On a visit to Ace Sewing and Vacuum in Pompano Beach, Florida, I had an opportunity to review the much anticipated Brother Dream Machine. This machine has so many brand new features and options that I honestly don’t know where to start.

One thing that everyone needs to know right off the bat is the Brother Dream Machine has earned the Best Buy Award from Consumer’s Digest.

When compared to other machines in its class … and there is only one, the Baby Lock Destiny … the Brother Dream Machine has comparable features and options, but cost slightly less.

At A Glance

The first thing you will notice about the Brother Dream Machine is its sheer size! When the embroidery unit is attached, this combination sewing and embroidery machine appears to take up almost as much space as a full size table mounted industrial sewing machine.

Brother Dream Machine

Brother Dream Machine

If you have a standard size sewing table, the Dream Machine will take up the entire work surface. That and the large full color LCD touch screenare only the beginning.

On the right side of the machine are three USB ports, ports for connecting the standard laser pen and the foot pedal as well as something else that I have never before seen on any sewing machine… a headphone jack.

After doing a bit of research, I learned that this machine actually has on board tutorial videos complete with audio. Believe it or not, you can even plug in a DVD and watch a movie on the large screen.

Has all of the on board features any home sewer would love to have

Has all of the on board features any home sewer would love to have

The Brother Dream Machine also has all of the on board features any home sewer would love to have… start/stop, reverse stitch, stitch reinforcement, needle up/down, thread cutter, presser foot up/down, variable speed control slider and a fully automatic needle threader along with an easy to follow threading and bobbin winding guides.

Features

General Features :

Automatic needle threading system

Automatic needle threading system

  • 11.25” needle to arm
  • 5-inch height from sewing bed to top of machine arm
  • LED lighting mimics natural daylight with five different settings
  • Nearly 10-inches of lighting around the needle
  • Automatic needle threading system
  • Ergonomic large start/stop button
  • Separate bobbin winder system
  • Adjustable bobbin winding speed
  • InnovEye® 2 Technology
  • On board camera
  • Scanner
  • Extra high lift presser foot

My Design Center :

  • Draw directly onto the LCD touch screen
  • Line-art scan and embroidery
  • Drawing or .jpg scan and embroidery
  • Scan and stipple
  • 30 stamp frames
  • Combine creations with pre-digitized and build-in designs and fonts
  • Auto line completion
  • Stitch setting attributes
  • Zoom up to 400%
  • ScanImation™ Scanning Frame

Embroidery Features :

  • 773 on board embroidery designs
    • 166 Disney/Pixar embroidery designs
    • 15 home furnishings designs
    • 5 pet designs
    • 20 Japanese designs
    • 18 quilt designs
    • 18 built-in technique designs
    • 30 Swiss designs from Zundt
    • 8 cool designs
    • 140 frame pattern combinations
    • 22 embroidery fonts with full complement of symbols, including 2 small fonts
    • Built-in Greek alphabet
  • 9.5” x 14” Embroidery area
  • Built-in extra-large designs for the jumbo 9.5” x 14” embroidery frame
  • Embroider up to 1,050 stitches per minute
  • Go forward or backward up to 1,000 stitches
  • 175 sewing stitch designs available in embroidery mode
  • Color Shuffling® 2
  • Droplight™ LED Embroidery Positioning Marker
  • Ultrasonic sensor sets embroidery position and angle
  • Camera scanning in two different speed modes
  • AccuTrac™ embroidery system
  • InnovEye® 2 Technology and Snowman® Embroidery Positioning Marker
  • InnovaChrome™ LED Thread Color System
  • Print and Stitch™ Technology for 3D Art
  • Embroidery background color adjusting feature
  • Monochrome embroidery for single color embellishment
  • Jump stitch thread trimming
  • Thread wiper
  • Resume function
  • Thread sensors for upper and lower threads
  • Embroidery frame display
  • Embroidery basting function
  • Embroidery thread palettes
  • Built-in alignment function for designs and borders
  • Trial position
  • Design duplication mode with embroidery editing
  • Readable PHC files
  • Built-in Appliqué Creator
  • Embroidery drag and drop

Sewing Features :

  • 149 utility stitches
  • 577 decorative stitches, including vintage, heirloom and wide designs
  • 5 sewing fonts: 3 alphabet and 1 Cyrillic and 1 Japanese font
  • Sew up to 1,050 stitches per minute
  • Sew decorative stitches up to 710 stitches per minute
  • Sew Straight™ 2 brighter laser and wider side range
  • MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed System
  • Multi-function foot controller for hands-free control of select sewing functions
  • Enhanced My Custom Stitch™ feature
  • Automatic Height Adjuster™ (AHA®) … automatic presser foot pressure
  • InnovEye® 2 Technology pattern collection and edge stitching
  • Virtual Stitch PreviewTM
  • Lightning-quick pivoting functionality, with customizable foot height
  • Paper punching – sew with no thread
  • Square feed dog system
  • Adjustable 3 position knee lift
  • Needle plate detector for
  • Free motion mode automatically adjusts the foot height
  • Automatic feed dog switching
  • Back to beginning key
  • Improved sewing with longer feed dogs

LCD Display Features :

  • Large 10.1’’ built-in HD LCD display – 23% larger than screens on previous Brother models
  • More than 16 million possible colors with no color shifting on LCD
  • MPEG4 replay function
  • Embroidery design and sewing stitch selection scroll bar
  • Adjustable display color for easy editing
  • Built-in screensavers with viewing adjustment options
  • Personalized screensaver
  • More than 40 built-in instructional videos

Software Features :

Three USB ports and a headphone jack

Three USB ports and a headphone jack

  • 3 USB ports
  • High-speed 2.0 port for design transfer
  • Customizable USB mouse pointer functions for an optional mouse
  • Optional external USB embroidery card reader
  • Easy-to-navigate home screen
  • 5 Sound levels
  • Larger internal memory capacity
  • 13 on board languages
  • High power CPU
  • Presser foot and needle changing key for safe operations
  • Screen lock
  • Time and date key
  • Eco mode

Working on the Brother Dream Machine

When I first turned on the Dream Machine, the LCD touch screen displayed a pretty opening picture and played a delightful tune. When the song restarted, I touched the screen with my fingertip, and the machine went into action.

LCD touch screen displayed a pretty opening picture

LCD touch screen displayed a pretty opening picture

The first thing it did was to switch to the main ‘home’ screen, giving me three options… sewing, embroidery, Disney or My Design Center. The option at the lowest position on the touch screen, My Design Center, is where the user’s personal favorite designs are saved.

I sat for a few minutes just scrolling through each of the design options. It was absolutely fascinating. There is no on board stitch selection guide, and for good reason. There is absolutely no way a display of all these stitches would be able to fit onto such a small space.

After several minutes of scrolling through each of the different sewing, embroidery and Disney stitch options, getting back to the main menu was as easy as touching the ‘home’ icon on the upper right hand corner of the screen.

The other icons at the top of the screen from left to right are the camera, stitch menu, help, presser foot/needle exchange and machine lock.

Although the Brother Dream Machine is larger than every other sewing and embroidery machine I have ever worked on, the bobbin winding and threading processes are as easy as possible with the on board guides that are clearly identified inside the lid and on front of the machine.

Bobbin winding and threading processes are as easy as possible

Bobbin winding and threading processes are as easy as possible

The see through bobbin cover and thread sensors make it virtually impossible to run out of thread in the middle of a seam, while sewing a sequence of decorative stitches or half way through an embroidery project.

Just to keep the sewing field even, and in the interest of time, I sampled several of the sewing stitch options for this review. Each one, I must admit, came out with excellent results.

Excellent stitching results

Excellent stitching results

Selecting the stitches was as simple as selecting the sewing option which opens menus for sewing utility stitches, quilting stitches, and the alphanumeric fonts.

To select a particular stitch, it is necessary to first select a stitch category and then scroll through to find the desired stitch. Without having a chart to refer to, it may take time to find the perfect stitch option, but once you become familiar with the choices, identifying the right stitch will surely become easier with time.

When the thread cutter is used after sewing a seam or a row of decorative stitches, the presser foot remains in the down position.

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Denim
  • Fur
  • Reptile skin
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

  • 4 Embroidery frames:
    • 9.5” x 14”
    • 8” x 12”
    • 5” x 7”
    • 4” x 4”
  • 16 Snap on presser feet
    • Couching foot with MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed System
    • 3 Free-motion quilting feet
    • Piecing foot
    • Straight stitch foot
    • Zigzag foot
    • Monogramming foot
    • Overcasting foot
    • Zipper foot
    • Buttonhole foot
    • Blindstitch foot
    • Embroidery foot
    • Dual feed foot
    • Straight stitch foot
    • Quilting foot
  • 2-spool thread stand
  • High-quality accessory box for storage within arm of machine
  • 3 removable accessory trays
  • 3 in 1 multi-function screwdriver
  • V-Sonic™ Pen Pal
  • Straight stitch needle plate
  • Special bobbin case for bobbin work
  • Side car foot pedal

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean race hook and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Tying Off The Loose Ends

The Brother Dream Machine is aptly named. This machine is truly a dream. For some, it is no doubt, a dream come true. When I got my first sewing machine at the age of eight, I never imagined a sewing machine that had pictures and sound.

This machine has so much more to offer than that little hand cranked sewing machine, I must admit that I was almost mesmerized while putting this machine through its paces and witnessing all that it is capable of doing.

I must also admit, however, that I cannot help but wonder how reliable the Dream Machine will be after several months or years of service in a real home sewing room, rather than under the perfect conditions of a store showroom.

This machine has a total of 23 innovative features that have never before been seen on a sewing machine, it is sometimes difficult to comprehend all of them working perfectly without at least a little bit of tweaking and adjusting to get the ‘bugs’ out.

The stitch quality is perfect. Working on the Dream Machine is really a dream. It is quiet, sturdy and ergonomically sound. Working on this machine actually feels good.

There is simply no other way to put it. I like the way it handles and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it while conducting this review.

Quiet, sturdy and ergonomically sound machine

Quiet, sturdy and ergonomically sound machine

Just because of the many internal computerized components, I hesitate to recommend sewing a lot of heavy, thick fabrics or extra thick layers, but have no reservations whatsoever for its use in making quilts or coats and jackets every once in a while.

It’s not a bad deal if you think about what you get for your investment… a top of the line, state of the art sewing, embroidery and quilting machine that can even talk you through tutorials.

You can even plug your computer or DVD player in and watch your favorite movie or television show on the large full color LCD touch screen. As a safety feature, however, you cannot sew while a video is running.

When you consider the fact that the folks at Consumers’ Digest gave it the Best Buy Award, that it is a good comfortable machine to work on and that it has so much to offer, I cannot come to any other conclusion but to say that it is a good buy… that is if you are willing to part with an amount of money comparable to the cost of a car… not a luxury car, but a car nonetheless.

Brother Dream Machine Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
Beginner
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
Performance
Stitch quality
Speed
Ease of use
Maintenance
Pros
  • Consumers’ Digest Best Buy Award recipient
  • More than 56 square inch work space
  • Metal embroidery frame
Cons
  • So many new features, I must wonder how well they will hold up over time.
4.9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (107 Votes)

24 Responses

  1. Bob

    We bought the Dream Machine 11/14 and used it to make 70 personalized projects for relatives’ Christmas gifts. So the learning curve is pretty good. we purchased several logos and a few patterns from google.com to match peoples’ hobbies, etc. At this time (5/8/15) I am using the included PE Design software to create patterns for logos, jeeps, and a horse/grand daughter photo. All are superb and cherished. We LOVE the machine and use it whenever possible. We have over 3 million stitches on it at this time!
    Problem: It has been in the shop 2 times. The first, it became out of time and refused to sew, making bird nests and not picking up the bottom thread. This was repaired under warranty. We are unable to repair it and opening the case voids the wty… This put a fear in us and we now are more careful to not let threads pile up or use heavier fabrics…
    Failure #2: Just happened yesterday 5/7/15, and it is in the shop again. We used metalic thread as prescribed by the selling dealership and I believe some of the metal came off in the upper thread area and fouled a bearing. The machine began to knock with increasing loudness, then locked up. We freed it by rotating the drive wheel, but it didn’t work the same thereafter. The problem here is again the closed case. It would be simple to clear thread out if I could get to it, but no, it has to go to the shop for that. Our Mothers’ Day gifts lie uncompleted.

    I highly recommend making the internals accessible for such minor maintenance. It is not fun to stop because thread is fouled a bearing somewhere made inaccessible by a plastic case.

    Reply
    • Verner Cartledge

      Your recent experience with the thread jamming in the bobbin area was very helpful. I’m in the process of deciding if I want to spend that much money on a machine that has minor maintenance problems that result in a trip to the shop. Thank you for your comments.

      Reply
      • Verner

        A machine at this price point should not have any problems. The fact that a minor maintenance problems warrant a trip to the shop is very frustrating.

      • Bob

        I must repost this: We LOVE our Dream Machine and it is now working like new. We have added about 1 million more stitches without event (now at 3.3 million stitches). We had our machine in the shop 4 times before about 2 feet of thread was found and removed from a bearing. I think the Brother machines are built like a tank and should run for a lifetime. We have 2 other Brothers and their mechanisms are all very much alike. Both have never been in the shop. My earlier conclusion stands: access should be provided to the user to clear this trapped thread. We are finding sewing hobbyists to not be dummies and such a closed box is highly aggravating.
        From what we have learned, we never pull a broken thread out now. Often a broken thread will have a birds nest on the end and it will be pulled up inside the head when it happens. Get a tweezers and pull the thread out. Cut off the birds nest. Then pull the thread out at the spool and rethread. I really don’t know how the thread got into the bearing, but this has been a successful solution for us.
        Again, we LOVE the Dream Machine and now glad that we bought it. My wife has not been so happy since our wedding day as the time we brought this machine home. She LOVES to make gifts and theme related patterns of shirts, jackets, and now her dresses. They are gorgeous and stunning.

      • Lorraine

        I bought the Dream Machine in August. I love it. I have had no thread issues with the machine. It sews like a dream, I do use decent thread, but I have never had good luck with one particular thread beginning with an S. So I never purchase this brand. I use my machine just about every day, I also own a Brother QuattroII and a DreamWeaver 6200. We have a wonderful dealer and loads of support. The machine support and classes are most important when picking a machine

    • Dr Carla

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. What machine would you recommend instead? It sounds anniying and I feel I would be wauting for it to gum up with every stitch. A machine like this sounds as as if it should be able to handle metallic or other thread and a variety of thick fabrics without concern. I was strongly considering this machine until I read you review. Hope after you get it bac it will work well for you guys. Sincerely, Dr Carla

      Reply
      • Bob

        Dr Carla
        If you are referring to my post of May 9, 2015, we are totally happy with our Dream Machine now. It has over 5 Million stitches. We made about 110 Christmas gifts in December with it, some taking 6 hours, others shorter times. The problem we had was our local repair shop said we could not open the machine or void the warranty. So we took it in for repair. Four times altogether. A big headache… We finally found a sales associate in a local store who was VERY helpful and she said they take the end cover off the head to clear thread if needed. So we did. The repair shop had failed to find a bearing with about 2 feet of thread wrapped around the crank shaft in inside the bearing. Getting that out was pretty simple with the cover off — impossible with the cover on. After tweezing out all I could get, I ran some dental floss into the shaft near the bearing and it was able to chase out the last bit of thread. I am certain the machine was in the shop 4 times and the thread jam not found. I think the way the thread gets caught is when the bobbin fails to catch the needle thread, the needle continues to go up and down, wearing the thread into a frazzle and it breaks. Sometimes the frazzeled end pops up into the sewing machine and sometimes it gets caught in the crank-shaft bearing that is nearby. This is quite rare and knowing it happens, we have been able to turn the machine backwards by hand and gently pull the thread back out. Again, this is rare and again, it is easy to remedy. I would be very surprised if this isn’t common with any and all sewing machines and would not downgrade the Dream Machine for that reason. It is a great machine and still puts the nicest smile on my wife’s face when she finishes a project.

      • Bob

        Re metallic thread:
        We use metallic threads regularly. There are special needles with bigger hole for metallics and they work better than the standard needle for that. By the way, we use titanium needles for everything and run them until they break or don’t sew well.
        We also use polyester neon colors and they are real attention-getters.
        Go for it. Your imagination is the only limit.
        My personal favorite is a flowered humming bird pattern (included on Anita Goodesign USB chip) using neon threads on the back of a Levi type sleeveless jacket. Stunning!

      • Doreen

        I have had the Dream Machine since it first came out. I have never had any issue I could not solve. Never been back to the dealer.

      • Bob

        Since finding how to clean the thread out, we have really enjoyed the Dream Machine. I doubt you will find any machine that doesn’t ever need thread pulled out at some time and it should be considered a “right of ownership”. It takes maybe 15 or 30 minutes total. Much less than a dealer repair. The end cap comes off with a couple of screws exposing the crank shaft that gets the thread in it. I would estimate it needs cleaned about every million stitches. Usually, you will find the thread caught when thread breaks. Just pull gently on the thread while turning the machine backwards. The thread will usually unwind off the shaft.
        The Dream Machine is a great machine and we love it.

    • lt

      All metallic threads should be used in the bobbin and use the specific bobbin. DO NOT run metallic threads through the machine. You get the same design just by turning your garment upside down. So in the future. regular thread through the machine and metallic thread in the bobbin. Read the section in your large manual on “bobbin work”. Never use metallic thread in any machine because it will wear out your machines moving parts.

      Reply
    • Donna

      I have a question that I cannot find the answer to in my Brother materials, but I do believe, the Brother rep shared with me on the day of purchase. Can I sew garments with the embroidery unit still attached? I realize the needle and embroidery head would have to be changed out, but am almost positive she told me the embroidery unit itself could be left on for sewing. Thank you for any help you can give me!

      Reply
      • Bob

        Answer to Donna,
        Embroidery uses a special foot and a bobbin carrier with tension adjusted for the size of embroidery bobbin thread (One is “80” and the other “40” for embroidery if memory serves me correctly). All embroidery is done with the same size bobbin thread and the same size top side thread (the two are not the same as each other).

        When you sew, you should change the foot to whatever type sewing you will be doing and install the sewing bobbin carrier. This is a very quick operation.
        The embroidery arm can be left on, but you don’t want to be banging into the carriage as the drive mechanism could possibly be damaged. The arm comes off with a simple squeeze of a release and a tug to the left.
        Bob

  2. Anne

    I learned a couple of years ago never to pull a thread at the top of the machine always cut at the spool and pull the wasted thread down at the needle. I hope this will avoid any thread issues, such as those described above.

    Reply
  3. Jan

    Tension problem
    My work looks perfect on the backside
    Not perfect on the top
    What should I do?
    Jan

    Reply
    • Dr Carla

      Darn waiting to hear someones solution, too. Thanks for the good question.

      Reply
    • Bob

      I need more info to help you. Describe “not perfect”. Is this the Brother Dream Machine? Is this a new problem, or was it displayed when the machine was new? Slow in appearing or abruptly? Is this an embroidery issue or sewing or quilting?
      * You can adjust upper thread tension on a page of the setup menu.
      * Make sure the bobbin area is very clean and dust free. A can of air does a great job.
      * Make sure you have the correct bobbin carrier. There are 3 with the Dream machine. For Embroidery, the one with the purple dot is correct. Each has a different tension adjustment is the difference and the purple is for the standard embroidery thread diameter.
      * Swap in a new needle… always a good thing to try.
      * Are you sure you have the correct foot in place? There is one for embroidery work.
      * Are you using embroidery thread? Is more than one spool doing this?
      * Does the drive know turn freely? You will feel kind of a “Buzz” when you turn it and that is normal. But if it is stiff or doesn’t turn smoothly all the way around, there could be thread in the crank-shaft bearing or possibly somewhere else. A flashlight thru the threading slots gives a peek at this part and you should see shredded thread around the bearing if that is the problem.
      Ummmmm. Can’t think of anything more off hand. Hope this helps. Let us know.
      Best wishes.

      Reply
      • Bob

        Sorry, Jan. not “drive know” but should be “Drive knob”.

  4. Beatriz

    I believe that a mayor thing is to have a very good technician at the store where you get the machine because if he is very good, like the one I have, he even teach you what to do in some cases if you can not go to the shop, and resolve the problem over the phone as I live quite far away, I have the Quattro 2 but will love to get the Dream one, still mine work very well but as I say the technician is my wright hand for any problem on the machine, if he is not that good, then you have to deal with the problems by yourself.

    Reply
  5. Heather Riggs

    All in all which is the better deal and the most versatile machine with the least issues and maintenance problems? The dream machine or the destiny?

    Reply
    • Bob

      Heather,
      Baby Lock has a machine (Destiny?) that is identically equal to the Dream Machine except for the color of the housing.
      Bob

      Reply
  6. Ann

    We r looking at the Dream Machine 2….. What is the difference from Dream Machine 1…. Seems to be a lot of difference in money….what I need is a machine that will also quilt..

    Reply

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