315: Picking a Sewing Machine for Piecing and Quilting Antique Top

We talk about what we look for in a sewing machine for piecing, and also different ways to quilt antique or vintage quilt tops. This episode is brought to you by QT Fabrics!

The quilt hanging behind us is Lynn’s vintage quilt, “Grandmother’s Flower Garden”.

Tips and links for this episode:

  • Things to consider when picking a sewing machine for piecing:
    • Extension table
    • Needle up/down selector
    • Knee lift
    • Separate motor for the bobbin winder, so you won’t wear out the primary motor by winding bobbins
    • A thread cutter, either automatic or the blade mounted near the needle. Or you can get a ThreadCutterz to mount on the side of the machine.
    • Adjustable needle position. Check out Susan Cleveland’s video on why this matters in piecing!
  • #BobbinChicken and #ThreadChicken is a thing! Come play on Instagram.
  • Sharon Schamber has a video on hoopless hand quilting
  • Marie Kerr has a travelling exhibit of antique quilt tops quilted by modern longarmers called “Quilt as Desired


  • Today’s episode was brought to you by QT Fabrics, so you can imagine and create!


Author: Pam

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  1. I found your discussions about finishing vintage or antique quilts useful. I have a Dresden Plate top which I think may be made with feedsacks because of the coarseness of the fabric, but I haven’t seen original 1920’s fabric. I know it was made in Nebraska in the late 1920’s because my mother’s best friends’s mother had gotten a sewing machine and made it with the girls. I think I should use cotton thread and machine quilt it because the plates were machine sewn not hand appliqued. I am not sure what to use to bind it because the fabric colors are so muted compared to modern fabric. It is in perfect condition so that isn’t an issue.

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  2. The queen of handquilting, Georgia Bonesteel, will be teaching at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium May 31-June 3 at UNC Asheville. You should look into this class. Go to Asheville Quilters guild for more info!! Awesome and legendary teacher!!!

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  3. I have a suggestion for a topic. I would like to know about trupunto and when you do thread painting do you have the backing on or off?

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