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.
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.
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.
General Features :
- 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
- 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 :
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 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
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
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.
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.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- 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 – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- Consumers’ Digest Best Buy Award recipient
- More than 56 square inch work space
- Metal embroidery frame
- So many new features, I must wonder how well they will hold up over time.