Insightful sewing machine reviews

Brother Innovis 950D Review

Brother Innovis 950D Review
Brother Innovis 950D Review
Author
Users
  • Stitch quality
  • Speed
  • Ease of use
  • Maintenance
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.

When I reviewed the Brother Innovis 950D, my initial thoughts about a sewing machine that does absolutely everything were pretty much confirmed.

Brother Innovis 950D

Brother Innovis 950D

Pros

  • Multi-functional machine sews, quilts and embroiders
  • Upper and lower thread sensors

Cons

  • Inferior stitch quality
  • No update capability

At A Glance

When I first spied this machine, I was tempted to believe it was a child’s machine or at best, a portable sewing machine for carrying to class or traveling. Upon further examination, however, I saw a whole lot more.

USB port and a slot for memory cards

USB port and a slot for memory cards

The Brother Innovis 950D is probably the first compact sewing machine I’ve encountered that comes with a detachable embroidery unit, an extension table and a free arm.

It also has a USB port, a slot for memory cards, a variable speed slider, needle up and down on-board bobbin winding and thread guide graphics that are so plainly designed even a child in elementary school could easily follow them.

Features

For a machine this small, the Brother Innovis 950D is loaded with accessories, many of which are found only on much larger, more costly machines.

  • 105 built-in embroidery designs
    • 35 Disney designs
    • 6 alphanumeric embroidery fonts
    • 3 alphanumeric sewing fonts
    • 10 one step buttonholes
  • My Custom Stitch™
  • Sew Nice Pic™ Frame for added customization
  • Embroidery Design Boutique CD featuring 126 additional designs
  • Maximum embroidery area of 4″ x 4″
  • Adjustable pressure foot pressure
  • Sideways stitching

Working on the Brother Innovis 950D

On-board graphic decals almost make winding the bobbin and threading the Brother Innovis 950D child’s play every step of the way. Attaching and removing the embroidery unit and extension table are quick and easy.

Easy to attach and remove the embroidery unit extension table

Easy to attach and remove the embroidery unit extension table

The backlit LCD screen not only helps with stitch selection, but also guides you through the process of stitch adjustment, selecting the right presser foot and making your stitches truly yours.

My only concern, however, is that the quality of the stitches, especially the decorative and quilting stitches is, in my opinion, lacking to say the least.

Since quilting was one of the major selling points for the Brother Innovis 950D, I decided to test its quilting capability. When working with utility stitch options, I was not impressed, though not disappointed.

They were tight, well formed and well defined. However, when I attempted working with some of the decorative stitching options, I was not impressed with the results at all. They were inconsistent and, to be honest, rather disappointing.

On-board graphic decals

On-board graphic decals

In addition, I find that sewing on the Brother Innovis 950D is not the most comfortable sewing experience. The machine tends to be a bit noisy and for lack of a better term, “clunky”.

Stitch quality

Stitch quality

Bearing in mind that I was sewing in the quilting mode for most of this review, I think it runs more smoothly when working with no more than two or three fabric layers.

Fabrics

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

Accessories

  • 7 Presser feet
    • Buttonhole foot
    • Overcasting foot
    • Zipper Foot
    • Zigzag foot
    • Button fitting foot
    • Monogramming foot
    • Blindstitch foot
    • Embroidery foot
  • Hard Cover for the machine
  • Separate cover for the embroidery unit
  • Seam ripper
  • 4 bobbins with bobbin clips
  • Needle set
  • Twin needle
  • Lint brush
  • Eyelet punch
  • Screwdriver
  • Touch pen
  • 3 spool caps
  • Spool pin
  • Spool net
  • Scissors
  • Disc-shaped screwdriver
  • Accessory case
  • Bobbin thread
  • Picture frame
  • Instructional CD
  • Owner’s manual

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 Innovis 950D might be a great machine for people who want to just do some straight sewing and a little embroidery and quilting. However, my feeling is that if you are going to spend this kind of money, you could do much better by making a different choice.

Not only is the machine on the noisy side, the stitch quality is questionable. My biggest disappointment came when I attempted the alligator stitch. If you take a moment to compare the photos, you can clearly see what I mean.

Alligator stitch selection

Alligator stitch selection

If you ask me, the end result doesn’t look at all like the graphic on the screen. I am willing to concede that the gators I sewed were made on thick fabric and a quilting foot.

Alligator stitch quality

Alligator stitch quality

However, in my opinion, that should make very little difference. Several of the other stitch options I selected during this review came out with questionable results as well, though not as obviously distorted as this one.

The threading process is one of the simplest, easiest to follow I’ve see on a new sewing machine. I have no doubt a child in elementary school would have no difficulty whatsoever threading this machine or winding its bobbin.

When I consider the multiple functions, interchangeable quilting frame and extension table, and again, stitch quality, however, I couldn’t honestly recommend this one for anyone who intends to really use it for a long time.

At just a little over 16 pounds, the Brother Innovis 950D is lightweight – which is a definite plus, and it looks good with a cute lavender motif; it has the potential for being a good way for someone who is new to sewing to determine whether they prefer straight sewing, machine embroidery or machine quilting; but is that worth the investment? If so, then this might be the sewing machine for you.

It’s hard to make a really good sewing machine that can sew, quilt and embroider, especially when it’s a compact 16 pound portable. The people at Brother made a great attempt, but fell a bit short.

I always had reservations about sewing machines that are designed to perform too many tasks. While there are some sewing, quilting and embroidery machines on the market that perform well, this isn’t one of them.

4 Comments

  1. I have been using the Brother Innov-ís 950D for over 3 years now. It is my take to class and traveling machine vs hauling around my heavy Innov-ís 4000D. As I had 14 days to return the machine if it did not meet my needs I did a stitch test of every pattern on this machine, embroidery and sewing and the quality is amazing! I used a heavy cotton duck fabric for my tests, and always the proper foot. I even did some exact designs on both machines and asked the sewing class ladies which machine stitched the designs, they could not tell the difference!

    When the patterns are stitched with the Proper foot and correct material, for the design being stitched, you will have a great looking project every time. And if you can not invest in a large machine this is the machine to get.

    If I am embroidering a 4″ x 4″ design, or smaller, I ALWAYS use my 950D machine.

    I love this machine!

  2. I have a problem the bobin threat is coming Up when I make a embroidery

  3. Hello, Lise –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    Have you tried different tension settings? Sometimes that is all that is needed to correct the problem. Also… When was the last time your Innov-is 950D was serviced? It might just need a minor adjustment by an authorized service provider.

    Happy stitching.

  4. Can anyone teach me how to use brother nv950? I’m a newbie in sewing, and is it compulsory to use brother threads? Please help me… Tq

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