Longarm Quilting: A Deep Dive

Posted by Olivia Alaniz on

So you've finished your quilt top and you want to have your quilt longarm quilted. Coming from some that's had numerous quilt longarm quilted, I say that's a great decision! Not only do you end up with very professional results, but you get to free up your time to start working on a new modern quilt. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Caria Quilt quilted by Trace Creek Quilting


To help you make the right decision with your newly finished quilt top, I'm diving into the fascinating world of longarm quilting today on my blog. Whether you're considering paying for longarm quilting services or thinking about taking the plunge to quilt on your own, I've got you covered with some insights and tips!

Paying for Longarm Quilting Services

Sky Cabin Quilt quilted by Trace Creek Quilting


Let's be honest, sometimes our beautiful quilt tops need that professional touch to bring them to life. Hiring a longarm quilter can be a game-changer. These talented artisans use specialized machines to create stunning, intricate designs that elevate your quilt to a masterpiece. But, what's the scoop on cost?

  1. Budgeting: Prices can vary based on the complexity of the design and the size of your quilt. On average, expect to spend anywhere from $0.02 to $0.05 per square inch. Custom designs may cost more, but oh, the results are worth it!
  2. Choosing a Quilter: Take your time to find a quilter whose style matches your vision. Many quilters showcase their work on social media or their websites. Don’t be shy to ask for references or samples. Plus, you can always ask your community for recommendations! This will give you some real-life reviews of longarm quilters that your quilty friends love.
  3. Communication is Key: Make sure to discuss your expectations and any specific requests you have for the quilt. This ensures there are no surprises and you get exactly what you envision. Some ideas you might want to discuss with your longarm quilter would be density, pantograph scale, thread color, time to completion, and any additional add-on services they provide and their cost.
New Years Kiss Quilt quilted by Hen House Quilting


Toad & Sew Favorite Longarm Quilters + APQS

Check out this amazing list full of great longarm quilters put together by Trace Creek Quilting!

Longarm Quilting on Your Own

Time Capsule Quilt quilted by Trace Creek Quilting


Feeling adventurous? Longarm quilting on your own can be incredibly rewarding. Here’s a peek into what you need to know to get started.

On your own machine:

  1. Investing in Equipment: Longarm machines are an investment, ranging from $5,000 to over $20,000. If you’re serious about quilting, it’s a worthwhile expenditure.
  2. Learning the Craft: Start by taking classes or watching tutorials. Many quilt shops offer classes that are perfect for beginners. It’s a steep learning curve, but with patience and practice, you’ll get the hang of it.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice: Like any skill, the more you practice, the better you'll become. Start with simple designs and gradually move to more complex patterns as you build confidence.
Joplin Quilt quilted by Hen House Quilting


Longarm Quilting Rental

Intertwined Quilt quilted by me!


Not ready to buy your own machine just yet? Renting a longarm quilting machine at your local quilt shop might be the perfect solution.

  1. Cost and Scheduling: Rental fees are typically charged by the hour, ranging from $20 to $30. Be sure to book your time slot in advance, as these machines can be in high demand.
  2. Training and Support: Most shops offer a brief training session to get you acquainted with the machine. Take advantage of this if it is not already required before booking a rental time slot! The staff is usually very helpful and can answer any questions you might have. And make sure that you book training for the specific type of longarm quilting you plan to do - free motion quilting vs computerized quilting.
  3. Bringing Supplies: Don’t forget to bring your quilt top, batting, and backing fabric. Some shops might have supplies available for purchase if you forget anything.
  4. Practice Beforehand: If possible, practice your quilting design on a smaller piece before heading to the shop. This can help you make the most of your rental time.

Final Thoughts

Open Road Quilt quilted by Hen House Quilting


Whether you choose to hire a professional or take on the challenge yourself, longarm quilting opens up a world of creative possibilities. It adds a magical finishing touch to your quilts, making them truly special.

So, what are your thoughts on longarm quilting? Have you tried it or are you considering it?

Happy Quilting!

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