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The Brother CS6000i sewing machine holds a special place in my heart. It was the beginner sewing machine I got many years ago when I first got serious about becoming more adept at sewing.
I speak from personal experience that it is a great, inexpensive sewing machine that’s easy to use. Especially for a beginner user.
However, there are still some drawbacks to this Brother CS6000i (as is the case with most everything in life.) I hope to elucidate those for you in this Brother CS6000i review so you can decide if this sewing machine is right for you. (Edit: I recently bought the newest Brother CS7000X, the second generation replacement for the CS6000i, and really like it so far. Learn more at: my Brother CS7000X review!)
I hope you’ll pick up some tips on how to use the CS6000i sewing machine as well as learn about some of the cool things you can sew and do with it!
At a Glance Brother CS6000i Review of Features
|Dimensions||11.4" Width x 6.7" Diameter x 16.1" Height|
|Stitch Length and Width||5 mm x 7 mm (0.19 x 0.27 inches)|
|Maximum Sewing Speed||850 stitches per min (spm)|
|Stitches||60 built-in stitches|
|UL/CSA Listed Voltage||110V|
|Feed dogs||6 points|
|LCD Display Size||2” Width x .7” Height|
What Does the Brother CS6000i Come With?
Everything you need to get started as a beginning seamstress comes in the box. You only need to have your own thread and fabric. Here’s what you will get should you purchase:
- The CS6000i sewing machine unit itself, of course, along with power cord and foot pedal
- Oversized detachable wide table (great for larger projects such as quilts)
- Hard carrying protective case
- Accessory pouch including needles (one twin needle included), three bobbins, spool pin, cleaning brush, seam ripper, eyelet punch, and screwdriver
- 9 presser feet
- Operation manual in both English and Spanish
With all these accessories and presser feet options (more about that later), there is no need for much of an additional investment of money before you begin sewing. That being said, I did hate only having three bobbins, so I ended up purchasing additional bobbins. I would highly recommend staying with Brother bobbins because third-party bobbins do not fit as well. For reference, this sewing machine uses Class 15 type bobbins, specifically SA156 bobbins. These are 7/16”.
Sewing scissors, thread, and extra needles are also nice to have around if you’re a beginner and don’t already have supplies at home. I’ve written another post of what I think are the best beginner sewing supplies I own, so check that out if you’re looking to start your sewing collection from scratch!
What Does It Look Like Out of the Box?
LCD Screen, Dials, and Buttons
There is an easy-to-view LCD screen with buttons next to it to select the stitches and adjust stitch length and width. Measuring in at 2” x .7,” it is big enough to be read easily but not obscure a large portion of the machine front.
You can also see the three button functions: start/stop, reverse stitch, and needle position up/down. As a default, the machine stops sewing with the needle down. The needle position can be reprogrammed using instructions in the operations manual to stop with the needle position down.
There is a variable speed control slider. The machine goes from very slow to very fast, with a maximum sewing speed of 850 stitches per minute. While it looks like there are just three speeds, it is actually a gradient where you can gradually adjust the speed.
There is a foot pedal, but when I was a beginner sewer, I found it easier to use the buttons and slider at the top instead. Although, to the credit of the foot pedal, it isn’t sensitive enough that if you push it accidentally too hard that the machine takes off at break-neck speed. The beauty of this slider also is that as a beginner, you can start with a slow, careful speed and later increase the speed when your confidence and skill grow. Also, I like to sit in my sewing chair like a monkey when sewing. It’s nice that I can keep my feet on the chair with me when using the slider.
On the top of the machine is a manual tension control, and the right side of the machine has a hand wheel to manually lift and lower the needle.
How Do You Sew With the Brother CS6000i?
Since this machine is friendly towards the beginner user, you should be able to read the quick start instructions and be sewing almost immediately! With an automatic needle threader and bobbin winder, you can get set up with ease.
That being said, if you are a beginner and never sewed before, I highly recommend reading the entire instruction manual before tackling more than a basic project. You’ll want to know how to select the right sized needle and right thread type for your fabric, for instance. As a beginner, I dove right in trying to sew, and ended up making some preventable mistakes that caused a lot of frustration.
If you can’t understand the instruction manual or prefer a more visual how-to, I highly recommend this below YouTube video of setting up the machine.
Brother CS6000i Review of Features
What can you do with the 60 built-in stitches of the CS6000i?
In all my time using the machine, I’ve still yet to use them all. There are so many options to choose from including straight stitches, zigzag and overcast stitches, basting stitches, blind hem stitches, triple stretch stitches, quilting stitches, and decorative stitches. The stitches allow for fagoting, smocking, scallop stitching, shell tuck stitching, heirloom stitching, and much more. There are also 7 styles of automatic one-step buttonhole stitches that can be used on all types of fabrics.
Here’s a picture of the stitch guide on the front of my machine:
These stitches can be used in conjunction with the 9 presser feet.
The feet are labeled with letters so you can easily identify which is which.
- Zigzag Foot – general-purpose foot for most sewing projects
- Buttonhole Foot – making the buttonholes using one of the 7 buttonhole stitches
- Button Sewing Foot – sewing on the buttons
- Monogramming Foot – used for certain decorative stitches, such as scalloping and heirloom stitches
- Overcasting Foot – used with overcasting stitches to join together and finish seams
- Walking Foot – feeds the top and bottom layers of fabric at the same rate, great for quilting bulky layers
- Zipper Foot – sew on zippers
- Blind Stitch Foot – for making blind hems to finish project edges without the stitch showing
- Spring Action Quilting Foot – can be used for free-motion quilting
The presser feet are changed quickly by raising the presser foot and then pushing down on the black lever on the back of the foot holder. The sewing foot will drop off and can be easily replaced. When replacing the foot, make sure the letter of the presser foot is facing where you can read it. If you are wanting to install the spring action quilting foot or another sewing foot that doesn’t require a presser foot holder, you will need the screwdriver to remove the foot holder.
This is a low shank sewing machine. This means that most commercially available presser feet made for low shank sewing machines will work on it. I picked up a set of 42 additional presser feet from Amazon, and I’ve been very happy with this expansion!
How Do You Thread Your Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine?
Threading your Brother sewing machine is very easy as well. There is one small diagram on the machine, and then the parts of the machine where you will pass the thread are numbered. Once you’ve done it a few times, you should be a pro.
Getting the thread through the needle can be accomplished the old-fashioned way or by using the machine’s needle threader. As a note, the automatic needle threader only works with certain sizes and types of needles and thread combinations. To be honest, I found this to be finicky at first and more hassle than what it’s worth. In one particularly frustrating moment between the needle threader and myself, I may have accidentally broken it. I now only have the choice to thread my needle by hand.
How is the Brother CS6000i Bobbin Wound?
The automatic bobbin winding system is similar to most Brother sewing machine models and is accomplished on the top of the machine. Between bobbin winding, installing the bobbin, and threading the needle, I do think bobbin winding is the most difficult part of the machine setup. There are two diagrams on the top of the machine that will remind you how to wind the bobbin, which is nice if you don’t sew enough to remember between bobbin windings! (The other diagram shown below is for threading the needle.)
The bobbin is touted as jam-resistant. It is also a quick-set, top drop-in bobbin, which is much easier for beginners. All you have to do is slide open the clear bobbin cover, drop the bobbin in, and feed the thread through the slit as described by the very convenient diagram stuck to the side of the machine. Pulling the thread will then cut it so you don’t even need scissors!
You can start sewing immediately without having to draw up the bobbin thread. This is a great feature of this machine, and something I don’t take for granted. I started sewing on a front-load bobbin sewing machine where I had to draw up the thread myself.
Is the CS6000i good for quilting?
Yes, this sewing machine can be used for quilting, and it’s actually quite good considering the price point. It’s not as great as a high-end quilting sewing machine, but you can still create beautiful projects with it.
The oversized extension table is great for quilts as well as other larger projects. A quilting guide (so you can sew equally spaced parallel stitches) is included as well as a walking foot and spring action quilting foot. A ¼ inch quilting foot is not included but can be purchased separately.
Additionally, the feed dogs can be lowered by pressing a button on the back of the machine so you can do free-motion quilting.
Is the light adequate?
This is nice when sewing on darker fabrics, or for those days when your eyes just aren’t working as well as they should be. While some online Brother CS6000i reviews complain the light isn’t bright enough, I haven’t had any issues with it. Granted, I don’t usually have too many problems with my eyes. Here’s what the dual-LED looks like when turned on:
What can you do with a built-in free arm?
When the flatbed attachment, used to store the accessories, is removed, a built-in free arm remains. The beauty of this built-in free arm is the ability to sew cuffs, sleeves, and other tubular items. This is a standard feature on most of the Brother sewing machine models.
What are the manual features?
Thread tension is changed by the user with a dial. Tension can be a little difficult to master at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be adjusting like a pro. Additionally, there is a thread cutter on the left side of the machine body.
Does the CS6000i Sewing Machine Have a Foot Pedal?
Yes, this machine comes with a foot pedal that you can use to control stitching speed. However, the foot pedal is optional. You also have the option of using the start/stop button on the front of the machine.
What is Covered in the 25-Year limited warranty?
For parts, labor, and accessory items, the warranty period is 1 year. Electronic components are 2 years warrantied, and the chassis (sewing machine body) is covered for 25 years. Proof of purchase must be kept for the warranty to be valid.
How Noisy Is It?
It makes a fairly soft, repetitive sewing sound while in use. I have no problems listening to music while sewing at a reasonable pace. In fact, my youngest daughter would sleep in the baby wearer on me while I sewed. When you first turn it on, there is a jerking type of sound when the needle gets into place. As you change the stitch number or the stitch size, it does beep every time, which can be a little annoying. You can turn this beep off, though.
If you’re going to be sewing at the maximum speed while using, for instance, the overcasting foot and stitches, it does get a little noisy and will bounce around some.
What Kind of Fabrics Can I Sew? Can The Brother CS6000i Sew Denim Jeans? Will it Sew Leather?
This machine can sew thin fabrics like satin or challis, medium fabrics such as broadcloth or flannel, and even thick fabrics like denim or corduroy. With thin fabrics, you may need a stabilizer, and stretchy fabrics will be better sewn if the fabric pieces are basted together first.
Some Brother CS6000i reviews say, at times, thick fabric like leather or denim can be difficult to sew. Of course, there are better heavy-duty machines if you want to use these fabrics frequently. I was able to sew a denim doll skirt with the machine with no problems. In general, you’ll want to sew denim fabric with a cotton thread and a 90/14 or 100/16 needle.
I think a lot of people who complain about the disadvantages of this machine may just have not read the instructions manual and picked the correct accessories. Picking the correct needle type and size as well as thread and sewing foot even are VERY important to the success of a project.
Is the Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine Also a Serger?
No, the CS6000i is not a serger since it does not have the capability to create a seam, finish fabric edges, and cut the fabric all a one time.
However, it does come with an overcasting presser foot to be used with its overcasting stitches. This allows you to create a seam and finish fabric edges simultaneously. It will not cut off extra fabric as it stitches, though. However, if you use the overcasting stitch right on the edge of the fabric, there is no extra fabric left to cut!
Discovering the overcasting stitch and its function was very helpful in saving time. For most projects, I no longer zigzagged the outside of the fabric and then sewed the seam allowance. Just one seam with the overcasting stitch, and all done!
There is something called a Brother side cutter presser foot that you can purchase to trim fabric edges also as you stitch. This makes the Brother CS6000i more like a faux serger. I own this presser foot and like it not love it. It performs very well on cotton but does not provide a professional enough appearance on knits. I’d recommend purchasing a separate serger if you’re routinely wanting to create garments needing those professional hems. If you’re curious, check out my Brother side cutter presser foot review and tutorial post, though!
Does it monogram?
Even though a monogramming foot is included, the Brother CS6000i does not have a built-in monogramming font with alphanumeric stitches. If you’re wanting to find a machine with a basic monogramming font, I’d recommend the Brother HC1850 (see: Brother HC1850 review) or Brother XR9550prw (see: Brother XR9550prw review.)
Can You Embroider With the Brother CS6000i?
This also isn’t a computerized embroidery machine. You can’t load designs from your computer. But, if you’re creative and patient, you can learn to do free-motion embroidery with a wooden hoop. You will be limited, though, by the throat space of the sewing machine. Try checking out videos online where sewists teach you how to do free-motion embroidery with this everyday sewing and quilting machine.
If you’re looking for a sewing and embroidery combination machine, check out the Brother SE600 (see: Brother SE600 review) or Brother SE625. These machines might be a better fit for you. I have a Brother SE625 that I also love! (I know, I’m a sewing hoarder!)
Key Advantages of the Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine CS6000i
- Affordable sewing machine for what it offers
- Very beginner-friendly
- Can use for sewing or quilting and even free-motion embroidery
- It is SO easy to load the drop-in bobbin and thread the needle. There are also easy-to-follow diagrams on the side of the machine if you ever forget how to do it.
- The foot pedal is optional. I like sewing with the buttons and slider better myself and love how I’m given this option.
Is the Brother CS6000i good for a beginner?
This machine was very easy to use as a beginning sewer. When I developed more confidence in my skills and wanted to venture out, this machine “grew” with me. The automatic features are very nice in assisting new users who are not as familiar with needle threading and more.
Also, because the machine is digital, it will output error messages to let you know why it may not be working. As a beginner user, I had a hard time figuring out what I was doing wrong at first. (I can’t remember how many times I saw the E1 error telling me I forgot to put the presser foot down!) These troubleshooting hints cut down on a lot of frustration when trying to figure out what’s just not working.
And best of all, when you select a stitch, the LCD screen will tell you the letter of the presser foot you need to use. This is VERY helpful as a beginner sewer trying to navigate how to use sewing machine accessories.
Overall, the ease of use and simplicity of design make the Brother CS6000i sewing machine perfect for beginners. Just remember to read the user manual before starting to sew, and consider picking out a sewing book to help you learn even more!
So, What’s the Catch? Key Disadvantages
While this is a great sewing machine, there are some common user complaints. Also, there are some things I found personally annoying as a beginner.
- They say the bobbin is jam-resistant, but they never met me as a beginner seamstress. I could mess up anything!
- Threading the needle with the automatic needle threader should be easy, but I found it a little finicky. It’s also pretty cheaply made, and I accidentally broke it pretty soon after getting the machine while fiddling with it. I don’t mind threading by hand, and my eyesight is still great. So, this isn’t a deal-breaker for me.
- Following up on the above, some of the plastic parts are cheaply made. However, this is a cheap sewing machine (compared to Janome, Bernina, etc), so that’s something I’m willing to deal with.
- This is more for sewing and occasional quilting rather than full-time quilting. It’s not really a dedicated workhorse. People who use it as such say it poops out earlier than it should.
How Does The Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing Machine Compare to Other Brother Sewing Machines?
Looking at and comparing all the Brother sewing machines can be very overwhelming. So, check out this handy side-by-side comparison chart below of some of the most popular Brother sewing machines. As a note, all of the machines compared below have automatic bobbin winding of the quick-set, top drop-in bobbin.
Brother CS6000i vs CS7000i
When comparing Brother CS6000i vs CS7000i, you’ll notice they are both very similar computerized sewing and quilting machines. The bodies of the machines look similar and are of identical sizes. However, the CS7000i features a light blue color compared to the navy blue of the CS6000i. It’s a little more decorative and “prettier.” Setting up and using the machine are still identical, and all the same computerized features remain. The free arm and wide table are included with both sewing machines.
In terms of differences, the new Brother CS7000i features 70 stitches, and they’ve added one presser foot, a 1/4″ piecing foot, which is used to quilt perfect 1/4″ seams. At the time I’m writing this Brother CS6000i review, the price of the Brother CS7000i is quite a bit higher as well. If you’re wanting the newer Brother CS7000i, just make sure the added cost is worth those added features for you! (For instance, when I bought my CS6000i, I got a complete set of 32 compatible presser feet, including the 1/4″ foot, on Amazon for my CS6000i for a great deal!) And if you’re really wanting those extra stitches, check out the Brother HC1850 or Brother XR9550prw sewing machine. You’ll get more stitches and functions (including a monogramming font) for an often comparable price to the Brother CS7000i sewing machine.
Brother CS6000i vs XR9550prw
Both sewing machines are computerized Brother sewing machines that come with a built-in free arm, detachable wide table, and similar automated features. The XR9550prw has 110 stitches, 8 presser feet, and 8 buttonhole styles. In comparison, the Brother CS6000i has 60 built-in stitches, 9 presser feet (a walking foot that the XR9550prw does not have), and 7 buttonhole styles. The CS6000i tends to run a little less expensive as well.
One big difference between the two machines, though, is the ability of the XR9550prw to do basic monogramming with its one included lettering font. If you’re wanting the extra stitches and monogramming font, the XR9550prw may be worth a second look.
Read my full Brother XR9550prw sewing machine review if you want more information. I’ve also reviewed the best Brother Project Runway (prw) sewing machines if you’re interested in more information about that line!
Brother CS6000i vs HC1850
The main difference between these two computerized sewing machines is that the HC1850 has more options. Compared to the 60 stitches, 7 buttonholes, and 9 presser feet of the CS6000i sewing machine, the HC1850 has 130 stitches, 8 buttonholes, and 8 presser feet. The Brother HC1850 also has 55 alphanumeric stitches allowing for basic monogramming. This is a one-size, one-style fits all font.
The HC1850 also comes in at a higher price point, so that was a deciding factor for me. The CS6000i had everything I thought I would need seeing as my main projects are sewing clothes, mending items, and refashioning anything and everything I can get my hands on. Seeing as I haven’t even used all 60 stitches on my current machine, I think I made a wise choice not needing 70 more!
Read my full Brother HC1850 sewing machine review for more information!
Brother CS6000i vs XR3774
The main difference is that the CS6000i is computerized and the XR3774 is not. Thus, the XR3774 comes in at a much lower price point. The CS6000i has 60 stitches and 9 presser feet, while the XR3774 has only 37 stitches and 8 presser feet. There are also 8 automatic one-step buttonhole stitches on the Brother CS6000i compared to one style on the Brother XR3774.
Both come with the detachable wide table and built-in free arm as well as the automated bobbin winding and needle threading. Unlike the CS6000i, the feed dogs on the XR3774 don’t drop and have to be covered manually with the darning plate if wanting to quilt. It’s another great Brother machine with decent versatility.
Read my full Brother XR3774 review if you think this machine may be a better fit for you.
Brother CS6000i vs CS5055prw
Both the CS6000i and CS5055prw are computerized Brother sewing machines. Versus the 60 built-in stitches, 7 buttonholes, and 9 presser feet for the CS6000i, you’re getting only 50 stitches, 5 automatic buttonholes, and 7 presser feet with the CS5055prw. It comes in at a much lower price point though. Also, there is no button for needle up or start/stop button. As such, the CS5055prw only has the option to sew with the foot pedal.
The CS5055prw also does not come with any quilting feet, nor does it feature the detachable wide table that is helpful for large projects, such as quilts. If you’re wanting to quilt mostly, I think you may be better served by a different sewing machine.
Find out more about this sewing machine with my CS5055prw review.
Brother CS6000i Review – Conclusion
If you are an advanced seamstress who needs hundreds of stitch options or a dedicated quilting machine, I recommend a more high-end sewing machine.
However, for any beginner sewist or hobbyist, the Brother CS6000i sewing machine is an excellent choice as you can see from this Brother CS6000i sewing machine review. Its automated features allow for ease of use, and the numerous presser feet and stitch options cover the bases for most projects you will try. What you want at a price you will like!
Brother has an incredible reputation in the sewing industry, and their 25-year limited warranty speaks to their confidence in the quality of their products. Additionally, the ratio of price to numerous features of this Brother CS6000i feature-rich sewing machine makes it an excellent bargain.
I thought it was just too good to pass up when purchasing myself. I don’t regret that decision at all!