Brother CE8080 Compatible Presser Feet and Accessories

I’ve been having a hard time finding out which accessories are compatible with my sewing machine since it’s not one of the most readily available or the most popular model in the market.  Good thing I found this link here which shows which presser feet you can use with the CE8080.  I’ve posted the list here in case any of you are looking for this information.

For newbies at sewing, I don’t really think you need many of these since the all-purpose foot that comes with your machine works just fine for most stitches.  But if you had to get one, the zipper foot is the most often mentioned essential.

I’m planning to order a narrow hem foot soon since I’m in the middle of a new project and doing a narrow hem by hand on jersey knits is not much fun.  :-)

Other compatible accessories for the CE8080:

  • Bobbins – SA156 (super easy to find, they’re everywhere)
  • Sewing machine needles – I’ve used standard Schmetz/Organ needles and have had no problems with compatibility thus far

Brother CE8080 Review

I’ve had my Brother CE8080 sewing machine for a little over a month now, and so far I have no complaints.  Here are some of the characteristics that I like about it:

Ease of operating the machine

  • Great for beginners – the manual is good enough to get you sewing, no need to buy extra reference books (if you can resist, I sure couldn’t!).  From threading the machine to troubleshooting, I’ve had no problems with this machine after around 6 weeks of using it once or twice a week.  For experienced sewists, this will be a piece of cake for sure.  If not, there’s always Youtube!
  • Easy to use with different types of fabric in terms of thickness – I’ve sewn up to 4 layers of jersey and 2 layers of pretty thick elastic with no problems although I’ve had to lift the presser foot a few times to avoid jamming on the really thick parts
  • Adjusting thread width and tension is so simple
  • Digital screen makes it super easy to change stitches

Weight/Portability

If you’re like me and don’t have a sewing table or room set up, then you don’t want your sewing machine to be too heavy or difficult to store and take out again.  The CE8080 is pretty lightweight at 4.8 kg, but not so light that you feel like you’re using a toy.

Useful features/Nice to haves

  • Seam allowance guide with markings both in inches and centimeters, very useful for keeping your seams in check.  It would be even better I think to have one of the magnetic seam guides that really guides the fabric, but I don’t plan to try using one since the machine is computerized and it might mess up the system
  • LED light – makes it easy to see what you’re working on, but this is of course no way near the amount of light that you need while you’re sewing
  • Basic stitches - With 80 types of stitches, the CE8080 has way more than enough stitches.  I doubt that most people will ever get to use more than 5-10 types.  I’ve only ever used 4 or 5 to make several projects and a basic garment
  • Auto-size buttonholes
  • Free arm – makes it easier to stitch sleeves and any round areas
  • Drop-in bobbin with a clear cover (easy to see when you’re running low on your thread)
  • Responsive foot pedal, important since I sew very slowly over curves, while topstitching, or when I approach corners
  • Built in thread trimmer – for easy cutting of thread every time you’re done sewing a certain portion

Accessories

Comes with your basic accessories, detailed in this post.  Easy to find and easy to buy compatible upgrades (especially for those of you in North America) although a lot of the accessories don’t specify that they are compatible with the Brother CE8080 so we’ll probably have to contact Brother or do a little bit of trial and error.  Hehehe.  It’s a little more difficult for me over here in Asia, good thing there’s always Amazon.  :-)

I recently received the following presser feet that I ordered online, total for all 4 was a little over 30 USD, although I’m not sure if all of them are compatible with my machine!

  • Brother SA125 1/4 inch Piecing Foot
  • Brother SA149 Picot foot
  • Brother SA120 Gathering Foot
  • Brother SA128 Concealed Zipper Foot
I really wish I also ordered a narrow hem foot, I plan to get one of these soon since I’ve been sewing a lot with knits which makes it hard to just press the fabric, I also have to hand baste before topstitching.  :-)

Price

Reasonably priced for the features and quality at around 200-230 USD.  Beginners may or may not outgrow entry-level machines priced at below 100 USD since usually these machines have only the most basic stitches (although those stitches are all I’ve used so far) and fewer features.

Overall, a great buy that I’d happily recommend to anyone.  :-)

Sewing Machine Cover

We’re currently living in an apartment in the heart of the city.  We like it because for now it’s just the two of us and it’s very close to where I work, but it gets really busy around this area especially during weekdays, which also means lots of dust.  So today I decided to make something functional!  My sewing machine doesn’t get as much use yet as I would like, and if I leave it out and don’t clean it for even just two or three days it starts collecting a little dust.  I threw out the plastic it came in (the total opposite of my husband, I’m the type of person who rips off all plastic off everything new…that goes for plastic on new cars, watches, whatever!  hehehe) the moment I took it out of the box, so I decided to make my own sewing machine cover.

The idea and method comes from this book, One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins.  I picked this up at Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street for 999 Php.

This should fit your sewing machine if its a standard size of around 13″ high, 16″ wide and 6″ deep.  You can easily adjust the measurements if your machine is much bigger or smaller.  :-)

The book calls for 1 yard of 45″ fabric in either light of medium weight cotton, but I wanted to use canvas which is easier to clean and more dust resistant.  The fabric is from Cotton Depot in Glorietta 5.  I started out by cutting out 4 pieces of fabric in the following sizes:

  • 2 pieces for the cover itself (15″tall by 23″wide)
  • 2 pieces for the pocket (10″ tall by 15″ wide)

Take the pocket pieces first and face the right sides together.  Pin the pocket pieces together and stitch on all sides using a half-inch seam allowance.  I used a marker since I find it really helps me keep my stitching straight.  Leave a 4 inch opening along the bottom because you need to turn it inside out.

Clip the corners on the wrong side then turn the fabric right side out and press.  Edgestitch the top pocket edge.  I stitched over the open edge so after this I had no more raw seams.

Center the pocket you just made on the right side of one of the cover pieces, align the bottom edge of your pocket 1 and 1/2 inch from the bottom edge.  Edgestitch the pocket to the cover along the sides and bottom.

Pin the cover pieces together with the right sides facing and stitch down the top sides and top edges, leaving the bottom open.  Press the seams open and measure a 2 and 1/2 inch square in both top corners of the cover like so:

Cut the squares out:

Then pull your fabric layers apart at the cutout, pinch the sides and top parts together and stitch.  Each side should look like this:

Then turn your cover inside out (nearly done now!) and make a narrow 1/4 inch hem along the bottom edge.  I pressed this down first which made it a lot easier to sew.  Topstitch your hem in place all around.  And there you have it, a pretty sewing machine cover!  This took me around an hour to make including cutting out the fabric and pressing.

I would highly recommend this for a first sewing project, it was much simpler than the belly band or crayon roll.  :-)

My first sewing project – A Belly Band!

I finally had time this weekend to complete my first sewing project!  I decided to make something simple (although simple is relative) and functional – and I ended up with a pretty cool belly band that is comfy, made of really nice material, and way cheaper than any store bought version that you can buy! First, I brought out my basic sewing stuff, my bent 9 1/2 inch dressmaking shears and new pinking shears:

And my self-healing mat, ruler, and rotary cutter:

To make the belly band, I picked this great tutorial to follow and started out by cutting out my spandex (purchased at Expressions Glorietta).  I decided to make my belly band that is 35 inches wide and 8 inches across (adjust this according to your preference)  since I don’t really like full panel maternity wear. You can adjust according to your size and fabric but I think 35 inches is safe especially if the fabric you have stretches a lot.  Given these measurements, I cut out a 36 x 17 inch piece of fabric, allowing for a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side.  Tip for extreme beginners like me: make the seam allowance a little wider since you might be making some mistakes along the way both when you cut and sew the fabric!

It was more difficult than I expected to cut this out since I’m not used to working with fabric, much less a stretchy one that curls around a lot and is impossible to mark with the white dressmaker chalk pencil that I tried to use.  The rotary cutter was a godsend for this one.

Once I had the fabric cut out, I folded it in half lengthwise and pressed it to make it a bit easier to work with.  Then, I basted the fabric together by hand using white thread as a guide for me when I got to sewing the seams.  I did this since I couldn’t mark the surface with dressmaker’s chalk and I knew it would be pretty difficult to sew a 35-inch long straight line.

Then, I finally started getting ready to actually sew!  I set up my Brother CE8080 (I think it’s exactly the same as the CE8080 Project Runway version only without the PRW label since I got it in Canada instead of the US) on a desk and plugged it in.  The manual was pretty straightforward, so I just followed all the threading instructions and pretty soon I was ready to begin sewing.  I started by sewing test stitches on some scrap fabric first, then I went back to sewing the first seam on my belly band.  :-)  The tutorial specifies using a zigzag stitch so I started with that, but it was difficult since the  fabric started to bunch up a bit.  So I took out the first stitches with my seam ripper and went with a stretch stitch which worked out better for me.  :-)  I went pretty slow, since sewing in a straight line is harder than it sounds!!!  But pretty soon, I had a long tube like this:

I turned it right side out, matched up the inner seams, and started stitching it closed.  I did this slowly since the fabric was twisted around because of the tube shape.

When I was getting close to the other end, I hand stitched it closed.

And voila!  My finished first sewing project, my very own belly band!  :-)

Given this experience, here are 5 things to consider when working on your first sewing project:

  1. It’s probably best to work with cotton or some non-stretchy fabric for a first project (the spandex worked out for me but not without some struggling)
  2. Test whatever stitches you intend to use on scrap fabric similar to your project so you can see how the fabric reacts.  This could have saved me the time I spent ripping out my zigzag stitches
  3. Slightly increase your seam allowance unless you’re confident that you can follow the guide exactly
  4. Related to number 3, basting is a quick, easy way to get a guide for straight seams for beginners – and you can be sure your fabric won’t move around
  5. Just do it!  No matter how much you read, and I read a lot, it’s totally different – and fun and fulfilling – once you start actually doing it!