Real Review From The Owner Of The Brother HC1850 Sewing Machine

Imagine you’ve gone from zero to hero with your sewing and you’re producing garments you never thought possible. And now with confidence so high, you’re starting your first quilt. Can you reach these heights using the Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and Quilting machine?

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With my experience as an owner and user of the Brother HC1850, I’ll give you an in-depth review of the machine.

I’ll look at how it helps you come up to speed and cover what it can and can’t do. You’ll know whether the HC1850 can produce projects you’ll be proud of and your friends and family love. 

In short, it's a great sewing machine for beginners. In my tests I found it's straightforward to use, stitches were even and solid, and it handled different types of fabrics with a correct needle. 

The 130 built-in stitches and many other features will expand your creativity by discovering the fashion designer in you.  

However, it's not built for king size quilts and only has one monogramming font to offer. 

Features   
Stitches130
Weight10.1 pounds
Needle ThreaderAutomatic
Table1 wide table
Free ArmYes
Buttonholers1 step automatic, 8 styles
Speed optionsThree
Warranty25 years limited
LEDYes
Monogramming1 font complete with (0-9) numbers, letters (A-Z), specialty symbols (total of 8), and punctuation marks (total of 7).
LCD screenYes
Stitch width7mm
Stitch length5mm

What’s in the box?

Exciting isn’t it? You’re wondering what you’ll see when the package arrives, and you open up to look at your new Brother HC1850 for the first time.

If you don’t want to be surprised when it arrives, take a look at this video so you’ll be prepared.

Otherwise, skip straight to the next section and find out what to do if sewing is new to you.

New to sewing? - starting this way is a breeze

In the beginning, stitching is exciting yet intimidating and overwhelming.

What do you do first?

My recommendation is to watch the Instructional DVD a few times. Watching it will get you over the first hump of threading the needle, winding the bobbin and starting your first project with the basic stitches.

The only downside to the DVD is that it doesn’t show you how to attach the free motion quilting foot or the walking foot.

But don’t worry because the walking foot is an optional extra you won’t need until you’re a long way down the track and I’m assuming you’ll be focusing on sewing before you try any quilting.

Now I know that most folks don’t like reading the
manual. If you’re one, I urge you to put aside your dislike and take a look because it has a wealth of information that will improve your skill no end.

In your early days, you’ll find the “Sewing Basics” section valuable and in particular the “Useful sewing tips” a boon. There are tips about trial sewing and changing the sewing direction, as well as on how to sew:

  • Thick fabrics.
  • Hook-and-loop fastener.
  • Thin fabrics.
  • Stretch fabrics.
  • And stitching cylindrical pieces.

On top of this, there’s a section on “Knowing Your Sewing Machine." This section explains all the different utility stitches, in case you don’t want to go back and watch the video again.

If you run into trouble, the manual covers you as well. The Appendix has a section on “Error Messages” which explains the probable cause and solution for an error code that appears on the LCD screen. And there is a list of occurrences that could impact progress with the possible reason and how to put it right.

So, you’ve got the DVD and the manual to get you started and help to improve your skills.

But that’s not all, because some features make it so easy for you to progress.

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Let’s look at them. 

What features make it easy to use?

First, getting ready to start (there's no "colorful" language required):

  • Bobbin winding.

    With the thread in place, three simple steps and the bobbin is quick to complete winding.

  • Quick-set bobbin.

    Drop in the bobbin, pull the thread through the slot, and you’re ready. And you can see through the clear bobbin plate and know at any time how much yarn you have left.

  • Automatic needle threader.

    A simple touch of the lever and the thread feeds through the eye of the needle. There’s no need to lick and squeeze the thread or squint your eyes to push it through yourself. All done for you.

Second, when you're up and going (it's a smooth affair):

  • Start/Stop Button.

    If you have trouble working the foot pedal, there’s always the push button start/stop button.

  • Adjustable sewing speed.

    If you’re used to using a foot pedal as an experienced sewer, you’re fine.

    But when I started sewing, I found the pedal hard to get the speed right, and the faster speed was downright scary. So, as a beginner, you’ll feel in greater control using the stitch speed slide control.

    Don't jump straight away to the 850 stitches per minute. Start with the slow speed of the three-speed settings and build up as you gain confidence.

    And you’ll never be sewing fast when you should be sewing slow for thicker fabrics.

    Having the button is also a must for handicapped people.

  • Feed System.

    I don’t know about you, but when I start something, I want it to be perfect, and precise stitches help you get there.

    The feed system of the HC1850 moves your fabric smoothly as you sew which means the type of material doesn’t impact the accuracy of your stitches.

    So you’ll get the same look of tight and neat stitches no matter what fabric you are sewing.

  • Stitch Chart.

    If you want to change the stitch but you’re not sure which of the 130 built-in stitches to pick, the flip chart at the front of the machine is such a boon.

    So handy to flip through and select the best stitch without having to waste time and pull out the manual.

  • Matching presser foot and stitch.

    The inbuilt-computer makes sure you’re using the right presser foot for the stitch you select.

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What can you sew with the HC1850?

The versatility of this little machine is one thing that it has going for it because it can handle many kinds of sewing with ease. For one, you can choose from more than 100 stitches.

But more than that, this machine gives you the ability to sew quilting, basic monogramming, and decorative stitches. 

You can use it for sewing garments, curtains, quilts, and a lot of other craft work.

Can it handle multiple layers of denim and other heavy fabrics?

The exceptional feed system allows you to work with a broad range of fabrics, like denim, duck cloth, and poplin. With the right needle, it can handle multiple layers of denim too.

With heavier denim, though, it’s best if you use a specialized needle that pierces with ease through the material and doesn't add unnecessary stress to the sewing machine.

If you are mostly going to work with thickest materials, then go with the industrial grade leather sewing machine.

The HC1850 comes with size 14 and size 16 needles.

I have tested the size 14 needle with faux fur fabric, and it sews just fine.

Watch the video to see how.

Is it a good machine for quilting?

This Brother HC1850 Computerized Sewing and the quilting machine comes with a quilting foot, 14 quilting stitch functions and an option for drop feed dogs, so you can use this machine for quilting.

There's also a detachable wide table that helps when you do quilt, but not with king size quilts.

When I started quilting my first few attempts were average, and it was only with practice that my quilts improved. And practice is what you'll get when quilting with the HC1850 out of the box.

Over time you will produce good quality quilts. And, if you become serious about your quilting, you'll need to buy a walking foot and a ¼” quilting foot as they are optional extras.

Does the Brother HC1850 suffer from a lack of space?

You can use the Brother HC1850 for projects like placemats, table runners, and other small quilts. But, if you plan to make large quilts, it may not be the machine for you as it doesn’t have a very long arm.

If you are looking for a better quilting machine, this guide will help you get the best sewing machine for quilting.

Are perfect stitches a possibility?

The HC1850 from Brother is stable enough, so you don't have to fight with skipped stitches all the time.

All you need to do is to thread the machine with the auto needle threader, adjust the tension, and push the start button. The machine will sew the proper stitches for you.

The exceptional feed system also helps by moving any fabric smoothly to create precise stitches.

Is it noisy or quiet?

All sewing machines come with some noise, and this one is no different. But the sound is tolerable, and you can listen to music as you sew. You will notice a soft jackhammer sound though when you use the machine for embroidery.

Is it portable?

The machine is compact, weighs 10.1 lbs and has a built-in handle. The handle makes it easy to lift, and carrying the machine to and from the car when you take it to your sewing class or group isn't a problem.

What stitches come built-In with this sewing machine?


I love the 130 built-in stitches that come with this sewing machine because I can do all sorts of different sewing. Find a stitch from the flip-chart and program the stitch number on the LCD screen.

There are 42 stitches for basic garment construction, 14 stitches for quilting, 94 decorative stitches, 12 stitches for heirloom sewing, and eight auto-buttonhole styles.

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The basic utility stitches include:

  • Triple stretch stitch – useful for attaching sleeves and stretch fabrics. Make sure you have plenty of thread on hand because this stitch eats it up quickly. 
  • Zigzag stitch – used for overcasting and appliques.
  • Blind hem stitch – useful for invisible stitching.
  • Joining stitch – useful if you’re stitching patchwork or applying overcasting on two pieces of fabric.
  • Bar tack stitch – useful to reinforce parts of the garment where the seam is always coming loose.

The quilting stitches include:

  • Hand-look quilting – the type of straight-stitch quilting that looks like you did it by hand.
  • Quilting stippling – for quilting background stitching.
  • Zigzag stitch for quilting – used for satin stitching, free-motion quilting and more.

What about decorative stitches?

  • For decorative stitches, there are many good options including satin scallop shell tuck, fagoting, and smocking stitches.

How many buttonhole stitches?

  • For buttonhole stitches, you can choose from eight options, depending on what fabric you’re using: thin and medium-weight, stretch, knit, thick and furry, etc.

Take a look at how to select your stitch:

What kind of bobbins to use?

Use the Brother SA156 top load bobbin. It is about 7/16 inches deep, made of high-quality clear plastic and fits perfectly in the machine.

How many presser feet come in the box?

This machine comes with enough presser feet for your stitching needs:

1. Zigzag foot – Helps with basic and zigzag stitching.

2. Buttonhole foot – Creates uniform buttonholes in the garments you’re making.

3. Overcasting foot – Ideal if you want to sew overcast seams and prevent fraying on the edges.

4. Monogramming foot – For all your monogramming needs.

5. Zipper foot – Allows you to stitch very close to the zipper coils. A neat stitch that ensures your zipper functions properly.

6. Blind stitch foot – You can use this to create a hem that’s almost invisible.

7. Button fitting foot – Just right for attaching buttons as well as small trims to your garment.

8. Quilting foot – What you need when you start quilting.

Note: It doesn't come with a walking foot.

What about the warranty?

When you buy the HC1850, you get Brother’s 25-year limited warranty as well as free phone support throughout the life of the product:

  • One year from original date of purchase: Parts, Labor, Accessory items.
  • Five years from original date of purchase: Electronic Components, Printed Circuit Boards (excluding replacement labor).
  • 25 years from original date of purchase: Chassis Casting.
  • It’s important to keep your receipt because it proves your original purchase date and whether you're still within the warranty period. 

    It will also prove that you bought the product directly from Brother or an authorized Brother reseller in the United States and therefore can make a claim.

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    What are the pros?

    I'm not the only one who loves this machine. Many users comment in their reviews they are happy with the Brother HC1850.

    • Packed with features, suitable for beginners and sewing students

    Because of the versatility of this machine and the number of stitches that are available, it’s an excellent device for beginners or who may still be learning to sew. 

    The slower speed options are also ideal for those still trying to learn the ropes.

    And sewing students can expand their design horizons by using the quilting and embroidery features.

    • Easy to use

    Many users have commented on how easy the machine is to use even when they're complete novices and have no idea how sewing works.

    As an owner of this machine, I can testify to how easy it is to set up with the automatic needle threader and quick set bobbin. 

    • Affordable

    You don’t have to break the bank for it.

    • Comes with LCD

    This computerized sewing machine comes with a large LCD screen.

    The brightly lit screen clearly shows you the number of the selected stitch, the presser foot to be used, the stitch length (mm), and the stitch width (mm). These are all adjustable.

    • LED light

    The sewing area is also LED-lit so you can see the details even on darker colored fabrics. 

    Although this light is bright enough for people with normal vision, you should have primary light around you when you sew.

    • Quilts

    One of its unique selling points is that is can also be used for small quilting tasks.

    What are the cons?

    I agree with a number of Brother HC1850 reviews that suggest the following areas of improvement:

    • Monogramming limitations

    While this machine comes with monogram capabilities, the size of the letters cannot be freely adjusted so you cannot make them larger. 

    And there is only one block-style font.

    If you're serious about monogramming and need more options, you’ll have to buy a separate machine that’s dedicated to monogramming.

    • Lack of auto-cut feature

    It doesn’t have an auto thread/fabric cutter. Typically you'll only get this function in high-end machines or sergers.

    To cut threads, you have to pull them to the machine’s side cutter.

    • Not advisable for use with power adapters

    Brother explicitly states you should only use this machine in countries that support 120v. Using a power adapter to convert the power to 120v is not ideal and may ruin the sewing machine.

    • Too lightweight for some

    At 10.1 lbs. HC1850 is a lightweight machine.

    While this is a pro for some, there are those who are used to sturdier, heavier sewing machines that are durable and can handle any hardcore task. 

    These folks have to adjust a little to the HC1850 because it’s mostly made of lightweight plastic. 

    For extra protection and durability, you’ll have to buy a separate case or cover as this sewing machine doesn’t come with one.

    Verdict: Should you buy it?

    If you're a beginner or haven't been sewing long, you can't go wrong buying the affordable Brother HC1850 sewing machine.

    You'll be set up in next to no time and with operating features like the start/stop button, adjustable speed, and automatic speed system you'll quickly become an expert sewist. 

    And then you can really let your creative side go with decorative stitching, creating your own designs and maybe even starting quilting and monogramming.

    Even the experienced sewists looking for a lightweight second machine can't go wrong with all the features and stitches that come with the affordable Brother HC1850 sewing machine.

    ​Overall, I love using this machine and rate it a 9 out of 10.

    Our Ratings

    9

    Ease of use

    10.0/10

    Quilting

    8.0/10

    Monoramming

    7.9/10

    Sewing

    10.0/10

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Portable
    • Many Stitch choices
    • Wide table

    Cons

    • No auto thread cutter
    • Only one monogramming font
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