- 1 About Brother and the Brother SQ9285 Sewing Machine
- 2 Looking For a Quilting Machine?
- 3 Features and Benefits of the Brother SQ9285
- 4 Alternatives to the Brother SQ9285
- 5 Final Thoughts
- 6 Want to read more of the best sewing machine reviews?
Every sewing machine company seems to have its niche. One area where Brother excels is producing feature-packed sewing machines at really reasonable prices. The Brother SQ9285 is one of those machines. At first glance, it doesn’t look a lot different from similar models, like the SC9500 or the HC1850. But the SQ9285 does stand out in a few ways.
About Brother and the Brother SQ9285 Sewing Machine
Brother Industries, which you may know from its office machinery and printer cartridges, actually began life as a sewing machine company. Though they currently produce a wide range of products, their sewing machines, particularly their home sewing machines, are in a league of their own.
Brother sewing machines have a reputation for being reliable and reasonably priced. In addition, if you look at the specs of many of their models, you’ll find features that other companies only include with higher priced machines. This means that in addition to being reasonably priced, a Brother sewing machine is often very good value for money.
The Brother SQ9285 In Review
If you’ve been paying attention to Brother’s home sewing machine lineup, the Brother SQ9285 may look familiar.
To wit, this is a computerized sewing machine with a small, black and white LCD screen. It has a decent selection of decorative and utility stitches. It also has a number of one-step buttonholes.
Like the SC9500 and the HC1850, the Brother SQ9285 comes with a detachable wide quilting table. Also like the previous two models — and unlike a lot of models at this price point — the Brother SQ9285 has a built-in monogram font.
So, what’s the difference?
The differences, quite frankly, are minor. With a stitching speed of 850 stitches per minute, both the HC1850 and the SC9500 are slightly faster than the Brother SQ9285, which has a max speed of 710 spm. The SQ9285 is also heavier than the other two models.
The SQ9285 does have the largest number of stitch designs of the three, however. The HC1850 follows closely behind it, with the SC9500 bringing up the rear.
In addition, all three machines come with a monogram font. The Brother SQ9285’s monogram font is a bit more modern-looking, but the available characters are the same on all three machines.
So what is the actual difference?
Well, although all three models receive high marks from customers, the SQ9285 seems to score slightly higher than the other two in terms of performance. There are fewer customer complaints, for example, about stitching quality and thread tension issues. This is especially true when compared to customer reviews of the HC1850.
Is this enough to sway your decision? That’s up to you. Like the other two models, the SQ9285 comes with a limited 25-year warranty.
Depending on your retailer, you may find quite a variation in price between these three basically equivalent models. So do your research.
- Improved stitching quality
- Improved thread tensioning
- Large selection of decorative stitches
- Decent selection of one-step buttonholes
- Detachable extension table
- Generous selection of included presser feet
- Somewhat pokey stitching speed
Who is the Brother SQ9285 For?
The Brother SQ9285 sewing machine has a few natural markets.
First, it’s a versatile all-purpose sewing machine with some features that will definitely appeal to quilters. These include:
- The extra-wide work table
- A large selection of decorative stitches
- Two included walking feet
- An included quilting guide
This would also make a very decent choice for a learner or occasional home sewist. It has an intuitive interface, and it’s easy to start sewing right out of the box. At the same time, the large number of decorative stitches will keep an intermediate sewist busy for a long time to come.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Brother SQ9285, include:
- Buttonhole foot
- Blind hem stitch foot
- ¼-inch foot
- Zipper foot
- Overcasting foot
- Monogramming foot
- Zigzag foot
- Walking foot
- Spring action quilting foot
- Button sewing foot
- Detachable extension table
- 4 bobbins
- Seam ripper
- Ball point needle
- Twin needle
- Cleaning brush
- Eyelet punch
- 3 spool caps
- Extra spool pin
- Power cord
|5||STITCHES PER MINUTE (SPM)||710|
|13||BOBBIN TYPE||Top Drop-In|
|16||DIMENSIONS||12.09 x 7.64 x 16.5 inches|
|18||WARRANTY||Limited 25 years|
Looking For a Quilting Machine?
A lot of times when you see “Q” in a sewing machine model number, it stands for “quilting.” Although you can use the Brother SQ9285 for many different kinds of sewing, this model is definitely pitched toward aspiring quilters.
How can you tell? And what should a quilter look for in a sewing machine?
There are a few issues that quilters, in specific, face:
- Sewing a large, continuous project
- Working with multiple layers
- Maneuvering thick work through the sewing machine
- Sewing different directions, angles, and curves
People who spend a lot of time quilting — for example, competitive quilters and small business owners — will want to invest in a professional-level quilting machine. These machines have features like extended throat space, a knee lifter, high-speed sewing, and so forth, that make it easy to produce professional-quality quilts fast.
Unfortunately, for a lot of hobbyists, a professional quilting machine is financially out of reach.
The good news is, though, that most quilters can go far with a high quality all-purpose sewing machine, if it has the right features.
What are those features? We’re glad you asked.
Extra High Presser Foot Lift
Every sewing machine has a little lever that lifts the presser foot so a sewist can insert the fabric. Some sewing machines allow you to raise the presser foot a bit higher. This is a boon when it comes to working with thick fabrics and multiple layers.
Quilting Feet and Quilting Guide
Many sewing machines come with an accessory pack that includes a few different presser feet and a quilting guide. Some presser feet make quilting easier, and it’s always nice when a manufacturer includes these with purchase.
A walking foot helps multiple fabric layers, like quilt layers, through the sewing machine evenly and together.
A quilting foot has a spring that helps to prevent flagging. It also helps to keep your stitches nice and neat.
If you’re doing free motion quilting, a free motion foot can help.
An adjustable ruler foot makes it easy to sew alongside a ruler, while protecting both your needle and your ruler.
An adjustable gliding cup foot helps you to sew around raised elements, such as applique pieces and other embellishments.
A quilting guide isn’t a foot, but it attaches to a presser foot. It helps you to measure and maintain an even distance between rows of quilting.
The walking foot, quilting foot, and quilting guide are commonly included with sewing machines aimed at quilters. You might also get lucky and find one of the other presser feet in your accessory pack.
Heavy Duty Metal Frame
Bit by bit, over the years, some manufacturers have replaced metal parts with plastic ones. For light sewing, it often doesn’t matter. But when it comes to heavy work like quilting, it can.
A heavy duty frame gives a sewing machine added stability. Also, it makes it easier to power through heavy work.
Quilting often involves curved and shaped pieces, whether they’re part of the quilt top or appliqued on. When working with different shapes, it can be very helpful to program your needle to start and stop in the “down” position. This is also an essential feature for free-motion quilting.
Extended Work Table
An extended work table is a great thing for a quilter to have, especially for free motion work. It allows you to see your sewing in the context of a larger part of your project. Also, an extended work table supports the fabric around your sewing. This, in turn, helps your stitches to stay neat and even.
Features and Benefits of the Brother SQ9285
The Brother SQ9285 has quite a few excellent features to recommend it. Let’s check it out.
Stitch and Buttonhole Library
Of the three machines we’ve mentioned so far, the Brother SQ9285 has the largest stitch library. It has 205 stitches in all, which includes the monogram characters.
In addition to the alphanumeric characters, the SQ9285 has an excellent selection of utility stitches. These include the straight stitch, zigzag stitch, several stretch stitches, and quite a few overlock stitches, as well.
On top of that, there are several dozen decorative stitches that you can use to decorate and personalize your work. And if you fancy having a go with crazy quilting, there are plenty of decorative stitches to keep you busy.
Automatic One-Step Buttonhole
In addition to a generous stitch library, the Brother SQ9285 provides eight different one-step buttonhole designs. For me, a one-step buttonhole is a deal breaker. It makes the process easier, simpler, and more consistent. And if you pair it with the included automatic buttonhole foot, you can customize each buttonhole to a specific button.
Maybe it’s gimmicky, but I love it. The truth is, there are only a handful of sewing machines at this price point that have a monogram font, and Brother makes most of them. For personalizing housewares, clothing, and children’s items, this is a real treat.
Most of us use the food pedal to start and stop our sewing machines. But if your foot pedal breaks, you could be out of luck. A start/stop button allows you to use your sewing machine even if you can’t use the foot pedal. It can also be an important accessibility feature.
Most sewing machines start and stop with the needle in the “up” position. However, for certain kinds of sewing, particularly free motion work and applique, it’s much more convenient to start and stop in the “down” position. A programmable needle lets you do that. Check it out.
Speed control is like cruise control for your sewing machine. Most of us use the foot pedal to control the speed. But a speed control slider allows you to set a max speed by hand.
A twin needle is excellent for sewing certain kinds of seams. It can also take your decorative sewing to the next level, by allowing you to sew identical parallel rows of decorative stitching. Here’s how it works.
Quilting Feet and Guide
The Brother SQ9285 comes with a walking foot, a quilting foot, a quilting guide, and an assortment of other presser feet.
Extended Work Table
And, of course, you get the detachable extended work table.
Alternatives to the Brother SQ9285
No review would be complete without a look at the competition. Here are a few models we consider worthy competitors to the Brother SQ9285.
We talked about the Brother HC1850 and the Brother SC9500, two models that are very similar to the Brother SQ9285. The Brother XR9550 is a third. Like the SQ9285, the XR9950 has:
- An extension table
- A 55-character monogram font
- Eight one-step buttonholes
The XR9550 has slightly fewer stitches than the SQ9285. It does come with a hard cover, however, which the SQ9285 does not. Depending on your retailer, you could pay about the same for the SQ9285 as for the XR9950. You could also pay significantly less.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
The sewing machine retail market can be very volatile, for better or worse. The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is a full-featured computerized sewing machine that is generally more expensive than the Brother SQ9285. However, depending on your retailer, the price difference may not be significant.
Some features you’ll find with the Singer 9960 include:
- 600 stitch designs
- 5 alphanumeric fonts (including European and Cyrillic)
- 13 one-step buttonholes
- A detachable quilting extension table
It’s a bit more machine for a bit more money. But for the right user, it may be worth it. Especially if you can find a good deal.
If machine embroidery, rather than quilting, catches your imagination, then the Brother SE425 provides a lower-cost way to experiment. This is an all-purpose sewing machine. However, it comes with a number of pre-programmed embroidery patterns, and even a machine embroidery hoop.
The price can vary widely, depending on your retailer. But even if you decide machine embroidery isn’t for you, at the end of the day you’ll still have a high-quality sewing machine to use for regular sewing and quilting, too.
There are a huge number of sewing machines on the market. What’s more, many of them aim to attract aspiring crafters with quilting or embroidery features.
The Brother SQ9285 is one of several Brother models directed toward quilters. We think it’s one of the best. It has a wealth of features that will make quilting fun and easy. It also has a few that you won’t normally find on a lower-priced machine. On top of that, customers demonstrably love it.
Overall, it’s excellent value for money, and we recommend it highly.
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