If you are here, you’re probably on the lookout for your first or next sewing machine. And it was the Brother name and brand you were after. Well, even though Brother CE1100PRW was a limited edition model and is now a discontinued product, I am writing a review of it, so you wouldn’t be left in darkness if you are considering to get it used and refurbished.
An overall look at the features tells us that this is a very versatile sewing machine. It’s a computerized machine, which means there are many automatic features and an LCD display. In case you are hoping for a super powerful gadget with lots of smart features, you’re in for a disappointment. It’s not a space rocket, but it’s a fairly decent sewing machine that will meet the needs of novice sewists as well as intermediate to advanced.
Take a look at some of the highlights you will get with this workhorse.
Brother CE1100 Project Runway Overview & Features
The machine offers 100 built-in stitches with eight one-step buttonholes, as well as seven presser feet – an amazing variety, even for the most experienced sewists. There isn’t much to wish for with this machine. If you are frequently engaged with small home decor projects or garments with lots of tricky, hardly accessible parts such as collars or sleeves, you will appreciate the free arm.
Quilters will rejoice to hear that there is a drop feed for free motion quilting and sewing. It’s very important, since your stitching won’t be limited to forward and backward. Regular sewists will find the 7-point feed dogs exceptional, since the fabric feeding will be smooth and consistent, allowing you to sew even the most sensitive and stretchy materials.
The maximum sewing speed is 850 stitches per minute, which is about average when it comes to portable machines. It won’t exactly enable you to rush through your projects like in a factory, but it will be just about decent to get your projects finished in a timely manner.
Just like most of Brother’s models, this one also has a quick-set drop-in top bobbin system for easy loading into the bobbin case, which is transparent so you don’t run out of thread in the middle of a project. Threading the machine will be a breeze due to the highly efficient advanced needle threading system.
Finally, the LCD screen allows you to easily select your stitches and adjust their length and width. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a backlight, so you will only be able to take advantage of it with an external light.
If you’re out looking for a nice portable machine, this one is pretty lightweight. At just under 15 pounds, Brother CE1100PRW is easy to carry out and about.
What I Like About This Machine
- More stitches than you’ll ever need. Maybe you will be a bit overwhelmed at the beginning, especially if you are a sewing newbie. You will need some time just to figure out which stitches are most important for your projects. However, the moment you master the basic stitches, the magic will begin. You will enjoy discovering new possibilities and incorporating them into your ongoing projects for even more fun and creativity. Apart from the basic ones, it includes tons of decorative, embroidery and quilting stitches.
- All the stitches are printed on the machine’s body. You won’t have to keep the user’s manual at your side all the time or do any guesswork. It’s easy to figure out which stitch you need just by looking at the sketchings on the machine. It’s a stitch selection chart that shows you the numbers and looks of each stitch.
- The 7-point feed dogs do a superb job. Even the lightest and stretchiest fabrics will go through this machine like butter. No bunching up!
- Very affordable. I often say this in my blog posts, and I will repeat it again: every household needs a sewing machine, if only for mending and basic repairs. This Brother CE1100PRW one will do that and so much more without costing you an arm and a leg.
- The machine always finishes a stitch with the needle down. You will find this feature extremely helpful when you need to rotate the fabrics without losing the stitch. It allows for a seamless sewing experience.
- Easy to set up and use. With advanced machines, the steep learning curve is the most common pain point. Not with Brother CE1100PRW, though. You’ll be able to start sewing as soon as you unbox and thread the machine. That’s what makes it great for first timers, even with kids on sewing classes. Also, maintenance will never give you headaches, since this machine doesn’t take oil. All you need to do is clean up the lint occasionally and that’s it.
- The overlock foot and stitches eliminate the need to get a serger. When I said the machine is versatile, I really meant it. Your seams will be perfectly strong and safe, making your life a lot easier. You will also get buttonhole foot, zipper foot, button sewing foot, blindstich foot, monogramming foot, zigzag foot. If you plan on sewing thicker materials, you would just need to acquire a walking foot and you’re all set.
- The LCD screen is self-explanatory and convenient. Not only does it make stitch selection easy, but it will also tell you which presser foot you need to use with a particular stitch. It also lets you modify your stitch length and width.
- A built-in storage at the base. You can remove it from the base (to uncover the free arm), and use it as a stash for your bobbins, needles, pins, presser feet that you aren’t currently using. It’s a tiny but extremely useful feature, especially if you don’t have a sewing machine table or a regular table with many compartments. You will be amazed to find out how many tiny accessories it can accommodate.
What I Don’t Like About This Machine
- No automatic speed control. Even though speed control is the basic function of your foot pedal, it’s still not subtle enough. Especially when you are handling trickier parts, where nice and smooth stitchwork requires working with minimal speed. Brother has a speed control slider on many of its low-end machines, so it could have been present in this model too.
- No automatic thread cutter. Don’t put away those scissors. You will be needing them for the thread. This is definitely a feature I can do without, but I still have to mention it as a bit of a downside, since I am trying to be completely honest and provide all the information.
- The face plate is made of plastics. If you’re not familiar with sewing machine parts, t’s that cover below the needle and presser bars. Sure, it has a metal base, but the plastic part seems very thin. There are all the reasons to doubt the part’s durability. And replacing broken parts can often be a nightmare.
- It won’t provide excellent results with thicker fabrics. It might handle leather that’s not too thick, but you will need to buy a separate teflon foot, since it doesn’t come included in the package. Denim should be fine. However, I have to be completely fair here. It would be too much to expect a low-end machine to be a high performer with heavy duty materials. If you want to start sewing leather, take a look at this blog post about best leather sewing machines.
- The LED light doesn’t illuminate the working area enough. I’m a night owl, and if you are one too, you will be needing some extra light for the working area. Especially if you have poor vision like I do.
- The LCD screen could use a backlight. When it comes to computerized machines, I really like when I don’t need to use extra light. It’s not a real drawback, since you can’t really expect everything to be top-notch within this price range.
- The needle thread can have issues. Some users have reported that it tends to go off the hook sometimes. But it’s nothing that a re-threading can’t fix.
- No cover included in the package. They could have included at least a cheap, vinyl cover, just to spare us the trouble of having to look it up and purchase separately. Of course, it’s not a must-have, but it would be nice to have one thing less to think of.
Final Verdict: Should You Buy Brother CE1100PRW?
If you happen to stumble upon this Brother CE1100PRW machine somewhere, go ahead and buy it by all means. I can heartily recommend it since the pros outweigh the cons by far. Typically, you can only find some of this machine’s features in models with heftier price tags, so it provides a great value for the money. On the other hand, none of its shortcomings are crucial – at least to me and a few more seamstresses that I discussed it with.
I would say this machine is a good bet even if you only need an entry-level workhorse for the time being. Your skills will grow with time and exposure, as will your needs. And this machine will serve them great from day one.
The only serious concern I’m having is its durability, since it’s mostly made of plastics. But even if it doesn’t live for years and decades, by the time it breaks it will have paid itself a few times over. When all things taken into account, Brother has done a nice job with this model, and I only wish it would come back again, equally good or even better.