When I visited Laura’s Sewing and Fabric in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida to review the Brother Dream Fabric Frame, it was attached to the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW sewing and quilting machine. During the course of reviewing the Dream Fabric Frame, it was impossible to avoid reviewing the PQ 1500SL PRW as well.
During the course of this review, I witnessed how this straight stitch only sewing and quilting machine operates in the quilting mode. I was able to personally judge the stitch quality, the workmanship, the feel and the ease of operation, including the level of noise and vibration.
At A Glance
The Brother PQ 1500SL PRW is a basic sewing and quilting machine with on board telescoping thread guides which make it possible to easily use cone thread.
The stitch length adjustment dial is located on front of the column. Directly beneath that dial is a lever which enables the user to adjust the drop feed level. This is an important feature when you are NOT using the Brother Dream Fabric Frame because it makes it possible for users to work with varying thicknesses of fabric with ease.
The knee lifter, which is also not necessary when using the Dream Fabric Frame, is essential for any home machine quilter because their hands are free while adjusting small or large quilting projects on a smaller work space.
There is a large reverse stitch lever on the lower edge of the column which allows the user to lock stitches and have greater flexibility when working on freehand sewing projects. Above the needle is a manual tension adjustment dial.
- Sews up to 1500 stitches per minute
- Adjustable stitch length up to 7mm
- Built-in knee lifter
- Automatic thread cutter button
- Side loaded bobbin
- Manual tension adjustment
- 4 Position drop feed
- Pin Feed – allows the user to exchange the feed dogs for a single pin that extends from beneath the machine to advance fabric without leaving feed dog marks on delicate fabrics
- Extending thread guide bar to accommodate cone thread
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- Needle plate with etched seam guides
Working on the BROTHER PQ 1500SL PRW
While there are on board threading guides, they are not as clearly defined as on some other models. They are, however, easy to follow for anyone who is already familiar with basic sewing machine operation. For those who are new to working on a sewing machine, the process is, in my opinion, easy to learn.
Since the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW is a straight stitch only machine, the only stitch selection step is to determine the desired stitch length in advance and set the dial to the proper setting.
During this review, sewing with the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW while attached to the Dream Fabric Frame was accomplished by pressing the start/stop button on the control box attached to the handlebar on the Dream Fabric Frame.
Since there is no start/stop button on the PQ 1500SL PRW, it is necessary to engage the foot pedal when the Brother Dream Fabric Frame is not in use. The on thread cutting option is, however, a standard feature on the PL 1500SL PRW.
With the Dream Fabric in place, the sewing speed is dictated by the speed with which the user moves the handlebar. When the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW is operating on its own, the speed is regulated by the pressure the user applies to the foot pedal.
When using the Dream Fabric Frame, the stitch quality is only as good as the quality of the stitches produced by the machine you use. During this review, I observed that not only were the stitches perfect in every way, the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW is unexpectedly quiet.
Regardless of the speed with which I moved the handlebars, the noise level remained the same. In addition, I did not detect any vibration whatsoever as I moved the handlebars at varying speeds.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 7 Presser feet
- General purpose foot
- Rolled hem foot
- Adjustable zipper foot
- Invisible zipper foot
- 1/4″ Foot
- Spring action quilting foot
- Walking foot
- Extra-large extension table
- Spool net
- Knee lifter
- Accessory kit
- Extra needles
- Spool cap
- Fabric separator
- Feed pin
- Feed pin changer
- 5 Metal bobbins
- Seam guide
- Lint brush
- 2 screwdrivers (1 large/1 small)
- Spool cushion
- Owner’s manual
- Dust cover
|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
Whether you use the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW as a stand alone sewing and quilting machine or attached to the Brother Dream Fabric Frame, I believe that this sewing and quilting machine is a strong contender for one of the best straight stitch sewing machines on the market.
This machine does not have any of the bells and whistles that are available on lots of other sewing machines, and very few features aside from the thread cutter. It is a very basic, well-built sewing and quilting machine with a larger than average work space – 5.7 x 8.6 needle to column – that is capable of working with lots of different types of fabrics.
Of course, if the extension table is attached, the work area is expanded to 11 x 23, but the needle to column, of course remains the same.
Since there is no zigzag stitch capability with this machine, the only way I would recommend it for garment construction is if you have one of those old fashioned buttonhole makers which can be attached to almost any sewing machine and a serger to finish seams.
If you decide you want to purchase the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW and use for clothing construction as well as quilting, you must be prepared to add these two items to your sewing room if you do not also have them.
I love the buttonholes produced by these old sewing machine attachments because the finished project is always consistently perfect. You just choose a template based upon the size and style buttonhole you want, insert it in the machine, attach it to your sewing machine and drop the feed dogs.
If you do not have a drop feed feature on your sewing machine, the buttonhole maker comes with a feed dog cover which you must put in place before attaching the buttonhole maker. The only challenge is that buttonhole makers are no longer being made.
There are, however, several places both online as well as brick and mortar stores that specialize in parts for vintage sewing machines where you will be able to find buttonhole makers of all types. Both my sewing machines are capable of rendering zigzag stitches.
However, I have three buttonhole makers – one for each of my sewing machines and one that I just keep on hand for spare parts.
Buttonhole makers were made to fit three basic types of sewing machines – long shank, short shank and slant shank. If you decide to invest in a buttonhole maker, make sure you purchase one that fits your machine shank.
Since the Brother Dream Fabric Frame is a separate piece of equipment that is ideal for use when working on large quilt projects, it is not essential for you to purchase one to make very good use of the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW.
It is indeed possible to use the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW for projects other than those large quilts for king size beds and the like without ever having to invest in the Dream Fabric Frame.
The PQ 1500SL PRW is ideal for anyone who likes to create smaller quilt projects like small wall hangings, quilted table runners and placemats, quilted accents on clothing items and gift items.
If the majority of your sewing involves small quilting projects and gift items, and some clothing construction from time to time or if even if you work on larger machine quilting projects but simply do not have space to set up a quilt frame – even one as small and versatile as the Brother Dream Fabric Frame, you owe it to yourself to take a long hard look at the Brother PQ 1500SL PRW before making a final decision when shopping for a new sewing and quilting machine.
- 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.
- Easy to operate sewing an quilting machine
- Sturdy construction
- Straight stitch only