One of the most popular posts on my old blog was about George, my Brother DreamCreator XE VM5100. It’s been more than three years since I brought George home and put him to work, and I often get questions about how I feel about him now. I thought it would be fitting for my very first post on my new blog to give an update on how he’s doing and how we’re getting along.
First off, let me say that George is still a dream to sew on, and that I turn to him frequently, but most often for large jobs such as quilting and crafts. He’s a good all-around machine, and he does some beautiful work, both when I’m sewing and when I’m doing embroidery. I must confess, however, that I turn to my Pfaff Creative 4.5 for quilt piecing and garment sewing. It’s really hard to beat Pfaff’s IDT system, but that’s for another post. Suffice it to say that I still love my DreamCreator.
While I use the Pfaff more frequently, the truth is, I find the Brother far more intuitive and easy to navigate. There isn’t a lot of button pushing, or hunting for stitches; it’s all pretty easy to get to from the menu.
If you need to make a buttonhole, you just choose the button with the buttonhole on it. Want some decorative stitches? This machine has a wide variety of them; choose the Character Decorative Stitch at the top of the screen to get to them. There are 561 total stitches for the machine, 531 of which come on the machine, and another 30 on a CD that you can upload to your machine. It comes with a wide range of feet, and the workspace to the right of the needle is H U G E.
But my favorite part of this machine is the lighting. My eyes have been bad since about the second grade, and they get worse as I get older. I find myself always in need of more lighting, but I don’t really have that problem with George. The included 10 inch LED lighting is a God send, seriously. It lights up the bed of the machine beautifully and I truly find it easy to work with the machine, even when it’s dark outside. My studio gets some of the best natural light in the house, but that doesn’t help at night. However, with George, I can sew well in to the wee hours of the morning without any issues.
I’ve had some questions about thread, and whether or not I have trouble with any particular brand. I’m also asked what brand(s) of thread I use, particularly embroidery. I haven’t had any trouble with new, quality thread, but I have had a fair amount of trouble with some Coats & Clark cotton thread. I’m not sure if the reason for that is because the brand or because it was old. I’m leaning toward it being old – most of it I’ve had for at least ten years. When it comes to piecing quilts, I use the “house thread” from Connecting Threads, and Aurifil, depending on what I have on hand. I love Aurifil, but let’s be honest – it’s sort of expensive, so I end up using mostly the Connecting Threads brand. For embroidery, I use Madeira, Robison Anton, Isacord, and Floriani. I’m not particular about using one brand, but I tend to use more Madeira than anything else, with Floriani being my second most used brand. Each of them perform flawlessly, and I get wonder embroidery designs with them.
Speaking of embroidery, that is another area where Brother excels, and in my opinion, blows the Pfaff out of the water. Embroidery on the Brother is super easy, from getting to the embroidery module on the machine, to actually stitching out a design. It simply does not get better than Brother. And the finished work is just beautiful.
I use the embroidery unit often to “quilt” my quilts. I also have a Brother PRS 100 Persona machine with a tubular arm, but I use George for all of my “flat” embroidery. Towels, quilts, blankets and other items that don’t require special hooping are still done with George, and he performs beautifully every single time.
As I said in my original review of George, if I had it to do all over again, I’d buy the DreamWeaver VM6200D, for the MuVit dual feed foot and the droplight embroidery positioning marking foot. Also, you get the digital pen and laser seam guide with that machine. I can buy the MuVit foot and the droplight embroidery positioning marking foot for George, but together, it’s about $400-500. I didn’t think either were that big of a deal, but I can tell you that after having the droplight on the PRS 100, I would LOVE to have it on George, too. It really takes the guesswork out of positioning.
All in all, I still love George and I use him often. I have thought about moving up to a DreamWeaver or a Dream Machine 2, but both of those would have to wait until I am in a better position financially. Before I buy another sewing machine, though, I think I want to buy a new serger/coverstitch machine. This machine runs about $4800 on the street, though, and for that price, it’s a heck of a lot of a machine. If you’ve ever owned a computerized Brother or Baby Lock before, you should have absolutely no problem getting up and running with this machine in short order. Honestly, I cannot imagine anyone having too much trouble getting this machine up and running!