I need recommendations for a great sewing machine for quilting!


It's time to invest in a new sewing machine. I use my machine primarily for quilting but it needs to be great for everything else too. I am just learning to do free motion quilting. I haven't gotten into embroidery yet but may want to someday. I am interested in any help you can give me. I am leaning towards purchasing a Bernina 560 minus the embroidery module which I can add later.

q i need recommendations for a great sewing machine for quilting, appliances, crafts, Bernina 560 with Embroidery module
Bernina 560 with Embroidery module.
  47 answers
  • Lemor Sidis Lemor Sidis on Nov 06, 2013
    Hey Hometalk community do we have any advice? @Autum H @DiybyDesign Judy @Maria S ?

  • Janet Harden Janet Harden on Nov 06, 2013
    i have three bernina sewing machines. i love them all. i started with an old singer, then a brother, then i bought my first bernina...best purchase i ever made. they can be a bit finiky at times but its well worth the effort to understand.

    • Julie Jene Julie Jene on May 24, 2018
      Does that mean you have to be trained by a cat in order to to use a Bernina?

  • I have been sewing and quilting my entire life. I've tried all of the top brands - Brother , Husqvarna, Bernina, Janome, Pfaff... - they are all very good and can all have some issues. Have you been able to try some out? Good sewing machine shops will let you test drive them and should offer free sessions for getting to know a new machine. Best wishes - it's lots of fun to have a great new machine!

  • Ruth K Ruth K on Nov 07, 2013
    I used to do a lot of sewing and I loved machine embroidery. I had 3 Babylock. Never had a problem with them. I quilted on machine.

  • Jessica C Jessica C on Nov 07, 2013
    The Viking (Husqvarna) is hands down the best machine on the market. I have one that is twenty years old, works great, needs very little maintenance. Nothing else compares.

  • Barbara Barbara on Nov 07, 2013
    I have a Bernina Viking ,Singer and Kennmore. You service them and they all Work well. Depends on what you use them for. Stay basic and you can't go wrong if your first starting out... The fancier the machine when you first starting leads to many frustrations..

  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Nov 08, 2013
    I have a Bernina......a very old Bernina and it is still going strong. Berninas also have very high resale value. What makes them good is that they have all steel parts. What makes them heavy is the same reason! If you plan on toting a machine to a quilting class or anywhere else, they are really too heavy unless you are built like Popeye! I don't do as much sewing as I used to so I am thinking of selling my Bernina and getting a Brother.

  • Victoria Victoria on Nov 08, 2013
    I have a Bernina, had a 930 sold it and I wish I had it back. I don't think you can wrong with a Bernina. Congratulations and good luck!

  • Donna H Donna H on Nov 08, 2013
    I have a 35 yr old Bernina for regular sewing with just a few decorative/utility stitches and I still love it. It gets an occasional tune up and the only problem I had was because the dog knocked it off the table. I am considering a new Huskvarna/Viking and hope to start quilting.

  • Valerie Valerie on Nov 08, 2013
    I do a lot of quilting and have a Bernina Quilters Edition. It is an extremely robust machine. One of the features that it has is a lever which allows you to lift up the presser foot by using your knee, rather than taking your hands off the fabric. It also has several special feet designed specifically for quilters, including a quarter-inch foot which works extremely well. Another feature is that you can drop your feed-dogs, which is absolutely essential if you are doing free-motion quilting. The walking foot is also excellent - I use mine when I am assembling the various layers together. I think it also comes with an embroidery add-on, but quite frankly, if your main use is quilting, I would not go for it (the add-on). Once you become accustomed to free-motion quilting, and the freedom of design that comes with it, it is unlikely that you will want to go back to small little designs such as those offered with the embroidery component. Have a look at the Quilting Daily website for loads of free information (and masses of inspiration). You can also download videos on how to do free-motion quilting if you are looking to learn more. I find that downloading their tutorials so that I can learn 'at leisure' is great. The added bonus about the Bernina Quilters Edition is that, because it is so strong (almost industrial) it handles jobs like making things out of canvas with absolute ease - a huge bonus! Whatever you decide on, good luck and I hope it serves you well for many years to come.

  • Sue Walker Sue Walker on Nov 08, 2013
    I have multiple Janome machines including one with a 9" throat making it a little easier to quilt. Bernina is a great machine too. My advise is to "test drive" the machine, make sure the dealer offers thorough lessons and be sure to get one with enough room to handle the fabric.

  • Kelli Kelli on Nov 08, 2013
    I have a Janome Memory craft 6600. Love it, There is a special foot that allows you to compress and sew through layers of denim, (use to hem jeans). It also has the knee lever. This Machine is a quilters machine. Also has some small embroidery designs built in and also 3 different font styles for letters. But, that Bernina 560, looks like a winner, especially if you can add the embroidery module.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kelli Kelli on Nov 11, 2013
      @Jeri Niksich My husband purchased it for me, I used it and abused it through out my Etsy selling days. My sales paid for the machine! I no longer sell on Etsy, but I have to wonderful Grand babies who are reaping the rewards of my beloved Janome! :)

  • Diane Carlson Diane Carlson on Nov 08, 2013
    Janome, Janome, Janome!

  • Betty Fancher Betty Fancher on Nov 08, 2013

  • Kimberly Young Kimberly Young on Nov 08, 2013
    Thank you for all your feedback. I have also been looking at the Janome Memory Craft 7700(?) and the Babylock Symphony. However, I can't add embroidery to them later if I decide I want to like I can with the Bernina. I looked at the Viking but the only dealer in my area is Joann's. The woman that runs the department is rude and seems to not want to be bothered to discuss the machines so I would not have the support with a Viking that I would have with the other brands. It seems that there is no perfect machine without paying the price of a small car.

    • Vicki V Vicki V on Jan 12, 2014
      @Kimberly Young I have had several sewing machines (Singer, Brother, etc), but the absolute best machine of all time is my Bernina. I bought a basic Bernina about 20 years ago and it is still going strong. Last year I bought a Bernina Aurora 430 because it came with an embroidery module. I absolutely love it !!! You also get free sewing and embroidery classes with the purchase. I will continue to keep my original Bernina as I can sew on it while my new one is doing embroidery. Bernina is the best of the best !!

  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Nov 08, 2013
    Ha ha, well I would have to have some bucks in exchange! No, the reason I am thinking of getting a lighter machine is that I live in a 55 plus community and if I want to go to some of the classes that require sewing, the Bernina would be too heavy to tote every time.

  • Therese Ryan-Haas Therese Ryan-Haas on Nov 08, 2013
    check out Leah day on YouTube. She uses a Janome Horizon 7700 . and just loves it. I don't know about the embroidery but she has used it to death on free motion embroidery.

  • Colleen Colleen on Nov 08, 2013
    After owning an Elna,White,Singer and Bernina I love my Bernina. I purchased a used Bernina 200 with all attachments (walkin foot,free motion foot and embroidery unit).I love the options of sewing everything from home decor ,quilting,fashion clothing and embroidery. Its great to customize items with embroidery. The Bernina 560 is a good machine, maybe negotiate the price of the embroidery modual, rather than waiting. You may be surprised by how much you use it, and why you didn't purchase one earlier. What ever you do, HAPPY SEWING!!!

  • Jody Jody on Nov 08, 2013
    I just had a seminar with the Ca rep of Bernina. If I was go to purchase a machine and quilting was my main sewing I would also get the Bernina 560. The throat is pretty wide so there is more sewing space between needle and body of machine. If I had the spare $1499.99 I would buy the Bernina 880. That machine is sweet. I also own 2 Janome's mc5700 and the new 9900 and love them both. Good luck.

  • Twila Palmatier Twila Palmatier on Nov 08, 2013
    Elaine I had the same problem. Too heavy to carry into quilting every week so I got a Singer Featherweight. I love it! Out of group of 12 six of us have Featherweights and each of us love them. No fancy stitches just plain straight line sewing. Have to get them off of ebay as most of them date from the 1959's! Check them out. I can carry mine with just 3 fingers!

  • Judipick Judipick on Nov 09, 2013
    I think the Pfaff Sewing machine is a really great machine. I am going to sewing classes at a Pfaff Sewing store, and everyone there is using one of these machines. They have a great variety of machines which do a great number of things. You can also add an embroidery unit at a later date.

  • Linda Goldsberry Linda Goldsberry on Nov 13, 2013
    I wouldn't want any thing but an Elna. I love mine and it has a lifetime warranty.

  • Patti Patti on Nov 13, 2013
    Viking, makes a great machine. the one plus is a work horse. Most important is the dealer. I love the Yardstick in Cobleskill N Y on Barneville rd off Rt 7 The Yardstick - Cobleskill www.yardstickny.com/‎Authorized dealer for simplicity vacumn cleaners, husqvarna viking sewing machines and sergers fabrics embroidery designs sewing notions.Google+ page · Be the first to review 147 Barnerville Rd, Cobleskill, NY 12043 (518) 234-2179 Brother, Bernina , Pfaff also wonderful machines.

  • Cindy Cindy on Jan 06, 2014

  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Jan 07, 2014
    I ended up getting a Brother ........mainly because it was such a bargain on Amazon and it suits my needs to transport because it is so light. I will keep my Bernina for heavy duty sewing.

  • Linda Goldsberry Linda Goldsberry on Jan 07, 2014
    I love my Elna.

  • Elisa KelloggShaffer Elisa KelloggShaffer on Jan 10, 2014
    I have a brothers but it's not good for quilting. Hemming fine but feed dog's stick

  • Lisa Acevedo Lisa Acevedo on Jan 10, 2014
    I am very shocked to hear about the mgr at the Viking store in Joanne's. I also work for Viking located in a Joanne's and all of us including our mgr go out of our way to help you decide on a machine. Even if that means you test each and every one. We also offer one on one classes to teach and help you with the machine. And if for any reason you forget or need a refresher course you can come in. Even though I own a brother and love it for my quilting I tell everyone if you can afford it go with Viking. You can always trade in and upgrade when you want more features. I am truly upset that you are not considering a Viking due to this rude mgr. They are truly one of the best machines out there and worth the investment.

  • Vicki V Vicki V on Jan 12, 2014
    @Kimberly Young I have had several sewing machines (Singer, Brother, etc), but the absolute best machine of all time is my Bernina. I bought a basic Bernina about 20 years ago and it is still going strong. Last year I bought a Bernina Aurora 430 because it came with an embroidery module. I absolutely love it !!! You also get free sewing and embroidery classes with the purchase. I will continue to keep my original Bernina as I can sew on that while my new one is doing embroidery. Bernina is the best of the best !!

  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Jan 13, 2014
    Vicki, I agree, Bernina is the best but one thing that I don't like about mine is that any attachments you might want to get are so expensive. I have a very old one too, a 930 and I keep it to do heavy work that my Brother cannot do. Also, if you check Ebay you will find that you can still get a hefty price for it when you go to sell it.

  • Vickie P. Vickie P. on Jan 27, 2014
    I see you live in Pahrump NV... ;-) I'm also thinking of this machine and am in Henderson. What prices were you quoted, I am thinking the 560 with embroidery but closest dealer is very high....maybe we would get a discount if buying two???

    • Kimberly Young Kimberly Young on Jan 27, 2014
      @Vickie P. Sorry, my husband gave me the machine for Christmas. He purchased the 560 in Henderson at Quiltque. He paid $2,999.99 without the embroidery module which I can purchase later when I can afford it. So far, I really love the machine. I haven't taken the classes yet so I am sure I have just scratched the surface as to what it can do.

  • Vickie P. Vickie P. on Jan 27, 2014
    Congratulations!!! Do you love it? Would you recommend the machine? I was thinking the Pahrump Bernina dealer might have been cheaper. I am anxious to hear what you think about it, I haven't bought a new Bernina since my 930 and that one is 32 years old now!

  • Letitia Letitia on Mar 03, 2014
    What ever you do buy a machine that you will grow into. I had a Bernette 65 (Shame on Bernina for marketing it as one of their machines. It isn't.) When I upgraded I really liked the 700 line however they are really expensive. The 500 line was more reasonable. I shopped around tried Janome and Viking (Husquvarna). Although I really liked the Berninas I ended up purchasing a Viking Sapphire 930. The machine was on sale with a quilters package that included an extension table, 2 walking feet and a 1/4 inch foot with a guide. It has hundreds of decorative stitches, thread cutter, automatic feed and tension adjustment. Don't buy too small of a machine because you will end up replacing it in a couple of years. The Sapphire has a large enough throat to machine quilt and embroider. I like to hand quilt but have recently tried to use the machine. It is really a dream. Good luck!

  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Mar 04, 2014
    When you say "shame on Bernina for marketing it as one of their machines", I don't understand that statement. Whose machine is it then if not Bernina's?

  • Kimberly Young Kimberly Young on Mar 05, 2014
    The Bernette machines are produced by a manufacturer in Asia. Bernina handles the quality control and ensures a high standard of performance. I have been told that Bernina makes some of the parts in the Bernette but it is not a true Bernina. The Bernette purchase price is a lot less than a Bernina.

    • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Mar 06, 2014
      @Kimberly Young I did not realize that. When did they first start making a Bernette machine? I used to sell Bernina's eons ago and they never had anything like that then.

  • Letitia Letitia on Mar 05, 2014
    No, It is not made by Bernina..... that is why each machine says: Bernette FOR Bernina. They are made in Japan. Unfortunately I didn't find that out till I had already purchased the machine. I could have purchased a Brother at Walmart or Amazon for far less money and had the same quality of machine.

  • Judy Judy on Apr 15, 2014
    I just bought a Bernina 560. I also am a quilter. Don't know if I will ever want an embroidery module but nice to know it's an option. I just love this machine. So quiet and stitch quality is wonderful. Also easy to use. My old machine was a Babylock Quilter's Choice - stitch quality was terrible and couldn't sew anything thick or heave (like fowling or jeans). Everyone I have ever known who has a Bernina adores their machine and wouldn't buy anything else. I know people who have been sewing on the same Bernina for decades. I'm so glad I went for my Bernina. Got a great deal, too. Look at the Bernina website as they are having special offers now. I say go for the 560. I bet you won't be sorry.

    • Belinda Flemings Belinda Flemings on Aug 26, 2016
      I am new at quilting ,I use a singer smple, I'm in class and the other lady's have Bernina machines they are very quit machine,

  • Becky Hansen Becky Hansen on Apr 15, 2014
    I have the Brother Quattro and it's a wonderful, strong machine. I love it for sewing, quilting, and embroidery. I always hate to see Brother machines put down because of the ones sold at Walmart. Brother and Baby Lock have very competitively great machines, if you buy through a sewing machine dealer. I also have an Elna that sews very nicely, and a Janome that I travel with. They are all very nice machines. A lot of my friends have Bernina's and, like most others, love their "Bernies!"

  • Hi Kimberly, you asked a great question! Are you talking piecing a quilt and/or doing the quilting yourself on the machine? For piecing, look for a machine with an easy to change to straight stitch throat plate. My preference is to piece on my vintage Singer Featherweight because it is super easy to use and all it does is a straight stitch. Bernina does make a GREAT machine if you can afford the price tag.... even used. There are a few very reputable Bernina sellers on Ebay as well. If you want local support then hightail it out to your local stores and test drive all kinds of machines... even the used ones they have taken in on trade. Ask about warrantees. Trust your gut on what FEELS right. I agree with looking for something you can grow into. Sewing machines are often like cars... new ones lose value as you walk out the door. Don't feel pressured into making a decision on the spot. Machines can be a large investment and you need to feel totally comfortable with your decision.

  • Diane Patterson Diane Patterson on Aug 28, 2014
    Kimberly, do you know what the 560 is being sold for where you got yours? Here in Oregon they sell for the MSRP of $4599, without the embroidery module. I currently own a little Brother PE400D that I paid $699 eleven years ago. It works like a dream, just too small for some projects. I also have a 4 year old Bernina 820 that we bought with frame (husband wanted to try his hand at quilting) that has only about 10 hours of use, that we paid $7000 and are trying to sell. The local dealers won't give hardly anything for trade in. If I could get a 560 for $2700, it'd totally be worth the 5 hour drive to Nevada.

  • Christine Brown Christine Brown on Aug 31, 2014
    look for Huannah machne, I know did not spell it right,but it germany made, and are wonderful

  • Candace P Candace P on Sep 26, 2014
    I love Bernina machines! I have 4. I did try a Viking and it broke after a year and I am not a heavy sewer.

  • Donna Donna on Apr 11, 2015
    Juki for free motion.

  • Kate Kate on Jun 28, 2016
    My advice is to buy a machine from the best quilt shop in your town, whatever brand they carry. They will service it and honor the warranty. My quilt shop runs free classes to learn everything about your machine they just sold you.

  • Erma Erma on Oct 14, 2016
    I love the Babylock machines. The Elure is a beginners machine that has embroidery capabilites. I also have the Ellissimo which also has embroidery. I just sold my Ellegante . Just LOVE these machines. My shop, SewVac in Ellicott City, MD gives a 6 yr. warranty, lifetime free lessons and all the help you need.

  • Diane Patterson Diane Patterson on Oct 15, 2016
    I own the Bernina 560 with embroidery. Have had it for 2 years and haven't tried the embroidery yet, but really do plan on trying it. Husband insisted on purchasing the embroidery module when we bought the machine. I only do machine piecing on it, so I know I haven't scratched the surface on what it can really do. My first machine was a small Brother. It was an absolute workhorse, just too small for large projects. We moved up to a Bernina 820 with quilting frame because my husband thought he'd like to try his hand at the quilting part. Well, that didn't work out so well, and the machine was Tom large for me to move on and off the frame, or we sold it and purchased the 560. It has a large enough throat I believe you could do free motion nicely, not sure about king size though, and its small enough to move around and take to retreats, etc. So far, so good! The only thing I don't care for is the front loading bobbin. Wish Bernina would do a top load, much easier to get to.

  • Asare Emmanuel Asare Emmanuel on Oct 16, 2016
    How can I buy it?