Brother PQ1500SL Sewing Machine Review
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
The Brother PQ1500SL quilting and sewing machine is a high-speed machine that’s perfect for quilters looking for an affordable mid-range quilting machine.
It isn’t an entry-level sewing machine, and it isn’t too versatile, but it’s not meant to be that way. It pieces fast at up to 1,500 stitches per minute, and it also takes up a MUCH smaller footprint and workspace than a long-arm quilting machine.
While it might take some adjustment at first, once you’ve mastered its nuances, this sewing machine workhorse sews thin layers, thick layers, and everything in between without costing as much as a Bernina.
Read on for more information in my full Brother PQ1500SL review! Learn about its features and the pros and cons of this high-speed quilting machine.
Brief Brother PQ1500SL Review of Specs:
- Weight: 24.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 12.6″ x 7.9″ x 19.3″
- Presser feet: 7 included
- Maximum sewing speed: 1,500 stitches per minute
- PQ1500SL throat space: approximately 9″ x 6″
- Automatic features: needle threading and thread cutting
- Easy bobbin winding
- 4 feed dog height settings; easily drop for free-motion quilting
- Knee lifter option
- 2/6/25 year limited warranty
What are the PQ1500SL accessories that are included?
Here are the accessories and other items that come in the box:
- Sewing machine unit, power cord, and foot pedal
- 7 presser feet
- Knee lifter
- Accessory kit: needle packet and ballpoint needle, 5 metal bobbins, seam guide, cleaning brush, fabric separator, feed pin, feed pin changer, 2 screwdrivers, spool cushion, and spool cap
- Operation Manual
What presser feet are included?
The following 7 presser feet will get you started quilting with no immediate need for extra accessories.
- General Purpose Foot – what you’ll use for basic straight stitching on most projects
- Adjustable Zipper/Piping Foot – sew on zippers and piping
- Invisible Zipper Foot – makes sewing on invisible zippers MUCH easier
- Rolled Hem Foot – create a rolled hem on delicate fabric edges
- Walking Foot – evenly feed thick layers of fabric (bulky quilts!)
- Spring Action Quilting Foot – allows you to do free-motion quilting easily
- 1/4 Inch Foot – piece with 1/4″ seam allowances easily and accurately
What stitches are included on the Brother PQ1500SL?
As I mentioned earlier, this machine sews only a straight stitch up to 7mm in length. It’s perfect for piecing quilts and also free-motion quilting or free-motion embroidery.
But, if you want to sew buttonholes or other decorative stitches or add a zigzag or blanket stitch to an applique edge, you need a second sewing machine.
An In-Depth Overview of Its Best (and Worst) Features
Fast Sewing Speed and Easy Control
The maximum speed of 1,500 stitches per minute allows projects to be completed faster than your everyday sewing machine, which usually has a maximum sewing speed of around 850 spm.
The speed of this machine is also controlled with a responsive foot pedal. This allows you to speed up or slow down easily as you sew curves or change thicknesses along a project.
While a speed slider would be a nice addition to this sewing machine, once you learn the sensitivity of the foot pedal, it’s not much of an issue.
The built-in needle threader keeps you from having to thread the needle by hand if you have poor eyesight or dexterity.
Setting up and threading your machine should be fairly easy. However, I personally hate the automatic needle threaders on most sewing machines, and many other Brother PQ1500SL reviews agree the threader can be finicky.
An automatic thread cutter also means you don’t have to find scissors at every seam’s end. Just press a button and both the upper and lower threads are snipped for you. No need to rethread the machine afterward, either. (This isn’t a sewing machine with an automatic thread cutter that’s programmable, though.)
The presser foot pressure is adjusted with a knob. It can be increased or decreased to ensure even stitching along fabrics of different thicknesses.
The feed dogs are also adjustable with four different feed dog height settings, allowing you versatility with your fabric selection.
Furthermore, a pin-feed mechanism lets you replace the feed dogs with a single pin that extends from below the sewing machine. As a result, certain fabrics will feed more smoothly, and feed dog marks will not remain on the bottom of delicate fabrics like velvet.
The needle position is automatically adjusted with the push of a button.
A dial on the sewing machine controls the upper thread tension to increase or decrease the pressure on the top thread.
The PQ1500SL quilting machine also boasts an optional knee lifter to handsfree raise the presser foot. Several of my machines have knee lifters, but I sewed so long on machines without them that I never remember to use this function.
However, a knee lifter assists with better fabric control and repositioning. I like using my knee lifter when stitching elastic!
An oversized, extension table assists with larger quilting projects. Measuring in at 12″x18″, you can use it to hold larger projects to allow for more even feeding. No need to continually reposition the fabric as you sew.
Taking Care of Your Machine
Being a semi-industrial sewing machine, this machine needs to be oiled regularly. Oiling is as simple as pouring a few drops of oil into the small holes on the outside of the sewing machine without needing to take it apart.
If you’re regularly using your machine, also take care to clean the lint and dust out of your workspace before starting a new project.
Change needles regularly as well to decrease the likelihood of skipped stitches or damaged fabric.
The Brother PQ1500SL Machine Body Itself
Weighing in at almost 25 pounds, this quilting machine is not near as portable as some of its less dedicated competitors.
That being said, it’s got to be fairly heavy for it not to bounce all over the table when sewing at its maximum speed!
Perks for Quilting
Besides sewing at a semi-industrial speed, at a 9″ x 6 harp area,” the Brother PQ1500SL has a larger throat space than many other Brother sewing and quilting machines. (Not the higher-end combo sewing and embroidery machines, though. My Luminaire XP2 has a 13.1″ workspace, for example.)
However, this should still be big enough to use the machine with a Grace Cutie frame. (And, it takes up MUCH less space than a long-arm quilting machine and its setup!)
Also, as mentioned earlier, the PQ1500SL also comes with the extension table, a selection of quilting feet, 4 feed dog heights, an optional pin-feed mechanism, and adjustable presser foot pressure.
Very near to a heavy-duty sewing machine (NOT an industrial machine, but a home-based heavy-duty machine like the Singer HD series), it sews through most fabrics. One of the most annoying things as a quilter is having a sewing machine that will just not sew through thick layers!
As a detractor, there is no compatible stitch regulator for free-motion quilting. I know there’s a love/hate divide regarding stitch regulators, but the option of one would still be a plus.
What is the PQ1500SL warranty?
Many Brother sewing machines come with the 1/2/25 year limited warranty, but the Brother PQ1500SL sewing machine boasts a 2/6/25 year warranty.
This means parts and labor are covered for 2 years, electronics are covered for 6 years, and the chassis, or sewing machine body, is covered for 25 years.
Proof of purchase is required, so keep your receipts!
Brother PQ1500SL Pros
As one of the best in its class and price range, this sewing and quilting machine boasts many positives such as:
- Fast sewing speed of 1,500 stitches per minute
- Large throat space and wide table to accommodate large quilting projects
- It is a very powerful sewing machine that can handle thick layers. Its heavy-duty capabilities allow sewing denim, leather, or even vinyl easily.
- Quiet, considering its speed
- Affordable compared to comparable models of other brands
- Wide variety of accessories and feet included along with knee lifter
Brother PQ1500SL Cons
- There is no warning when the bobbin thread is low. Machines with top-drop bobbins and clear tops allow you to visualize the remaining bobbin thread better.
- The lighting is good, not great. This can be fixed with an auxiliary light.
- The thread cutter can trim the thread too short at times causing you to have to rethread.
- This is a straight-stitch-only machine, so no decorative or buttonhole stitches are included.
- The automatic needle threader takes a lot of patience and practice. So much so that you may prefer to thread by hand.
Brother PQ1500SL Review – Conclusion
As you can see from this Brother PQ1500SL review, this sewing machine is not perfect; it has its flaws.
However, the price/quality ratio is great for the budget-minded quilter looking for a fast and reliable straight-stitch quilting machine.
As it’s not computerized and contains no bells and whistles, you get a stellar quilting machine for such an affordable price.