Long-arm quilting is the process by which a long-arm sewing machine is used to sew together a quilt top, quilt batting, and quilt backing into a finished quilt. With a long-arm, the fabric stays stationary and the machine moves.
The history of the long-arm quilting machine is surprisingly long. When the sewing machine was first introduced, the idea of creatinga "quilting machine" emerged. The first machine was introduced in 1871.
The very first machine was simple, and consisted of only a quilting frame with two bars and a machine. Users would move the quilt and the quilting frames under the machine to quilt straight lines.
The initial design of the "quilting machine" was modified by 1877, and was similar to the long-arm quilting machines we see today.
Before we had electricity, users would have to use a hand crank to move the machine over fabric and rails.