The Complete Guide to Brother Sewing Machines
Sewing is making a comeback. With the rise of fast fashion and mass manufacturing, many have lost the skills and knowledge needed to make and mend clothing. But now, people are rediscovering the joys and benefits of sewing their own clothes. More individuals are seeking out this practical and creative hobby to craft unique garments, express personal style, get the perfect fit, save money, and reduce waste. And with its reputation for high-quality, user-friendly machines, Brother is the brand of choice for many new and experienced sewers alike.
This guide will overview the best Brother sewing machines on the market, provide tips for choosing the right Brother model for your needs and skill level, and answer some frequently asked questions about using and maintaining Brother sewing machines. Read on to find the perfect Brother sewing partner to start stitching your own custom-made clothing and crafts!
The Best Brother Sewing Machines
With over 100 years of experience, Brother is known for manufacturing reliable and easy-to-use sewing, embroidery, and quilting machines. Here are our picks for the top Brother sewing machines across different categories and price points:
1. Brother CS6000i
The Brother CS6000i is the best option for beginners learning to sew for the first time. It has a wide range of built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, easy threading, and a large table to handle bigger projects.
- 60 built-in stitches including utility, quilting, heirloom and decorative
- Automatic needle threader and easy threading system
- Large table for managing large sewing projects
- Adjustable sewing speed control
- LCD display screen with stitch selections
- Built-in free arm for sewing sleeves and pant hems
The CS6000i combines user-friendly features with versatility at an affordable price point. Whether you want to create clothing, home decor, quilts or crafts, it can handle a wide range of fabrics. The instructional DVD, printed manual, and multiple accessory feet provide plenty of guidance for beginners. With excellent stitch quality and easy set up, the CS6000i is a foolproof starter machine worth the investment.
2. Brother SE600
Crafters looking to add embroidery capabilities should consider the computerized Brother SE600 sewing and embroidery machine. It’s packed with user-friendly features and built-in design options.
- 80 built-in embroidery designs with 6 embroidery fonts
- Large 3.2″ LCD touch screen display
- Automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin
- 103 built-in sewing stitches with 7 styles of 1-step auto-size buttonholes
- Large embroidery area – 4″ x 4″
This versatile machine can handle sewing, quilting, crafting and decorative embroidery projects. Switching between functions is simple with the integrated controls. Choose from 80 unique embroidery designs or customize your own patterns. With user-friendly operation, ample workspace, and automated features, the SE600 makes embroidery accessible for beginners. The expansive design selection and sewing capabilities make it a worthwhile investment for intermediate sewers too.
3. Brother ST371HD
For tackling heavy-duty projects with thick fabrics, the Brother ST371HD is the best Brother sewing machine up for the job. The durable metal interior frame and extra high presser foot lift can sew through multiple layers of denim, canvas, or quilted fabric with ease.
- 37 built-in stitches including an automatic 1-step buttonhole
- Perfect for sewing through heavy fabrics like denim
- Jam-resistant drop-in top bobbin
- Automatic needle threader
- Built-in free arm for hemming and sleeves
- LED bright work area
From sewing leather to creating crafts or quilts, this powerful machine can handle thick or layered fabrics without slowing down. The ST371HD delivers consistent performance and neat stitches to take on any high-volume or heavy-duty project. With user-friendly operation and handy built-in stitches, it’s ideal for intermediate sewers looking for a durable and long-lasting machine.
4. Brother XM2701
If you’re shopping on a budget, the computerized Brother XM2701 delivers impressive capabilities and convenience at an affordable price point. With 27 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, and easy bobbin winding, it provides beginners with all the key features to learn on.
- 27 built-in stitches including decorative, blind hem, zig zag and stretch stitches
- Automatic needle threader
- Drop-in top bobbin for quick and easy setup
- LED-lit work area
- 6 quick-change presser feet included
Despite the low price tag, this lightweight machine can handle an array of everyday sewing tasks. The instructional DVD helps you get set up and guided to start. While the XM2701 lacks an embroidery function, it is highly capable for basic sewing and mending needs. With excellent performance and ease of use straight out of the box, this budget-friendly machine is ideal for novice sewers.
How to Choose a Brother Sewing Machine
With such a wide range of excellent Brother sewing machines available, it can be tricky to determine which model suits your needs and skill level best. Follow these tips to identify the features that matter most for your sewing style and projects:
Consider Your Skill Level and Needs
First, determine if you’re a beginner looking for your very first sewing machine, an intermediate sewist with some experience under your belt, or an expert tackling complex projects. As a novice, stick to entry-level computerized machines with built-in stitches and easy threading features. Intermediates should choose a machine with capabilities to grow into like extra feet and accessories. Experts generally prefer advanced machines with specialty stitches for embroidery, quilting, leatherwork or serging.
Also, identify the types of sewing projects you want to tackle. Make sure to select a machine with appropriate built-in stitches for sewing garments, quilting, crafting, home decor items, or embroidery. More complex machines tend to have more versatility to create varied projects.
Select the Types of Stitches You Need
Evaluate which stitches are essential for your planned projects. Most sewing requires basic straight and zigzag stitches. Stretch stitches, zigzag or overcasting are must-haves for sewing knits and stretchy fabrics. For sewing buttonholes, look for machines with one-step automated or manual buttonhole capabilities. If you’ll be sewing clothing, consider machines with a range of stretch, overcasting, blindhem, and decorative stitches for finishing details. Quilters will benefit from machines with a wide selection of quilting stitches. For monogramming, applique, or embroidery, choose a machine with built-in decorative stitches or separate embroidery functions.
Look for Convenient Features
Determine which features will be useful for your sewing style. Look for machines with an automatic needle threader for quick and easy setup. Models with a top drop-in bobbin and clear cover make threading the bobbin hassle-free. Adjustable speed settings allow you to slow down the sewing speed as you learn. An automatic thread cutter instantly snips top and bobbin threads to save time. Look for multiple accessory feet for adding buttons, hems, zippers and more. Large work tables provide ample space for managing large projects. Finally, opt for a machine with adjustable presser foot pressure when sewing thicker fabrics like denim.
Check the Warranty Coverage
Make sure your machine comes with at least a 1-year limited warranty to cover manufacturer defects. Many Brother machines come with 25-year limited warranties that cover the chassis, meaning the main frame and body. Extended warranties provide long-term peace of mind and support. Be sure to register your machine as soon as you unpack it to take advantage of the coverage.
Accessory Feet Included
Entry-level machines should come with basic presser feet for all-purpose sewing, zippers, buttons, blind hems, and zigzag. Higher-end computerized machines often include feet for quilting, overcasting, rolled hems, piping, walking foot, and more specialty techniques. Look for machines with 6 or more accessory feet to take on more project types.
By considering your skill level, project plans, preferred features, and warranty coverage, you can determine the best Brother machine for your needs. Let’s look at some common questions about using Brother sewing machines.
Frequently Asked Questions About Brother Sewing Machines
Are Brother sewing machines good for beginners?
Yes, Brother sewing machines are excellent for beginners. Many models have built-in one-touch stitch selections, automatic needle threaders, easy bobbin winding and threading, instructional DVDs, and adjustable speed control. These user-friendly features help new sewers set up and operate the machines with little frustration. Beginners should start with entry-level computerized machines like the CS6000i or XM2701. The variety of built-in stitches, speed control, and accessory feet let you learn the basics with ease.
What is the difference between a Brother computerized and mechanical sewing machine?
Computerized sewing machines have an LCD screen that digitally displays stitch options you select with the press of a button. Built-in stitches are stored in the machine’s computerized memory. Mechanical models require manually turning a dial to select your stitch and adjusting settings accordingly. Computerized machines automate functions like thread cutting and provide more precision. But mechanical models are more straightforward to operate and repair.
Can you use a Brother sewing machine without a foot pedal?
Most computerized Brother machines can be operated without a foot pedal by using the start/stop button to run the motor. However, a foot pedal gives you more control over the sewing speed. Gently press down to sew slowly, or press harder to speed up. This gradual control is ideal for precision sewing so beginners should practice with the foot pedal. Some automated features like needle up/down also require a foot pedal.
How do I thread a Brother sewing machine?
Refer to the instruction manual for a diagram of the correct threading paths. Follow these steps:
- Raise the presser foot.
- Place the thread spool on the holder pin and secure with the spool cap to avoid tangling.
- Pull the thread tail through the top thread guide above the spool.
- Draw the thread down through the thread path following the arrows.
- Pull the thread through the needle bar thread guide.
- Thread the needle manually or use the automatic needle threader.
- Pull the thread tail about 6 inches behind the needle.
Why does my Brother sewing machine keep jamming or tangling?
If the threads are bunching up or the needle keeps jamming, a few issues could be causing trouble:
- Incorrect threading– Make sure the top thread and bobbin are threaded correctly following the machine path.
- Needle or thread issues– The needle may be damaged, dull, or wrong size. The thread could be poor quality, too thick or linty.
- Incorrect tension– Adjust the tension based on your project’s fabric type and stitch used.
- Lint buildup– Clean lint from bobbin area, feed dogs and around throat plate.
What needles work with Brother sewing machines?
Brother home sewing machines use standard domestic needles, typically sizes 11/80 to 14/90. Check your manual for the correct sizes for your model. Be sure to match the needle size to your thread thickness and fabric weight. Use fine needles like 11/80 with lightweight fabrics and thinner threads. For medium to heavy fabrics, use thicker needles like 14/90. Always change bent, dull or damaged needles.
How do I clean and oil my Brother sewing machine?
- Brush lint and debris from bobbin area, feed dogs and throat plate using the lint brush.
- Wipe exterior surfaces with a soft cloth. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Apply a small drop of sewing machine oil on all moving parts indicated in manual. Avoid over-oiling.
- Replace needle regularly.
- Have your machine professionally serviced every 1-2 years for deep cleaning and calibration at an authorized Brother dealer. Proper maintenance prevents over 90% of repairs.
Where can I get my Brother sewing machine serviced?
You can look up authorized Brother dealers for service and repair by entering your zip code on Brother’s website or calling their customer service line. Always go to an authorized Brother retailer for any maintenance or repairs needed on computerized models. Third party repair shops may not have access to Brother’s computer diagnostic programs and replacement parts.
What’s the best Brother sewing machine for quilting or embroidery?
For quilting, the Brother PQ1500SL is an ideal high-end model with a wide table, variable speed control, auto thread cutter and knee lever to raise and lower presser foot. For embroidery, the Brother SE600 has 80 built-in designs, a 4 x 4 hoop area, and ample workspace. The Brother PE800 is another top choice with a 5 x 7 embroidery field and 138 built-in designs.
How do I troubleshoot error messages or codes on my Brother sewing machine?
Start by checking the troubleshooting section of your instruction manual, which provides fixes for common error codes. If a problem persists, contact Brother customer service with your machine’s model and the error number. A representative can help diagnose the issue based on the code. Always go to an authorized Brother technician for assessment and repairs to avoid tampering with the computerized components.
After reviewing the stand-out Brother sewing machines for all skill levels and budgets, there are excellent options whether you’re looking for your first starter machine or a computerized powerhouse. For most beginners, the user-friendly CS6000i has the features needed to learn sewing, embroidery and quilting in one versatile machine. Intermediates seeking specialty capabilities may prefer the SE600 for its embroidery functions. For experts, the heavy-duty ST3714D provides speed and strength for sewing multiple layers. And the budget-friendly XM2701 delivers reliable performance without all the bells and whistles.
No matter your skill level, Brother sewing machines live up to their reputation for quality stitching and user-friendly operation. We hope this guide has helped you identify which features and functions matter most for your upcoming projects. With the information provided here, you can confidently choose a Brother sewing partner suited for your unique needs and sewing style. So roll up your sleeves, and get ready to start stitching your own custom-made creations!