Although machine quilting and hand quilting may seem at odds in the sewing world, it is worth noting how peacefully both techniques are thriving side by side. In a time of raging political discourse and contention in almost every other arena, quilters of both camps manage to shop in the same aisles for pretty calico and even engage in genuine, friendly conversation without fear of breaking into an argument over who is morally superior—machine vs. hand, modern vs. traditional, or (heaven forbid) even conservative vs. progressive. Indeed, quilters might set the standard for the rest of the world as to how opposing ideologies ought to coexist! In the interest of education, however, let’s explore how one might choose their preferred way, either in purchasing a fabulous quilt or creating one of their own.
Benefits Of Hand Quilting
The art of quilting by hand is a time-honored tradition and one of the undeniable refinements of our society, reflecting humankind’s ability to fashion things that are beautiful as well as functional. The choice to either make or purchase a hand-quilted piece offers several perks, including:
- Connection to the past. People have been quilting by hand for hundreds of years, and very little has changed when it comes to technique and tools.
- A sense of community. Several individuals can gather around a frame or rack and work on a single piece together, making it a communal work of art.
- Support of women-owned business. Purchasing hand-quilted work often means that the project was outsourced to Amish seamstresses who are expertly trained in the craft.
- Environmental responsibility. A simple needle and thread can do the job (Naturally, a thimble and wax will help!) and require no utilities or resources other than human energy.
Drawbacks Of Hand Quilting
Of course, doing things the old-fashioned way does come at a cost, whether you are making or buying your quilt. If your are quilting alone, working by hand can be incredibly time consuming, and perhaps even lonely if you have your project set up in an out-of-the-way room. If you’re buying something hand-quilted, the expert work of those Amish seamstresses is incredibly expensive. If any of these sound like a deal breaker, you may want to consider using or hiring a machine.
Benefits Of Machine Quilting
Doing things the modern way can resolve many concerns if you are new to quilting, pressed for time, or simply unsure of where to begin. Benefits of using a machine include:
- Speed. Whether you are outsourcing your project to a friend with a long-arm or working with a walking foot on your trusty Bernina, a machine will certainly create the stitches and achieve the look you want much faster than doing the work by hand.
- Cost-effectiveness. You won’t just save time! If someone else is doing the work, they’ll charge you much less to quilt by machine than they would to account for the hours (and hours) it takes to work by hand.
- Expert support. By hand, all accountability for the outcome lies with the quilter. With a machine, however, you have others to rely on. Not only can the manufacturer and distributor of your machine assist you in keeping your work going smoothly, but expert technicians are available to service your machine, as well. (Not to mention countless blog tutorials and YouTube videos offered by those who have used the same machine and technique before you!)
- Reliability. It takes practice to become a consistent hand quilter, and chances are that your first project will look like just that—a first project. Quilting by machine can eliminate that learning curve and ensure that your quilt comes out looking sharp.
All in all, any drawbacks of quilting by machine are really a matter of preference. If your family is gathering to stitch a quilt as a group, or you personally desire to improve your own dexterity with a needle, then handwork might just fit the bill. However, for fast, cost-effective, reliable quilting, a good machine will not let you down. We would be thrilled to help you on your machine quilting journey! Please contact us for advice, answers, or help with your existing machine, and one of our experts at The Inspired Sewist will happily get you situated.