You may remember that my sewing machine broke recently, a much-loved Bernette 330, circa the 1970’s – 1980’s. I inherited the machine from my big sister Holly, and when I got it, I put some love into it (ie, a tuneup).

I love this machine – it will forever be my first sewing machine!

Then, the other day, in the midst of sewing Christmas gifts, an important part of the machine just snapped off. I had to decide whether to spend more money on the old Bernette or splurge on a new one.

In my dream world, I’d like a lovely $700 – $1200 machine, which would be a big step up from my hobbyist Bernette, with room to grow. Here’s my dream machine, but I just don’t have that kind of money right now.

Long story short*, I ended up buying the Brother CS6000i, for $155. Before purchasing, I used this model multiple times in the studio at my LQS; it comes highly rated from others too; but I just couldn’t shake the idea that it’s unbelievably cheap. I knew about this machine before I tuned up the Bernette (for more money than the Brother cost me!), but I hesitated to buy it, thinking that something so cheap couldn’t be good. Leave it to a broken Bernette and shallow pockets to change my mind!

The machine comes shipped from Amazon.com with no mess, no fuss, just in the box:

And it is very simple to set up. The most fun part: sorting through all the accessories that come with it.

Along with the standard presser feet, I got a walking foot in the box, which was a surprise because I thought that would cost extra. The machine also comes with a hard cover.

There’s a 50+ page operation manual, which I dutifully read. But honestly, there isn’t much that’s complicated about this machine, assuming you already know how to operate a sewing machine. And if you don’t know how to use a sewing machine yet, I can tell you from experience that this is an easy one to start on. I teach Intro to Sewing on these machines at Fabric Bliss in Denver, always to a roomful of new sewists. The Brother is about as intuitive as it gets, and along with the manual, any sewing machine intimidation you might feel should just melt away.

That said, there are still features on the machine that are new to me. Most of those presser feet have absolutely no meaning in my amateur sewist’s world (overcasting foot?). And I am just dumbstruck by the gorgeous array of stitch options:

Okay, so this post is all glowy-I-love-my-new-machine-because-it’s-new. I have used it, and it does work like butter too. But here’s the reality check: every machine, whether it’s a car or a television or a sewing machine, is going to have problems. So right now I’m basking in the joy, but I’m going to keep you updated on how the machine functions, including all those new features and pressure feet, and I will report back on how it fares for different types of sewing (garments, quilting, zippers, etc.).

— Kristina

*It turned out I had credit card “thank you” points, enough to get myself Amazon gift cards worth more than the machine. I probably wouldn’t have gotten a new machine if I had to spend cash, instead would have chosen to spend the cash on fixing the old one. The logic? No real logic, honestly, except for feeling that it’s really, really hard to give up on a good, sturdy, old machine, even if it’s broken.