Pros:Embroidery function is easy and fun. Sewed thru thick felted fabric.
Cons:Embroidery size is only 4"x4" which seems large until you start really getting into embroidery.
The Bottom Line: I've yet to come across something the Brother cannot achieve, embroidery is super fun. It's fairly lightweight and the small size makes for easy storage.
I’ve owned my Brother LB-6800THRD for just over a week now and I thought I’d offer up my impressions of this machine to others considering it. I pondered long and hard on which machine I should purchase, but like many of the other reviewers, was sold on the multitude of features and low price that were offered from Brother.
Recommend this product?
First off, let me state that the SE-400, LB-6800PRW and the LB-6800THRD are all the same machine (I emailed Brother and asked), the difference between the models comes with who is allowed to sell it. Mine, the LB-6800THRD, is sold by Costco but without the rolling bag that comes with the LB-6800PRW. Rather, the Costco version arrives with a twelve pack of embroidery thread. The SE-400 comes without any bonus accessories but is usually found at the cheapest price.
I am a beginner/novice sewer. In the past, and with my mother’s help, I have made a number of blankets (that number would be three) of varying degrees of difficulty. So when the machine arrived I was not completely clueless as to where to begin, just pretty close. :) Set up was easy, it took a little while for me but was pretty obvious. My tension was uneven and despite me ratcheting the dial down from 4 to 2 I was unable to sort it out. After reading thru the manual I realized that two things were wrong, both of which were user-error. First, I’d threaded the bobbin in the under-carriage wrong and second when threading the needle I’d followed the wrong path down from the spindle.
Using the built-in thread cutter for sewing was causing my thread to slip off the needle (the automatic needle-threader is super cool) whenever I started back up sewing. However fixing the tension seems to have also corrected this issue and I now use that button to it’s fullest.
I learned to sew on my mother’s old (super old) Viking and to me, sewing without using the foot pedal is not really sewing, so it’s attached on my machine. Thankfully, the speed control still works so when I “accidentally” press the pedal to the metal the machine doesn’t let me sew out of control. My speed is set at medium. I’ve no idea how fast it can go at max (and nothing to compare it to anyway) but one other reviewer I read complained that fast is not really FAST.
The Brother comes with more feet than I know what to do with, literally. Consulting the manual informed me which was the embroidery foot and that the zigzag foot was required for most of the other regular stitches so these are the two I keep near me. The other five feet I’ve put in a bag to ask my mother about when next she comes for a visit. Removal of the attached zigzag foot was as easy as turning a screw and connecting the embroidery foot simply required a tightening of the screw .
I’ve never embroidered before and was extremely pleased to learn that embroidering is a snap; I did use a stabilizer because I was using a thin fabric. I believe if you’re using a sturdy/thick material you can get away without it. The only troubles for me came when it was time to swap out the thread colors... am I supposed to also change the bobbin in addition to the spindle? The first time I tried I ended up taking the entire embroidery arm off which reset the machine (good to know for the future). When the arm was reconnected I had to choose the design again and start over. If you are going to change the bobbin then simply take off the hoop to access the area. Personally, I decided that having the wrong side monochromatic is rather cool so I only change the color on the easily-accessed spindle.
First and foremost, I’m a knitter and one hope for me when purchasing this machine was that it would be able to embroider my hand-knitting. I used a cut-off polymer stabilizer attached tightly to the hoop, sprayed on 505 adhesive, placed my knitting on top (and OVER the hoop) and finally adhered a wash-off stabilizer on top of the knitting (also OVER the hoop). And darned if it didn’t work! Perhaps I should add that I was embroidering a baby jacket with a small puppy design around 2”x2”. This alone has made me over-the-moon happy with my purchase.
Initially, seeing that there were 70 designs included for embroidery seemed sufficient for the small about of embroidery I hope to do. Unfortunately, 26 of those designs are letters of the alphabet leaving only 44 designs, most of which seem to me to be some form of flower. This is remedied by connecting the machine to a computer with the supplied usb connector to drop new designs onto the hard drive. My Macbook Pro was able to accomplish this without any troubles; the sewing machine’s hard drive simply shows up on my computer as “unknown harddrive” and I dropped the new patterns onto it. The Brother website (http://brother.com) has a number of free patterns in addition to other information and projects. It’s well worth it to check it out periodically.
When winding the bobbin I do have to watch it closely since my machine has a tendency to wrap the thread around the pin just beneath the bobbin.
The included flow-chart was not obvious to me, however, the manual is well worded and easy to follow.
This machine has surpassed my every hope for it. I am thrilled with my purchase and am recommending this machine to my friends who are curious (there aren’t many, but a few have at least expressed polite interest). This machine will be able to grow with me as I learn a few more sewing basics, it’s light and easy to transport and finally it’s easy and fun! If I can do it, anyone can.
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