Stitching Success: The Journey to Q Series

Good Morning!  My name is Jessica Dayon and today I’d like to share with you why I chose the Q 24 with Q-matic for my longarm sewing machine.

BERNINA has a large variety of longarm sewing machines. Truly, they have a long arm for every person and interest.  The process of shopping for a long arm can be overwhelming, particularly if you want one but have never used one.

That was me when I was shopping for a longarm. I had never even tried one out but I knew I wanted one and that I’d use it all the time.  Today I want to share the story of why I chose a BERNINA Q 24 with Q-matic.

My Quilting Story

I started quilt-making in 2017. I had no idea how to quilt and didn’t know anyone who did. One day I got a crazy idea to make a table runner to be used at birthday celebrations for my children. I have 4 kids and at the time, they were 6 years, 4 years, 2 years, and newborn. Needless to say, I didn’t have very much spare time to be making anything! I worked on little bits of that runner over a few days and as time passed, it got set aside. Then, one day, I saw a picture of a broken dishes quilt and I instantly knew I needed to try it.  I ordered fabric and worked hard on that quilt. After a few weeks, I finished it and I fell in love with quilting.

I learned a ton while making that quilt top. At the end of it, I didn’t feel quite ready to quilt it myself so I looked up longarm quilters (I didn’t know what that meant but I heard the term somewhere and was curious). I looked into longarm quilting and I found a longarm quilter that would take quilts by mail and I sent that quilt to be quilted.

After that quilt, I was hooked on quilting and very quickly made more quilts and even started writing quilt patterns.  I sent all of my quilt tops to be quilted for the next year or two. Then, I felt courageous enough to start quilting them myself on my domestic machine. I really liked the look of free motion quilting so I practiced and practiced. All the while, from the very beginning of sending my first quilt out up to this point, I really wanted my own long arm to finish my quilts on but it was not possible- financially or practically at that time.

I kept making quilts and quilting them myself. Then, in 2023, I was able to get a long arm! I had been researching them for ages in hopes of someday being able to get one. In the end, I chose the BERNINA Q 24 with Q-matic. It is difficult to choose, so how did I make my choice? I’ll walk you through it!

First I’d like to give you some information on the BERNINA long arms so that you know the information that you have to consider before making a purchase.

Table or Frame

BERNINA has Q Series sit down and Q series on Frame. The first step in determining what longarm sewing machine is for you is to decide if you want a Sit-Down or Frame. For the sit-down, the long arm sewing machine head in stationery and is set into a foldable table.  When you sew on this long arm, you move the quilt, not the long arm head. For the frame, the long arm is set up on a frame, the quilt remains stationary and the long arm sewing machine is the part that is moved to sew.

Q Series Sit-Down Machines

The Q series sit-down machines are the Q 16, Q 16 PLUS, and Q 20. These machines can be used with a foldable, adjustable height table.

  • The Q 16 and Q 16 PLUS have 16″ of throat space.
  • The Q 20 has 20″ of throat space.

Since a quilt is not being limited by a frame size in the sit-down machines, there is no size limit to the quilt that can be quilted on a sit-down machine.

BERNINA Q 20 on a folding table
BERNINA Q 20 on a folding table

Q Series Frame Machines & Frame Sizes

The Q series frame machines are the Q 16 PLUS, Q 20, and Q 24.

  • The Q 16 PLUS has 16″ of throat space and can be put on a 5 foot frame or a 10 foot frame Studio Frame.
  • The Q 20 has 20″ of throat space and can be put on the Studio Frame or the PRO Frame, which comes in 3 sizes.
  • The Q 24 has 24″ of throat space and can be put on any of the 3 PRO Frame sizes.

Throat space indicates the workable space on a quilt top that you can work at one time. For example, if you have 20″ of throat space, you can quilt 20″ in length of your quilt by the width of your quilt at a time without advancing the quilt.  Once, you have quilted that 20″ you will need to advance the quilt to quilt more of the length. Therefore, bigger throat space means can quilt more space in each interval and need less advancing to complete a quilt.

BERNINA Q 16 PLUS on a 5 foot Studio Frame
BERNINA Q 16 PLUS on a 5 foot Studio Frame

The PRO Frame sizes are as follows:

  • Small PRO measures 8’10” x 3’11”. Maximum quilt width that can be quilted on this frame is 71″.
  • Classic PRO measures 11’11” x 3’11”. Maximum quilt width that can be quilted on this frame is 108″.
  • Large PRO measures 12’11” x 3’11”. Maximum quilt width that can be quilted on this frame is 120″.

Any length quilt can be quilted on any frame. However, the width of the quilt that can be quilted is determined by the width of the frame. The maximum quilt widths per frame are above.

BERNINA Q 24 on a Large PRO Frame
BERNINA Q 24 on a Large PRO Frame


BERNINA Q-matic is the system that allows for automated quilting. It can be used with the Q 16 PRO, Q 20, and Q 24 on frames. You can stitch out edge-to-edge designs or custom patterns. Q-matic comes with a library of more than 650 designs to choose from. If you want to use both automated and free hand quilting in the same quilt, you can easily do that too. BERNINA’s quilt design and digitizing software, Art & Stitch, is included as well.

BERNINA Q 24 on a frame with the Q-matic system set up on the right of the frame
BERNINA Q 24 on a frame with the Q-matic system set up on the right of the frame

Making My Decision

After reading all about longarm machines, I decided that I wanted to purchase a long arm that I could grow into over the years. I wanted a machine that had the capacity to do every type of quilting that I might want to do as I grew as a quilter.

I knew I wanted to have Q-matic. I am a quick quilt maker and I like really love piecing quilts. With Q-matic, I knew I’d be able to set my quilt up on the frame and set the Q-matic software up so that my quilt could be quilted while I started piecing my next quilt.

Once I knew I wanted Q-matic, I narrowed the machines I was looking at down to the Q 16 PLUS, Q 20, and Q 24.

To make my decision from there, I looked at the frame sizes. I measured my space and found that I could fit all three sizes of the PRO frame.  I looked at the maximum quilt width that could be quilted on each frame and made my decision based on that. I LOVE making large quilts. Since I could fit the large PRO frame, I chose that one. I knew I wanted to be able to quilt king-size quilts and with the large PRO frame, I could do just that and every size smaller as well.

I ended up, then, choosing the Q24 longarm sewing machine to go on the large PRO frame. I knew with this machine, I would be able to grow infinitely as a quilter and I wouldn’t outgrow this machine.

Jessica Dayon with her BERNINA Q 24
Jessica Dayon with her BERNINA Q 24

Making Your Decision

If you are considering purchasing a longarm sewing machine, I would HIGHLY recommend them! The Q series machines are of the utmost quality and design. They are made to last.

BERNINA has a digital longarm advisor to help you choose the right long arm from you. You can find it HERE on the BERNINA website. You can also read all of the details about the different models, frames, and accessories in this Longarm Quilting PDF from BERNINA. If you’d like to test out a long arm before purchasing, head to your local BERNINA dealer and test it out! The dealers are a wealth of knowledge and will help you make the best choice for you.

Thanks for following along with me today! If you have any questions, just let me know!

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One comment on “Stitching Success: The Journey to Q Series”

  • Hi Jessica, I am considering the purchase of a long arm and am just wondering what the learning curve was like transitioning from a domestic machine to a long arm? Thanks for any tips you may have.

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