We’re compiling a fantastic list of sewing machine reviews thanks to your Sewing Machine Meme contributions! Keep them rolling in and we’ll all benefit when we look to purchase and/or upgrade; we’ll publish the entire list at the end of the month. We wanted more information about sewing machines for specialized sewing so we asked several trusted sewists for their opinions. Today we have an interview with Alissa from Handmade by Alissa focused on sewing machines for quilting (and man, can Alissa ever quilt!). We’ll be back tomorrow with an interview about machines for small business owners who sew their products.

Join in: Add your comments about quilting and sewing machines below, and answer the Sewing Machine Meme!

SMS: What brand and model of sewing machine do you have? Do you have more than one?
Alissa: I have a Euro Pro 9106 that was a gift from my mother-in-law for my bridal shower. Amazingly generous of her! I didn’t sew yet when she gave it to me, but knew I wanted to! It’s the only sewing machine I have and while I didn’t pick it out, and might have gone a different route if I had, it has worked out really well for me.

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Alissa’s Machine

SMS: We know you make beautiful quilts, and that you sell some of your work in addition to creating custom quilts. What other types of sewing do you do and how much do you sew? Just how much wear and tear does your machine get?!
Alissa: Mostly it’s all quilting all the time. But there’s the occasional bag made too. The machine definitely gets lots and lots of use. I work freelance, so when I’m between jobs it’s being used for hours a day. I try to keep it nice and clean all the time so that it keeps running well for me!

SMS: Is this the first machine you’ve had? If you upgraded at some point why did you do it (or what would push you to consider doing it if you haven’t already?)?
Alissa: This is my first sewing machine. She’ll always have a special place in my heart!

SMS: What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Alissa: Definitely what you think you’ll use it for. Do you need more than a straight stitch? Will you be sewing lots of layers? That sort of thing.

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The feet & plastic table that came with Alissa’s machine.

SMS: What are some critical sewing machine features specifically related to quilting that are really important to you?
Alissa: The features that are on my machine that I really miss when I’m using a different one are:
1) A setting for the needle to stop in the down position. For quilting this is wonderful because it makes it so that I can stop and start without having to crank the needle down every time I stop.
2) The ability to adjust the speed I sew at. Again for quilting, I love putting the pedal to the floor but sometimes I can’t go full speed. If I lower my speed, I can still floor it and I know I’ll be sewing at an even speed.
3) The machine came with a walking foot, a darning foot, and one of those plastic table things. I use all three all the time when quilting so I lucked out that I didn’t need to buy them.
4) Lastly, the throat of the machine is not small, which is helpful when squeezing huge quilts through it.

SMS: Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
Alissa: I like my machine. I think that I would love it if it had an automatic thread cutter, a larger throat and could sew faster. I haven’t named her though – I should do that!!

SMS: Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
Alissa: It does this weird thing where it will unthread in a specific spot. The machine will suddenly make a different sound so I’ve gotten good at catching it quickly and making the fix.

SMS: Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Alissa: Probably not. Mostly because it was only sold on the Home Shopping Network (I think?) and I don’t think you can get it anymore. I think that all of the features I like about it are easily available on brands that more well known and trusted. I don’t mean to talk down about the machine ’cause she’s treated me right, but I think people should go with a more trusted brand if they are buying a new machine.

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The button for changing needle stop position and the slider to change machine’s speed.

SMS: Do you have a dream machine?
Alissa: I think that the Juki that Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilt is always raving about is up there… or a Bernina…? But that’s an investment I’ll have to make in the future. Since I know I can’t afford to buy a new machine, and the one I have serves all my purposes, I haven’t done too much looking into different machines. I wouldn’t wanna test drive one, fall in love and resent the machine I currently have! Even more of a pipe dream?? A long arm quilting machine!! But that’s not likely to ever happen.

SMS: Do you have any other advice for people looking to buy a new sewing machine if their primary sewing interest is quilting?
Alissa: Definitely find a machine that has all of the features I listed above. I have found them all really helpful.

Join us for Sewing Machine Month! Enter to win this week’s prize package from our Sewing Machine Month sponsor: Husqvarna/Viking. Comment on any post this week for your chance to win the Quilting Package (over $150 retail value), or you might win one of four $20 gift certificates to Sew,Mama,Sew!.