Sewists, quilters, or those of you who both sew and quilt – all of us are well aware how hard it is to find a perfect machine that does both things equally well. That’s why I decided to write a review of Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine. At first glance, it looks like a pretty advanced, feature-rich machine with a price tag that won’t scare you off. But today, we’ll take a look under the hood and decide if it really is a good choice – and for whom.
Brother is famous for making models that are easy to use. However deep or shallow your pockets are, they are bound to have just the right model for you. That’s what makes them one of a few most popular machine manufacturers in the US. Let’s see if they lived up to their reputation with this Brother HC1850 one.
Brother HC1850 Features & Overview
This Brother HC1850 machine is extremely versatile. Not only is it well equipped for sewing and quilting, but also basic monogramming, thanks to the alphanumeric stitches. Check out all the features you will get right out of the box.
- 130 built-in stitches. They include eight styles of one-step auto-size buttonholes, 42 garment construction stitches, 14 quilting stitches, 12 heirloom stitches, 94 decorative stitches. There is also one built-in monogramming sewing font.
- Eight specialty feet: zigzag, monogramming, overcasting, blind stitch, zipper, button sewing, buttonhole, and quilting foot.
- Detachable wide table allows you to do free-motion quilting and other larger projects that require more maneuvering space.
- LCD display. It lets you easily select stitches and adjust their length and width. It also tells you which foot to use with your chosen stitch. Thanks to the back light, you will be able to work at night.
- Adjustable sewing speed. Choose from three speed options that you can control with a slider. This feature is very handy when you work on tricky areas that require very slow stitching speed.
- Automatic needle threader. It won’t take over ten minutes when you’re doing it for the first time. Once you get the hang of it, it will take less than five minutes. All you need to do is push the lever and the thread will hit the needle’s eye.
- Easy bobbin winding. And we’re talking about quick-set drop-in bobbin that won’t get jammed easily.
- LED lights for brightening the work area. Night owls will especially appreciate this feature.
- Detachable foot controller. You can use the pedal if you like, but it isn’t required – you can start and stop the machine and control its speed with a push of a button. It allows for additional versatility.
- Exceptional feed system. The feed dogs will handle almost any fabrics, without bunching up or stretching.
- Flip-chart at the front of the machine. You won’t have to do any guesswork when choosing your next stitch type.
What We Like About This Brother Machine
- Very flexible. Sewing, quilting, monogramming, free-motion quilting – it’s an ideal machine for those who would like to try out all of these functions.
- It works surprisingly well even with multiple layers of heavy fabrics such as denim. Of course, don’t expect miracles here. If you work exclusively with thick materials, you might consider getting an industrial sewing machine. But as far as portable machines go, this Brother gives pretty nice results. Especially when you pair it with needles specialized for your fabric. Note that the machine should come with needle size 14. It’s a default size, but for thicker ones you should opt for size 16 to get better results. Another thing to keep in mind – you won’t get a walking foot with this machine, so you might need to consider buying it separately if you’re into thicker materials.
- Needle up/down position, stop/start, reverse stitch buttons. These are all very convenient, but still not so common in machines within this price range.
- A bunch of automated functions. You won’t have to break a sweat over threading the machine and winding the bobbin.
- Drop feed. The feed dog position switch is sitting on the rear side of the machine and lets you control the height of the feed dogs. Free-motion quilters, rejoice and ditch those plates or plastic cards you used to cover the feed dogs.
- Free arm and wide table for very small or very large projects. Use the free arm option when you work on sleeves, legs, collars, and other parts that are hard to access. As for the wide table, quilters will appreciate it.
- Easy to set up and user-friendly. There are printed visual guides and labels all over the machine – in front of the bobbin case and winder, needle threader, stitch categories. As for setting up, you will get an instructional DVD, so you don’t have to dig through manuals or forums. Maintenance won’t be an issue either. All you need to do is clean the lint occasionally. The machine doesn’t take oil, so don’t even try.
- Very lightweight. With a little over 10 pounds and a built-in handle, you will be able to carry it around to your sewing or quilting classes, or anywhere you go.
What We Don’t Like About This Brother Machine
- Even though it’s computerized, you can’t connect it to your computer or Internet. If I looked for a new computerized machine, I would want to make sure it can download extra stitches. With this machine, what you see is what you get. And it’s a huge minus.
- It leaves many quilting options to wish for. Even though it’s advertised as a sewing and quilting machine, it only has very basic quilting and monogramming options. The area under the arm isn’t very large, and the presser foot won’t raise enough. Also, there isn’t a knee-lifter. So, if quilting comprises the majority of your work, you might want to look for a more advanced model.
- The reverse stitch button doesn’t work equally well with all the stitches. With some stitches, it will only make light reinforcements. I don’t know why this happens, but it can be annoying.
- Most parts are made of plastic. Of course, you can’t really expect a metal monster within this price range. But such as it is, it doesn’t feel very sturdy. That’s where you get to realize a common truth: lightweight can be good and handy, but it can also be a downside – especially if you are looking for a machine that will last a lifetime.
- Not very quiet. I’ve seen a lot of portable machines that operate with much less noise. Of course, that doesn’t have to be a downside – unless you’re living in a very small apartment with thin walls, like I do.
- The LED light could have been brighter. Sewists with poor vision will probably need some extra light.
- No case or cover. These are easy to find and there are many inexpensive options. But that’s precisely the reason why they could have included some kind of basic protective case, just to eliminate the hassle of finding one that will fit.
Final Verdict for Brother HC1850
This model is far from being perfect. It’s even far from being the best within its range. But it still has many nice options, some of which are pretty rare in low-end, inexpensive models such as this one.
But if I could choose a category of sewists that it will serve best, it’s definitely beginners. They will find the machine easy to learn and operate, and even some bells and whistles that will make the process interesting. However, I don’t think it’s the best choice for seasoned sewists and especially quilters.
If you’re a fan of computerized machines, you won’t be flabbergasted by Brother HC1850. It has some automatic functions, but they are hardly to praise considering that there is no Internet connectivity. Check out this list of seven top computerized sewing machines available in 2019.