November 25, 2007

The Brother CS-6000

One of the tools that's helped a great deal as I've been figuring out how to be a better seamstress is my new sewing machine (well, it's not really new anymore; it's been about a year? since I got it. My other one Died, and it was time!)

While there are many good machines out there on the market, this one had some features that caught my eye. It also turned out to have several attributes that would actually make me recommend it, even for beginners, in spite of the increased price over some more "basic" models.

The quick and dirty version: you can do pretty much *anything* with this machine. That's why I picked it!

To wit: It sews denim. It has some fun decorative stitches. It is built and meant to do quilting (if you look at its picture, you'll see that there is a curve between the needle area, on the left, and the stitch selection chart, on the right. That curve is purposely built to accommodate a rolled-up full size quilt. It comes in mighty handy for big wads of fake fur, too!) And of course it does all the (now) typical stitches: forward, backward, zigzag, overlock. It makes beautiful buttonholes; another reason I quickly fell in love is that it has lots of different buttonhole stitches set up already: stretch fabric ones, standard ones in three different styles, keyhole....ahhh, variety! My previous machine was also a Brother, and they've got a great way to make buttonholes that always seems to come out perfectly.

One of the things which I thought I would hate, and now realize that I love, is the top-loading bobbin. A good reason to love it is that I can always *see* how much bobbin thread is left, so that I won't run out in the middle of a long--inevitably, topstitched!--seam. It's also really nice for a rank beginner, because there are little directions right there, and arrows clearly showing you how to put it in. I like idiot-proofing, as I've mentioned before!

Another handy feature, which I also thought I would loathe but now love, is the automatic needle-positioning. It's set so that anytime you stop sewing, the needle reverts to the "down" (i.e., in the fabric) position. I thought I would be annoyed at always having to raise the needle if I wanted to be done with a seam. I've found two things that make it all okay: one is that there's a handy needle up and down button right on the front arm of the machine, which is quicker than using the flywheel ever was for getting the needle back up--beep! and I'm done. The other is that having that needle automatically down is great for corners and angles and such, where you have to stop sewing only so you can turn the fabric; the down needle keeps it anchored perfectly without me having to remember it. And that is why I've never bothered to read up on how to make it always land in the "up" position...their engineers were right in the first place.

A few other of my favorite things: I enjoy how quick it is to change stitches, since it's computerized. I like the little read-out on the front that tells me which presser foot I'm supposed to use for the stitch I have selected. I love how easy it is to thread--again, handy and clear arrows. I haven't actually timed myself, but I think it takes me around 10-11 seconds to change thread colors.

This, folks, is a darn good machine. It's lightweight *and* a workhorse, and I'd recommend it for just about anybody.

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