Unless you plan to sew by hand, you need a sewing machine. Sewing machines meant for quilting projects need not be top-end machines that sew loads of unusual stitches because most of the time you will be using the good old straight stitch. The quilting standards is 1/4 inch seam allowance and if you have a machine that allows you to easily sew that it should serve your purpose. Some machines have a pressure foot but it is a big advantage if you can get one that works with a walking foot or free motion quilting foot.
Besides seam allowance the other feature that you need to look in a sewing machine is speed regulation. You need one that allows you to sew at a pace that is best for different stages of quilting. There will be times when you need it to sew at a fast speed and times when you need slower speeds when super precision is an issue such as when sewing small-size quilt blocks and appliques.
A sewing machine that comes with an extension table allowing expandable sewing surface is a big plus because as you keep sewing blocks you will require a larger sewing surface for easing sewing. Moreover, since you will be working with a vast variety of fabrics, sometimes even is a single quilting project you need a machine that has reliable and easy to use tension settings. This makes it easy for a quilter to switch between sewing tasks; from sewing blocks to patch work to other types of tasks.
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