Longarm quilting machines like Q'nique longarm models are exciting to use, as they can give you the freedom to make larger projects and expand your horizons to free motion quilting as well.

Because these machines can be very expensive and you’re thinking of buying one, have you determined if the benefits you’ll gain make it a worthwhile purchase?

The Main Differences

Depending on the type of quilting you like to do, machine quilting with a longarm or midarm like the Grace Q'nique 15R midarm quilting machine might not give you enough benefit to warrant that kind of purchase.

Conversely, if you’re moving into projects that exceed the capabilities of your standard sewing machine or spend many hours a day working on your projects, a longarm might be just what you need.

Consider the main differences so you make the right choice!

1. Throat Space

The biggest difference between standard sewing machines and longarm models is the throat space or the distance that the arm extends from the machine body to the needle area.

Longarms on frames give you an unlimited ability to sew all over your project without encountering the issue of bunches of fabric not fitting through the throat area.

Standard machines typically have a throat area up to about 9” at the most, which can make working on larger projects a little cumbersome.

If you do a lot of quilting and your projects constantly have you fighting with fitting fabric in the throat area as you’re trying to stitch, going to a longarm might be worth it.

Alternately, you could choose something like the Grace Q'nique 15R midarm quilting machine, which works both as a sit-down machine with a larger throat space when set into a sewing cabinet or as a true longarm when mounted on a frame.

Machine Quilting

2. Straight Line Stitching and Stitch-In-The-Ditch

Another consideration when making your decision is the fact that while you can do straight line stitching on both machines, each has an additional benefit over the other.

With longarms like Q'nique quilting machines, you have the ability to straight stitch backward and forward, so there is no need to re-position the project or manually move the needle, which is great for stitching grids or many long, straight lines.

A regular machine is more convenient and versatile for sewing shorter straight lines or doing stitch-in-the-ditch which can be a challenge and get tiring when done while standing.

3. Free Motion Quilting

When it comes to free motion machine quilting, the longarm far surpasses any standard sewing model, giving you the ability to stitch just about any design you want by moving the needle freely over the fabric.

You can make your own designs or use templates to come up with a stitch pattern that’s truly unique.

While many of today’s standard sewing and quilting models do have a free motion feature that drops the feed dogs, you are more restricted in how much free motion stitching you can actually do because of the inability to move the fabric around as needed.

4. Stitch Speeds and Motor Power

If you’re after speed and power to get projects done more quickly, a longarm machine will typically have a strong industrial motor that can power through layers of fabric with ease at stitch speeds up to 2,000 SPM.

If you’re not in any hurry, a standard home machine is fine even if it sews a little slower than that.

How Do You Want To Use A Quilting Machine?

While the appeal of working with longarm models like Q'nique quilting machines may be great, the cost of these machines can be prohibitive.

Think about what kinds of projects you make now and what you want to make in the future, then ask yourself if the added features offer you enough benefit.

You may find that your home machine or even a midarm machine is perfectly fine for your specific machine quilting needs!