product review: embroidery for all!

Posted by & filed under Sewing.

Let me begin with a photo that makes me very happy. All of my pretty new embroidery threads organized neatly in their clear plastic box, waiting to be made into words and designs and pretty things that will make people happy.

Don’t they look optimistic?

Why do I have a new stash of embroidery thread, you may ask?

Because the good folks at Brother like to make all my dreams come true and asked me to review their new computerized embroidery-only machine and share my thoughts with you!

Well, yes. Yes, I think I will.

Yes, those lovely Brother people have made an embroidery machine that caters to sewists who want to step their game up a notch. It’s for the Mamas and Grandmas who have little people they love to decorate. It’s for all of you talented Etsy shop owners who want to earn some extra cash by adding embroidery options and designs to their already-awesome work. It’s for sewing enthusiasts (like me) who love to make pretty gifts and love the idea of adding a personal touch to the things they give.

And best of all? As embroidery machines go – it’s quite affordable! This particular machine is available only at Wal-Mart and at Wal-Mart online and retails for $299.97. (As in, not too late to pool cash with your siblings and get Mom a great Mother’s Day gift that will only keep on giving!)

Also, it’s approachable. See all of the directions printed all over the machine itself? You really can almost just grab it out of the box and go. Threading is all diagrammed really clearly for you and the digital design screen is nicely self-explanatory.

The Stats:
4″x4″ embroidery area
5 font styles
70 built-in embroidery designs compatible (you can buy designs on this website and use them on this machine)
Large back-lit touch screen LCD display

See the pretty addition I made to Groovy’s Mother’s Day gift? It’s on the way to my amazing and oh-s0-deserving mother-in-law as we speak! Shhh!

My neighbor came by yesterday to visit my new “baby”. We embroidered names onto pool bags for her and her twin sister. Boy, is it hard to pick a font!

My official take? Let’s break it down into pros & cons:

*the 4″x4″ hoop area has been big enough for everything I’ve wanted to make so far. But in order to make anything bigger, you’d have to reposition your fabric in your hoop as you go. No biggie, just a thought.

*Also, and this doesn’t affect everybody, it’s only compatible with a PC. Sad for a strictly non-PC home, but my neighbor does have a PC laptop that she has happily offered to share for any embroidery needs. Also, I’ve just read some other product reviews that said they had no trouble with Mac compatibility – going to have to try it out after all!

*It is all the embroidery machine I need and it’s really simple to use once you *ahem* open up the user manual and really read about all of it’s features.

*It has that same cool needle-threading mechanism that my Innovis NX-800 has. Handy for all the color changes you’ll make with multi-colored designs.

*Speaking of multi-color design, it does this cool thing where  you can set your thread brand name (Sulky, for example) on the touch screen, and it goes, for each color change it will stop, tell you the color name or number for that specific brand of thread that you need to load into the machine, then it will keep going. Pretty fancy!

*And speaking of fancy, if you really want to be cool, you can actually buy design software that will allow you to create your own designs and translate them into embroidery masterpieces. Neato!

I am already loving have this machine added to my little fleet of sewing friends. And I’m super excited to play more with the appliquéing feature (it actually marks your appliqué cut lines with stitches, then you cut it out and set it in place wherever you want it to stick; tell it to go again and it will do this gorgeous appliqué stitch all around that same area so you look like you are very fancy and totally know what you’re doing, even if your machine’s just that smart.)

Pardon me while I go play some more…

And come back next week for a fun tutorial that is made even cooler with the personal touch of the guy pictured above :) He/she needs a name, eh? Suggestions?


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Brother PE500 embroidery machine mentioned above for free in exchange for a review of the product on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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22 Responses

  1. Brooke 11 May 2012 at 9:52 am

    I’m in love with embroidery but have been “scared” of it. This is actually making it seem very do-able price and ease-wise. I had someone doing some shirts and bags for me so I was filling my “needs” but she’s no longer able to do it. This may be on my anniversary gift list now :) Thanks so much!!!

  2. Kimberly 11 May 2012 at 10:59 am

    That is one fancy machine! Oh the beautiful things you will make with that. I think Chichi is the perfect name for her as I know you will create all sorts of Chichi Froufrou projects with her! :)

  3. Lisa V 11 May 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Sweet post! I love the embroidered names…and have never loved my attempts at doing it freehand. Might be worth a trip across the border to pick this girl (guy?) up. I agree the Serger is a boy machine….he’s tough no frills serious business. But this one might be a lady I think….more delicate, polished, fancy frosting on the cake kind of work. For some reason I keep thinking embroidery is like those classic southern porch sitter names….and mixing that with completing the perfect girlie outfit with some cute jewelry I land on the name Pearl. Whatever you name her, I think the two of you will become fast friends. Congrats!

    • Raechel Myers 11 May 2012 at 9:05 pm

      Yes, the serger is definitely masculine! And yeah, I agree that this one is a lady. Pearl is lovely and fitting… definitely in the running! Along that vain – maybe Magnolia – or should I say “Mag-nawl-ya” – dripping with Southern sweetness :)

  4. Stephanie 23 May 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Have you tried it with your Mac yet? I would love to finally get an embroidery machine, but we’re a mac family.

  5. Pat Austin 24 October 2012 at 10:41 am

    I am looking to get one of these that I can put Weimaraners on. However, I only have a Mac laptop. Will this work for me? Thanks..

  6. Sandra 6 January 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I have a really silly question… I bought this last month, but was surprized at how large the embroidery hoop was for only a 4×4 embroidery area. After using it a few times, I’ve realized that the machine is very conservative in that it won’t start/finish a design anywhere near the edge (so that means I don’t need to be worried about breaking a needle), but now I’m starting to wonder if the wrong hoop was included in my box.

    While the box and operation manual both state that a 4×4 embroidery hoop were to come with my machine, my hoop seems to measure almost 5×7 (it’s 5″ x 6.75″ on the inside of the hoop.) It’s not the advertised “large hoop” since it doesn’t have additional repositioning pins on the left.

    Did they include the wrong hoop with my machine, or is that normal for the 4×4 hoop? (I can’t tell if that description is for the active design area, or the actual hoop size.) It seems like I am wasting a lot of stabilizer each time I use the machine.

  7. Kelly 20 January 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Hello, I have just purchased the he1, which from my understanding, is the same as the pe500? I am brand new to embroidery and wonder if you have any suggestions on websites/tutorials that may help me learn about downloading designs or ordering the right fonts for this machine.

    Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated

  8. Cherise 31 January 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Do you know a embroidery sewing machine that is reasonable and you can dowload your own designs directly to the machine.

  9. Dee 15 October 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I have this machine as well, and I’m a total newbie at embroidering! So let the fun begin. I have to get thread, and stabilizer, got any ideas on brands?
    Loving your blog here. Thanks!

  10. BB's Knits 11 January 2014 at 10:00 am

    I just purchased one of these as a late Christmas present to myself. I’m a newbie to sewing, knitting, and crocheting, and I cannot wait to add embroidery to my repitoire of skills. I know I am super excited about the compatibility with the ibroidery library as well and the number of things I’m going to be able to make for my 5 year old niece and 15 month old nephew!! :)


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