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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 9, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Brother DZ820E is an embroidery-only machine (it does not function as a regular sewing machine) designed for the home embroiderer. I confirmed with Brother that this is indeed the PE770 with an updated exterior trim, an included starter kit that contains everything you need to begin embroidering the minute you open the box and 2 additional hoops. Otherwise, it's exactly the same fine machine.

It features a monochrome, LCD touch screen, a USB port and a Brother Embroidery Card slot, an automatic needle threader, a really bright LED light, a low bobbin thread indicator and on-screen help and tutorials. There are 136 built-in designs that include 6 alphabets with special characters. The USB port allows you to embroider unlimited designs you can buy or find free on the internet.

Brother has included an excellent users manual and a separate manual for using the USB port to transfer your designs to your machine. There's also a quick reference guide which covers threading, basic set up of the machine and color illustrations of all the built-in designs, fonts and frames. It includes the size and thread color charts for each design and a thread color conversion chart for different brands of embroidery thread.

The accessories that come with both the PE770 and the DZ820E are a seam ripper, 5 bobbins, three needles, a lint cleaning brush, 2 screw drivers, 2 spool caps, a spool net, scissors, an accessory bag, dust cover and one 5" x 7" embroidery hoop.

The extras that come ONLY with the DZ820E include a cd with 200 additional embroidery designs, a set of 6 different colors of Brother brand 40 wt. polyester embroidery thread, a spool of bobbin thread, a package of 10 reusable, pre-wound bobbins, a package of 10 SA156 empty Brother bobbins, curved-blade thread snips, and 12 sheets of tear-away stabilizer - as well as the 4" x 4" and the 2.5" x 1" embroidery hoops. (You can also use standard Class 15 bobbins and standard sewing machine needles.)

These extras are well worth the approximately $100 difference in price between the PE770 and the DZ820E if you are new to machine embroidery and don't have any supplies or accessories. The extra hoops alone cost $25+ each! If you are upgrading from say a Brother SE400, you probably have thread and bobbins and stabilizer so the PE770 might be a better choice since it is the same machine, but the 4" x 4" hoop from the SE400 will not fit this machine so you will still need to buy the smaller hoops if you plan to embroider pockets and infant wear.

BTW, the smaller hoops are essential for embroidering on most infant clothing and for monogramming shirt pockets, cuffs and lapels. You can turn a plain, inexpensive shirt, infant onesie or baby blanket into a favorite, treasured garment by personalizing with a name or monogram! I probably monogram more than anything else because everyone is delighted with a personalized gift. Personalized top sheets and pillowcases or a towel set make a fantastic wedding or house warming gift. Children adore a personalized blanket or book bag. You can spend less money on gifts and increase the wow factor this way.

If you are experienced with machine embroidery, you will find this machine a pleasure to use. It's easy to thread and stitches beautifully. The biggest difference between this machine and a high end machine that costs thousands of dollars is the LCD screen. This screen is rather low resolution, as well as being monochrome and fairly small, so you really need to view and make major edits to designs on your computer screen rather than on the LCD screen before you transfer the designs to your thumb drive to load on your machine. You really can't see any detail on this LCD screen. But the stitch quality is every bit as good with this machine!

If you are brand new to machine embroidery, Brother has made it easy to get started right away. They've included quality designs, alphabets and frames, plus everything you need to embroider right out of the box. If you've never done machine embroidery, take some time to quickly read through the manual so you can avoid some of the more common difficulties. The main problems new embroiderers face, in my experience, are improper threading, thread delivery issues and poor hooping.

My advice to new embroiderers is to thread and re-thread the machine a few times, use a thread net on your upper spool of thread and then watch some of the many YouTube videos about how to properly hoop an item for embroidery. Choose a scrap piece of smooth, tightly woven, cotton fabric for a test monogram or design. You can embroider on all sorts of fabrics - even knits - but they are more challenging to hoop. Getting some experience with hooping woven cotton fabric will help you.

As you embroider more, keep your user manual close because it has the answer to all sorts of issues you'll confront. Like what to do when your thread breaks in the middle of stitching a design, for example. Seriously, it's an excellent manual and can help you troubleshoot almost any problem you may have.

My only complaint about this machine is the horizontal thread spool pin. It only accommodates regular size spools of thread, like the ones included. Most people who embroider a lot like to use King and mini-King cones of thread, which will not fit or feed properly on this thread spool. The answer is a separate thread stand like one of these. They work well and allow you much more flexibility in thread choices. Single Cone Thread Stand With Metal Base Shoppers Rule The 10 Spool Thread Stand-Grey A thread stand and a spool net will eliminate almost every thread delivery problem (knotting and thread breakage) you can have.

UPDATE: I discovered that, in fact, this machine will accommodate mini-King thread spools. It didn't look like it would but they fit and feed perfectly provided you use a thread net. This is excellent because embroiderers often use mini-King spools. You will still need a separate thread stand for King spools and I always use a thread stand for metallic threads because they are notorious for knotting and a thread stand eliminates most of those problems.

Additional purchases you will probably want to make are some different stabilizers (maybe some soft knit stabilizers for embroidering knits), a selection of different colored embroidery threads, some water soluble stabilizer for embroidering towels, velvets or other items with a nap and a thread stand. You will absolutely want to purchase a USB thumb drive for transferring embroidery designs to your machine if you don't already have one.

HINT: When buying a new brand of embroidery thread, just buy one spool of thread to begin with because embroidery machines, Brother in particular, can be very fussy about thread quality. If you get a brand your machine doesn't "like", you will end up with knots and thread breaks and skipped stitches. I wouldn't have believed it could make such a difference until I experienced it myself, but all thread is not equal. Once you find brands that work well in your machine, stick to those and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches.

Included in the box are polyester threads, but you can also use rayon embroidery threads. Rayon threads are generally more vibrant in color and more lustrous, but the don't hold up as well to regular machine washing as polyester threads do. I use polyester threads for children's clothing and towels, bedding and other items that need to be washed frequently. I use rayon thread for items embroidering things like bags, scarves and clothing that will be dry cleaned.

Bobbin thread is finer and thinner and comes in black and white. Using it makes your embroidered area less thick, however you can use regular embroidery thread in your bobbin, too, and I do when the back side of the design or monogram will show as in towels and blankets.

You'll also likely purchase some of the thousands of embroidery designs and alphabets that are available for sale on the internet and maybe some of the Brother Embroidery Cards that are available. I own quite a few of the Brother cards from my 15 year old embroidery machine and I'm pleased to be able to use them on this machine. UPDATE: Apparently the Disney Brother embroidery cards will NOT work in this machine. I didn't own any of the Disney cards since my old machine was not a Disney designs authorized machine, but another customer tried her Disney cards in this machine and kindly informed me that they don't work. All of my non-Disney cards work perfectly, but be aware that the DZ820E will not read Brother Disney designs embroidery cards.

You may also become interested in learning to digitize your own embroidery designs one day! I enjoy digitizing my childrens' drawings and stitching them out on their T-shirts. You will need to purchase digitizing software as none comes with this machine. There are many different digitizing programs available and they range greatly in price and functionality. My advice is to join a machine embroidery forum on the internet and get some recommendations for which program would suit your needs the best.

Machine embroidery is loads of fun and this mid range machine is splendid. It's the best 5" x 7" embroidery area machine available for the money, IMO, and I can recommend it without hesitation.
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VINE VOICEon October 23, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been doing basic machine sewing and hand-embroidery for years, but this is my first time trying an embroidery machine. So, this review is from a beginner's perspective, without any previous machines for comparison.

The good news is, for beginners, this may look intimidating when you pull it out of the box but is relatively easy to set up! If you've never used a horizontally-set upper thread spool, that may be a small learning curve; it's awkward at first but not complicated. Because the awesome little bonus-pack included some pre-wound bobbins, I skipped over the bobbin winding instructions for now. I did not know that machine embroidery requires a different type of bobbin thread! It includes a larger spool of white bobbin thread to get you started, even without the pre-wound ones. Threading the bobbin is a piece of cake, just like my regular Brother it's a quick drop-in - just make sure the thread is going the right direction (there are diagrams on the machine, don't worry!). The Quick Reference Guide for Upper Threading is pretty confusing though, because it begins step 1 with connecting the carriage, turning it on, opening the cover, etc. So, by the time you get to actually threading the machine, the book is #10 while the corresponding numbers on the machine start with #1. Not insurmountable, but a little confusing. It has a few more steps than threading a regular sewing machine, but it's not very different.
- - - -
EDITED FROM ORIGINAL REVIEW: It took me quite a while to figure out the automatic threader, I broke a lot of threads and a couple of nails trying to get it to work. After about 30 little projects (with multiple colors of thread in each), I think I've got it! You have to make sure the thread has securely gone through the little "snap" next to the needle to hold it in place, thread it around the side (there's a diagram) and hold it LOOSELY as you pull the lever. I don't have good luck with the little thread cutter on the side, that seems to hold it too tightly for effective threading. It needs enough slack to push the thread through the needle eye, then you can manually pull it the rest of the way through. For some reason it seems to work better for me with the presser foot in the UP position - don't know why because this doesn't affect needle position, but it works for me. Now back to your regularly scheduled review!
- - - -
Assembling the stabilizer & fabric into a hoop is easy and the instructions are clear. Please note that the bonus set includes extra hoops, but has stabilizer sheets for the 1x2.5 and 4x4 hoop ONLY, it does not include stabilizer for the 5x7 hoop, so you'll want to pick some up (cut sheets or a roll) before testing that hoop out. The hoops fasten securely to the carriage, though they require a little maneuvering to get them under the presser foot. Once you've got your fabric & hoop set up, your needle & bobbin threaded, the little LED screen takes over! It's very easy to navigate, pretty much walks you through the process - I had no idea you could customize the design position and size so much! It has an option to check on what colors are needed before you start, and shows you which parts of the design are used for each color. Maybe this is normal for embroidery machines but I liked it! I'm a little rebel when it comes to color charts, so I like to know which parts I can swap for a different shade. The pixelated designs are nearly impossible to see on the tiny screen, so you'll want to use the included book for reference. Choose a design and hit go! Watch the design magically appear!

Trouble-shooting: the screen actually tells you what is wrong, for the most part, which is REALLY nice. I often don't realize that my presser foot is in the wrong position but it tells me what to do before moving the carriage. I had one project where I broke a needle (my fault - totally inappropriate fabric choice) and it stopped immediately and beeped for help. I was able to change the needle and rethread it, hit the button and it was off and running again, mid-design. I also had some thread jam up and break (same fabric, haha) and same thing: it stopped work and let me fix it before continuing. It wound up missing a few stitches on the final design, but it actually didn't look bad and I was very impressed! One thing it did NOT tell me was when I had the machine too close to the wall, rookie mistake! It continued working away, just overlapping the stitch area where it had wanted to move the hoop around but bumped into the wall instead. So, learn from me and scoot that guy away from the wall! I also screwed up and layered my fabric under the hoop once; thankfully just a scrap for testing. It chowed right through it like a champ. Bad news for that fabric, but good news for thicker projects!

It comes with over 100 pre-installed small embroidery motifs, including several alphabet styles. Most of them are pretty basic, granny-looking stuff - lottttts of flowers. The *bonus* pack with this machine includes a CD-ROM of even more designs, but mostly the same kind of thing: cute, but I don't want to make anything with them. I wanted to try anyway to see how transferring designs via the USB port would work, and after a little confusion, it worked great! I don't know if it's because I'm on a Mac, but I can't see any of the designs or even the PDF on my computer screen. Fortunately, the PDF printed fine and included thumbnails of every design on the CD, with a corresponding number so they're easy to look up. Click and drag the ones you want onto your USB stick, move it over to the embroidery machine, follow the instructions (super easy, mostly on-screen), and off you go! I also tried downloading a few designs off the internet to see if that would work. It can read either .DFT or .PES files, though .PES files give you a little pixel-preview on the LED screen and .DFT just shows you a file name. I still can't see a preview of any designs on my laptop after downloading, but the click-and-drag method works with the USB regardless! Works so well, in fact, that I downloaded many many new designs on my first night and have already used several! Renaming the files doesn't affect their functionality, so I renamed them all to file them by description.

The bonus pack also includes 6 spools of basic colors: black, white, red, green, black, and yellow. You'll need a lot more for most designs but this will get you started! Other than the threader issue, the included thread worked perfectly and smoothly. I also had a few other brands of embroidery thread on hand from a recent shopping spree (I had no embroidery machine at the time but they were pretty! don't judge!) and they worked perfectly too! The only breakage was due to a weird fabric I decided to play with (extremely tight weave); the thread was not at fault and neither was the machine. The machine itself comes with one hoop, one spool of bobbin thread, and all the other little necessities that every machine includes for operation (1 bobbin, little brush, mini screwdriver, etc). The bonus pack includes 2 more hoops, 2 sizes of stabilizer, the 6-pack of thread, a package of pre-wound bobbins AND a bag of empty bobbins, a pack of needles, the CD-ROM of extra designs, and a little curved snipper that REALLY helps you get up close to the design to snip off any stray threads! LOVE those snippers! Oh, and more good news: it uses regular standard needles and the same basic bobbins that all my other Brother machines have used, so no extra expense on that front!

Maybe I'm simply dazzled because I've never had an embroidery machine before, but the things this toy can do are absolutely amazing to me! I'm very impressed at how easy it was for a beginner to get started - I went from opening the box to making little red & green cherries on cotton in less than 45 minutes. It has done everything I asked it to do, from downloading designs to integrating metallic thread. I made a few silly rookie mistakes but they were easy to fix and the machine helped me along. I have the sense that I've barely scratched the surface of the incredible things this machine will do, and the fact that getting started was so easy makes me excited to learn more. I almost deducted 1 star for the automatic-threader problem, but I'm very glad I didn't because that turned out to be user error too! I LOVE IT. It is my new boyfriend and we are going to live happily ever after together!
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VINE VOICEon October 24, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As far as I can tell by browsing here on Amazon, this machine itself is exactly the same as the Brother PE-770 except with a different color and a lot more accessories and supplies included with it. The price is a hundred bucks higher, which may be some consideration if you are trying to get a second embroidery machine cheap and already own all the supplies you will be needing. But if you are a person, say a guy who does not know the first thing about embroidery machines, who is looking to buy as a gift a first embroidery machine for some special person who does not yet have one but you think would enjoy one, then this package here is just what you need... and actually a great bargain. Except for cloth, I believe it contains every single item needed to get started actually embroidering, without waiting for craft or sewing stores to re-open after Christmas.

Included with the machine is a small accessory bag that is probably also included with the PE-770. This has a small pair of scissors, 3 bobbins for the under-thread, a seam ripper, a few spare needles, etc. And then there is a large embroidery hoop or frame that also would come with the PE-770. But with this package you also get medium and small hoops, along with their alignment templates. Then there is six 600 yard spools of different colored embroidery thread, and a 1000 meter spool of under-thread, plus 10 bobbins pre-loaded with under thread, plus 10 more empty bobbins, plus a pair of very pointy snippers for precisely trimming unwanted threads off your workpieces, plus another full pack of spare needles, plus 2 types of some backing or stabilizer sheets that you use to back up the fabric sometimes, I guess. There is also a CD that contains 200 embroidery designs, which is in addition to the ones built into the machine itself. We thought many of the designs on the CD were quite lame, but there are many good ones too. As the two extra hoops alone are worth $50 or more, and the guidance in selecting supplies could be considered priceless for some of us, this package is a great deal.

The strong points of this machine itself, as I see them, are:

It is easy to use. My wife and I have just a little experience with an old Brother PE-150 machine that we bought used last month, but we easily got this thing up and going in an hour or so, including transferring a design off the CD by USB drive.

It has a nice sized work area, 5 by 7 inches. This is well over double the square inches of 4 by 4 machines like our old one.

It has both the slot for the relatively oddball Brother memory cards, AND the much more useful USB drive port. Many people probably have design collections on the old cards, or maybe they could be picked up cheap at garage sales, but the going price on fleaBay is about $50 each for EMPTY cards. USB is the way to go for sure, for most purposes. There are tons of designs available for purchase individually out there on the internet, but tons being given away for free too. It is a tremendous advantage to be able to transfer designs freely without freak cards or costly "magic box" gizmos. Well maybe all the newer machines have the USB port now, I wouldn't know. A recent change in software allows the machine to locate design files stored in named folders on the USB drive, whereas just slightly older Brother machines apparently required the design files to be stored "right there" in the USB, without folders to organize them. This is certainly a huge improvement.

The machine seems quite sturdy.

As far as negatives go, we did have a little trouble at first with the automatic needle threader. When you work the lever, the gizmo slides down to a stopping point, then the parts rotate to thread the needle. The problem we were having was the downward motion was binding a bit, which fooled the mechanism into thinking it was time to rotate way before it really was. I put a bit of sewing machine oil on the 2 vertical shafts, as far up as I could using the tip of my pinky. Especially the left-hand shaft. Then I worked the threader lever through its full cycle, without any thread, about 50 times, starting slow and careful and finally working it fairly quick and snappy. This loosened things up a bit, and now it works perfect every time. It is sure a good feature to have, because my old eyes can't for the life of me see how the thread actually gets through the eye of the needle and I know it would be hell trying to thread it manually over and over for different color threads. I should mention the EXTREME IMPORTANCE of raising the needle to the top position, so that the line on the hand-wheel is dead on top, before attempting any needle-threading. Whatever stuffs or pulls the thread through that tiny eye must be pretty darn delicate... don't beat it against the part of the needle that has no hole!

Another minor negative, from a design standpoint, is that whereas our old PE-150 had the "hoop-mover" to the right of the needle, this new machine now has it to the left of the needle. Although the maximum left-to-right movement capacity of the old PE-150 is around 4.3 inches, there are reversible double-wide hoops available that allow you to embroider up to 8 inches wide in one hooping... by working inward 4 inches from each side. Being wide open to the left of the needle, the PE-150 could accept a hoop of any width. But now with the "hoop-mover" on the left, and the machine column blocking things on the right, this DZ820E cannot accept a hoop significantly wider than the biggest one that comes with it. Oh well, this won't affect most people much, it is just a theoretical "what could have been" thing.

Anyway, my wife is just crazy happy with this machine and how it works. She is a real expert seamstress, by the way, a professional actually with years of experience in repairs, alterations, and sewing up complete garments. But she never had an embroidery machine until last month, and now she has both her old good one and this new great one!
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VINE VOICEon November 5, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I will start by saying that I am a complete beginner when it comes to embroidery. I sew, but had never even attempted embroidery until I got this machine. I actually bought Brother PE500 4x4 Embroidery Machine With 70 Built-in Designs and 5 Fonts and was so intimidated that I gave it to my friend without ever even trying it. So, this shows up at my door and I immediately get it out and set up. It was extremely easy to set up and the instruction manual was super easy to follow. Threading the machine was even easy. You just pay close attention to the instructions on where the thread goes. The arrows guide you the entire way. The needle threader works flawlessly, just make sure you put your presser foot down before threading the needle. I speak from experience when I say it won't work unless you lower it. This machine doesn't like 40 Spools Polyester Embroidery Machine Thread. I tried several different colors and they kept getting knotted up and would eventually break. I was worried it was the machine, but switched back to the Brother thread included with the machine and it ran flawlessly, but that thread is hard to find, so I ended up buying Floriani thread from a local sewing shop after a friend recommended it and it has ran flawlessly with it.

This machine comes with every single thing you need to get started besides the fabric. I loved that because I didn't know if I'd prefer tear away stabilizer or cut away. Different people prefer different things. I learned that I prefer tear away because it's one less step I have to mess with, but it's really just my preference. It comes with quite a few prewound bobbins for the bottom thread and several extra bobbins as well. It also comes with some amazing little scissors. They are so sharp and the perfect angle for trimming applique designs after you stitch the basting stitch.

It has many preloaded designs, but most of those really aren't my style, so I was eager to use my flash drive to transfer designs. From what I read in the book, you can't have more than 200 designs on the flash drive you are plugging into the machine or else it won't read and you can only have PES files on it. So, I made sure the flash drive I used was empty then just added the designs I had ordered from a website. I could view them once I plugged the flash drive into the machine. It's grainy looking, but still easy to make out and tell which design you are choosing. I did several appliques as well as just plain embroidery designs. I'm still trying to master how to get everything perfectly centered and straight, but I'm sure I will get better with time. I've uploaded several pictures of what I've been working on since receiving this machine.

I highly recommend this machine to anyone looking at getting into embroidery. It's a great entry level machine, but still nice enough for people that have been doing this a long time. I'm just thrilled with the results. Don't be intimidated. If you can thread a sewing machine, you can do this. I did have a hard time finding information about this machine on the internet, so I just used tutorials I had found for the Brother PE770 5 inch x7 inch Embroidery-only machine with built-in memory, USB port, 6 lettering fonts and 136 built-in designs. From what I can tell, they are the same exact machine, this may just be a newer version. All of the tutorials I watched applied to this machine as well, so if you find yourself stuck, look that one up.

Since writing this review and doing a ton of research, I found a much less expensive embroidery software that works like a dream for me. It's called Sew What Pro and is highly recommended in the embroidery world. It can be downloaded straight from the internet with a simple search. They even offer a free 30 day trial which allows you to do 50+ designs just to make sure you like it before purchasing. I just couldn't see buying the Brother software for my little hobby. I hope this helps other hobbyist like myself, because I was so excited to find it. It works like a dream with this machine.
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on November 17, 2014
I own a Singer sew machine that is about 20+ years old. I’m that type of person who spends extra to get most things personalized and I’ve wanted an embroidery machine for years. Always saying to myself, I need one of those in my life. I have been shopping around and exploring my options for well over a year. I almost “financed” a Viking machine for over $3,000.
Then one day it hit me; I’m not running a business with my machine. I am a mother of three who’s now an empty nester and the proud owner of a Designio DZ820E from Brother. My Designio and I are going to have lots of sleepless night together..

This is my first embroidery machine and words cannot describe the fun I am having with her. Straight out the box and she was all ready for me to use her. The simplicity of the machine has empowered me to try so many things. Why just stick to the basics when this has a USB port and I have Internet? I have been downloading fonts and designs to really personalize my projects.
I chose the DZ820 because I was looking for a machine that I could easily import other designs and fonts into my projects. Another must have, was a large hoop to do large monograms and embroidered names on sheets, pillowcases or blankets and towels. The fonts that came with my machine were great for that. Then I went to the Brother website I found tons of fonts and designs free for download.

Checkout my pictures. She been living with me 10 days and I've created master pieces. All but one of those drawstring shoe bags are made from old clothes of mine that have been given a second life thanks to my Designio. ;-)

I give the Designio a 5 star because she deserves it!
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on November 26, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As the owner of an older (circa early 2000s) Baby Lock sewing/embroidery combo machine, I was curious to try the embroidery only machine. I think Baby Lock is a more expensive brand, but my machine was one of the lowest models and is over 10 years old, so I figured the Brother embroidery only would outpace it.

While the Brother is a nice home machine and was pretty intuitive to use for a modestly experienced machine embroiderer (I didn't need to consult the manual to thread the machine, hoop the fabric, fit the hoop, pick a font, adjust layout, resize, etc.--though I did have to try a few different things in resizing/repositioning--the icons aren't exactly intuitive, and I did have to fiddle around with the choices for the first several projects), I wasn't overwhelmed by the quality and am not sold on the idea of an embroidery-only machine for home use. These machines are space hogs, and while I have a ton of room (I live in an old high school building), I wouldn't be able to rationalize the space use in a normal home.

That said, if you *are* in the market for an embroidery-only machine, this one covers the basics and is easy to use. It won't produce any museum pieces, but it's just fine for standard embroidery, monograms, etc. I think the Amazon price (at this writing, about 40% off the rather steep-for-the-value list price) is reasonable. The embroidery quality is fine (could be a bit denser, and I'm not in love with the built-in fonts), and this machine is easy to use. The preview display is more or less useless--it's not high enough resolution to be able to tell which direction your monogram is facing--but you can run the outline preview and tell from that.

The included goodies kit will get you started right away. I especially like all the preloaded and extra bobbins--I'm always running out of bobbins--and the assorted hoops. The wee hoop is great for baby stuff. The ability to transfer designs by USB rocks. I do wish the had thrown in a memory stick in the goody bag to save me having to dig one out of my messy desk before I could try it out. Seems like anything under a couple bucks should be included with big purchases, but most people do have one or three laying around. :)

Overall, I found the machine perfectly adequate and intuitive to use, with one outstanding exception: the needle threader. The needle threader is reliable and accurate, threads first time, every time for me (by comparison, by Baby Lock threader gets it right maybe one in 5 tries, if I really concentrate). You do need to have a very relaxed grip on the thread with an automatic threader, but once you get that right, this baby is a threading superstar.

As a side note, I do take a lot of the great features of this machine--the drop in bobbin, easy threading, automatic needle threader, etc.--for granted. They're pretty standard features in 21st century machines. But if you've been using a vintage machine, these things will blow you away, and certainly make your embroidery learning curve very mild.

I think if Brother had a good full-service design application for Mac, I might be a little more thrilled with this machine, but the Mac version is very limited in theory (text only, no custom art) and in practice, the demo simply would not work--the sample text wouldn't display at all, making design more than a little impossible. They offer several different PC programs. (All, of course, are embarrassingly overpriced, as is the rule with sewing machine company embroidery software. The text-only Mac program had a $499 MSRP.)
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on September 24, 2015
This is my first ever embroidery machine. I was a little hesitant to purchase this machine based on some negative reviews about tension setting, etc. But, there were a lot of positive reviews as well and I really really wanted an embroidery machine that would be easy to use and wasn't overly expensive. I was ecstatic when this machine arrived so that I could begin my projects right out of the box! Set up was a breeze! The hoops in came in 3 different sizes and the pre-wound bobbins were nice to have. The thread that was included was all of the primary colors and it came with an entire spool of white bobbin thread. Threading the machine was super easy, although you need to be a little careful near the thread uptake as there's a little plastic piece that the thread can get caught on. The automatic threader is very accurate, but don't forget to put your foot down before trying to thread! LOL... I've done that several times and thankfully I haven't broke the threader! My first project worked out great and was thrilled with how easy it was to use right out of the box. However, after that first project, something had happened... after that project, all of my stitching started birdnesting at the bottom, the thread would shred, and it just would not complete a project without messing up. I thought for sure I had broken it and would need to return it. I was VERY frustrated and thought about throwing the machine out of the window at one point!! LOL Thankfully, I was persistent and did some online research. If found a YouTube video that showed how to take off the side cover of the machine to clean out the uptake to make sure that there was no thread that had been broken off there.... Took off the cover and found a HUGE ball of thread... No wonder it wasn't working correctly. I also checked the bobbin area and cleaned that out so that there was not a single piece of thread in the bobbin case which can cause inaccuracies in the embroidery. I changed the needle just in case it had bent. I adjusted the upper thread tension, and I also tightened the bobbin tension a little bit (instructions are in the book on how to do this and it's easy to do). Although my projects got a little better after doing all of the above, it still was not 100%, and still was birdsnesting under the material. Finally, I went back online and read some more tips and tricks to help with embroidery, I purchased some Sharp embroidery needles as well as some Sewers Aid.... NOW IT'S WORKING PERFECTLY!!!!!! The Sewers Aid has been a lifesaver and I put it on every single spool I use in the embroidery project and the needle has stood up to several projects, including tshirts, towels, bibs, blankets and so much more! This machine is really easy to set up for projects and I really like the USB feature as you can download so many more embroidery designs. I would recommend this embroidery machine. While it's not perfect, it is really easy to use and the projects come out really nice and clean. If you are having problems with tension, birdsnesting, jumped stitches, etc., don't throw it out the window, google the problem and try to work to resolve it as it is really worth it!!!! I've attached just a few of the projects I have completed with this machine :)
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on July 20, 2014
Let me start off by saying this is a GREAT machine. I've only had it for about 3 days...but it is fabulous and...amazing. There are only 2 reasons this machine is getting 4 stars and not 5.

Reason 1: The screen. If they can sell $59 tablets then Brother could update their machine to have a better screen. I'm not saying it needs to be some kind of retina display. Just a color screen so you can tell what design you are choosing. I just go with the one reviewers advice and only put a few designs on the USB stick and then it's not so hard to tell.

Reason 2: They give you a pack of pre-cut stabilizer that is in 7x9 sheets which I would think is supposed to be for the 5 x 7 hoop. Well the sheets aren't big enough to be put in the hoop. And then the 6x6 sheets they give you are supposed to work for the 4x4 hoop and they are also just too small. Unless I'm missing something and people are hooping only the fabric and using temporary adhesive. It's just a little strange.

Those 2 things being said, the machine is GREAT. It makes beautiful stitches. It's not fussy about thread and I really like the spring loaded threader. One reviewer was saying they had some trouble getting the threader to work. As long as you follow the thread path and always have the needle all the way up before you push the threader button it almost always works. I had a viking designer 1 which I really enjoy and has a nice color screen (I'm a bit spoiled), but the floppy drive on that way getting really more ways than one.

I don't do lots of design I just have one of the cheap software packages that you can download and then I can remove parts of my designs if I want. I have all my designs in a directory on my mac, and when I want to stitch one out I just move it over to my usb stick, eject, and plug into the machine and away we go. NICE. And yes, it DOES work fine with a mac. However as far as I know any kind of design editing software does require windows.

I have purchased all my designs from on-line sites there are 2 places that I purchase all my designs from. They have all worked GREAT! I love that you don't have to buy expensive design cards and only get a couple designs that you really love.

It's a really great machine if you don't want to spend lots of $$$ and just want to have some fun.
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VINE VOICEon August 30, 2014
I am new to machine embroidery and took a chance on this one after a lot of internet and dealer inquiry. I LOVE IT! It is easy to use, easy to thread, sturdy, and comes with a lot of accessories. It is like the 770PE except for a new body look and the accessories, which do add up if you were to buy them separately.

The built in designs are just so-so. One reviewer complained that the satin stitch isn't dense enough. Well, I've used this long enough and on enough products to know that it all depends upon the quality of the deisgn. I have been pretty unimpressed with the Brother designs (and iBroidery designs are VERY expensive) so have gotten many new ideas from Embroidery Library.

I have embroidered on terry towels, denim, sweatshirt fabric, flour sack dishtowels, quilting fabric, linen. The trick to a beautiful embroidery job is the combo of stabilizer and fabric.

As for thread, I bought the Embroidex set of 63 "Brother Colors" with a spool holder. I am pleased with these and saved a lot of money. They are equal to or better than the thread that came with the machine. What comes with the machine are a set of Brother primary colors plus white and black, and embroidery thread. The Brother threaded bobbins gave me trouble so I bought the 144 set from another seller and those have been perfect. No problems.

This machine can not do anything larger than 5X7 so unless you buy a software program like Embrilliance you won't be able to use anything bigger. If you have the software you can shrink it to fit the sewing field.

I bought the Embrilliance Thumbnailer software so the actual design picture shows up on my mac. Otherwise it is just a file name and hard to manage. I take the PES files I want to use and put them into a file on a little thumb drive. Then I am ready to go! I don't use embroidery cards or hook it directly to my computer. But you will need a computer if you plan to download designs.

It is not hard to thread. You just have to push the lever down firmly, like you mean business! Threads every time. If you buy thread on cones you will need a thread stand. I bought a ten spool holder and it works great. It also makes the job faster because all the needed threads are ready to go. The machine is only set up to take spools like Sulky or any spool that has a cap on top and bottom. Otherwise the thread tangles.

Problems I have had - have ALWAYS been operator error. Either I have the wrong kind of stabilizer, or wrong needle size, or the thread had hung up somewhere. This is my first embroidery machine and of course things go wrong, but they are not the fault of the machine. Just so you know! It is not hard to fix mistakes if you catch them in time. Just practice and practice and it will become easy.

The light is bright and it is easy to see the field. The instruction book is easy to follow. 5 x 7 is a very nice-sized field - I can't imagine needing to do anything bigger than that unless I wanted to do the back of an adult jacket. I'm very pleased with this machine and am SO GLAD I did not buy from a dealer, or buy Babylock, which would have cost twice as much. Brother and Babylock are made in the same factory and have the same features. Do the math!

Accessories: You will need stabilizer of every kind. Temporary spray glue is very useful too. I'd say get the big box of prewound bobbins. I love those. Have an assortment of embroidery and sharp needles. Success depends a lot on getting the right needle for the job. As I mentioned above, the spool holder is great if you have spools.

I highly recommend this embroidery machine to a beginner who feels she/he doesn't need a lot of classroom time to learn a new machine. There is a learning curve but for me it has been all fun. If you have a big embroidery machine and need a spare, this one is good quality at a good price. I'd give it ten stars if I could.
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on March 24, 2014
I spent months researching embroidery and embroidery machines before finally deciding to invest. I was nervous because all of my home computer products are Apple and I wanted to make sure that I got a machine that would be compatible. With the USB feature on the DZ820E it is not a problem at all! I read the manual cover to cover before I even took the machine out of the plastic wrap and I'm so glad I did. Since I had never even touched an embroidery machine reading the manual made me feel confident about starting up. It was also great that the machine came with EVERYTHING necessary to start embroidering straight out of the box (except the fabric, of course). I LOVE the embroidery snips that it came with! They're great for clipping the fabric around an applique too! Since receiving my machine nearly a month ago I have completed 15-20 projects that included embroidery/applique. I absolutely love it! This machine came with 24 (!) bobbins- 10 empty (packaged), 10 pre-wound (packaged), 4 empty (loose). At this point I can't say that I've found anything about the machine I don't like. For thread I've been using the Brother colors that came with it and I've purchased some Coats & Clarke polyester embroidery thread. There was one color that I didn't have for a particular design that I used regular cotton thread on and it still worked just as well! I haven't had ANY issues with the thread breaking and just the other day finished off the first pre-wound bobbin. The machine stopped BEFORE the bobbin ran out and told me so I didn't miss any stitches or anything!

I would definitely recommend investing in an editing software. When it comes to purchased fonts that give you each letter individually I found it difficult to line them up properly just on the machine (the center on letters like p, y, g, & q mess me up). I purchased Embrilliance Essentials because it was the least expensive option that would allow me to do all of the editing I need and was Mac compatible. It has made my embroidering experience SO much more enjoyable. I love being able to change the colors on the computer to see how it will look before I start embroidering! It is not a digitizing software, though...but I look forward to the day I can afford one! :)

Anywho, if you're considering a machine for your first endeavor into embroidery I would highly recommend this one! :)
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