The Brother PC-420 PRW is for sewers who want as many bells and whistles as they can get. It offers nearly 300 stitches, three lettering styles, a programmable design-your-own-stitch feature and even a knee lifter for hands-free presser-foot lifting. Many users love all this functionality, but if simplicity is your style, you may be happier with a less fancy -- and less expensive -- alternative.
A full-featured machine that functions beautifully. The Brother PC-420 PRW has a vast array of features, ranging from a selection of nearly 300 stitch styles to a programmable custom-stitch option to a knee lifter that lets you operate the presser foot without letting go of the fabric. Not only that, but users agree that they all function exceedingly well. While there are isolated reports of machine breakdowns or other mechanical problems, most owners call the machine a pleasure to use, and many say they've never encountered a problem with it.
Several users list a multitude of projects they've successfully completed with the PC-420 PRW, including purses, pillows, blankets, draperies and clothing. They say the machine ably handles all kinds of fabrics, from thin types like tricot or nylon to heavy-duty upholstery fabrics and leather.
User-friendly, but complicated. Many reviewers call the Brother PC-420 PRW user-friendly, and some say it's as suitable for beginners as it is for experienced sewers. According to one user, both the on-screen instructions and included attachments make it easy to complete projects: The machine is "very easy to use and understand even with all the bells and whistles." However, another owner complains that the instruction manual is "huge" and "difficult to figure out," adding that an instructional DVD would've been more helpful.
A handful of users call the machine "intimidating" because of all its features, and some say it takes time and practice to get familiar with all the features and use them effectively. In addition, a few owners report difficulty keeping stitches straight or getting the proper tension, but admit the problem is likely due to a lack of skill and not mechanical flaws.
A smooth, quiet operator. The Brother PC-420 PRW garners more comments about sound than other machines, and most of them praise its smooth and quiet operation. A number of users list "quiet" as one of the attributes they like most about the machine. A few report "grinding" or "whiny" noises, but these are few and far between.
Review Credibility: Very Good With more than 160 reviews at Amazon.com, the Brother PC-420 PRW earns an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5. Owners like its range of features, saying it skillfully handles fabrics from delicate tricot to heavy-duty upholstery materials and leather. The programmable memory and stitch speed control are also considered pluses. On the downside, a few users say the automatic threader doesn't work consistently, and some report tension problems or tangled thread.
Review: Brother PC-420 PRW Limited Edition Project Runway Sewing Machine, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good Just more than 20 users post feedback on the Brother PC-420 PRW at Walmart.com, but their ratings and comments are overwhelmingly positive, and nearly all say they'd recommend this model to a friend. Most say this fully featured machine has all the bells and whistles of models costing much more, although one says the instructions aren't helpful enough. Of the two reviewers who give the 420 PRW just 1 star, one says it completely broke down and the other faults the tension and stitch quality, and reports a "whiny" noise.
Review: Brother Computerized 294-stitch Project Runway Sewing Machine PC-420PRW, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good Here the Brother PC-420 PRW gets a score of 83 points out of 100 from more than 20 users. The machine is considered user-friendly and versatile, as owners report completing projects ranging from clothing and drapes to pillows and comforters, and even a dog sweater. Still, some users say it takes time to become proficient with it. One owner complains that the machine broke down three months after purchase, and another says it began to malfunction during a "quilting weekend" when used for 10-plus hours over three days.
Review: Brother Project Runway Edition Computerized Sewing Machine PC-420PRW Reviews, As of January 2013