|What gephura likes about this machine|
This is a lot of money to spend on a hobby. But I do a lot of sewing and spend a lot of time at the machine, and of course this was a “great deal”. I attended an embroidery workshop with the goal of learning something about stabilizers and in-the-hoop projects, the workshop folks had the goal of selling machines – I think we both left happy. The nice thing about the workshop is we had all the experts on hand (sales/repair/Brother/Adorable Ideas) and plenty of time to tryout the machines. The big thing I learned is this machine (and by extension all embroidery machines) is thread finicky, and I will explain more on that below. I have posted a review on my old Husqvaran Designer I if you are interested in what I was upgrading from.
What I like about the 6KD:
WOW IS IT BIG. A year ago I was living in a much smaller space and I wouldn't even have considered this machine, but now I have a dedicated workspace and so that wasn't an issue. The size of course gives you more workspace between the needle and the control panel, but also allows for bigger embroidery designs. I also bought the expansion table to make it even more monstrous.
USB – no more fiddly cards or card readers or external floppy drives. Just put your design on the USB and go
Camera/embroidery placement – Yes this machine has a camera so you can view your stitching area and drag and rotate your designs as you see fit. It also has placement stickers, just put one where you want the center of your design and let the camera find it. I can see this being a nice quick way to place a design on a shirt without having to fight with perfect alignment from the screen.
-Design on machine – aside from the basics of moving your design in four directions, you can rotate and mirror it. The included tablet lets you draw your own freehand designs.
-Hoops securely lock in place and I do not worry about them slipping
-Stitching is good, but.... We had plenty of problems in class with threads breaking, and this usually was fixed with getting different thread. I never paid much credence to the claims of “recommended” threads, because I thought it was just advertising, but the class changed my mind. A little web research shows that cheaper, older, and darker threads are more prone to breakage. The Brother rep also recommended Organ needles, but one lady said she uses Schmetz exclusively on the 6KD without issue. I was concerned about the thread finickiness and thought perhaps this wasn't such an improvement on my old machine – until I tried some dark thread bought on clearance with the same pattern on both machines. Where the Brother kept breaking, the old machine couldn't even stitch and would immediately shred, jam, and break.
-Jump stitches are automatically trimmed and pulled to the bottom
Touchscreen/mouse/tablet/stylus – pick your preference for navigating the menu. I was surprised it came with the tablet that allows you to draw your own designs; it is a standard USB tablet that does work on my Windows 8 machine :)
Sooooo many included designs, as well as some Disney/Pixar designs
Help Files/manual – the menu includes guides for sewing and features, with pictures and some videos. I actually learned a few things here, like I never thought to thread baste a blind hem, this resulted in the best blind hem I ever did on a machine. All the info is also in the printed manual and in PDF on the software disk.
Imperial/metric throat plates, I use both US and German patterns, so having both measuring systems handy is great. The main throat plate has markings for the needle in the left position, and the bobbin cover has markings for the center needle position.
Fabric control/feed dogs – it seems to have better feed dog control of the fabric than my old machine, but this could just be me trying to justify everything about it
Includeds – the number of things it includes: FOUR embroidery hoops, two-spool vertical thread stand that attaches to back of machine, knee lifter, two extra bobbin cases (one for bobbin work), two extra bobbin covers (one with cord guide), extra straight stitch throat plate. Strangely, the Brother site doesn't list the included bobbins, and at the workshop they had to dig out the manual to get the information, here is the list:
Zigzag, monogramming, overcasting, zipper, buttonhole, blind stitch, button fitting, walking, straight stitch, free motion quilting, free motion echo quilting, free motion open toe, embroidery, vertical stitch alignment, side cutter (intended to work like a serger, but I haven't tried it)
Embroidery arm/hoop carry case – this is big sturdy case, not like the one for my old machine that broke after being opened twice
What gephura does not like about this machine
The price, for reference the "great deal" I got included a 10 spool thread stand, 63 spools, Digitizing Software, Dell Laptop, and luggage. But still, this is an expensive machine for just a hobby, and only a 7 day return policy from the dealer.
Knee lifter/needle control – I don't like the knee lifter, I miss my old Viking that would cycle from needle-down and needle-up with the tap of the foot pedal. I hope this is a software upgrade Brother can include later. It is a small thing, but after years of working with the Viking, I am having a fiddly time with the Brother's knee lifter, presser foot button, and needle-up botton.
A whole lot of feet but no rolled hem or teflon foot included.
Flat bed attachment storage – All the attachments will not fit in the flat bed attachment and I don't like the separate carrying case which has silly slide locks instead of a simple lid which is where the bobbins are to be stored. I just feel that they could have organized all the attachments better.
Throat plate screws – instead of a snap in plate (which my old machine had) there are two screws for the plate. Unfortunately, one of these fell into the machine when I was cleaning, and I had to roll this heavy machine around on the floor to get the screw out. I did try some tweezers and a small magnet, but couldn't get the angle right.
Bobbin winding spindle – this seems flimsy, and I worry I will snap it off by accident