Tools of the Trade

Under the Arm

There’s a hidden dimension in long arm measurements. It’s the height! Lots of people talk about how long the arm of a sewing machine is. But the height is just as important!  Long arm machines usually list the length AND the height of the machine arm. You can see this in the line up of these Gammill long arm machines below.


Long arm machines are listed by length and height
  • 30 inches long by 12 inches tall
  • 26 inches long by 10 inches tall
  • 22 inches long by 10 inches tall
  • 18 inches long by 8 inches tall

Long arm sewing machines are proportional: as the length increases so does the height.




The NEW JUKI TL2200QVP long arm is 2 inches taller then the Gammill of the same length above. This extra height is a JUKI feature which creates the optimal quilting space. 

JUKI QVP 2200 18″ X 10″ long arm

The red arrows in the photo above give a true measure of the space under the arm of the JUKI2200 QVP long-arm. The photo below shows how the JUKI TLQVP Mini and the JUKI QVP2200 long arm share the same shape under the arm. Although the TL QVP Mini straight stitch sewing machine is certainly smaller than the lon-arm it shares the same proportions: it is longer and taller than any other home sewing machine.


Machine Quilters don’t need the height of the quilting machine to be high enough to drive a car through. But we do need to fit a fabric bar under the arm. As you move through your quilt, this fabric bar gets bigger and bigger. The taller arm allows for this.

JUKI TL98P 2 inches longer and taller than most domestic sewing machines

Before you buy a sewing machine for quilting look at the height.The JUKI TL98P lockstitch machine above is 2 inches taller than most domestic sewing machines, so is the new JUKITLQVP Mini in the photo below. The extra 2 inches allows plenty of space for the fabric to roll on the bar under the arm of the sewing machine as Kate works her way through the quilt. No matter how long the arm of the machine is, if they didn’t make it taller,  you will still struggle to fit your quilt under the arm.  Taller machines will fit more of your quilt easily under the arm whatever quilting method you use.

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