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Made specifically for free-form quilting, a mid-arm quilting machine can be ideal if you need more room to maneuver than a standard sewing machine but don’t have the space or budget needed to accommodate a long-arm machine. Read on to learn more about mid-arm quilting and to determine whether this type of device is right for you.Estimated read time: 2 minutes, 57 seconds
With throat space ranging from 10 to 15 inches, mid-arm quilt machines offer the ability to quilt larger patterns or blocks than their standard sewing machine counterparts. What’s more, mid-arm machines usually feature ample vertical space so you can even fit king-sized quilts under the machine’s needle. THE Brother Dream Quilter 15, for example, is a mid-arm quilting machine that offers generous horizontal and vertical space.
Unlike a standard sewing machine that is always oriented sideways, some mid-arm quilting machines can sit sideways or can be situated so that you’re facing the actual needle. This can be helpful when you want to see an entire large project while you’re quilting it. Mid-arm quilting machines also hold more thread then standard sewing machines, and oftentimes, the bobbin is located under the table, so you don't have to remove your quilt to change it.
There are varying schools of thought regarding mid-arm vs. long-arm quilting machines. Different quilters have different preferences, depending on the projects they create and the features they’re looking for. However, the best mid-arm quilting machines can do essentially the same job as long-arm machines, allowing you to produce streamlined and professional-looking quilted creations.
The biggest differences between mid-arm and long-arm come down to size and cost; long-arm quilting machines can be pricey, and their size can be prohibitive for home quilting unless you have room to spare. Also, unlike with long-arm machines, mid arm quilt machines enable you to sit down while working. With a mid arm quilting machine, the quilter has to guide the material manually, which requires some initial patience and practice but ultimately offers more control.
If you’re in the market for a mid-arm quilt machine, here are some of the features you should consider before making a purchase decision: