Brother SQ 9050 Review

Brother SQ 9050 Review
Brother SQ 9050 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.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I reviewed the Brother SQ 9050 sewing and quilting machine. Quite frankly, this is the first combination sewing and quilting machine in this price range that I have ever had an opportunity to review.

Brother SQ 9050

Brother SQ 9050

Given the affordable price range, I actually had some misgivings about whether or not this machine could meet the expectations of machine quilting enthusiasts.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Winding the bobbin is a challenge
  • Accessories pack does not fit easily in storage area

At A Glance

The first things I noticed on the Brother SQ 9050 were all of the tutorial decals and promotional stickers affixed to the front of the machine. The manufacturer certainly wanted to make sure that anyone who uses this machine knows all there is to know before even turning it on.

At a Glance

At a Glance

The lavender floral decoration makes you feel instantly at ease when you sit down in front of this lightweight ergonomically designed machine.

Features

For a machine in its price class, the Brother SQ 9050 is loaded with features normally reserved for a much more costly machine:

  • 140 utility and decorative stitch options
    • 8 one step buttonholes
    • 1 alphanumeric font for monogramming
  • Seam guide

    Seam guide

  • Easy to use on board stitch guide
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Start/stop button
  • Free arm
  • Extension table
  • Upper and lower thread sensors
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Bright on-board LED lighting
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Seam guide on needle plate
  • On board accessory storage

Working on the Brother SQ 9050

As with any other sewing machine, the first things you must do when preparing to sew are wind the bobbin and thread the machine. Well, even with all of the instructional on-board decals, graphics and written instructions, I’ll have you know that winding the bobbin on this one was more than a notion.

Winding the bobbin on the Brother SQ 9050 should have been as simple and easy as it looks in all those pictures provided by the manufacturer. For some reason, the thread would start winding on the bobbin and then drop off the bobbin and wind itself around the spindle underneath.

Guide for Winding the bobbin

Guide for Winding the bobbin

After several attempts, I actually considered winding the bobbin by hand just to get through the review. However, I am not one to easily give up on anything as mundane as winding a simple bobbin; so I continued to work with it until the thread finally stayed in place long enough for the bobbin to be filled half way.

The Brother SQ 9050 comes with a drop in bobbin, but this terminology may be a bit deceiving. You can’t simply drop this one in like you do on some machines. When I followed the instructions on the diagram, however, I did not encounter any of the challenges I had with winding the bobbin.

I am not pleased, however, with the fact that the small clear plastic bobbin cover is completely detachable. It’s entirely too easy to lose something this small in a busy sewing room.

Completely detachable plastic bobbin cover

Completely detachable plastic bobbin cover

On the other hand, however, I am happy to report that the upper threading process was infinitely easier. Once the upper thread and bobbin were in place, I was able to get down to the business of testing a few of the 100 on-board stitch selections.

Selecting the stitches was easier than many of the other sewing machines in its price range that I have reviewed. The stitch selection guide consists of two separate panels. The first one is a display of 100 separate utility and decorative stitch options with a numerical code assigned o each one.

A panel flips up to reveal the entire alphabet in upper case block letters, each letter with an assigned numerical code. A backlit LED screen situated above the stitch selection guide displays the stitch number as well as the stitch length and width settings.

100 separate utility and decorative stitch options

100 separate utility and decorative stitch options

Backlit LED screen

Backlit LED screen

Four separate toggle switches control the stitch selection, width and length settings. Next to the LED screen is a tiny touch pad that allows you to move between utility stitches and the alphanumeric setting.

The utility stitches were clean, sturdy and perfectly formed. When it came to the some of the decorative stitch options, however, I found that the condensed stitches were not as tightly formed as I prefer.

Clean, sturdy and perfectly formed stitches

Clean, sturdy and perfectly formed stitches

Switching from the utility and decorative stitch options to the alphanumeric stitches is as easy as touching the appropriate area on the touchpad. Once the letter is selected, the stitch length switch is used to adjust the size of the letters or numbers while the stitch width switch controls the number of times the letter or number is repeated.

The accessories are stored inside a compartment that is removed to gain access to the free arm. It must also be removed in order to attach the extension table. The one and only hindrance if was able to find with that entire procedure is that when the plastic pouch containing the accessories is inside the compartment, it is a bit difficult to put it back in place without manipulating it.

Removable compartment for accessories

Removable compartment for accessories

I like the idea of having a separate pouch for the accessories. It helps keep everything together, but it is easier to slide the unit back onto the sewing machine without it. I suggest that the manufacturers consider a slight redesign of the unit so that it is large enough to accommodate the pouch.

Separate pouch for the accessories

Separate pouch for the accessories

Fabrics

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

Accessories

I must admit, I was quite impressed with the accessories that were included with the Brother SQ 9050. One normally finds an accessory package like this on more costly machines:

  • 10 presser feet
    • Buttonhole
    • Button
    • Overcastting
    • Zipper
    • Monogram
    • Blind stitch
    • Walking
    • Quilting (2)
    • Zigzag
  • Twin needle
  • Extra needles (2 packs)
  • Bobbins
  • Seam ripper
  • Screw driver
  • Quilting guide
  • Eyelet punch
  • Owner’s manual (2 – 1 in English and 1 in Spanish)
  • Quick start guide (2)
  • Soft sided accessories case
  • Lint brush
  • Owner’s manual

    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

When it’s all said and done, the Brother SQ 9050 is possibly the best sewing machine in the low end price range that I have reviewed thus far. That, however, is not great accomplishment. In my opinion, any sewing machine that comes with a bobbin mechanism that is as challenging as this one should not be considered too seriously.

If you encounter the challenges I did with winding the bobbin, you might just get frustrated enough to decide to put the machine aside and do something else.

If, however, you can overcome this challenge, and depending upon how much you intend to actually sew on this machine you might just like it. Because of the bobbin issue, I hesitate to recommend the Brother SQ 9050 for beginners – especially for children.

The stitch quality and ease of selecting stitches, as well as the access to a start/stop button, automatic needle threader and variable speed slider at your fingertips are all definite advantages.

Taking these features into account along with the problematic bobbin winder, one must simply decide which is more important… a not so perfect bobbin winder or some great conveniences that are not usually available on a sewing and quilting machine in this price category.

One other thing that you may want to consider is the fact that this is machine is very light. This is a wonderful advantage for someone who must move it around regularly, especially if they are challenged with even the mildest case of arthritis or neck, wrist or shoulder pain issues.

However, I can’t help but wonder how long a machine that weighs less than 10 pounds will really be able to stand up to the drudgery of working on large quilt projects. If you decide to add this one to your sewing room, I recommend it only for the novice machine quilter.

The Brother SQ 9050 is probably a good machine for learning machine quilting techniques; but I think anyone who purchases it will be in the market for another machine within a very short time.

9 Comments

  1. After discovering what I did wrong in winding the bobbin , I had no trouble, you must turn the bobbin clockwise one the spindle pushing into the small round cradle and u will hear a small click, now u are ready to wind your bobbin. I had this machine back in the day when we had to make our own dress in home ec , I might have passed. I love the way that I can slow the speed of the machine down. I really have no other problems with this machine,

  2. I have a Brother SQ9050 sewing machine I want to do a straight satin stich but can’t figure out how. Can anyone help with this? I use this stich all the time.

  3. Hi, Peggy -

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    The way to achieve a straight satin stitch on your Brother SQ 9050 is to set your machine for a simple zigzag stitch then adjust your stitch length to its shortest setting.

    Happy Stitching.

  4. I got this machine from my husband for out 4th anniversary… i don’t have any problems never did and i have had it for almost a year now and i use it every day… The bobbin is not that hard to wind easy easy easy….i have stitched everything on this machine feathers too for my kids Halloween costume i have done fur leather i don’t know why you are experiencing problems if i was you i would contact brother and see what they say..

  5. This model jams with the hand wheel stuck after 1 yr and 3 mths, past its 1 year parts+labor warranty. Still in the shop.

  6. I have a SQ9050.

    PROS: It sews well and is relatively easy to use. It’s the first sewing machine that I’ve owned that has needle threader and drop in bobbin…truly enjoy those features. It has multiple speeds which is really nice.

    CONS: The lighting could be better. Due to the lightweight it gets pushed around. I have tried a few times working with twin needles and end of breaking them and not getting the job done. For some reason the machine does not seem to have the push to go through the slightest bit of thickness when using twin needle. I dislike the way the throat plate goes together. Being half metal and half plastic it can be a bit annoying getting it properly seated once you’ve taken it off. Storage compartment is a joke.

    It comes with built in alphabet and special character stitches which work but they’re not all that great looking. I have an embroidery machine so I don’t use them.

    Overall: The SQ9050 does what I need it to do for the most part. By today’s standards, I think it’s good quality for the money. I paid $240 plus tax at Walmart. I first started sewing on an old Singer treadle machine and worked my way up through the years on various mechanical machines. This is the first computerized machine that I’ve owned. If I had it to do over again, I’d spend a little more and get a heavier machine.

  7. I am about to pick up the brother sq9050 at Walmart….I am wondering if anyone can tell me where to buy the darning (free motion) foot for this machine and which one is best…I’ve read that the plastic allows for more visibility is best?? Thanks!!

    • When I purchased my SQ9050, it came with a free motion quilting foot so don’t buy one before you check the accessories that come with it. Go check page 8 of User Guide for various included accessories at:

      http://download.brother.com/welcome/doch000735/sq90xr95ug04en.pdf

    • Mine came with darning foot, so check you accessories. I love my little SQ-9050, had mine almost 3 years issue free and used it pretty heavily the first year

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