brother sq9185 review

Are you looking for an affordable computerized sewing machine? Although not the most complex model on the market, the Brother SQ9185 is a good option for anyone looking for a reliable, versatile, and user-friendly machine. In this Brother SQ9185 review, we’ll explore the main features of the machine, along with why it makes a great option for sewists on a budget.

Brother SQ9185: an overview

The international electronics brand Brother was founded in 1908 in Japan, and has since become one of the world’s leading producers of sewing machines.

The Brother SQ9185 is a popular computerized sewing and quilting machine that has an impressive number of features.

Brother SQ9185 on a table

This model is easy to use even for complete beginners, with a number of automatic features such as an LCD screen, automatic needle threader, push-button stop/start, speed control, and reverse stitch button. It also has a user-friendly drop-in bobbin that is simple to wind.

It has 130 built-in stitches, allowing you to create a wide range of projects on a variety of fabrics. These include eight different one-step buttonholes for garment sewing, quilting stitches, and decorative as well as monogramming stitches for home décor projects.

The SQ9185 is compact and lightweight, so is easy to store and transport. Although it is not a heavy-duty machine, it runs well and produces high-quality stitches at fast sewing speeds.

What we like:

  • Beginner-friendly: Novice sewists will easily set up and use this machine, with straight-forward stitch selection on the LCD screen and a range of automatic features.
  • Sewing, quilting and decorative stitches: The SQ9185’s 130 stitches cover a wide range of sewing styles and fabrics, from quilting and monogramming to garment sewing.
  • Foot-free sewing: You can choose to use the traditional foot pedal, or to “drive” the machine with its start/stop button and speed control slider.

What we don’t like:

  • Tension may need to be adjusted: Some users report having to play around with the thread tension to achieve perfect stitches.
  • Plastic parts: With its lightweight construction, the Brother SQ9185 is not suited to large volumes of robust fabrics.

The Brother SQ9185 is suitable for sewists of all levels. It is user-friendly enough that even complete beginners will be able to set it up and start using it in no time, with enough features to satisfy more advanced novices, all while delivering a high level of performance.

Overall, it offers amazing value for money with so many features for an affordable price tag.

Brother SQ9185 review: features & benefits

The SQ9185 is a versatile, computerized sewing machine that is packed with features to make sewing easy and efficient.

Some of its key features are:

  • 130 built-in stitches: Including a large range of basic sewing, decorative, heirloom, and quilting stitches, as well as eight one-step buttonholes and 55 alphanumeric monogramming stitches.
  • Adjustable stitch width and length: Stitch width can be adjusted up to 7mm and stitch length up to 5mm, to suit different fabrics and sewing techniques.
  • Drop-in bobbin: The SQ9185’s bobbin is easy to thread and use, as well as being quick and simple to wind.
  • Removable free arm: Allowing you to sew small circular items like cuffs, sleeves, and collars.
  • Foot-free sewing option: You can use the start/stop button and speed control slider to start or stop sewing, as well as to control stitching speeds.
  • Needle stop up/down: With the push of a button, you can choose whether the needle stops in the up or down position, allowing you to easily pivot to adjust stitch direction.
  • Reverse stitch button: The lets you quickly reverse stitch direct to sew a few stitches in the opposite direction.
  • Fast sewing speed: The Brother SQ9185 can sew up to 850 stitches per minute.
  • Automatic needle threader: Automatic threading function to easily thread the needle in one simple step.
  • LCD screen: For setting stitch type, length, and width, and is backlit, allowing you to work in low light.
  • Included accessories: The SQ9185 comes with 10 different presser feet, a wide extension table, several needles, a seam ripper, bobbin clip and eyelet punch.
  • Operation manual and instructional DVD: Beginners will quickly learn their way around the machine with the machine’s comprehensible, custom manual and instructional DVD.

Ease of use

The Brother SQ9185 is a very user-friendly machine that is well suited to sewists of all levels. Even beginners will find it intuitive to use, and there are a number of time-saving features that help you to focus on getting the hang of sewing and building your skills.

Stitching control

The Brother SQ9185 gives you a choice in how you want to control the sewing speed. You can either use a traditional foot pedal, or turn the stitching on with the machine’s start/stop button and adjust the stitching speed with its speed control slider.

The speed control slider allows you to control your sewing speed with precision, which is helpful when working on intricate tasks. If you’re working on a very large and heavy project you can even put your sewing machine on the floor so the weighty fabric does pull off, and drive the machine with the speed control slider.

This user-friendly feature is also great for beginners, as you don’t need to worry about trying to balance the foot pedal to achieve slow speeds while you’re learning.

On the other hand, if you’ve learned to sew using a foot pedal and feel more comfortable working this way, you have that option too.

Easy stitch selection

It has a backlit LCD screen for easy stitch selection, and selecting the stitch length and width of your choice.

Brother SQ9185 LCD display and stitch selection

The display also has suggestions of which presser feet to use for each stitch, helping novice sewists to choose the right accessories for a perfect finish.

Needle stop up/down

Another handy feature of the Brother SQ9185 is the needle stop position button. This lets you choose whether the needle stops in the up or down position, depending on the task at hand.

Having the needle in the down position allows you to pivot more easily when changing stitch direction, while it is necessary to stop in the up position after finishing a seam.

The machine also won’t start stitching if the presser foot is in the up position, which helps to avoid messy disasters, especially while you’re learning.

Easy to thread

There is an automatic needle threader that will let you easily thread your needle without struggling to do this manually.

Some users reported taking a while to get used to threading the machine as it threads a little differently to most models. However, after following the manual people seemed to quickly get used to the process and overall found the machine easy to thread.

Brother SQ9185 needle threading

However, it’s worth noting that some users reported issues with tension, and had to adjust the tension manually to achieve the best stitch quality. For more experienced sewists, this will not be too much of an issue, but beginners may struggle to get this right at first.

This machine also has a drop-in bobbin that is much easier to use then a traditional front-loading bobbin. The SQ9185’s bobbin is quick and easy to wind, meaning that even beginners will be able to wind and load a perfectly-tight bobbin.

Other handy features

The Brother SQ9185 is equipped with a bright LED light, allowing you to clearly see your work, even when working with dark thread on equally dark fabric.

There is also a reverse stitch button that makes it easy to change stitch direction, such as when reinforcing the start and end of your seams.

You’ll also find a manual thread cutter located on the side of the machine to quickly trim thread tails with no scissors necessary.

The included operation manual and instructional DVD are both comprehensive and easy to understand, letting even novice sewists use the machine with ease.


This versatile machine is capable of handling a large range of different fabrics and creating different projects, from quilting and monogramming to garment sewing.

Large range of stitches

The Brother SQ9185 comes with an impressive 130 built-in stitches. These include basic sewing and quilting stitches as well as decorative and heirloom stitches.

There are also eight distinct one-step buttonholes, many more than most affordable models, and 55 alphanumeric stitches for monogramming.

Brother SQ9185 selection of stitches

This means you can use it to make a large number of projects from quilts and garments to home décor items.

On the downside, there is only one font, and the letters are pretty small, at around a quarter of an inch.

Stitches can be adjusted to a maximum stitch length of 5mm and a maximum stitch width of 7mm, allowing you to adapt to different fabrics and sewing techniques.

Large range of accessories

The Brother SQ9185 comes with 10 different presser feet, an impressive number that will allow you to work with a range of different fabrics and projects. These include a walking foot, blindstitch foot, quarter-inch quilting foot, overcasting foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, and button sewing foot.

There is also a quilting guide included with the machine, helping you to sew perfectly-parallel lines on your quilts. The Brother SQ9185 also comes equipped with a range of needles for working with different fabrics, such as a ballpoint needle for knits and a twin needle for stretch fabrics.

However, unlike some other machines, the Brother SQ9185 doesn’t have presser foot pressure adjustment, which lets you adjust the pressure to suit different types of fabric.

It also comes with other handy accessories to make sewing easier and more efficient, such as a seam ripper, bobbin clip, and eyelet punch.

Brother SQ9185 extension table

Garment sewists will also be able to sew cuffs, sleeves, and collars thanks to the SQ9185’s removable free arm.

The SQ9185 has seven-point feed dogs that smoothly feed a large range of different fabrics through the machine. You can also drop the feed dogs to enable free motion sewing, for example for certain quilting techniques.

Quilters will also appreciate the attachable wide table, which gives you more room to work on quilts and other large projects.


The Brother SQ9185 is a compact and lightweight machine that is reasonably hardy, though far from a heavy-duty model.

The SQ9185 has a maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute, and this decent pace will let you work more efficiently and complete your projects in less time.

On the downside, this machine is made entirely from plastic parts. Although this is far from uncommon these days, this is not as durable as heavy-duty models with a metal frame or made from metal parts.

This means the machine isn’t suitable for very robust projects such as sewing multiple layers of denim.

However, the plastic parts do keep the SQ9185 lightweight and portable, weighing just under 10 pounds. It measures around 12 inches by seven inches and 16 inches high, so you’ll have no problems storing or transporting it.

Alternatives to the Brother SQ9185

With such a large range of models, it can be hard to tell the difference between some of Brother’s comparable sewing machines. Let’s break down the differences between the Brother SQ9185 and a similar model, the SQ9285.

Brother SQ9185 vs Brother SQ9285

The main difference between the Brother SQ9285 and the SQ9185 is that the SQ9285 has 150 built-in stitches compared to the SQ9185’s 130. There is also a slight difference in the faceplate design between the two machines.

Other than that, the two machines are very similar: both have the same automated features, including an automatic needle threader, bobbin winder, needle stop up/down, and speed control dial. They also both have eight one-step buttonholes, one monogramming font, and come with 10 different presser feet.

As a newer model, the SQ9285 is slightly more expensive than the SQ9185, so if you don’t need the extra stitches, you can save a few dollars by opting for the latter.

Final thoughts

The Brother SQ9185 is a feature-packed computerized sewing machine that is easy enough for beginners to use while being versatile enough to satisfy more experienced sewists. It has an impressive 130 built-in stitches that cover a range of basic, garment, quilting and decorative sewing needs.

Along with a backlit LCD screen and a number of automatic features, the SQ9185 offers eight different one-step buttonholes and foot-free sewing options. Overall, this is a reliable and user-friendly machine that will suit the needs of most sewists.

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