- 1 The Brother HC1850: Review and Analysis
- 2 What to Look For in an All-in-One Type Sewing Machine
- 3 Features of the Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
- 4 What About the Competition?
- 5 Brother HC1850 Review: Final Thoughts
- 6 Want more sewing machine reviews?
Are you ready to level up from a basic sewing machine? Do you want to stretch your skills and your imagination? The Brother HC1850 computerized sewing and quilting machine might be the next step in your sewing journey. Not only that, but it comes with some innovative assistance options to help you on your way. Excited? So are we. Let’s have a look.
The Brother HC1850: Review and Analysis
You probably know Brother Industries as a manufacturer of printers and office machinery. But they make sewing machines, too. In fact, the company started life as Yasui Sewing and Co., a sewing machine repair company and parts supplier.
The company later became Yasui Brothers Sewing Machine company. They released their first product, a chain stitch sewing machine, in 1928. Since then, Brother has become one of the largest and most trusted names in both industrial and home sewing machines.
About the Brother HC1850 sewing machine
Sewing machines tend to fall into two categories: those that do one thing very, very well, and those that do a little of everything. The Brother HC1850 is the second type. It’s an all-purpose home sewing machine with specific features and accessories for quilting and embroidery.
This machine’s 185 stitches include functional and decorative designs, eight one-step buttonholes, and a 55-character monogram font. For quilters, there’s an included extension table to help with free-motion work. There’s also an accessory pack with a variety of useful presser feet and other extras.
The question with a does-it-all type machine like the Brother HC1850 is how well it performs its many functions. Is the Brother HC1850 a master of all, a master of some, or a master of none?
We’ll get to that in a bit.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Brother MC1850, include:
- A Brother HC1850 manual in English and Spanish
- Accessory pouch
- Twin needle
- Ballpoint needle
- Buttonhole foot
- Overcasting foot
- Monogramming foot
- Zipper foot
- Zigzag foot
- Blindstitch foot
- Button fitting foot
- Spring action quilting foot
- Brother HC1850 bobbins
- Extra spool pin
- Seam ripper
- Cleaning brush
- Instructional DVD
- Power cord
|5||STITCHES PER MINUTE (SPM)||850|
|13||BOBBIN TYPE||Top Drop-In|
|16||DIMENSIONS||12.5 x 19.25 x 15.25 inches|
|18||WARRANTY||25 year limited|
Who is the Brother HC 1850 sewing machine for?
Although a beginner could learn on this machine — especially with the different sorts of assistance the company offers — the design lends itself to more than that.
This machine is best suited to someone with a little experience under their belt who wants to explore different crafts. It won’t provide professional-grade performance for all of its functions, but it will allow you to do quite a lot.
You can’t, for example, upload and edit embroidery designs like you can with a high-end embroidery machine. But there are enough embroidery stitches to keep hobbyists happily creating for a long time. Quilters may notice the lack of a knee lifter, but many will love the extension table and the included spring-action quilting foot.
And if you’re a serious beginner, the Brother HC 1850 sewing machine can grow with you, stretch your abilities, and provide many years of diverse crafting enjoyment.
What makes the Brother HC1850 stand out?
For us, it’s the combination of versatility and user-friendliness. Some do-it-all models have an interface that looks like the cockpit of an airplane. It’s difficult to figure out where to start, and one runs the risk of paying for a package of functions that one never uses.
The Brother HC 1850 has all of the necessary controls — a speed slider, a start/stop button, a needle up/down button — in one place, easy to find and use. Four intuitive buttons control the multitudinous stitch designs. There’s also an instructional DVD that explains how to make the most of your sewing machine.
And if you still have questions, Brother provides lifetime technical support via chat, online communication, or phone.
The Brother HC1850 is also lightweight and portable, so it’s a good candidate if you need a machine to take to sewing classes.
- Extremely versatile
- Huge number of stitch designs
- Easy-to-understand interface
- Start/stop and reverse functions
- Included quilting table and quilting accessories
- Terrific accessory pack
- Light and portable
- Multiple technical support options
- Complaints about thread tension and bobbin thread issues are common
- Issues with the monogram font reported
- Stitching quality on stretch and some woven fabrics is subpar
What to Look For in an All-in-One Type Sewing Machine
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and upgrade to a more versatile, feature-rich sewing machine. Or perhaps you’re starting out and want a machine that will stretch your abilities and allow you to explore different crafts. An all-in-one sewing machine like the Brother HC1850 could be your next step forward.
There are a lot of them on the market, though. How do you choose?
Look at the extras
Sellers generally take two approaches to the accessories packs that they include with their sewing machines. In some cases, a seller will throw in a vast collection of miscellany that you may or may not use, in order to drive up the price. In other cases, a machine may come with a very few very useful extras that don’t look impressive, but which you end up using all the time.
The manufacturer’s accessories pack that comes with the Brother HC 1850 strikes a happy balance. There are quite a few goodies, but they’re mostly useful. You’ll find quilting-specific presser feet, some common maintenance tools, single and double needles, and a seam ripper, among other things. The extension table will also come in handy for quilters.
Is it fit for your purpose?
Manufacturers know that versatility sells. Consumers can buy a dedicated quilting machine, a straight stitch machine, and an embroidery machine, at great expense. Or they could buy a single, moderately-priced sewing machine that does all those things.
At least that’s how a lot of casual consumers might see it.
If you’re planning to do a little of everything, then it makes sense to buy a sewing machine that does a little of everything. Occasional quilters, all-purpose home sewists, and people who want to add a decorative flourish to projects and housewares would do well with a Jack-of-all-trades type sewing machine like the Brother HC1850.
On the other hand, if you have a home-based quilting or embroidery business, then you might find that this type of machine isn’t capable of the professional-level quality or quantity that you need. So if you’re looking to outfit your business, then you’d do better with a dedicated professional machine.
How is the overall sewing quality?
When I stepped up to my first all-in-one type sewing machine, I wanted to explore. I experimented with garment-making, quilting, and decorative embroidery, before settling on quilting. My first all-in-one had enough features to go quite far in my explorations, but above all it sewed well.
A common failing of multi-purpose devices is doing several things in a substandard way, rather than doing one or two things well. If a sewing machine doesn’t sew well, it doesn’t matter how many presser feet or stitch designs it has. How does the Brother HC 1850 sewing machine rate in that regard?
Overall, users find that the Brother HC 1850 does a great straight stitch on easy-to-sew fabrics. These include cotton, denim, and even thin leather. However, it seems to have a hard time with stretch fabrics, polyester charmeuse, and satin, especially with scallop and zigzag stitches. And depending on your specific sewing needs, that could be a major fault.
An all-in-one sewing machine needs to be, above all, a good machine for all-purpose sewing. The Brother HC1850 computerized sewing machine works well with common stitches and easy-to-sew fabrics. However, if embroidery is your passion, you may find yourself upgrading to a dedicated embroidery machine more quickly than you thought.
Do you need an all-in-one type sewing machine?
Is a Jack-of-all-trades sewing machine in your immediate future? Ask yourself the following:
- Do you find your current sewing machine limiting?
- Are you interested in exploring different crafts?
- Do you need an all-purpose domestic-level sewing machine?
- Are you ready to step up the complexity of your current sewing machine?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, then an all-in-one type sewing machine may be right for you.
On the other hand, you might do better with a different type of sewing machine if:
- You’re planning for mass production
- You are a serious embroiderer
- You’re intimidated by technology and options
Features of the Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting Machine
For the right user, there’s a lot to love about this machine. Here are a few of our favorite things.
If you’re chafing at the limited stitch choices of your current machine, you may find the Brother HC1850’s 185 stitches to be a revelation. You get not only the stitches that home sewists use the most — straight stitch, zigzag stitch, blind hem stitch, and so on — but also a gigantic selection of decorative stitches. You can choose and modify them with the press of a button.
There’s also a handy flip-chart to show you what each of the stitches looks like, and how to select them. The interface is simple but powerful. If stitch variety is on your must-have list, the Brother HC1850 has it.
To read some sources, the Brother HC1850 has one monogram font. Others say 55. It’s a bit confusing, but here’s the scoop: there is one monogram font, with 55 available characters.
That might not sound impressive when compared to more advanced models that have multiple alphabets with room to upload your own. At the same time, it’s a pretty cool thing to play with. And if you want to put family members’ initials on their clothing or personalize your housewares, one font is really all you need.
I’m a big fan of one-step buttonholes. In fact, it’s on my personal list of deal breakers. Paired with the included buttonhole foot, which automatically sizes your buttonhole for you, that dreaded task is reduced to a push-button affair.
And you don’t just get one style of buttonhole. You get eight. It’s not a huge number, but it’s quite enough, especially as, if you do enough of them, you’ll probably stick to one or two favorites anyway.
You might have seen neat, completely parallel and identical rows of stitching on certain types of garments. Have you ever wondered how they do that? That’s the product of a double (or twin) needle. Some sewing machines can handle a double needle, while others cannot.
The Brother HC1850 sewing machine comes with a double needle and an extra spool pin for a second top thread. You might use your double needle for decorative stitching or to reinforce a seam. Check out the double needle in action here.
Free arm and extension table
Different types of sewing can benefit from different sizes and shapes of work area. A free arm and an extension table are two different ways of making your sewing machine’s work area more versatile.
Sewing machines with a free arm allow you to slide away part of the main work table to reveal a smaller, thinner work area. This is essential for small, circular sewing projects like collars, cuffs, and trouser hems.
An extension table, on the other hand, makes your workspace bigger. This, in turn, allows you to see more of your work, and to manipulate larger projects more easily. It’s particularly useful for quilting, free-motion work, and embroidery.
The Brother HC 1850 sewing machine has both of these features, and we love that.
What About the Competition?
As we said, there are a lot of all-in-one models on the market. Here are some others that we really like.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
If feature richness is your main concern, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 could be your next favorite sewing machine. Yes, you will pay for it with a higher price tag. At the same time, here are some of the things that extra money will buy you:
- 600 stitch designs
- 13 one-step buttonholes
- 5 different alphanumeric fonts
- Quilting table
- Heavy-duty metal frame
- Extensive accessories pack
In addition, users report excellent stitch quality and good handling of heavy fabrics.
The Brother HC1850 sewing and quilting machine is aimed at general purpose sewists and quilters. But if you’re thinking that embroidery might be your craft, then the Brother SE600 might be a better choice.
The Brother SE600 is an all-in-one type sewing machine with an embroidery bent. You get all of the most-used sewing stitches, including straight stitch and zigzag. There are also ten automatic one-step buttonhole designs. But in addition to these, you get a selection of embroidery stitches and designs. You also get an included machine embroidery hoop and embroidery foot.
Even better, you can use the Brother SE600’s USB port to upload your own designs, where you can edit them using the convenient LCD touchscreen. The touchscreen allows you to visualize and customize your designs, and also to:
- Change the colors of individual threads
- Add lettering
- Move designs around
- And more
It’s a solid all-purpose sewing machine, but if you’re leaning toward embroidery, you might really like this one.
Janome sewing machines are expensive. But they also have a reputation for durability and quality stitching. If you’re thinking of a long-term crafting investment and aren’t afraid to lay out a little extra money toward that end, you might consider the Janome MC6650.
The Janome MC6650 has slightly fewer stitches than the Brother HC1850 — 170 compared to 185. However, it has two monogram fonts and nine buttonhole designs. Like the Brother HC1850, the Janome MC6650 has double needle capabilities. It also allows you to combine stitches into your own unique patterns.
Quilters will love the included knee lifter, as well as the significantly higher stitch speed of 1000 stitches per minute. This is particularly helpful when quilting long, straight rows across a large project.
This could be a good choice for crafters, particularly quilters, thinking in the long term.
Brother HC1850 Review: Final Thoughts
So, where does the Brother HC1850 computerized sewing and quilting machine stand?
Overall, we think it has some excellent features, particularly for quilters. We love the easy-to-use interface, which gives easy access to an excellent variety of stitch designs. We also like the accessory pack, which includes a variety of useful tools and presser feet.
There are all-in-one machines on the market with more advanced options. You can also find machines with better features for specific crafts like embroidery and quilting. At the same time, many of these cost quite a bit more than the HC1850.
For the money, the Brother HC1850 is a good balance of features and versatility. If you’re looking for an all-purpose model that’s a bit more feature-rich than your basic home sewing machine, you could have a lot of fun with this one.
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