Tag Archives: Brother sewing machines

Presser Foot Pressure Adjustment – second post

Recently I posted a short discussion and a link to a youtube video on the subject of presser foot pressure adjustment.  Following that post, I did some testing on my own machines, with walking feet installed.  As I did the tests, I wrote on the fabric to show the settings used.  You can see the settings in the photos.  After sandwiching batting between two pieces of fabric, you sew a crossways seam at the bottom of the piece.  Then the test stitching is done by stitching from the top down towards the crossways stitching.  If the top fabric is being pushed forward, it will show up as a pleat at the crossways stitching.

First, my old faithful Bernina Artista 180.  I was quite impressed with the results.  The range of adjustment is very good.  The lowest setting (no numbers on the machine, but I labelled it 0) was way too light — the stitching wasn’t very straight and the stitch length was inconsistent.  The best setting seemed to be about 8, or two thirds of the way.  Even the highest pressure setting was pretty good.  You can see these results in the photo below:

Bernina 180 walking foot pressure test

Bernina 180 walking foot pressure test

Second, I put the optional walking foot on my Brother Dreamweaver VQ 3000.   I purchased it because it gives  better visibility than the “Muvit™” foot that comes with the machine.  Frankly, up to this point I had never used the Muvit™ foot because it only came with a closed toe sole plate that I really didn’t like.  Also the Muvit™ foot is quite large (since it contains a motor) and I didn’t like that either.  I have recently changed my mind, but more about that later.

The photo below shows the results with the optional walking foot.  There are four possible pressure settings for this machine – 1 through 4 – and I tried them all.  The lowest setting was just barely tolerable.  The results with the higher settings were quite bad.  I tried various other adjustments — presser foot height, auto fabric sensor on or off — and nothing helped.  Here are the results:

Brother VQ 3000 pressure test with optional walking foot

Brother VQ 3000 pressure test with optional walking foot

After consulting with Quality Sewing about this problem, I went to the shop and tested a machine like mine, but using the Muvit™ foot.  The results were excellent, and the visibility problem that so bothered me initially has been solved with a new open toe sole plate for the Muvit™ foot.  Here is a photo of the Muvit™ foot installed on the machine, so you get the idea.

Brother Muvit foot installed

Brother Muvit foot installed

Here is a photo of the two sole plates for comparison.  The 1/8 and 1/4 inch markings on the open sole plate are very helpful.

Brother Muvit foot sole plate comparison

Brother Muvit foot sole plate comparison

 

And now the test results.  The Muvit™ foot has an adjustment range from -10 to +10.  At   -10, a little puckering is just beginning to show.  All the other settings produce excellent results, so I would be inclined to leave the machine set at the default, which is 0.0.

Brother Muvit foot pressure test results

Brother Muvit foot pressure test results

After conducting this test at Quality Sewing, I purchased the open toe sole plate and came home and quilted a quilt with the Muvit™ foot.  I also put the binding on using the Muvit™.  I am very impressed with the results.  I still wish the foot was a little smaller, but I can now understand why the engineers designed it the way it is.  And I retract all the nasty thoughts I had about it!  Always good to get motivated enough to try new things, especially when your initial emotional reaction was “what kind of idiot did this?”.  Turns out, some very clever (not idiot) engineers did this!

Brother Dreamweaver sewing machine

Last spring I purchased a new Brother sewing machine because my dear old Bernina – after 14 years and over 10 million stitches –  is just getting worn out.  I looked at the new Berninas – they are beautiful – but decided on the Brother because it had a couple of features I really liked and seemed a little more cost effective.

My new machine has an 11 1/2 inch space to the right of the needle, making it very useful for free motion quilting.  The other feature I really like is the large touch screen for selecting stitches and settings.  It has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a higher end machine.  I did not get the embroidery version since I have seldom used the embroidery capability on my old Bernina.  Here is a photo of the machine:

Brother Dreamweaver 3000 sewing machine

Brother Dreamweaver 3000 sewing machine

And here is a closeup of the touch screen, which makes selection of stitches, tension, etc. so easy.  It even has tutorials for filling a bobbin, threading the machine, etc.

Dreamweaver touchcreen

Dreamweaver touchcreen

It has a beautiful selection of decorative stitches – here are a couple of pages where I stitched some out so I would have a reference book of all the stitches.

Dreamweaver decorative stitches 1

Dreamweaver decorative stitches 1

Dreamweaver Decorative stitches 2

Dreamweaver Decorative stitches 2

This machine even lets you design your own decorative stitches and save them in the machine, as well as download new stitches through a USB port.  As with the rest of the machine, these features are straightforward and easy to do.  The automatic needle threading works very well, as does the thread cutting feature when I use it (great for piecing with cotton thread and of course would be terrific for garment sewing, not so good for free motion quilting or work with specialty threads such as monofilament ).

And the last feature I especially like is the excellent manual, which has very clear explanations about how to use the machine to accomplish various tasks.  It is really well done.  I took it to the print shop and had it spiral bound, since I know I will use it frequently.

I am still developing my skills with this machine, and generally I like it very much.  It has a couple of negatives compared to my old Bernina, but they are minor.  They mostly have to do with the feet.  Bernina presser feet are really quick to change – no screws required – and I miss that feature, especially when switching from a regular foot to the walking foot and back to a regular foot, which I do frequently.  Of course the extra convenience of the Bernina feet means they are more expensive — always a trade-off!  And I miss the Bernina walking foot, which seems to perform better with less noise.  I am referring here to a “regular” type walking foot that I bought as an add on to the Brother; the Brother comes with a very unique walking foot intended for use with specialty fabrics.  I haven’t even tried that foot out, because the sole is so wide and has such poor visibility that I know I won’t use it for quilting.  The regular walking foot on the Brother works fine; I just don’t like it quite as well as the Bernina one.

As I get better at using some of the special features of the Brother, I will post the results here.  I especially want to do some stitch designs and see what new decorative stitches I can invent!