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Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine
Style Name: PQ1500SL w/ LCD Light|Change
Price:$599.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on May 19, 2015
I bought my Brother about 6 months ago. I wanted to wait to write my review so I could have a well formed opinion of the machine. I started out sewing on a small little Janome Gold that cost less than $200 several years ago. I then upgraded to Pfaff Ambition. Even though I had a much nicer machine, I felt like it was lacking in some areas. I was at one of my modern quilt guild meetings and a woman did a demonstration using the Brother. After that I was on a quest to read reviews and see if this machine was something I would enjoy using.

I was initially intimidated when I first took it out of the box. My Pfaff was very intuitive and looked easy to use. The brother was more industrial and required a little more thought on how to make it work. It took me about a week before I really started to play with it.

There are many features to comment on:
Free Motion Quilting and Walking Foot – I am starting with these features, because these are the features I love the most. My Pfaff was very difficult to FMQ on. The Brother is wonderful to use. I have now been able to FMQ several quilts. It does a wonderful job keeping up with the speed of doing FMQ and the stiches look wonderful. The wide throat space is also very nice. I do wish the FMQ foot had a slit in it. A lot of times when you start out with FMQ you have thread tails that need to be held to the side. Since I don’t have a slit in the foot it is hard to get the tails out of the way.

Automatic Thread Cutter – I love this feature. I have never had it until now. I have seen complaints about how short the bobbin thread is cut. When I have to pull up the bobbin thread I just use a set of tweezers I have nearby to help me pull the thread through. So the short cut does not bother me.

Light – I do find the light to be lacking. I wish it were a bit brighter. I recently purchased an extra light that I attached to my machine to shine down on the sewing area and that seems to be working well.

Knee Lift – To be honest, I never use this. I find that it just gets in the way. Maybe when I upgrade to a nicer sewing table and have more knee room I may attach it again.

Weight of machine – The machine is very heavy. Which should be expected from an industrial machine. I almost hate having to switch my machine around due to the weight though. The machine has never shifted while I was sewing no matter how fast I sew.

Sewing feet – I wish some of the sewing feet were see-through. Sometimes I want to be able to see under the foot to see what I am sewing, but all of the Brother feet are solid metal.

Threading the machine – After 6 months I still have to get my book out. I use it now just as a quick reference, but in the beginning I had to follow it very carefully to thread the machine.

Bobbin – I found the bobbin very difficult to put in when I first got the machine. Now I don’t have any problems. What I do is place the bobbin in the bobbin holder. Then I pull the lever and it snaps in. Before I was trying to hold the lever as I was putting in the bobbin and it was a pain. I do wish the bobbin held a little more thread. The machine stops winding with plenty of room left to add more thread. I did figure out if you keep pressing the pedal over and over again with little taps you can add a little more thread at a time to the bobbin. I also wish I could view the bobbin while sewing. My Pfaff has a clear window so I can see when my thread is getting low. With the Brother it’s always a surprise when you run out.

Automatic Needle Threader – This feature also took some figuring out. I couldn’t get it to work at first. I have figured out that once the thread is placed in the needle threader (and near the eye of the needle) if you pull slightly upwards on the thread the threader seems to catch the thread and will pull it through. I have found that sometimes the thread does get shredded as it goes through, but that usually isn’t a big deal since you would cut off that part anyway. The automatic needle treader will not work with some feet, like the FMQ foot. So I just manually thread the machine in those instances.

Sewing Speed – The speed scared me a first. I had never had a machine that sewed so fast. I don’t think I have ever maxed out the speed on this machine. I have found that if I go to fast I can’t control the sewing line. It starts to get wonky.

Machine Maintenance – This is the first time I have owned a machine that I have to oil. Sometimes I forget that I need to oil it. So I try to usually oil it before a big project or if I haven’t used it in a couple of weeks.

I know this is a long review, but if you are like me I prefer the more detailed reviews. Especially if you are going to spend a large amount of money on an item. Overall I am very glad I bought the machine. I feel like my sewing skills have improved tremendously. Especially when free motion quilting. I recently made a diaper bag and had to sew through several layers of fabric, batting, and interfacing. This machine had no problems going through the layers. It’s a tough machine and I have to say I prefer this machine over my more expensive Pfaff!!
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on April 27, 2015
I love my new Brother sewing machine. I have an old Bernina that I use for quilting/piecing, it has a short throat and I have always struggled with puckering, wrinkles and making my quilts look the way I want them to. I did some online research and visited my Bernina store. The new Berninas are so expensive and computerized. I read some reviews that said the computerized machines had issues that had to be resolved with an expensive service call. I really just wanted a machine that would make my machine quilting easier. I went ahead and ordered this Brother and LOVE it. I have quilted two quilts so far and love the results. It is so sturdy and it has a large throat plate with a table extension that works perfectly. My two quilts have no puckers or wrinkles and look fabulous. Only drawback is the threading of the machine. I continue to look back at the directions and the needle threader is supposed to be easy to use but I find it difficult, it could be my choice of thread. All in all I love my new machine. It was even shipped to Hawaii and arrived quickly!
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on March 20, 2011
I purchased this machine to be used exclusively for free motion quilting. I did a lot of research, and yes, there were some really bad reviews, but way more good reviews. I've had really good luck with Brother machines, and this machine had more of the features I needed for the setup I was creating so I decided to go for it.

I'm pretty machine savvy and no, it did not work perfectly when I took it out of the box, it was doing a lot of looping on the underside. But once I adjusted the tension on the bobbin (which was WAY off), adjusted the presser foot pressure (the color guide adjustment window made it super easy) and the thread tension dial - and got all 3 in sync, which just took a little time and patience, the stitches were perfect! I then dropped the feed dogs, there's a dial that also makes this function super easy, readjusted my presser foot pressure using the color guide window, again super easy, and started practicing free motion quilting and the result is all I'd hoped for.

Two of the features I really like on this machine is the location of the bobbin casing, which is on the side of the machine vs the top or the front. The machine is facing me when I free motion quilt, so the bobbin casing is facing me which makes it really easy to change bobbins when I need to. Also, when you do the type of sewing I do on this machine, it must be oiled frequently. You do not have to take the machine apart to oil it, there are small oil "holes" on the machine where you put in drops of oil as needed. For someone who is used to taking a machine apart to oil it, this is a little bit of heaven!!

I was having a small issue with the automatic thread cutter. It was cutting the threads so short that I was losing my bobbin thread and had to bring it back up after using the cutter. Not a big deal but annoying. Then I discovered that I didn't need to pull up the bobbin thread, I could start sewing again and the bobbin thread would come up and continue stitching just fine. I only need to pull it up if I want to bring it up to the top of the fabric before I begin stitching again.

One thing about Brother, they have good tech support, so be sure and register your machine with them to take full advantage of their services.
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on February 15, 2017
Definitely the right choice of sewing machine. The large area throat plate makes it much easier to sew large quilts. My little brother sewing machine I just use for appliqué projects since big brother only has the straight stitch. The needle does unthread often (I think the thread cutter cuts a bit short.). The needle threader on this machine I have never been able to master yet. The one on my little machine is simple. Other than that, this sewing machine is great. Oh, one more thing, you can't tell when your bobbin is low on thread. I'm glad I chose this sewing machine.
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on December 8, 2016
This is a fast, industrial machine for the serious sewer wannabe. It runs parallel to my 4 thread Juki serger...varooom! Threading is pretty straight forward with one VERY important step that is not mentioned in the manual but mentioned multiple times on the internet when I desperately searched how to avoid upper thread getting stuck in the tension Nob. The magic is in the foot lever. Thread with the foot lever up. This separates the tension discs and allows the thread to fall easily between the disc. Then when you sew, avoid using the knee lever to halfway raise the sewing foot to slide your fabric from under which is tempting. Instead whether using your hand or knee to raise the sewing foot, raise it completely at its full up position.

Why I didn't give the machine 5 stars even after troubleshooting the above.

The auto Thread is poorly constructed. I am not sure why Brother doesnt use the same technique as it's other models. On this model you really need to watch a video to understand what to do. And when you have figured out and understand how to slightly pull the thread with your left hand to catch the thread on the threading teeth somewhere hidden in this small claw looking thing, when the gadget does its magic it somewhat shreds the thread in the process. Not sure how this performance passed quality inspection.

Like other reviews, the thread cutter does cut too short and so you half to rethread. If the thread is just about to unthread from the needle you can sometimes save it by once again raising the sewing foot completely up to open the tension disc and the pull the thread through with a tweezer.

I also prefer a drop in bobbin. You just can't see What's going on with the side bobbin. And there is no indicator of when you have run out of thread.

0verall though after troubleshooting the tension, I am happy with the machine. It is a great addition to the Juki server and Brother embroidery machine that has all the fancy stitches.
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Okay, I've been sewing on this machine for a week. I LOVE it. It makes quilt piecing a dream as the feed dogs work great for lightweight fabrics and don't pull the fabric cockeyed because of the small seam allowance. Also, because it has a needle hole instead of a needle slot it does not pull the lightweight fabric down into the needle slot at the beginning of a seam. It just makes piecing a quilt so much easier. But the thread cutter drove me crazy because it almost always cut the thread too short. I tried all the suggestions on line: Use a big spool of thread (less curly), use only one hole on the top thread pass, etc, etc. Well none of those suggestions made even a tiny bit of difference.

Then, yesterday, I was looking something up in the manual. I'm old and my vision isn't too good even with glasses. I happened to go past the threading diagram and decided to get a magnifier to look closer. I really hate it when they print anything with those light color pastel inks because old eyes just don't see them too well. That's when I saw it with the magnifier: The thread passes through that horizontal bar-hook BEFORE it goes through the tensioner. Even for those of you that KNOW that, it is easy to miss when you are in a hurry. The thread actually passes through that horizontal bar-hook three times. The real "gotcha" here is that the machine will sew perfectly fine even if you don't thread it through the bar-hook prior to threading the tensioner so you think you have it threaded correctly (well, at least mine sewed fine without it). But sure enough, once I threaded it correctly according to the diagram the thread cutter has worked perfectly ever since. What threw me off all week is that it was sewing beautifully with it threaded incorrectly.

I'm probably not the only old, vision-impaired lady that missed this. Hopefully this will help someone else who is sure they did everything right but the cutter keeps cutting the thread too short. The machine doesn't do a lot but what it does do it does very, very well.
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on September 26, 2016
Edit: The auto thread cutter works perfectly if you raise the pressure foot beforehand.

I am thrilled with this machine! So easy to piece and quilt. The motor is strong, the stitches are even (regardless of how fast you sew), and the extension table is very convenient. The only issue I had with it was a tendency for the automatic thread cutter to snip the needle thread too short, so that it pulled out and I had to re-thread before I could stitch. I learned that if the thread coming off the spool is not slack, that causes the situation, so I simply reach up and pull it out a little and then it cuts automatically with no problem.

I read on one of these reviews about how the bobbin holds less thread than some other machines. That's true, but the automatic thread cutter prevents waste when it snips the thread only about an inch. I have had no trouble whatsoever with running out of bobbin thread prematurely.

The throat is approximately 8-3/4 inches wide and accommodates large quilts with ease. Of course, it's not a long-arm quilting machine, but it doesn't cost a fortune, either.
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Top Contributor: Quiltingon February 1, 2017
Oh My Word. Is it possible to be in love with a sewing machine? If so, I am! I was hesitant to buy a straight stitch only machine (which does do FMQ), but I realized I rarely use anything other than a straight stitch. I still have my old White, that I can jerry rig to do zigzag if need be, so this will take care of 99.99% of my needs. This baby is FAST! It's very straight forward, some had trouble with the threading, and it is different than my older machine, but it actually reminds me of my Mom's old Singer and the machines we used in Home Ec back "in the day". The bobbin is on the side which some find difficult. However, it is in a bobbin shuttle and you can hear an audible click when it's in, so it is very easy to install. Read the manual (I know boring) and since there aren't many working parts, it doesn't take long, but you will read that the presser foot dial and the feed dog placement (4 options) are color coded so that it is easy to match up. It's heavy, sturdy and I expect to have many hours of loving this wonderful machine. I think any negative reviews were more people not used to this machine and not threading it properly. Again, do it once following the very clear instructions in the manual and you will have it. There is also a short you tube video on how to use the automatic threader, I watched it a couple of times and I had it nailed. My two favorite options are the needle down postion and the thread cutter. I haven't used the knee lift yet as it won't fit on my drop in sewing machine table. It comes with a lot of feet! The all purpose foot measures at 1/8 inch (comes with seam guide if you want/need), the 1/4' is exactly that. I can't wait to finish the quilt top so I can try out the FMQ foot! There are many more feet, but these are the three that I was really excited about. Ignore the nay sayers and get this machine. For what you get, the price is really low!
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on December 7, 2016
this is a straight stitch machine. It is heavy in weight. It is a true heavy duty machine. It sewed through many layers of thick vinyl like butter. I make purses, clothes, bags, and sweaters with it. I do not have any issues w the thickness or type of fabric I use. It is very strong. the length of the stitch goes up to a seven. Great for purse handles. it comes with the knee lift to lift the needle plate, many sewing feet, and accessories. It has a thread hook on top to have thread straight up instead of from the side like traditional machines. It is well worth the money. So glad I purchased it and no disappointments here. Use it often. ok fine daily..
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on June 29, 2016
Okay, I haven’t had this a whole day yet, but I would like to share something. I have owned a lot of “home” sewing machines as well as spent years sewing on industrial machines. For a long time I have been interested in purchasing a “semi industrial” which seems to be a niche market taken over by quilters. (I am not a quilter, although I might become one). My greatest fear in purchasing a machine of this type was that it would not be a big enough step up from a regular home sewing machine in power. I was wrong. It is the perfect compromise between home and industrial, a little beast. No complaints, so far 5 stars.
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