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Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine
Style Name: PQ1500SL w/ LCD Light|Change
Price:$559.99+ 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 September 1, 2012
This machine sews WONDERFULLY. It's a quilting dream. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 not because of the way it sews, but for some of the set-up functions that are slightly (but not seriously) annoying..
First the POSITIVES:
1) It sews like a dream.
2) It's very quiet--quieter than my expensive Bernina
3) It's very fast but you can control the speed easily with the foot pedal, so if you want to go slowly, it does that also.
4) The foot pedal is very responsive and easy to control.
5) If you're quilting, it handles so well that quilting becomes smooth and easy whether you go fast or slowly.
6) The harp (throat) is so commodious that I fit a very bulky quilt through it without difficulty.
7) The bobbin area is accessible even when you have the extended tray on.
8) There are 4 feed dog settings which allow all sorts of sewing materials. The feed dog settings are easy to change.
1) Threading it requires that you put the thread through a series of holes the way old-fashioned machines were threaded. If you've been using a more modern machine (like a Bernina) you may be used to the modern way of threading which involves quick movements and no putting thread through awkward holes. At first it's annoying, but the machine sews so smoothly, the annoyance is minor and worth the result.
2) Winding the bobbin, although not hard, also requires poking the thread through a tiny hole on the bobbin to get it started. Slightly annoying,but once done, the bobbin winds smoothly.
3) If you run out of bobbin thread, there's no notice that it's happened, and you can be sewing merrily along and discover that nothing's happening.
4) Like old-fashioned machines, you have to turn the wheel to put the needle down, there's no up-down button.
5) Compared to my other machines, the bobbin does not hold as much thread. It's adequate though. I'd guess about 85% of the capacity of my other machines.
This machine, which I bought on sale, cost me less than 10% of what my Bernina cost. I love my Bernina, but for quilting, this is far superior. It's a quilting dream.
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VINE VOICEon April 1, 2013
Style Name: PQ1500S|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a full size, semi-commercial, straight stitch machine with an extra long arm for machine quilting. It is designed primarily to meet the needs of home quilters, and it performs spectacularly for that purpose. It has fabric handling features that are not available on most home sewing machines which allow you to quilt multiple layers of fabric together at high speeds without fabric shift or slippage. If you are a quilter, this is your dream machine.

Of course, you can sew more than quilts with this machine. Most garment and home decor sewing involves straight stitching and this machine makes the most perfectly formed straight stitch I've ever seen on a modern sewing machine. The reason is that this machine ONLY makes a straight stitch. Nothing else. No zig-zag. No stretch stitches. No button holes. No fancy decorative stitches. Just the most perfect straight stitch you could ever want.

It also does not have automatic tension, presser foot pressure or stitch length setting. You set those things manually. For people used to machines that are computerized, this may be intimidating, but it is easily mastered. It does not have a free arm or a low bobbin thread indicator, either, as virtually all regular sewing machines have these days. But a mechanical machine like this offers durability that electronic or computerized machines can't touch because there are no circuit boards or electronics or LCD screens to fail. This is a machine you can hand down to your grandchild.

So is this the sewing machine for you? If you are a quilter - yes. If you do a lot of home decor sewing like drapery, slip covers, pillows, bedding - probably. If you quilt and sew home decor and garments - maybe. If you sew mostly clothing - this is not your best choice as a primary machine.

For garment construction, you will likely want at least one sewing machine which has, at a minimum, a zig-zag stitch or you can't sew button holes and will have a harder time sewing knits. You can certainly make clothing with the PQ1500S, but you will be limited to zippers for closures and will struggle with stretching knit fabrics while sewing to give the seam the stretch it needs.

Also, consider your sewing space. This is a pretty big machine. It weighs a little over 24 pounds and with the extension table attached, it measures 30" long x 11.25" deep.

Once you've established this machine could be right for you, here are some of the exceptional features. It has a knee lifter (which raises the presser foot at the press of your knee), a needle threader (which is awesome), an automatic thread cutter button, a needle stop position button, a large and conveniently placed reverse stitch lever, an adjustable thread stand with dual spool pins for better thread handling, and a four position feed dog adjustment knob which raises or lowers the feed dogs as well as engaging the fantastic pin-feed feature.

Included in the box is an extension table, the knee lift bar (stored in the bottom of the extension table), 6 needles, 5 metal bobbins, a fabric separator attachment and a seam guide attachment, two screwdrivers, a lint brush, an extra pin and changer for the pin feed feature, a thread spool cap, the foot controller and power cord and a very nice machine cover. There are also several presser feet including a general purpose foot, a rolled hem foot, a zipper foot, an invisible zipper foot, a 1/4" foot, a quilting foot and a walking foot.

The bobbin is a vertical mount and loads underneath and to the side of the needle plate. Brother has addressed having to take your extension table off (and also your quilt or garment) in order to change an empty bobbin. Instead, there is a door in the extension table which allows you access to the bobbin. This is outstanding when quilting a large blanket. There is also a bobbin winder located on the top of the machine.

Other features I love are the presser foot pressure gauge on the front of the machine so I can see exactly what it's set to and that the needle plate is marked in inches, not centimeters. I also love that you can set the stitch length up to 7mm. This makes a very long basting stitch which is also easy to use for gathering. (My regular sewing machine only goes up to 4mm stitch length.) And, of course, I love all the space under the arm. I checked and I can roll up a full size quilt and it fits easily under the arm with room enough to maneuver the fabric.

I am stunned at how smoothly and quietly this machine sews. There is almost no vibration, either. It practically purrs even at the maximum speed of 1500 stitches per minute (that's almost twice as fast as my regular sewing machine!) And the straight stitch is absolutely exquisite. By flipping the feed dog knob and changing to the quilting foot, I am able to do free-motion quilting, too. I've never done this before but the results are fantastic. It's like drawing with stitches and the stitch quality is still superb. I have already started a small throw that I will quilt entirely in free-motion. I love this!

I have sewn leather, suede, fleece, a multi-layered quilt, taffeta, denim, silk satin, silk chiffon, woven cotton, woven polyester and Naugahyde on this machine so far with perfect results. The fabric separator attachment and the walking foot are incredibly useful when sewing "difficult" fabrics. Take the time to try them. You may discover you love sewing silks and leathers!

Things that may throw an inexperienced sewist are setting the tension, stitch length and presser foot pressure, but it really isn't that hard. The owners manual explains how to do this pretty well. Just make sure to use some scraps of the fabric you are going to sew and practice til you get the tension set just right for that particular fabric. If you do that, make sure you have the correct needle size for your fabric, keep the bobbin area and feed dogs clean and be certain you have it threaded correctly, you will be rewarded with a perfect stitch.

The pin feed mechanism, usually only found on commercial machines, works brilliantly on multiple layers or on slippery, hard to manage fabrics. This feature alone makes this machine a quilter's dream!

There is also a telescoping thread guide which practically eliminates upper thread feeding problems. They make such a difference that I use separate thread stands for my other machines, so I'm delighted to see that Brother has included it in the design.

Maintenance includes oiling the machine in several places specified in the owners manual. Brother recommends twice monthly oiling if you sew every day. Keep your oil out so you won't neglect this. Making sure your machine is oiled is just as important as making sure your car engine has oil. Neither will run smoothly without it.

Brother recommends Organ HLX5 needles, but says that Schmetz 130/705H are acceptable. These are different than the regular sewing machine needles you can get at Walmart so be sure you get the right kind. You can also get these needles with a titanium coating (which I recommend) that makes the needles last longer during high speed sewing. As a side note: I was surprised to see that you install the needle with the flat side to the right instead of to the back. Thus, the hole in the needle for the thread to pass through is to the side instead of facing front when installed correctly. Knowing that makes it easier to understand the directions for using the automatic needle threader, which is a fantastic feature. I never thread the needle by hand on this machine.

The bobbins are Brother SA159. They are metal. Order more online as they are usually much less expensive than buying locally in a quilt shop or at a Brother dealer. I ordered 50 more. The reason for having a large stash of bobbins, especially with this machine, is that it takes a lot of thread to quilt a large blanket. I wind 15-20 bobbins before starting a large project so that each time I run out of bobbin thread, I have a full one ready to replace it with. The easy bobbin access in the extension table makes this so much simpler than with a conventional sewing machine. You don't HAVE to have more bobbins, though, because the dual thread spool pins and separate threading path for bobbin winding allows you to wind bobbins pretty easily mid-project without having to unthread your machine.

I am using this machine primarily for quilting and home dec applications but since I discovered how exceptionally well it handles slippery fabrics, I am also using it to sew my daughter's wedding gown. The silk charmeuse glides perfectly through the machine when using the fabric separator. Kudos to Brother for making a commercial quality machine that is affordable.

I guess you can tell I love this machine. I've been sewing for 35+ years and have owned and used a lot of different machines. This one really shines. If the features meet your needs, I bet you will love it, too.
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on June 3, 2016
The best machine for piecing and quilting. It is quiet and very stable on whatever surface it sits on. By far, my favorite.
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on November 3, 2015
This is a great machine. I use it exclusively for free-motion quilting. I have had it for about a year and am very happy with the way it goes smoothly and super fast. I used it right out of the box and the stitches were perfect. I can't afford a Janome or baby lock and this was very inexpensive, especially considering the quality of this machine. Great buy!
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on April 17, 2014
What a wonderful machine! It is accurate, stitches are perfect, the presser feet hold the fabric as if glued, the knee oift bar is a plus! . Not hard to thread or use at all. I am not a newbie so I don't think is is hard to thread. There are videos on you tube and the quick installation guide plus the manual are wonderful. I bought it mainly for piecing and free motion quilting. I have not quilted with it yet, but have pieced and done other sewing with it. You can regulate the speed easily with the pedal since it has no speed regulation on the machine itself. The pedal is beautifully calibrated, so that it will not run off wild unless you press hard on it! I will add to this review later when I have done free motion quilting with it. I am still getting the hang of auto threading with this machine, as everything in life, practice makes perfect! The price is perfect for the marvelous machine you get. Now keep in mind, this is a straight stitch!!!
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on December 5, 2015
There are not enough stars for this machine. It's great and arrived right on schedule. This machine will handle multiple layers of fabric and I really like the speed. I am doing upholstery work right now with it and as soon as I am finished I will set it up for quilting. No problems or complaints.
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on September 18, 2014
This was a purchase made as a back-up sewing machine, and it was by far the best purchase I have made in a long time. Not only is the stitch just perfect, the ease of use is wonderful and the extended table is a great size. Best price out there for this machine and the only thing that should be done differently is the quarter inch sewing foot that is shown to be purchased as an extra...don't buy it, it is not the correct foot and you can truly find your perfect quarter inch seam quickly and it is truly perfect!!! The machine is so quiet, and since there isn't a computer to boot up on the machine, you are ready to sew the minute you turn on the machine. I love it and now wonder why I waited so long.....
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