Today, we’re taking a deep dive into one of our favorite ranges: the Brother Project Runway sewing machines.
If you’re a budding fashion designer or dressmaker, you’re most probably a fan of Project Runway – the American reality TV series that puts fresh sewing talent to the test in the race to have the chance to show their couture creations on the runway at New York Fashion Week, plus win $100,000 to launch his or her new business and become part of the fashion elite.
The show is high drama, and contestants on the show are under a serious amount of pressure to create the most fabulous fashions – so they need a serious sewing machine to help them stitch their way to success.
This is what inspired the makers of the show to team up with legendary sewing machine manufacturers Brother to produce the ‘ Brother Project Runway’ sewing machine line.
Each limited edition sewing machine in the Brother Project Runway range offers high tech, versatile sewing solutions for a wide range of different dressmaking tasks and is guaranteed to get you runway ready.
Let’s explore what each one has to offer…
Brother Project Runway Sewing Machine Reviews
Boasting no less than 100 choices of stitch and a host of other features that you would normally expect to find on high end sewing machines, the computerized Brother Project Runway XR9500PRW is ideal for a whole range of sewing and dressmaking projects.
This is a professional quality machine at an affordable price, and it is very straightforward to operate — it even comes with a helpful instruction DVD in addition to the manual.
The incredible range of stitches is excellent for both beginners and experts – this is a sewing machine that will grow with you as you improve your skill set.
Select stitches including decorative, zigzag and other utility stitches — and even monogramming stitches — via the large, easy to use backlit LCD screen and comprehensive stitch guide. Thanks to the oversized table and free arm, larger projects and quilting tasks are also made easier.
Automatic needle threading, automatic bobbin winding, thread cutter, speed selection, automatic pressure foot adjustment, 8 styles of auto size buttonholes – plus an automatic sewing feature that ensures you never forget to drop the needle when raising the presser foot – all help to make sewing with this machine as effortless as possible.
There’s a first-rate selection of accessories too, including 7 different presser feet and a practical hard cover to keep your machine protected during transport.
Needles, bobbins, seam ripper and other accessories can be conveniently stored in the arm of the machine in a storage compartment.
This is a quality machine that is reliable and built to last, and the top loading bobbin system greatly reduces the risk of jams in the inner workings. In the event of any issues with this machine, the 25 year limited warranty will keep you covered.
- Easy to use
- Suitable for beginners and experts
- Adjustable sewing speed
- Runs quietly
- Many automatic features including automatic needle threading
- Lots of stitch options
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Good for quilting
- Not a heavy duty machine
- Thread tension is manual rather than automatic
- Light is a little dim for some users
Like the XR9500PRW above, it is computerized and has 100 stitches to help you realize your fashion projects to a professional standard. It features 8 different one-step buttonholes styles, advanced automatic needle threading, and bright LCD display for choosing the right stitch with ease — switching between stitches is effortless.
Seven easily interchangeable pressure feet come with this model, allowing you to select the most appropriate one for the job in hand.
The workspace is well lit due to an efficient LED light and allows for free motion when sewing larger items or quilting. The free arm means sewing sleeves and cuffs is a cinch.
This machine is easy to get to grips with, and the automatic features mean that you can get started on your sewing quickly and straightforwardly.
The safety override feature means the machine will not sew unless the foot lever is in the down position, which means there’s less chance of you making mistakes.
The 7 point feed dog works well with most fabrics and the drop-in bobbin system prevents thread getting snarled up in the machine, keeping maintenance to a minimum.
- Fantastic range of stitches
- Uncomplicated and simple to use
- Excellent for beginners to learn with
- Good choice of pressure feet
- High build quality, durable design
- Good stitch quality
- Very affordable price
- Comes with a decent accessory pack
- Has a 25 year limited warranty
- Thread holder can be a little fiddly
- No monogramming capability
This is a slightly more basic model, but with a variety of 50 stitches and 87 stitch functions ranging from standard utility stitches to pretty decorative and heirloom stitches — plus 5 automatic buttonholes, zipper feature and twin needle option — this sewing machine has enough choice for most applications.
A quick glance at the handy stitch plan makes it easy to choose your stitch, which you can then select with the user friendly LCD display.
The superior feed dog system of the Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW makes sewing even stretchy fabrics simple. The spool is vertical and the bobbin is top loading — just drop it into the slot. Plus there’s an automatic needle threader and automatic bobbin winder to make your life easier.
The accessory pack includes 6 different sewing feet, twin needle, extra bobbins and a useful quick start guide to get you in the swing of things as painlessly as possible.
Because of its incredible ease of use, but slightly more limited features, this sewing machine is perhaps best suited to beginner and intermediate sewers — in fact because it’s such a portable little unit, it’s ideal for students who need to carry a machine to classes.
- Simple to set up
- Small, portable and very user-friendly
- Reliable machine
- Affordable budget model
- Ideal for novices
- Very versatile
- Makes very little noise when running
- Able to sew through thick and stretchy fabrics
- May be too limiting for very experienced sewers
- LED workspace light is not very bright
- Small storage compartment for accessories
If you’re keen to get creative with embroidery, this could be the perfect machine for you. It’s the priciest Project Runway model in our review so far, but in our view its specialized embroidery features justify the price hike.
The LB6800PRW is a very versatile sewing, embroidery and monogram machine with the added bonus of USB port for uploading new designs straight into the unit’s computerized system from your PC.
Navigating designs, stitches and other functions is a piece of cake with the intuitive touch screen LCD interface — you can even edit designs directly right there on the screen.
This ease of use is just as well, as with 67 sewing stitches and 98 sewing stitch functions, 70 decorative designs, 5 monogramming fonts and 120 frame pattern combinations, there’s a lot to choose from.
This machine makes use of the same automatic threading, automatic bobbin winding, easy buttonholes, drop-in bobbin system and smooth 7 point feed dog system as the other Runway models.
As well as this it features automatic pressure foot pressure adjustment and a push button thread cutter — so it’s easy to use with minimum hassle. 7 pressure feet are part of the package, including ones for blind stitch, monogramming and embroidery. The embroidery area on the Brother Project Runway LB6800PRW is 4″ square, so is suitably sized for a good range of projects.
In addition to the usual accessories, this machine comes with a pair of scissors, eyelet punch, plus spool net and embroidery hoop.
Lastly, it comes with a stylish wheeled rolling bag to allow for maximum portability and keep it scuff-free when you’re on the move.
- Very versatile machine
- Customizable embroidery designs – allows for great flexibility and creativity
- Helpful tutorials available on the machine’s touch screen
- Good, variable sewing speed
- Very intuitive and easy to use – good user guide
- Back-lit, easy to view LCD touch screen
- Practical portable case
- Sews smoothly and quietly
- Solidly built
- 25 year limited warranty
- May not be appropriate for larger embroidery projects due to smaller hoop size
- Quite expensive compared to other models
In fact, this sewing machine has such a wealth of features and accessories that beginners may feel a little swamped. Thankfully though, the PC420PRW is user friendly and employs plenty of automated functions to keep things straightforward and running smoothly, not least of which are the automatic needle threader, bobbin winder and thread cutter, and drop in bobbin for easy loading.
It also features variable sewing speed settings and start/stop button if you prefer not to use the pedal, plus a knee lifter for the pressure foot which allows you to keep both your hands free to reposition fabric.
Here’s a look at it in action:
With an incredible 294 built-in stitches and multiple automatic buttonhole styles the applications for this computerized machine are endless — you can even design your own stitches thanks to the custom stitch design feature.
Like the other machines in the Brother Project Runway line, there is a clear LCD screen which acts as the control panel for selecting different stitches and functions.
This machine features 6 point adjustable feed dogs for great fabric feed, and a whopping 13 different presser feet to suit a wide range of tasks. Also included are twin needles ideal for hemming, eyelet punch and seam ripper.
- Very versatile
- Handles all types of fabric
- Highly automated – makes for effortless sewing
- Easy to use for both amateurs and professionals
- Customizable stitch length and width
- Comes with protective hard cover for easier transportation and storage
- Reasonably priced for the range of features
- Offers free arm sewing
- Works well as a heavy duty machine
- Solid, quality machine
- Thread adjustment is manual and beginners may find this tricky
- Heavy and less portable than other models
- No extension table
An excellent choice for both beginners and experienced sewists, the neatly designed Brother Project Runway PC210 PRW is a great all round machine.
It features a good assortment of 50 utility, decorative and buttonhole stitches with adjustable stitch width and length, as well as lettering stitches. Stitch selection is easy with the push button controls and LED screen.
It’s possible to choose from 11 different presser feet to fit any given task, and the pressure foot pressure has four levels of adjustment to suit a range of fabric from sheer to bulky.
The 6 point feed dog pushes fabrics through with ease without puckering. The needle position is programmable and it benefits from automatic threading, plus thread tensioning is automatic and adjustable.
A handy slider can be used to limit the machine’s maximum sewing speed, and there is a stop/start button to have greater control without using the pedal – both particularly useful features for beginners.
The top loading bobbin is easy to use and there’s an automatic bobbin winder. The work area is well lit and wide enough to handle bigger projects like quilting.
Accessories (including twin needles, bobbins and eye punch) are neatly organised in an easily accessible pull out draw in the front of the machine.
- Incredibly simple to use
- Computerized for added efficiency and ease
- Well automated – features stop start button for sewing without the pedal
- Comes with protective hard cover
- Runs smoothly and quietly
- Sturdy and stable, yet stylish
- Very good choice for novice sewists
- 25 year limited warranty
- Great accessory organisation
- Good stitch quality
- Good range of features for the price
- Some users experience tensioning issues
- Work light is not bright enough for some situations
Which is your favorite Brother Project Runway sewing machine?