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Thinking of buying Brother PE500
rubbecca

rubbecca
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Date: 6/7/13 10:10 AM

I've been thinking of getting an embroidery only machine and saw that Amazon currently has the PE 500 for $254.99. All my other machines (I have two sewing, 1 serger, and 1 coverstitch) are all Janome that I bought from my dealer. But the Janome embroidery machine he sells is $1000 and up. I like my dealer and his service, but that is too steep for me considering how much I may use the embroidery machine. The PE 500 seems to get an overall good review and the price point is appealing. I know that it's limited to 4 x 4 design size. What thread brand and weight should I get for this machine that has worked well for you? Which brand/type of stabilizer?

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Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II (traded)
Brother DreamMaker VE 2200

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to rubbecca <<
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Date: 6/7/13 11:58 AM

Brother is the leader in home machine embroidery.

You will be using machine embroidery thread, which is 40wt.

Rayon or Polyester. Poly, if the item is going to be subjected to chlorine bleach. The thread comes on spools (parallel wound) or cones (cross wound). Both work best on a vertical spool pin, but the cross wound needs to feed directly up from the cone. A thread stand will provide the best configuration.

The better brands of thread are Maderia and Robison-Anton. Many color charts for designs are Maderia. Buy only as needed as large collections will leave you with many colors that you will not use.

Brother embroidery only machines use 90wt machine embroidery bobbin thread, which is not that easy to find. Fabric stores do not stock this weight and many Brother dealers are clueless as to this requirement. Best to buy online.

The 4 x 4 embroidery area is limiting, you may want to consider a machine with a larger embroidery area (hoop size is the usual indication). Sometimes a dealer will have a trade-in that they know is gently used and will cared for.

You will also need a variety of stabilizers; cut away, tear away, water soluble and sticky back or spray adhesive for hoopless embroidery (where the item cannot be hooped and the adhesive holds the item instead of the hoop).

A supply of embroidery machine needles (include Titanium coated if you are going to use anything with adhesive).

Add a craft cart to the list for storing the supplies.

A computer cannot read or open a machine embroidery design file. You will need a basic software product, such as Embrilliance Essentials and Thumbnailer. This brand, as well as some others are offered for either PC or Mac. Computer requirements will be provided in the overview of the product. This is the best deal I have found.

You may be able to get a dealer to throw in a few of these products.

Lastly, create a folder on your computer for downloading design files. Give it a name you will easily recognize. Send downloads to this folder.

Most files will be zipped and these need to be opened/extracted/unzipped (depends on the language preference of your computer's operating system). Open and save in the format of the machine. For Brother and Babylock, this will be .pes.

Be sure the downloads are in the correct format and hoop size of the machine. The original zipped file can be deleted once you are sure the unzip was successful.

As the download collection grows, you may want to add sub folders. But above all, back-up the files on an USB stick just in case the computer has a hissy fit and destroys your hard work.

All these supplies can double the price of the purchase, so bargain for as much as you can.

Learn the machine before attempting to embroider. Test built-in features. May be a bit boring, but it will save time and ruined projects in the long run.

This is an amazing craft. You set up and watch the magic happen....don't walk away. If the door bell rings, or the dog needs to go out. Stop the machine.






-- Edited on 6/7/13 12:02 PM --

------
"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

rubbecca

rubbecca
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Posts: 132
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In reply to PattiAnnJ <<


Date: 6/8/13 4:14 AM

Thanks for all the useful information. Can I take a larger than 4 x 4 design and resize it using Embrilliance Essentials so that it'll fit to be used on the 4 x 4 hoop size?

------
Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II (traded)
Brother DreamMaker VE 2200

SandiMacD
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Date: 6/8/13 4:59 AM

Excellent information! The only thing I would add is not to trash the original files if they ate multiformat.
If you find that you like embroidery and upgrade to a different machine it may take a different file type.
Embrilliance will resize but recommends 10% limitations on smaller and cautions if you resize more than 15% smaller. But it does have features that let you put in the percentage as more if you want.
I would always buy a 4x4 design or less if that was my hoop size. Splitting was way too complex. I started out with a 5x7 field, loved it and eventually bought a machine with a larger hoop. It was nice to build my supplies and learn on the smaller machine. Never regretted it.

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

rubbecca

rubbecca
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Member since 2/25/08
Posts: 132
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Date: 6/8/13 5:44 PM

I called a local Brother dealer and he quoted me $499 for the PE 500 whereas amazon has it for $269.97 and Walmart.com for $269.99. Mr. and Mrs. Vac and Sew sells for $299. I wanted to buy locally, but the price difference is too great. Even the Brother website advertises the PE 500 as the first embriodery machine to sell for less than $300. He said that private lessons are included but all the reviews say the machine is quite easy to learn. I know that buying from a dealer may be a little more because you're paying for the support, but can they charge more than retail?
-- Edited on 6/8/13 9:20 PM --

------
Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II (traded)
Brother DreamMaker VE 2200

speattle
speattle
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In reply to rubbecca <<
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Date: 6/9/13 2:10 AM

I certainly would not pay more than MSRP for a machine. I wonder if Brother knows they are charging more?

Are they perhaps bundling software or extra design cds with this?

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Elna Lotus TSP, Singer 503a-Rocketeer, Brother Innovis 1250D, Pfaff Passport 2.0, Kenmore 10-Stitch, Centennial Singer Featherweight from 1950

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to rubbecca <<
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Date: 6/9/13 12:33 PM

This may be due to many thinking they need lessons for everything and he is being proactive!

You are correct that the machine is easy to use. Step by step through the manual is how anyone and everyone will learn. You can do this on your own for free or pay someone to lead you through the basics.

Just how much does his staff know??? Ask what weight bobbin thread this machine uses. If he tells you 90 weight then he knows what he is talking about. If he tells you the usual weight, 60 then he does not know his product.

See the manual here. Accessories, page 8 shows bobbin thread 90#.

Ask if he can come down as Brother advertises the price as less than $300 and you are not interested in lessons.

He cannot charge you for what is covered in the warranty, but can for everything else he may provide.

He can charge more than MSRP for the machine or less.




-- Edited on 6/9/13 12:37 PM --

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

easterbun
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In reply to rubbecca <<
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Date: 6/9/13 1:58 PM

I wouldn't pay a penny over MSRP on this - even if it included "extras" (because it would take a LOT to amount to $200 of extras, and most dealers just aren't going to include that much). I paid only $219 for mine brand new from Amazon a month ago (it was a lightning deal).

I already had some stabilizers from my previous embroidery machine so I didn't need to buy anything else right away, but you should figure that you're going to spend at least another $100 or so on enough thread and stabilizer to get you started. Sulky stabilizers can be found at Joann's in the 8" rolls that are the perfect size for the 4" hoop, and if you use 40% or 50% off coupons they are cheaper there than trying to find them anywhere else. You want at least tear away and at least one kind of sticky stabilizer to start with, you can pick up others as you need them or have coupons available to use.

Learning the machine is super easy - it is very simple to use and honestly my 7 year old could do it with minimal help, that's how easy it is, but learning how to successfully stabilize a variety of materials is not as simple. HOWEVER, there are a number of free videos and tutorials out there that you can find now that just weren't available even just a few years ago to help you learn, so even that doesn't "require" dealer assistance unless you really want to sit through a lengthy sales pitch over overpriced accessories, which is primarily what dealer "lessons" tend to be.

I love my machine and I don't regret the purchase at all - I primarily wanted mine for quilt labels and small stuff (like patches) for the kids so the smaller 4x4 field isn't a problem for me.

rubbecca

rubbecca
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Member since 2/25/08
Posts: 132
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Date: 6/9/13 10:18 PM

Thanks for your inputs. Yeah, I agree that although dealer support (classes) is nice, I can't justify paying $200 extra for what the machine is selling for everywhere else. I could use that money towards threads and stabilizers instead.

Plus, he's suppose to still give me support even if I buy my machine elsewhere and I need it serviced under warranty because he's an authorized Brother repair shop, right?

I saw that Costco is currently offering the PE 700II for $499.99 until June 16. Is that a good, reliable and easy to use machine too? Good price? Although more than what I wanted to spend, the larger 5 x 7 hoop size is appealing.

But I also saw there's a lot of designs available in 4 x 4 size and that size is more than adequate for embroidering towels, shirts, and small bags. But the 5 x 7 would offer options in the future. Not sure how much I embroidery I will end up doing. The PE 500 is so affordable, though. Ugh, decisions!

------
Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II (traded)
Brother DreamMaker VE 2200

Delilahsews
Delilahsews  Friend of PR
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Texas USA
Member since 4/30/13
Posts: 58
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In reply to rubbecca <<


Date: 6/9/13 10:55 PM

My advice is to go with the PE 700II that Costco is offering. The same machine with the package deal that Costco is offering for $499 (including shipping) is much higher on Amazon ($589-$769 plus shipping).
I would highly recommend buying a machine with the biggest embroidery field that you can afford. If you get into embroidery you will most likely quickly outgrow the 4x4 hoop. Also the pkg deal that Costco is offering looks like you'd be able to start "playing" right out of the box. It has stabilizer,thread, prewound bobbins, etc included in the box. That is a good deal.
Also Costco has an AWESOME return policy so if you get it and realize that it's not all you dreamed it would be, you can return it to the store with no hassles.
-- Edited on 6/9/13 11:06 PM --

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