Do you find even your costlier clothes losing threads and falling apart? Have you noticed a loose button on your jacket or jeans? I have had several occasions where I have had small tears or imperfections in my clothes, and rather than get rid of them, I can simply repair them myself. Some stitching jobs only require a needle and thread, but some thicker materials or more precise jobs can be helped along by a sewing machine like Brother HC1850.
I had always done my clothes mending by hand, so I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I realized it was time to buy a sewing machine. I mistakenly thought all sewing machines were basically the same, and any would get the job done. I didn’t realize I had to do extensive research before deciding what model was right for me. I ended up reading several reviews of sewing machines before I was able to feel confident in a selection.
If you are looking to buy a sewing machine of your own, I recommend you also research multiple models before making a decision. I hope to make your process slightly easier by offering my review of the popular Brother HC1850.
What is the Brother HC1850 and How Does It Work?
This model is a computerized sewing and quilting machine, so it can be used for simple repairs as well as more in-depth and lengthy design projects. This machine comes with a variety of features, including 130 built-in stitches. This sounds like an overwhelming amount, but don’t worry: the machine includes a conveniently attached flip chart that gives you comprehensive diagrams of each of the stitches offered, so you will know exactly which stitch to choose for each individual project.
Among the 130 included stiches are 8 auto-size button holes, which can be implemented in just one step. This ensures you should be able to sew on and reattach buttons to clothing of any and all measurements. The stitches built into the machine encompass garment construction stitches, quilting stitches, decorative stitches, and heirloom stitches. The machine also comes with a detachable wide table, which gives the user more surface area on which to lay and work on their larger projects.
Other features include a large LCD display screen and LED-lit working area, helping the users to clearly see not only the settings and selections available, but also providing them with bright white light (rather than the commonly used dimmer yellow light) to see the finer details or the darker fabrics they are working with. This model is all about making the sewing experience as simple and stress-free as possible. It offers an adjustable sewing speed, easy threading with an automatic needle threader, and a quick-set bobbin. You can change the speed of the needle even as you work, with the slide control that easily adjusts back and forth, depending on the speed required for each piece of your project.
Not only is it simple to set up your bobbin (just drop it in and pull the thread through the slot), it’s also easy to wind. All you need to do is move the bobbin to the right and push the start button. Then the bobbin is wound for you!
What Accessories Are Included?
The Brother HC180 comes with so many accessories, you shouldn’t need to make any other sewing purchases for quite a while! There are eight presser feet included: zigzag, overcasting, monogramming, zipper, blind stitch, buttonhole, button sewing, and spring action quilting. This makes the machine incredibly flexible, and adaptable to just about any sewing need. There is already a built-in monogramming sewing font with letters A-Z, numbers 0-9, 7 punctuation marks, and 8 specialty characters, so you can easily and elegantly personalize gifts for friends and family.
In the box, you’ll also receive an accessory pouch. This pouch contains 3 bobbins, a 3-piece needle set, a ball point needle, a twin needle, a cleaning brush, an eyelet punch, a screwdriver, 3 spool caps, an extra spool pin, and a seam ripper. Like I said, it really comes with everything you will need! There’s even an instructional DVD to accompany the instructional manual, in case you’d rather watch along than read a booklet.
Brother HC1850 Pricing
- 185 UNIQUE BUILT-IN STITCHES: The HC1850 includes 130 sewing stitches including 8 styles of auto-size buttonholes, plus 55 alphanumeric sewing stitches
- ADVANCED NEEDLE THREADER AND DROP-IN TOP BOBBIN: This sewing and quilting machine includes an advanced needle threading function that easily pushes thread through the needle with the press of a lever and a jam resistant drop-in top bobbin
- INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: The HC1850 includes a wide table, 8 feet, instructional DVD, manual and more
- LCD SCREEN: Easily select your stitches with the touch of a button and view your selections on the LCD display
- 25 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY: The HC1850 is backed by a 25 year limited warranty with free technical support for the life of the product
The Brother HC1850 is available directly from the Brother website as well as from Walmart for $190. For a computerized machine, this is a quite inexpensive find. The Brother site offers many optional supplies for an additional cost, including a 1/4 in. piecing foot for $16.99, a free motion foot for $36.99, a quilting guide for $11.99, a scissor kit for $99.99, and a 7mm walking foot for $97.99 Also available for purchase are countless 3-spool packs of thread, offered in just about any color you can imagine. Each of these packs is $24.99. The machine is listed on Amazon, offered with free shipping. If you would rather pick the machine up in store, most Walmart locations have it in stock, but you can always call ahead to make sure it is available.
Other Brother HC1850 Reviews
On Amazon and Walmart websites, the machine has generally favorable reviews from its customers, earning 4.5 and 4.2 stars out of 5, respectively. To find out exactly what kind of performance you can expect from this model, I continued researching individual reviews.
A seamstress tested out several of the stitches on a variety of materials to see how well they came out. She was pleased with the results when applying the zigzag stitch to fabrics typically easier to sew on, such as cotton, thin leather, and chiffon. However, she was not as impressed when it came to tougher materials like woven cotton and satin. These stitches came out far looser than she was expecting, leaving the product looking sloppy. Her review is in contrast to a few others I found that commended how well the machine works on denim and other heavy fabrics, so perhaps it just takes a slower, more exact needle. Either way, it is not best practice to try to sew through more than 3 layers of a heavy material, because home sewing machines are not made to handle this density.
One area the customers were particularly excited about was the ease of using the machine. The directions provided are very clear, and they make it simple for any user to understand how to operate the sewing machine with confidence. Multiple users complimented the clear labeling and directions that came printed directly on the machine. Sometimes I struggle to figure out the basics of a machine when I first open it, whether it be a sewing machine or a record player, so it means a great deal to me to have clear step-by-step instructions I can follow without getting frustrated. I know that some users who purchase this machine may be beginners in the sewing field, so they can rest assured they will be able to begin projects immediately after unboxing without complications.
Even for beginner sewers, the machine was easy to thread, and they found that this model easily adapted to any stitch or tension setting. Other machines may stall when switching settings, or sometimes become jammed, but this was not a problem with the HC1850. Any adjustment a user needs to make won’t take long, and it will keep the sewing process running smoothly. The only adjusting that was necessary was the user becoming more accustomed to using a computerized machine rather than a manual one, which is an adjustment users are typically happy to make. A few reviews were made by women who hadn’t sewn in quite a long time, and they were pleasantly surprised with how much easier this machine was to operate than the ones they had learned on decades ago. They were able to use all the same skills they had learned as young women, but now did not have to work as hard to make quality products such as quilts and potholders.
Customers appreciated how light the machine is, as anyone was able to easily lift it. I hate cumbersome or heavy machinery, as it makes me less likely to want to pull out the machine in the first place to start a project. At just over 10 pounds, the Brother HC1850 shouldn’t cause too much strain for anyone. It also won’t wake up your family members as you sew late into the evening, because it hums quietly through each process.
Even with all the satisfied customers, of course there were some who were underwhelmed with their purchase. Some mentioned their displeasure with the lack of accessory storage on the machine. Since this model does come with a multitude of accessories as described above, there would have to be a significant amount of sturdy storage space to accommodate it all. The accessory pouch in the box was not durable enough to hold all of the accessories for long without tearing, which could cause a real mess when fully broken. You definitely don’t want your spools and needles spilling all over the floor. I suggest using a separate sewing table to store all your materials in.
A few reviews mentioned that the machine worked great but only for a short period of time. After regular use for 4 months, the motor began failing. The Brother HC1850 does offer a 25-year limited warranty, which would cover regular repairs such as this. There is also a provided customer service support email address and phone line, either of which users can call with any questions or concerns during weekday business hours. With an almost 5-star rating on multiple websites, it is clear that the positive aspects of this machine outweigh the negative.
How Brother HC1850 Compares
The most comparable model to the Brother HC1850 is the Singer 4452 Heavy Duty. This model comes in at the slightly less expensive $179.99 at Joann, but accordingly does not offer as many extra features. As with the Brother HC1850, the Singer 4452 advertises its ease of use, claiming to be perfect for novice and practiced crafters alike.
- SINGER HEAVY DUTY SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine boasts an array of features that make creating elegant garments and gifts for yourself and others fun and exciting. The Sewing machine with 32 built-in stitches includes 6 Basic, 7 Stretch, 18 Decorative Stitches and 1 Fully Automatic 1-step Buttonholes. A large variety of stitches for all types of sewing and perfect for crafts, home decor, clothing construction and much more
- AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER SEWING MACHINE: After following the threading path printed right on the machine, this built-in feature helps you to effortlessly thread the eye of the needle without eye strain or frustration, Machine Size - 15.5 x 6.25 x 12 inches
- HIGH-SPEED SEWING MACHINE: The Singer 4452 sewing machine has a maximum sewing speed of 1,100 stitches-per-minute, so projects can be sewn quickly. The 60% Stronger Motor than standard sewing machines allows it to sew through heavyweight fabrics with ease
- SEWING MACHINE ACCESSORIES: Four bonus Heavy Duty optimized accessories included: Even Feed / Walking Foot for layers of fabric, Non-Stick Foot for leather and vinyl, a 5-pack of Size 16 needles and a Clearance Plate for thick seams. Plus a variety of must-have accessories are included with all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper / lint brush, quilting guide, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt are all conveniently located and stored in the accessory tray. A soft-sided dust cover is also included in the packaging
- BEST SELLING SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 sewing machine is a true workhorse. The stainless steel bedplate enables smooth fabric flow and the heavy duty interior metal frame ensures skip-free sewing. Top drop-in bobbin is easy to insert, remove and monitor thread supply
It does not offer as many built-in stitches as the Brother’s 130, having 32 to choose from instead. This seems to be the biggest difference between the two machines, as the Singer comes with an array of accessories much like the Brother. However, the Singer does come with 4 different sewing feet rather than 8. It offers an all-purpose foot, a zipper foot, a buttonhole foot, and a button-sewing foot.
The Singer offers a similar rating, listed at 4.3 rather than the Brother’s 4.5 stars on Amazon. Like the Brother version, this one comes with printed instructions right on the machine, to make any sewing project simple for the user. The Singer does come with heavy duty needles not advertised with the Brother HC50, that are meant for bulkier materials such as denim seams. This machine also offers a 25-year limited warranty, just as the Brother does. The two machines are quite comparable, and the user would be satisfied with other one. Your purchasing decision truly depends on the extent of the features you are looking for with your sewing machine.
Fun Sewing Machine Tips for Newbies and Oldies
When in Doubt, always Rethread
When things are not working out, rethreading is always the best option. You can apply this as an absolute rule. Many sewers want to make the best of it or see if they can somehow fix the messed up thread as they go. Do not fall into this trap. It is ALWAYS better to use a new thread and avoid taking your chances. Whenever you figure out that your seams or thread are either too tight or too loose, or you see that your machine is skipping stitches, start over. Stop the machine and rethread with spool and bobbin. Almost every single time, this will solve all your thread mess up problems!
Clean, Clean, Clean
With our work machines, it is so easy just to have them do their job and leave them be. But we forget that if items are not taken care of, they do not last. This is not just a maintenance tip, no, we want you to keep your machine clean and tidy!
This sewing tip is a must do if you wish your sewing machine a long and productive life of health and longevity. Some tools to try are an air duster or a compressor to blow out any tiny thread pieces or trapped lint. So many tiny particles can get hidden in the crevices of your sewing machine, and they can really impact the quality of your work in the long run. It can also create really big issues with the machine if you don't do consistent upkeep. Many sewing machine manuals instruct you on how to unscrew parts of the device to clean deeper inside areas.
Cleaning can also be done with sewing machine oil. This is a great way to get your machine looking and feeling fresh, and doing some preventative maintenance on it!
Keep and Use Your Scraps
As a rule of thumb, when you cut out your pattern pieces, never ever throw away your fabric scraps. They are perfect for practicing your stitching, especially when you're just starting out (though you still need regular practice when you are an oldie!).
Almost every line of work or craft that uses a machine asks you to test before using. The same is true of sewing. Nobody can sew perfectly, not even a machine or a seasoned seamstress. Especially if you want to try a special stitch or use expensive fabric (like silk), it is always best to test out the first few stitches on scraps before going on the real garment. The worst thing would be to ruin valuable and expensive fabric, especially if it is a job for a customer!
A great rule of thumb is to recreate the exact same fabric with your scraps every time. For instance, if you're going to sew on 3 layers of fabric to your project, you will need to get three pieces of fabric scraps, layer them, and practice that way.
What We Think of Brother HC1850
The Brother HC1850 is a suitable machine for users of any level, but only for home sewing projects. I would not use this machine for industrial sized projects, such as producing several garments on a regular basis. If you are looking to make Christmas gifts for your loved ones, I believe this machine could get the job done very smoothly. It works well on most fabrics, and it is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Yes, there may be some frustration with occasional stalling or jerking, but this is to be expected with any machine under heavy use.
I feel secure recommending this purchase, as you will be able use it for years to come on sewing projects of a wide variety. You will surely see the quality yourself after just one use. This machine is ideal for those who enjoy sewing at home and are eager to get creative with their designs.