A Longarm sewing machine is a sewing machine head with a long throat. The distance between the needle and the back of the sewing harp (the throat) is what characterizes a Longarm Machine. The Longarm comes with the sewing machine head, rollers and frame. The sewing machine head moves on wheels forward and back, left and right, along the frame. The Longarm sewing machine can be hand or computer guided as it rolls on the tracks to quilt the quilt. The frame has rollers on which the quilt top, batting and backing are rolled. The quilt sandwich remains stationary while the machine moves across it. The Longarm machine is a significant investment and often used to provide quilting as a service. For a fee, they will quilt using all over designs called pantographs or the more expensive and time consuming custom work. They can also baste your quilt sandwich for you so you can get right to the fun part of quilting on your domestic sewing machine, or even quilting by hand!
Benefits of a Longarm
- A Longarm quilting machine eliminates the need to wrestle your quilts under a domestic sewing machine with a shorter throat of 9 inches or less.
- Longarm quilters do both Custom quilting and all over quilting designs (pantographs).
- Longarm quilting services are often income for a quilter.
- Longarm machines can also be installed in a sit-down table for free motion quilting like you are doing on your domestic machine with the added benefit of a much larger throat space to work in.
Tools and Supplies for a Longarm
- Basic Quilting Supplies
- Longarm Software or paper as needed for pantographs.
- Space around the machine for proper set up and quilting.
- Rods from 10' to 14' for the quilt, backing and batting.
What I Wish I Knew When I Started using a Longarm
If you're considering a LONGARM system, test as many machines as possible. Like choosing what car to buy, you will know when you test drive it which one is a good fit for you.