While visiting Sunshine Sewing and Quilting in Margate, Florida, I discovered that this exclusive Janome dealer was now carrying sit down quilting tables for home use.

As it turned out, the folks at Janome have partnered with Canada based Artistic Quilter Company and Janome dealers are now authorized to sell and service the Artistic line of home quilting machines.

This is great news for any home machine quilting enthusiast who is familiar with and loyal to the Janome brand. During my visit, I had an opportunity to get a close look at and review the table mounted Artistic Quilter SD 18, the first machine of its type to be offered for sale at Sunshine.

At A Glance

Artistic Quilter SD 18

Artistic Quilter SD 18

The Artistic SD Quilter SD is mounted on a table that has a drop leaf which allows the user to extend it while working on larger projects such as comforters for a king size bed, and keep it in the down position while working on smaller projects, allowing for more space in the sewing room.

Mounted on a table

Mounted on a table

With the leaf in the down position, the table is 47 inches wide and 30 inches deep. When the leaf is opened, the table depth of the table extends an additional 24 inches, giving you a total of 54 inches of workspace.

The arm is 18 inches long, large enough for very large quilting tasks, yet not so large that it monopolizes an entire room. The Artistic Quilter SD can be programmed so that the needle stops in either the up or down position.

There is also a goose neck lamp attached to the table, which guarantees that there will always be enough light to work on the Artistic Quilter SD at any time of day.

It also uses an M size bobbin, which allows you to sew for longer periods of time before having to stop for bobbin changes, and holds up to four large thread cones.

A goose neck lamp attached to the table

A goose neck lamp attached to the table

This feature really comes in handy when you are pressed for time and want to change thread colors in as little time as possible.

An added time saving advantage is the separate bobbin winder which allows you to wind lots of extra bobbins while you are sewing.

Features

  • 18” throat
  • Programmable needle up/down
  • Soft touch control buttons
  • On board separate bobbin winder
  • Uses M size bobbins
  • On board gooseneck lamp
  • Variable speed control
  • Self-contained oil reserve
  • Space saving drop leaf

Working on the Artistic Quilter SD 18

Setting up the Artistic Quilter SD 18, threading it and winding the bobbin are not nearly as daunting as one might first suspect when looking at it.

There are no on board threading guides that one might find on many home sewing machines, but if you are at all familiar with the sewing machine threading process you can figure it out.

No on board threading guides

No on board threading guides

The good news is the threading instructions are in the owner’s manual, so there is no need for guesswork as to how to thread the Artistic Quilter SD 18 or how to wind and insert the bobbin.

I do not claim to be a quilter, but know enough about the process to be able to affirm that working on the Artistic Quilter SD 18 is as easy as sitting down and with each hand positioned about six inches on each side of the needle, and simply guiding the fabric in any direction you like while engaging the presser foot.

It is not what I would call quiet, but neither is it disturbingly noisy. Listening to music, a movie or a television program while working on the Artistic Quilter SD is a definite possibility without having to turn the volume up to levels that are uncomfortable when the machine is not in operation.

The stitches are even and well defined. The table is solid and does not vibrate at all while you are creating your quilt designs.

Even and well defined stitches

Even and well defined stitches

Adjusting the stitch length or programming the needle to stop in the up or down position are very easily accomplished with just the touch of a finger and raising or lowering the drop leaf is no more complicated than performing the same tasks on a portable cutting table.

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Denim
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Reptile skin
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

Standard accessories

  • Oil dispenser
  • Screwdrivers
  • Bobbins
  • Needles
  • Owner’s manual

Optional accessories

  • Water soluble thread
  • Hardware/software/programming [purchase these packages to give your quilting projects that professional look and feel]
    • Robot with stitch regulator
    • Quilter’s creative touch for quiltmotion
  • Free downloadable patterns [use these as guides for your freehand quilting projects]
    • Day Lily
    • Flowers
    • Swirls
    • Sewing machine

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean race hook and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Tying Off The Loose Ends

Although I am not a machine quilting enthusiast, I have performed machine quilting tasks from time to time and can certainly appreciate the craft of quilting – by hand as well as by machine.

The Artistic Quilter SD 18 is a machine that a person like me could appreciate. Rather than standing for hours at an oversized frame, quilting enthusiasts can sit down and create quilts without experiencing hip, leg and joint fatigue.

The drop leaf is an ingenious idea. With this feature, space is not a concern, especially for those who are working in areas with limited room to spread out. When the leaf is in the down position, the Artistic Quilter SD takes up just a little more space than an average sized sewing machine table.

If you have never before used a sewing machine, I do not recommend starting with a quilter such as this. While starting out on a quilter is not impossible, I believe having a familiarity with basic sewing machines and how they operate is helpful in understanding and operating a machine such as this.

Once the basics of sewing machine operation have been mastered, operating the Artistic Quilter SD and other machines of this type will be much easier to comprehend.

If, like me, you are familiar with, but not by any stretch of the imagination an expert at machine quilting, you can start out with the basic Artistic Quilter SD 18, like the one I reviewed.

This is not a machine for children. I do not believe any child younger than 12 or 13 should be allowed to even attempt to work on the Artistic Quilter SD 18. It is, however, a good first honest to goodness home quilting machine for anyone 13 years of age or older.

One thing I like about this machine is that it can be upgraded. As your skills improve, you can add one or more of the optional features and accessories which have been designed to enhance the quality and appearance of your finished projects.

Removing the bobbin is a little bit of a challenge

Removing the bobbin is a little bit of a challenge

I certainly encourage you to investigate some of the downloadable patterns. With these in place, you can create interesting designs and enhance your work right from the start.

They appear to be very easy to follow, and by operating the Artistic Quilter SD 18 at the slower speeds, even a novice machine quilter like me should have no problem whatsoever in executing perfect designs on the first try.

Unlike the many combination sewing and quilting machines on the market, the Artistic Quilter SD 18 is dedicated to quilting only. Therefore, it is necessary to also have a sewing machine available to finish the binding and other non-quilting tasks you may want to perform on any quilting project that you create on it.

This is yet one more reason why the space-saving drop leaf is such a great idea. If you really want to, you could actually use that leaf to support your sewing machine or serger, making even more efficient use of the space in your sewing room.

You could conceivably have a sewing corner in your home with a sewing machine and a serger set up on the same table as the Artistic Quilter. With this set up, all you need to do when you want to change machines is simply move from one side of the table to another.

There aren’t too many other machines that come with this kind of flexibility… and I’m willing to hazard a guess that it probably wasn’t even an intention of the manufacturers when they created this table design.

I like the Artistic Quilter SD 18 for its overall ease of operation. Its design, however, seems to make inserting and removing the bobbin a little bit of a challenge, but not one that is so daunting that you would be put off by it.

In order to reach the bobbin, it is necessary to use a screwdriver to completely remove the needle plate. This is also necessary when it comes to cleaning the bobbin housing and feed dogs.

After a few attempts, however, I doubt this will be a challenge, but it is something anyone interested in purchasing this machine should be aware of before making a decision to take it home.

This is, however, the only drawback I see to having and working on the Artistic Quilter SD 18. All in all, I think this is an excellent machine.

It not only has the reputation and background of the Artistic Quilting Company backing it up, it also has the backing of the Janome brand … one of the world’s most trusted names in sewing.

If you are interested in adding a dedicated quilting machine to your sewing room, but are concerned about space and the physical stress of standing at a full size quilting frame, visit your local Janome dealer and ask to for a demonstration of the Artistic Quilter SD 18.

Janome Artistic Quilter SD 18 Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
Beginner
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
Performance
Stitch quality
Speed
Ease of use
Maintenance
Pros
  • Sit down large quilting machine for home use
Cons
  • Bobbin housing difficult to access for cleaning
4.6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (5 Votes)

19 Responses

  1. Ann

    It is miserable trying to get the bobbin in and out.there has to be a better way !
    Also I need some more bobbins. Where can I order some ? My dealer hasn’t,t been able to get some in. Can I order them direct

    Reply
  2. Tammey

    all of a sudden I am having trouble with skipped stitches when I go front to back when quilting, I have oiled, replaced needles, re-threaded…what am I missing???

    Reply
    • Vernelle

      Hello, Tammey –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing INsight.

      Have you tried adjusting the tension? Sometimes this problem is easily rectified with a very slight turn of the dial.

      Reply
  3. Kate

    I am having trouble with the tension on the underside of the quilts. I have it in for repair and for about 2 minutes it worked. I would like to get a new bobbin case this machine is only 3+ years old and has bee giving me trouble for about 6 months. HELP!

    Reply
  4. Holly

    My mom managed to purchase an Artistic Quilter SD short arm quilting machine which she is really not capable of using. She is elderly and has been quilting for many years but really doesn’t understand all this new technology. This machine has been sitting in her home for several years and sadly we need to sell it. Do you have any suggestions on how I can sell it? I found the receipts for it but the shop where she bought it was not interesting in helping me to find a buyer or in buying it back from me although beyond doing a couple of practice pieces she has never produced anything from this machine. Any suggestions on how I can at least get some of her money back on this?

    Reply
      • Kelsey

        Hi Karen,
        I am selling my machine. I am located in Texas. It has everything still with the machine including the owners manual, etc.

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Holly.

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      Have you contacted dealers that specialize in selling used/refurbished sewing machines? This might be your best option.

      Reply
    • Carol Zoz

      Holley, hi I was wondering if you still have this quilting machine. I was thinking about purchasing one and just happened to come across your post. My e-mail is
      cszoz@fuse.net. My name is Carol. Is this quilting machine the Janome 18 SD? also I live in Cincinnati.
      Thanks.

      Reply
    • Judy Holt

      I may be interested in this machine. Is it still available?

      Reply
  5. Ann Bowman

    I have only had my machine for a month and would like to know if there are any helpful hints on using rulers, perhaps video tutorials. I have used one ruler but it doesnt fit too comfortably on the backside of the foot. Are there other feet available for couching etc. I have been searching on the Int. but cannot seem to find help on matters concerning this machine. There is nothing on the Janome web page.

    Reply
    • Vernelle

      Hello, Ann –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing INsight.

      You may want to check with your local Janome dealer or quilt shop to get accurate information about which rulers work best with your Artistic Quilter.

      Reply
  6. Jackie

    I have purchased this machine a few months ago. I have been trying to get tutorials of this machine, with no luck! I find the owner’s Manuel is not much…not enough explanation….ex: no explanations on how to wind the bobbin, about tension dial, how often to oil machine, trouble shooting etc….very very little information on the machine…wish they would make tutorials to help owners…..I noticed also that the foot pedal is noisy & somewhat hard to press…
    Overall I love my machine, but wish they would give us more info & tutorials…
    I have 3 other janome’s sewing machines and they all have great Manuels…somewhat disappointed with the sd18…

    Reply
  7. Delores

    I can’t get the bobbin winder to stop when it’s full. Is there something I’m missing? I checked the manual for the machine. Janome Artistic SD with no help. Any suggestions anyone?

    Reply

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