Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Stash #15 - A tale of two Brothers

So this isn't EXACTLY about an addition to my stash, but a new sewing machine must be shared with others who will appreciate it, right?!

For about two years now, I've been sewing on a Brother CS6000i.  It's a delightful machine for sewing quilt tops, bags and other small items, but I was getting more and more frustrated with trying to actually quilt on it.  It seemed like a battle to even do straight-line quilting with my walking foot, let alone try and free-motion quilt.  I never even gave this machine a name, although (spoiler alert) it's now been dubbed Little Brother.

So I started looking around for a machine that I could really quilt with, but that was within my budget (a tall order, for sure).  I honestly don't remember where I first read about the Brother Nouvelle 1500S (aka PQ1500S), but from reading the reviews on Amazon it seemed like a good fit for me, both with regard to capability and price.  Meet Big Brother:

Big Brother! (Slightly crooked and with NCIS's Agent Gibbs in the background.)

I have now been doing piecing with Big Brother for about a month, and I've quilted one (small) quilt on it so I feel like I can do a decent review.

Throat space!  I feel like pretty much anything can fit easily.
Larger bobbins
Needle-down stop button
Even feeding feed dogs
Auto-threading bobbin

Check out the difference in the throat space!

The threading is much more complicated (I still look at the cheat sheet)
Side-loading bobbin (awkward!)
Side-threading needle (again, awkward!)

Other considerations:
Big Brother is HEAVY.
Only straight stitch (not even zig zag)
Knee-lift for presser foot
Notched 1/4" foot instead of a flat edge
No more auto-tension adjustment/correction

Quarter inch foot on the left, walking foot on the right.

These are pretty much the only knobs on Big Brother!

All in all I'd say I'm pretty satisfied with my purchase.  I've had to learn about manual thread tension adjustment and like I mentioned above, the threading's not exactly intuitive, but I'll get there.  I'm also having to get used to using a pedal again, as Little Bother had a start button you could push instead of using the pedal.  (I know, I know, only weenies use a start button instead of a pedal.)  Both machines also came with a nice assortment of feet, extra bobbins and a few extra needles, as well as extension tables.  Little Brother came with a hard plastic case/cover, whereas Big Brother's cover is soft vinyl (not that I really use the cover anyway).

My plan moving forward is to keep both machines, using Big Brother for quilting and piecing, and keeping Little Brother for decorative stitches and the like (for napkins, etc), as well as maybe some piecing.  After all, you can never have too many sewing machines, right?!

Linking up with Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles!

Molli Sparkles


  1. great review, I hope it works out for you. I have been looking at machines for a while now as well but have yet to decide on anything!

  2. I kept my old machine, and I'm glad now that others can come sew with me without having to bring a machine. I'm massively jealous of that throat space and almost but not quite as jealous about the knee lift. I have a start/stop button on my brother, and your comment made me laugh because I haven't gotten brave enough to leave the foot pedal to use it yet.

  3. Looks like a nice big machine! Did you try free motion with it or just straight stitching? (I really only do straight/walking foot type quilting, but keep wanting to do more FMQ and use the small throat space etc. as an excuse to keep avoiding it.) I've been looking into straight stitch only machines lately, but hadn't run across this one in particular so I'm glad you posted about it! (There are actually Brother dealers in my city, unlike some other brands, so that's also a plus.)

  4. I absolutely love my PQ1500S... I hope yours works out great for you too!

  5. Congrats on having a larger throat space with your new machine, Kacey! Sure will help you to be able to quilt without so much annoyance. And having two machines is a great idea. When one is in for servicing, you can still make progress using the other Brother.