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Brother Innovis NV1800Q review

Is the Brother Innovis NV1800Q just for quilters, or can everyone enjoy this larger sewing machine?

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review, a photo of a sewing machine on a wooden table
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is wonderfully designed and crammed with features you’d usually find on more expensive sewing machines, including sideways sewing. Easy to set up but containing many unique functions, this is a sewing machine that can grow with you – I particularly love the option to create my own stitches using the My Custom Stitch function. If you’re not a quilter then you may find the machine too large overall, but if you quilt and sew garments, particularly large projects, then the Brother Innovis NV1800Q can offer the best of both worlds.

For

  • Easy to setup and use
  • Sideways sewing!
  • Bright and clear LCD touchscreen
  • Quiet and consistent

Against

  • Perhaps too large for most sewers

The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is a large sewing machine aimed at quilters but with enough features and functions to appeal to general sewers too, who perhaps want a bigger sewing space. This machine is loaded with excellent features, some of which you will only find on more expensive machines, such as sideways sewing (yes, really).

Main features

Large 8.3" (210 mm) work space to the right of the needle
234 built-in stitches
10 styles of one step buttonholes
5 Styles of lettering upper and lowercase
Fully automatic thread tension
Automatic thread cutter
Sideways feed
Knee lift
Touch sensor keypad with direct stitch selection
Slide speed control
Lock stitch button
My Custom Stitch – design your own stitches

If you’re new to sewing the Brother Innovis NV1800Q could be too expensive and too large for your needs, and if you’re a dedicated quilter there are competitors to look at also. In which case, take a look at our best sewing machines guide for more sewing machine reviews.

For my review of the Brother Innovis NV1800Q I’ve spent four weeks using the machine, including creating a quilt for a customer. I make bespoke quilts professionally to order, including for interior design clients, and so I need a machine that will be reliable and offer a quality finish. During using the Brother Innovis NV1800Q I test the stitches and work across a number of different materials as well as experiment with some of the machine’s core features.

When I create my quilts I also use a craft cutting machine, and you may want to consider one of these devices alongside your sewing machine. We have a guide to the best Cricut machines and the best Brother ScanNCut machines, as well as my Brother ScanNCut SDX2200D review, which is from the same manufacturer as the NV1800Q and an excellent companion machine for quilters.

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review: setup

The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is clearly aimed at quilters but it is easy enough to set up and get going with that all sewists will enjoy this machine. It comes out of the box with ease and everything is clear and understandable – unlike some larger machines or quilter-focused sewing machines this one is simple to put together.

Clear instructions, a straightforward guide and a website that demonstrates all the features of the machine, you can get up and running with the Brother Innovis NV1800Q in no time at all. However, having spent some time with the (very expensive) Janome Continental M7 Professional and its app that takes you every feature and stitch tutorial, I do miss that kind of depth. 

Yet, at this price range the Brother Innovis NV1800Q is one of the more approachable machines, particularly given the size, power and wealth of features, which includes 232 built-in stitches, touch controls and an LCD screen.

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review: design

There’s an elegance to the design of the Brother Innovis NV1800Q, and it has some little features that make it welcoming, despite first impressions. You see, this machine is rather large, and all those buttons can feel off-putting if you’re coming to the Brother Innovis NV1800Q from a smaller or non-computerised sewing machine.

Yet, turn it on and the Brother Innovis NV1800Q impresses. The LCD touchscreen is bright and clear, and its menus are obvious in what each does (believe me, this isn’t always the case). I love how the buttons below the LCD screen light up too, both because it looks elegant and I know what it's set to do at a glance.

This machine also comes with a knee lifter for control of speed and stitches, which is usually the preserve of more expensive machines

As this is aimed at quilters you get a large space to the right of the sewing foot (210 mm), which is needed for big spreads of material, whether that’s a quilt or large garment. No matter your project you will come to love the size – and adding the extension table to the left offers even more space and it’s easily clipped in place. If you’re not quilting simply remove the table.

There’s a snug little storage option hidden in the main chassis of the machine that came in very handy, particularly for keeping safe the extra sewing feet that come with the Brother Innovis NV1800Q. This machine also comes with a knee lifter for hands-free control of stitching speed, which is a nice option.

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review: performance

When I begin sewing, there’s little doubt the Brother Innovis NV1800Q is an impressive machine. Featuring manual and automatic reinforcement stitching – where multiple stitches are sewn at the same place – is an excellent feature. The machine comes with a great range of decorative stitches, which are detailed inside the lid and in the manual, and include satin stitch, smocking, fagotting and hem stitching (a must). 

The best feature enables you to design and program your own stitches. This is done on included graph paper sheets and you add the associated numbers into the machine and it will create stitches from the data. 

For quilters the Brother Innovis NV1800Q really comes into its own. All of the quilting feet you’ll need come with the machine, including Walking Foot, Free Motion Open Toe Quilting Foot, 1/4” Quilting Foot and more. It can be difficult to screw in the Walking Foot as there's not a lot of room for your hands – a slight misstep.

Seam allowances are easily set in the machine, too. The size of the machine ensures you get a clear view of what you’re sewing, which is particularly handy for paper-piercing. 

This Brother is also crammed with high-end features, for example when sewing it will automatically detect fabric thickness and adjust

From the LCD touchscreen you can select free motion sewing and it works really nicely. You can also adjust the foot height to the thickness of the fabric you’re using, which is very useful. The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is great for appliqué and writing messages onto my quilt. This sewing machine offers a good finish and above all its sewn lettering is easy to read. This Brother is also crammed with high-end features, for example when sewing it will automatically detect fabric thickness and adjust.

Now, the killer feature: sideways sewing. This is brilliant for sewing accurate squares and geometric patterns. Using sideways sewing means you don’t need to lift the foot, move the material, drop the foot to carry on sewing; this really helps when sewing large pieces of material. 

These squares can be any size you need and can really help when sewing badges to materials to patches, because you don't need to put the needle down and then change the direction of sewing. This comes into its own when you're using sideways sewing on large pieces of material, such as a big and heavy quilt project. When I used sideways sewing for this review I found it incredibly helpful because I no longer needed to move the material around 90 degrees to begin a new stitch line. 

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review: should I buy?

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review, a photo of a sewing machine on a table

The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is an excellent sewing machine aimed at quilters, new sewers may find it too large (Image credit: Future)

The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is priced $1,799.00 / £1,499.00, and honestly for size, features and accessories this feels well-priced. It also means you likely won’t find it for less than the asking price (though US readers may find some stores offering it for $1,500.00 if you hunt around). 

What you really need to consider is, do you need everything it does? This machine is designed for quilters, which means it’s large and bulky. If you’re not planning on making large quilts, then perhaps look at a smaller, cheaper sewing machine such as the Janome 220XT, which is a lower priced entry level machine.

Yet, as far as feature-laden sewing machines go the Brother Innovis NV1800Q really is a bit classy. The LCD touchscreen is excellent and vibrant, the large space for sewing is welcome (if you have the room) and it’s fast and quiet in use. Sideways sewing is exceptional, and a feature even far more expensive machines don’t have – if you’re a quilter the Brother Innovis NV1800Q really should be on your wish list.

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The Verdict
9

out of 10

Brother Innovis NV1800Q review

The Brother Innovis NV1800Q is wonderfully designed and crammed with features you’d usually find on more expensive sewing machines, including sideways sewing. Easy to set up but containing many unique functions, this is a sewing machine that can grow with you – I particularly love the option to create my own stitches using the My Custom Stitch function. If you’re not a quilter then you may find the machine too large overall, but if you quilt and sew garments, particularly large projects, then the Brother Innovis NV1800Q can offer the best of both worlds.

Julie Dean
Julie Dean

Julie Dean is a former doctor and occupational therapist by profession which inspired her to start sewing and quilting as a therapeutic activity. She is passionate about her craft and has been quilting and using Cricut for over five years. As well as selling her own work on Etsy Julie has taken commissions for interior design agencies to create bespoke quilts, including Beata Heuman (opens in new tab). Julie's work has appeared in Architectural Digest (opens in new tab).