Pros / It can sew up to 850 stitches per minute.
Cons / The thread and bobbin caught frequently during testing.
Verdict / The Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Limited Edition can sew stitches and lettering, but the machine kept catching during our tests.
This sewing machine can sew quickly and has a lot of different stitch patterns to pick from, including lettering. Reaching up to 850 stitches per minute means you can speed through almost any sewing project. You can also choose from 100 stitch patterns, the second most of the sewing machines we tested. The multitude of stitch patterns includes basics like a straight stitch and zig-zag stitch alongside some enchanting leaves, geometric shapes and letters. But wait! There’s more! With 55 built-in alphanumeric stitches at your fingertips, you can sew any message you want. The only other machine we tested with letter stitching is the Singer Confidence 7640.
The Project Runway Limited Edition is a versatile sewing machine, but our testers experienced some problems while using it. The bobbin thread caught a lot, particularly on denim. At one point it got so tangled we had to remove it, cut the thread out and rewind the bobbin altogether. Some of the fancier decorative stitches didn’t always work on the first try either, regardless of fabric, and the letter sewing feature puckered badly on cotton. To top it off, the straight stitch wasn’t very clean, so this machine earned a D in sewing accuracy.
The problems we encountered while sewing also contributed to the Project Runway Limited Edition getting a B- for ease of use. The drop-in top bobbin worked well at first: After wrapping the bobbin thread through the mechanism you simply pull it around a small cutout path where it gets pulled against a sharp edge and cut. There’s no need to hold the bobbin thread as you start your project because it’s automatically pulled to the correct place. Still, this was the only machine where we ended up having to take the bobbin out completely and rewind it. It does have some nice features though, including eight different styles of buttonhole, extension table, hard case, sewing light and thread cutter on the side of the machine. It also has an automatic needle threader and needle position button to automatically move the needle to either its highest or lowest position. Speed control is accessible on the machine itself too.
The stitch patterns themselves and other settings like stitch width and length are accessible on the Brother’s LCD screen. The flip-stitch guide is located on the front of the machine, and we’ll admit we were kind of in awe over it. It flips back and forth! How fun! While the stitches have predetermined settings, you can manually change them or the thread tension if necessary. Even at its fastest speed, this sewing machine was one of the quieter ones we tested as it only reached 66.2 decibels – just barely quieter than the Janome JW8100, which hit 66.9 decibels.
Like all the sewing machines we tested, the Project Runway Limited Edition has a very useful and thorough instruction manual. It also comes with six extra sewing feet and a bunch of supplies, including extra bobbins and a sturdy screwdriver.