In response to the popular, fashion-focused reality TV show Project Runway, on the Lifetime channel, Brother has introduced a line of sewing machines for budding, and already in full bloom, fashionistas. The Brother Project Runway PC420PRW is made for the home sewer who wants to create clothing and accessories, although this machine is versatile enough for other projects, such as quilting.
Great Selection Of Stitches
The 294 built-in stitches include 10 different styles of 1-step buttonholes in addition to the 67 utility stitches: straight, zigzag, overcast, blind hem, darning and others.
Decorative stitches include geometric patterns, hearts, flowers, leaves and even a tiny alligator. Five cross stitches and 26 satin stitches round out the collection.
Design Your Own Stitches
In addition, this Brother includes an exclusive feature, My Custom Stitch, which allows the user to create an original stitch and save it to the computer’s memory. This is done with an LCD screen, sized at 2.0 by .07. A set of grid sheets is used for charting and previewing custom sewing stitches before they are entered and stored and these are included. Additional sheets are available for purchase from Brother.
A very nice extra feature is the built-in thread cutter, which is programmable to cut both upper and lower threads. This is activated by a button labeled with a small pair of scissors. Very often the icons used on sewing machines to indicate function are, at best, ambiguous, but there can be little doubt about the purpose of this button.
|Stitches Per Minute||Number of Stitches||Buttonhole Styles||Presser Feet||Auto Threading||Thread Tension||Adjustable Stitch||Thread Cutter||Adjustable Speed|
The included accessories are quite standard:
- a selection of needles including a twin needle
- 2 small screwdrivers
- cleaning brush
- seam ripper,
- spool caps
- spool pin and bobbins.
It is important to use actual Brother bobbins when sewing with this machine as other types will cause jamming and thread breakage. Included is a set of eleven snap-on presser feet: stitch guide foot, adjustable zipper and piping foot, blind stitch, buttonhole, a non-stick foot, open toe foot, monogramming foot, and a walking foot for even fabric feed.
A hard-sided case is a nice non-standard addition. A user manual, power cord and foot pedal complete the set of accessories. It is possible to sew without the foot pedal if that should be necessary for any reason. 2 LED bulbs light up the work area.
A Heavy, Stable Workhorse
The Brother PC420PRW sews a very rapid 850 stitches per minute. This machine, at 23 pounds, is not a lightweight, but the extra heft provides stability and solidity during long periods of construction at high stitch speeds.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $640 is also rather hefty, but the target audience for the Brother PC 420 is sewers who are serious about fashion and want to produce professional-looking and high-quality garments, bags and other items. You can also find it for much cheaper if you shop around a bit.
Keep IT Clean For Better Reliablilty
Like many other sewing machines, this one is sensitive to the lint and thread debris that build up over time and with heavy use. Regular cleaning, depending on frequency of use, and oiling when necessary will ensure continued trouble-free sewing for many years.
One review suggested actually using a vacuum cleaner to be sure to get every bit of accumulated dust and fuzz, especially when working with furs, felts and other loosely woven fabrics.
Easy To Use
The control panel features eighteen buttons marked with icons that should not be too difficult to interpret. Arrow buttons permit the user to cycle through the stitch choices and make selections with an OK button. Considering the capabilities of this machine, the controls really are fairly simple and straight-forward.
This is probably not the right sewing machine for the absolute beginner. Sewers with experience and knowledge of garment construction, however, will be up and running with just a little time spent learning and experimenting. Soon they will be making fabulous clothes for themselves and their families and friends.
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