Brother CS5055 Review
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|Pros||Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up||Good sewing performance, easy to use, high value||Excellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-up||Bobbin quality and winding, simple, great at scallop stitches across multiple fabric types||Great light, easy to thread the top thread|
|Cons||Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper||A bit harder to set up||Trouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutter||Not computerized, trouble with our 8-layer denim test||Secondary stitches are hidden in selection wheel housing, buttonhole process isn't great, front load bobbin is trickier to use|
|Bottom Line||Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features||A great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned users||Good for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machines||A solid, non-computerized model that leaves more to be desired with buttonholes and lighting||This average machine has a good light and nice price point, but is very inconsistent with sewing its buttonholes|
|Rating Categories||Brother CS5055||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother CS6000i||Brother GX37||Singer M3500|
|Ease of use (35%)|
|Specs||Brother CS5055||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother CS6000i||Brother GX37||Singer M3500|
|# of Built-in Stitches||60||100||60||37||32|
|# of Buttonhole Styles||7||6||7||1||1|
|Measured Weight||10.8 lbs||14.6 lbs||9.4 lbs||12.5 lbs||12. 1 Ibs|
|Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)||750||750||850||850||750|
|Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps)||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step|
|Maximum Stitch Width||7mm||6mm||7mm||7mm||5mm|
|Maximum Stitch Length||5mm||4.8mm||5mm||5mm||4mm|
|Automatic Bobbin Winder?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Brother CS5055, with its 60 built-in stitches and 7 buttonhole stitches, has enough variety for an experienced seamstress or tailor but still has an easy set-up and use that is good for a beginner. This machine is high value and won an award for its many qualities, ease of use, and low price tag.
Scoring above average in our sewing tests, this Brother CS5055 showed great results on most fabrics using the straight, zig-zag, and blind hem stitches. The top stitches looked nice, but sometimes the lower tension was funky, which we'll get into in a bit. We were particularly impressed with how easily this machine sewed through thicker test swatches, like quilting and multi-layer denim, particularly the quilting. Denim didn't score quite as high, though that score was still above average and even outscored far more expensive sewing machines in our lineup.
The CS5055 did have some trouble with our zipper test, though. The presser foot felt like it barely held on and was lopsided, which we thought very odd. It had a lot of trouble making it over the bottom strap of the zipper and displayed uneven stitching and tension from one side to the other.
In fact, uneven tension was something we experienced quite a bit with this sewing machine. A particular problem area was the scallop stitch — we struggled no matter which fabric we were using. This and diamond-patterned stitches had the biggest problems with tensioning, with the bottom or bobbin tension consistently being tight. We actually had consistent tension trouble with most stitches on most fabrics. That said, we do not view this as a dealbreaker since it can be worked on and adjusted with some time and patience as you learn your machine.
Ease of Use
Scoring very high in our stitch set-up test, the Brother CS5055 will make life simple for someone new to the craft. Since all the stitches are printed right on the machine, you simply look above the stitch you want for the number, then use the +/- buttons to move to that stitch. Making stitch adjustments is also super simple since you use the same +/- concept to get to your preferred width and length. Everything is clearly marked and very easy to read, and by using the +/- system, you get exactly what you want with no guessing. Best of all, the most common stitch lengths and widths have a circle around them in the panel — a huge plus, especially for beginners or for someone who hasn't sewn for a while.
Another great plus for the CS5055 is the ease of winding and loading the bobbin. Our test team always appreciates a top-loading bobbin since bending down to the table height to see if you're putting the bobbin in correctly is a pain in the neck. Literally. But this machine has a sticker for the bobbin with clear labeling for inserting and threading, which we consider a giant plus. Since the bobbin is usually out of sight in the sewing process, it can be somewhat mysterious, especially for a beginner. But this bobbin set-up is easy and clear.
This machine also earned an above-average score for threading the needle with a semi-automatic needle threader. However, it didn't score as well with the needle stop position, which you have to find each time for yourself. This is not a dealbreaker but can be frustrating until you get used to it.
The light on the CS5055 is adequate, but our reviewers remarked that, though it's bright enough, the position of the light creates a shadow just where the needle enters the fabric. The light is bright on the right side, but there are dark shadows on the left which may be distracting for some.
One of the other features that the Brother CS5055 has is a detachable free arm for sewing smaller things, like the hem of trousers or around a sleeve. This makes life much simpler since it cuts out a lot of awkward maneuvering to complete those smaller circumferences. Even if you won't sew clothing, the free arm is a great thing to have.
Ah, buttonholes. Many an otherwise beautiful project has died at the feet of a poorly-executed buttonhole, speaks the voice of experience. The CS5055 scored okay overall, but our testers still found the buttonholes to be somewhat lacking.
The buttonhole process is simple to set up as it has the typical Brother colored lines on the presser foot, making it easy to line everything up. And, once it's all set and the fabric is in place, you just push down on the pedal and go. Adjusting the length of the buttonhole is also easy as the buttonhole attachment has a slider that opens — you put your button in place, and the machine does the rest. No need to worry about the machine not stopping at the end of the buttonhole, as the CS5055 stops automatically. But hang onto that top thread, for this is what caused us to lower the score for this metric. If you forget about holding tightly to the top thread, it will slip out of the needle, and you have to do everything all over again. It's frustrating until you can train yourself to hold on to the thread, but if this is your dedicated machine, you will soon get used to it.
The Brother CS5055 scored very well in our review, despite the small things we found that caused some problems. Overall, this machine is solid, dependable, easy to set up and use, and one that would be great for a beginner. But seasoned sewists will like this sewing machine too as it has 60 built-in stitches and carries with it the quality of the Brother brand of sewing machines.
The lowest-priced of all the sewing machines we tested, our reviewers found the Brother CS5055 to be a very good product. With enough fun things like an automatic thread cutter, semi-automatic needle threader, great display of stitches, and easy stitch selection to make life and sewing simpler, this is a very nice sewing machine. If you don't want or require a lot of fancy gadgets on your machine or you are new to sewing in general, this is a great choice.
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