE Plus line have workspaces of 10 inches. The same is true of the Bernina 735.
Any other large throat sewing machines for quilting that I’ve missed? I try to keep up-to-date on new releases and product availabilities, but sometimes I miss stuff.
Let me know!