Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine Review: Best For Quilting?

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Today, we’re reviewing a machine on the upper end of the market, the Brother PQ1500SL high speed quilting and sewing machine.

The PQ1500SL, marketed as a quilting “dream machine,” is one of the finest, most reliable models in the Brother line.

brother pq1500sl review

If you quilt regularly at all, you’ve probably found that some machines just don’t have the strength and support necessary to punch through thicker fabrics, and some cheaper models seem to limit your options by not giving you the space you need to keep the pattern going.

But here we find an incredibly durable machine designed purely for quilts in all shapes and sizes, with extraordinary speed, hands-free pressure adjustments, and an automatic thread cutter to keep your quilt moving without sacrificing any quality.

Of course, it’s not perfect — but we’ll cover all the good and bad for you in just a minute. Let’s get to the details.


Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine: The Details

The Look

The Brother PQ1500SL has an incredibly sleek, modern look.

The surface is clutter-free, with only a few simple dials and quick guides, including a handy ruler on your table to help measure out your fabric as you go. And while this machine has been streamlined down to the bare essentials, it still comes with an array of features that you can adjust to suit each project.

With the PQ1500SL model, Brother has really perfected the marriage between design and performance.

As expected, it’s on the heavier side, with a wide, wide table and large throat that gives you a lot of control over your fabric.

Overall, it’s a sturdy, industrial machine that won’t budge once you get started.

Specs

  • Weight: 33.4 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 25″ x 11.8″ x 14.8″
  • Stitches: Straight
  • Speed: 1500 stitches per minute
  • Computerized/Mechanical: Mechanical
  • Bobbin: Vertical bobbin
  • Warranty: Premium warranty that includes 2 years for parts and labor, 6 years for electronic components and circuit boards, and 25 years for the chassis.

Accessories

The PQ1500SL comes with a whole lot of cool accessories that make quilting an absolute cinch. Let’s take a look at the full list:

  • Straight stitch sewing foot
  • Rolled hem foot
  • Adjustable zipper foot
  • Invisible zipper foot
  • Quarter inch foot
  • Spring action quilting foot
  • Seam guide
  • Walking foot
  • Power cord
  • Foot control
  • Accessory kit with needle packet
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Spool cap
  • Fabric separator
  • 5 metal bobbins
  • Cleaning brush
  • Screwdrivers
  • Spool cushion
  • Owner’s manual

Brother: The Company

Brother International Corporation has been around for more than sixty years, specializing in sewing and quilting machines, as well as durable lines of printers and scanners.

Their fabric products are designed so that sewers can get the most out of their machines, which include features for quilting, garment printing, embroidery, and more. Brother’s commitment to convenience and craft holds up and keeps many buyers returning to them for all their sewing needs.

Brother also provides a cornucopia of resources online, including tutorials, patterns, and newsletters that help you connect with a community dedicated to handy sewing tips.

If you’re trying to take your craft to the next level, you can find instructions for your specific machine and keep pushing yourself to learn more and more.

Making use of Brother’s tools keeps you on your toes, experimenting and practicing with tons of new challenges.

Brother PQ1500SL Features

This Brother quilting machines comes with lots of options for pressure adjustment, which allows you to deal with the roughest, thickest kinds of fabric and adjust your settings at will.

When adjusting the fabric tension, foot pressure, and thread tension, be prepared to sit down for some trial and error. The fine-tuning takes some practice, but the result will be a beautiful, perfect stitch that you just won’t get on other machines.

Read your manual and follow the handy color-coded ranges on the body of the machine, and you should be able to find just the right combination to suit your fabric.

Free-Motion Quilting

More and more machines are equipped for intuitive movement that makes the most difficult sewing projects so much easier. But few have mastered the mechanics as well as Brother, especially in this model.

This feature, combined with the long throat and large, roomy table are ideal for quilting with no wrinkles or puckers.

Automatic Thread Cutter

This time-saving feature allows you to quickly cut your thread with ease.

A brief note: the thread will cut quite short, so if you need some wiggle room and want a longer strand once you’re done, keep a pair of tweezers nearby to tease the thread further out of the machine.

F.A.S.T. Needle Threader

Not quite automatic, but this design has a quick-load threader that pulls the thread into the needle for you.

It’s not quite failsafe and can be tricky to get working properly, so take some time to get the hang of it.

Feed Dog Adjustment Knob

You can easily adjust the height of the feed dogs according to the weight of the fabric you’re working on, via the knob.

There are four feed dog positions in total.

Knee Lifter

Another great feature is the knee lifter, which lets you adjust the tension without having to stop quilting or move your hands away from what they’re doing.

Once you’re used to how much pressure you want, your quilting will go quicker than ever, and you’ll have tons of options for getting just the right amount of control.

Thread Tension Dial

The thread tension is fully manually adjustable via the the upper thread tension dial on the front of the machine.

Adjust Needle Position

You can adjust the needle position by turning the handwheel on the side of the machine

Stitch Length Regulator

There’s another dial on the front of the machine that allows you to adjust your desired stitch length from 1 to 7.

A lower number indicates a shorter stitch, and a higher number a longer stitch

Fabric Extension Table

Working on a large quilt? No problem — just lower the adjustable table feet and slide out the PQ1500SL’s fabric extension table.

Other Cool Features

  • Reverse stitch lever
  • Presser foot lever
  • Presser foot pressure adjustment dial
  • Adjustable Pin Feed Mechanism for hard-to-handle fabrics

Brother PQ1500SL Review

The Positives

Excellent for Quilting

The Brother PQ1500SL might just be the best sewing machine for quilting on the market right now.

Not only does it have a huge amount of throat space to maneuver any size fabric, it’s also able to handle a huge variety of different fabrics, including very thick ones!

This is thanks to the huge amount of freedom you have with the thread tension, and the amazing adjustable pin feed mechanism.

The latter feature is designed for so-called ‘hard to handle’ fabrics, like velvet, quilt, suede and knits and makes sewing on them an absolute dream.

It’s Very Fast

The 1500-stitch per minute speed rate is amazing, and best of all, it’s fluid; this machine doesn’t get stuck easily, so you won’t have to worry about any puckering, jerking, or stalling.

You’ve got a lot of firepower and an excellent mechanical design that avoids the problems of smaller machines.

Sturdy and Durable

The first thing you notice when you unpack the Brother PQ1500SL is how sturdy and well made it feels.

This is a heavy machine at over 30 lbs, but it’s easy to see that nothing has been spared to ensure that it serves you well. This is backed up by the impressive Brother warranty.

Not Difficult to Use

We don’t want to say that the PQ1500SL is easy to use as it’s definitely not suitable for beginners, and it will require some trial and error to find the settings that work best for you and your fabric, but we were pleasantly surprised by how intuitive the machine is.

Bobbin winding and installation, and threading the needle are all pretty simple and most experienced sewers will find that they get a handle on the machine in no time at all.

Reasonably Priced

Sure, the Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Machine isn’t exactly cheap, but we think it’s priced very reasonably considering its capabilities and general high quality.

This is one of our top picks for the best quilting machine and it’s priced lower than many of its competitors in this field.

The Negatives

Trial and Error Required

This machine may require a bit of adjustment out of the box; many users have reported weak bobbin tension at first, but Brother enables you to adjust it to your exact preference.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to be an expert on the “machine” aspect of this model, but once you master it, you’ll have tons of adjustment options, far more than you’ll get on a more beginner-friendly model.

In addition, some of the quicker features found in the rest of the Brother line, such as the automatic bobbin, aren’t here, but the bells and whistles probably aren’t necessary for experienced sewers.

Needle Threader and Cutter Take Some Getting Used To

The automatic needle threader and cutter aren’t easy to adjust, which probably means it’s either going to work for you or it’s not.

Some sewers have come up with workarounds by threading the needle themselves or pulling the thread out a little more when it’s ready to cut, which can be a bit taxing.

Here’s a video on how to thread the Brother PQ1500SL:

With practice, though, you should be able to get both these features working, and this machine is very easy to “troubleshoot” without having to dismantle a fully computerized model.

Overall Verdict

Our bottom line is that this is one of the best sewing machines for quilting in 2017.

Heavy quilters will love this machine for its simplicity, speed, and ability to take on practically anything you throw at it.

Any learning curves involve figuring out just how much variety the machine gives you for adjustments, so if you’re an experienced quilter, you’ll be powering away in no time.

Where to Buy the Brother PQ1500SL

Despite the fact that it’s a specialty machine, the Brother PQ1500SL High Speed Quilting and Sewing Machine is very popular and can be found in many stores, both online and in person.

Check these out for starters:

And, of course, it’s available on Amazon.

brother pq1500sl high speed quilting and sewing machine


Are you tempted to try the Brother PQ1500SL?


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