Brother XR9550prw Review – Features, Comparisons, Pros & Cons
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The Brother XR9550prw Project Runway computerized sewing machine is a Project Runway Limited Edition sewing machine worth checking out.
I mean, who hasn’t heard of the show Project Runway by now? Since December of 2004, Project Runway has inspired beginner and experienced sewers alike to step up their game and design and create new fashions like the contestants on the show.
To inspire regular old people like us to construct runway-worthy garments, Brother Industries and Project Runway teamed up to provide the Project Runway Limited Edition lineup of sewing machines.
One of the best sewing machines in this lineup is the Brother XR9550prw. It has a ton of features that will allow you to create clothing designs and other sewing projects that are sure to wow.
Think you might be inspired to invest in your own sewing machine? Read on for my full Brother XR9550prw sewing machine review with all your questions answered.
But first, Brother XR9550prw vs XR9500prw. What’s the difference?
In comparing the Brother XR9550prw vs Brother XR9550prw, the XR9550prw is the “updated” version of the XR9500prw.
The look of the machine has evolved slightly, but the main difference is the increase of 100 stitches to 110 built-in stitches on the XR9550prw. The XR9550prw also includes one additional presser foot, a quilting foot. Operationally, the two sewing machines are identical including all the same automated features.
Brother XR9550prw vs Brother XR9550
The Brother XR9550prw now has a newer model, the Brother XR9550. These two machines are the same, though, except that the XR9550prw carries the Project Runway branding.
Brother XR9550prw (and XR9550) Computerized Sewing Machine Specs
|Dimensions||12.5" x 16.3" x 7"|
|Stitches||110 built-in stitches; 8 auto buttonhole stitches|
|Monogramming font||1 included|
|Stitch length and width||5 mm x 7 mm (0.19 x 0.27 inches)|
|Maximum sewing speed||850 stitches per min (spm)|
|Feed dogs||6 points, will drop|
|UL/CSA listed voltage||110V|
|Warranty||25-year limited warranty|
What comes with the Brother XR9950 Project Runway sewing machine?
The Brother XR9550prw sewing machine comes with more accessories than many of the Brother sewing machines. Included in the box with your purchase are:
- XR9550prw sewing machine unit, power cord, and optional foot controller
- Hard case
- Detachable wide table
- 8 presser feet
- Accessory pouch including 4 bobbins, needle set including ballpoint needle and twin needle, 3 spool caps, extra spool pin, seam ripper, cleaning brush, screwdriver, and eyelet punch.
- Operation manual and instructional DVD
This is almost everything you’ll need to get started sewing except for fabric and thread. I have written a post about the best beginner sewing supplies to have around if you want to see if you’re missing anything!
What do all the buttons do?!
On the front of the XR9550 sewing machine, you’ll find:
- Speed slider – controls the speed of the machine and sets the maximum speed
- Stitch selection guide on the front right – no need to refer back to the manual if you don’t know the number of the stitch you want
- LCD display – select the stitch and then change its length and width as desired.
- Buttons for needle up/down, reverse, and start/stop – the machine can be used without a foot pedal. No need to manually lower the needle with the handwheel either.
On the sides of the sewing machine, you’ll find:
- Manual thread cutter – a small blade to cut your thread when done sewing
- Handwheel – use this to manually move the needle.
On top of the sewing machine, you’ll see:
- Tension dial – manually adjust the tension
- Automatic bobbin winder, spool holder, and thread guides – also a picture reminding you how to set up the bobbin winding
Brother XR9550prw Review of Features
What kind of stitches are there?
There are 110 built-in stitches, including 8 automatic one-step buttonholes.
This number includes zigzag, straight, elastic, overcasting, decorative and heirloom stitches, and more. There are also 55 alphanumeric stitches, totaling 165 built-in stitch functions.
What presser feet come with it? What can I do with these sewing feet?
The presser feet are all engraved with letters, which should be facing towards you when placed on the sewing machine.
- Zigzag Foot – general everyday presser foot that allows you to sew seams and more using a straight or zigzag stitch
- Buttonhole Foot – measures the size of the button and creates an automatic buttonhole
- Button Sewing Foot – sews on the button
- Overcasting Foot– used in conjunction with overcasting stitches to finish edges of fabric and create a seam at the same time
- Zipper Foot – add a zipper to your project with this thin presser foot
- Blind Stitch Foot – create a practically invisible blind hem on a garment without having to hand sew
- Spring Action Quilting Foot – useful for free-motion quilting
- Monogramming Foot – use with the monogramming font to add letters, numbers, and symbols to projects
These presser feet are all press-on and can be changed quickly by pressing the lever on the back of the presser foot holder to remove and replace the existing presser foot.
This is also a low-shank sewing machine, so if you have other presser feet you would desire, you can purchase low-shank compatible presser feet. I personally have a set of 32 extra presser feet that I got for less than 15$ that I used to expand my sewing options.
How is the bobbin wound? What type of bobbin is it?
This Brother sewing machine uses Class 15, SA156 bobbins. These are top-drop, quick-set bobbins.
Bobbins are wound with an automatic bobbin-winding system on the sewing machine’s top right. I like this setup because guides are included on the machine’s body if you forget how to wind the bobbin.
Once the bobbin is wound, drop it from the top into the bobbin case. Pass the bobbin thread through as directed by instructions on the machine, and you’re ready to go! The needle will automatically draw up the bobbin thread when you start sewing, so you won’t have to worry about doing this manually.
Is it easy to thread the needle and set up the XR9550prw sewing machine?
Yes, this sewing machine is set up to be beginner-friendly and to save even experienced sewists time setting up.
Threading the sewing machine is accomplished by passing the upper spool thread through the thread guides as directed by instructions on the sewing machine body.
Once the thread gets to the needle, you can manually pass it through the eye. You also can use the automatic needle threader apparatus. This is a small lever on the sewing machine that will put the needle through the hole for you. A little confusing to work at first, this automatic feature is helpful for users with poor vision or limited dexterity. Or those who just hate manual needle threading!
What can you do with the built-in free arm?
When you remove the accessories flat-top compartment, you have a built-in free arm remaining.
This is great for when you decide to sew tubular items such as pants legs or sleeves.
If you want to sew doll skinny jeans or something really small, this free arm is going to be too big. But you’ll like this feature if you’re an aspiring dressmaker or garment creator like on Project Runway!
What are the computerized features of the Brother XR9550prw?
The LCD screen on the front of the sewing machine lets you select stitches and set their size and helps out a beginner sewer.
When you select a stitch, a letter will appear. This indicates which presser foot you will use for your project as each presser foot is engraved with a letter.
Furthermore, if you’re also a beginner sewer who’s not so great at troubleshooting yet, the XR9550 sewing machine has a built-in error system that will guide you in fixing why your sewing machine is not working. For instance, error E1 lets you know you forgot to put the presser foot down before beginning to sew. Or error E6 tells you the thread is likely tangled causing the motor to lock up.
Also, to an extent, this sewing machine is programmable. For instance, when using the monogramming font, program all the letters you want rather than sewing one by one. If you don’t like the default needle up/down settings, this can also be reprogrammed after reading how in the instruction manual.
How is the LED lighting?
LED lights illuminate your sewing workspace to help you see stitches more clearly and to allow for fine detail work.
Some XR9550prw reviews may complain the lighting isn’t adequate for all eyes and all projects. However, you can always purchase an auxiliary light to brighten up your workspace.
What fabrics can the XR9550prw sew? Can it sew leather? Can it sew denim?
Within reason, the Brother XR9550 Project Runway sewing machine can sew thin fabrics and even thick fabrics such as denim. Some Brother XR9550prw reviews report that users have sewn upholstery.
If you’re planning to frequently sew thicker fabrics, though, there are heavy-duty sewing machines that will serve you better. The Brother XR9550prw sewing machine is not a heavy-duty sewing machine and will not last long if required to consistently over-perform. (Check out my Brother ST150HDH review!)
When choosing to sew denim or other thick fabrics, make sure you are selecting the correct needle size and point shape and a compatible thread material.
If your sewing machine seems to be having a hard time, manually lower and raise the needle by turning the handwheel towards you with the feed dogs lowered. When I find myself about to “test the limits” of my sewing machine, I’m less likely to break a needle or cause a problem this way.
Is this Brother sewing machine portable?
Weighing in just over 10 lbs, this is a very portable sewing machine. It has a built-in handle on the back of the sewing machine to allow you to pick it up to transport it around.
An included hard case will protect the machine when in transit and keep dust off the sewing machine when it is sitting on your sewing table or in a closet. (Because who are we kidding? Not all of us have a dedicated sewing room!)
Can this sewing machine quilt?
Yes, Brother XR9550prw is a sewing and quilting machine.
The oversized extender table attaches to the machine to help hold larger objects like quilts. The machine’s throat space is adequate for most projects, though you will have difficulty with free-motion quilting for larger projects.
The spring-action quilting foot allows for free-motion quilting. The feed dogs also drop with the touch of a slider on the back of the machine so you don’t have to worry about having to cover them manually with a darning plate.
This sewing machine does not include a walking foot which may be helpful for quilters. This shouldn’t be too much of a detractor, though, because you can purchase a compatible presser foot for the sewing machine.
Is this an embroidery machine?
While the Brother XR9550prw sewing machine is not an embroidery machine that can be programmed to stitch designs, this sewing machine does come with one built-in monogramming font.
The 55 included alphanumeric stitches come in one font only, so if you’re looking to do more than that, consider finding a different machine.
Is the XR9550prw sewing machine a serger?
No, the Brother XR9550prw is not a serger because it cannot finish raw edges, sew a seam allowance, and trim excess fabric all at once.
However, if you are looking for a professional way to create a seam and finish edges, this can be done using the overcasting presser foot and one of the overcasting stitches. You just have to ensure that you have already trimmed the edges of the fabric before sewing the seam.
The maximum speed of 850 spm is also very fast, but it will not compete with the speed of a serger.
How noisy is the XR9550prw?
Compared to many of its competitors, this sewing machine is surprisingly quiet!
I’d recommend doing a quick Youtube search for XR9550prw sewing machine videos and listening to it in action to give you the best idea if it’s going to fit your needs.
Does it come with a foot pedal?
A foot pedal controller is included with the sewing machine and is an optional accessory.
You also have the option to run the machine using the start/stop button and the speed slider on the front of the sewing machine.
While adjusting speed with your foot can be convenient if you’re changing fabric thicknesses or types, using the buttons prevents you from accidentally accelerating to breakneck speed with a lead foot.
What are the beginner-friendly features?
My favorite beginner-friendly features are the automatic functions.
Automatic bobbin winding makes setting up the machine a breeze, and instructions on the machine facilitate the process. Needle threading can also be done with the touch of a lever, but I’ve found this device to be more trouble than it’s worth at times on my personal sewing machine.
And if you’ve ever had to manually make a buttonhole, you will appreciate the automatic one-step buttonhole.
The sewing machine’s digitized error messages are helpful for troubleshooting. As is the display of which presser foot works with your selected stitch.
If there’s one piece of sewing advice I can give you, it’s to read the instruction manual and/or watch the DVD before beginning to sew. Having a handle on what your sewing machine can do and how to do it correctly will go a long way in making your first sewing machine experience a positive one!
What are the details of the Brother warranty?
The XR9550prw sewing machine, like other Brother sewing machines, features a 25-year limited warranty.
The sewing machine body itself is covered for 25 years, but the parts, labor, and accessories are only warrantied for 1 year. The machine’s electronic components carry a 2-year warranty. Proof of purchase is also required, so if purchasing in-store, keep that receipt!
Brother XR9550prw Sewing Machine Pros:
- Very lightweight considering all its features.
- Sewing, quilting, and one monogramming font as well make this a truly feature-rich and versatile sewing machine.
- Automated features are beginner-friendly. Also easy to get started after reading the instructions manual and watching the included DVD.
- A reliable Brother sewing machine.
- Monogramming font is pre-set, so if you don’t like it, you’re out of luck.
- Plastic parts of the machine can break, but at this price point, it’s worth the risk, in my opinion. I personally find the needle threader to be finicky.
- Not a heavy-duty sewing machine.
Comparison to Other Sewing Machines
There are so many great Brother sewing machines that it may be hard to pick which one will be best for you. Here’s how the Brother XR9550prw compares to a couple of other popular Brother computerized sewing machines.
Brother XR9550prw vs CS6000i
Both sewing machines are computerized Brother sewing machines. The XR9550prw comes in at a higher price point, but it also offers more features to the user.
The detachable wide table, built-in free arm, and similar automated tasks such as bobbin winding and needle threading are common features.
The Brother CS6000i has 60 stitches, 9 presser feet (a walking foot that the XR9550prw does not have), and 7 buttonhole styles. In comparison, the XR9550prw has 110 stitches, 8 presser feet, and 8 buttonhole styles.
One major difference, though, is the ability of the XR9550prw to do basic monogramming with its one included lettering font.
Read my full Brother CS6000i sewing machine review for more information.
Brother XR9550prw vs Brother HC1850
Operationally, these two computerized Brother sewing machines are identical. They also have similar automated features.
Furthermore, both sewing machines have the exact same 8 presser feet, 8 buttonhole styles, monogramming font, detachable wide table, and built-in free arm.
Compared to the XR9550prw Project Runway Limited Edition sewing machine’s 110 stitches, the HC1850 sewing machine offers 130 stitches.
Want to get more information on the HC1850? Read the in-depth Brother HC1850 sewing machine review.
Brother XR9550prw Review – Conclusion
The Brother XR9550prw sewing machine is a versatile, user-friendly sewing machine that offers so much to beginner and experienced sewers alike. Useful for everyday sewing tasks, quilting, and even basic monogramming, this machine comes in at a good price point.
As you can see with this Brother XR9550prw review, this sewing machine is a great value!
Whether you’re wanting to emulate the Project Runway contestants and sew the next new fashions or simply add your child’s initials to mended garments, this sewing machine should meet your needs in true Brother fashion.
And if you’re not sure it’s right for you but are still interested in a Project Runway sewing machine, I’ve reviewed and compared the top Brother Project Runway sewing machines.
I know you have to hold the reverse button down to sew backwards, but how long do I hold it down for lock/reinforcement?
I always do 3 stitches in reverse, and then I straight stitch forward over those to do a backstitch. For a lockstitch, you can just make the stitch length to its shortest value and sew three or so stitches to lock the thread in place that way. Hope that answers your question?