When I was growing up in the 60's and 70's, mom made a lot of my clothes. I remember her sitting on the living room floor with the material for her latest project spread out over her big cardboard pattern cutting board.
The famous apple pin cushion would be off to one side, and a few pins held fast between her lips, as she attached the pattern to the material.
Despite enjoying watching the process, and wishing she’d let me play with the electric scissors, I never learned how to use a sewing machine until I was in my 40's.
I fell in love with it! I found out that not only is sewing fun, but so is looking for material, the odds and ends to make the product, and sometimes designing the project as well.
With that in mind, I decided to do up a review on a great starter/novice sewing machine. It's the Brother XL2600I Sew Advance Sew Affordable 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine.
Amazon sells it for a great price: $79.99, plus FREE shipping. It regularly sells for $149.99, so you save 47%.
For the record, Walmart sells the same machine online for $102.81 (as of 1/6/14). So, obviously, Amazon is the best way to go on this one.
The Brother XL2600I has some pretty awesome customer satisfaction ratings:
Amazon: 956 customers give it a 4.4 outta 5.
Walmart: 601 customers give it a 4.5 outta 5.
Let's take a look at the specs on it:
2. 25 built-in stitches, each with multiple stitch functions
3. Accessory storage built into free arm
4. automatic needle threader
5. thread cutter
6. jam resistant drop-in bobbin, and auto bobbin winding
7. One-step auto-size buttonholer
8. 110-volt machine operates with foot pedal
9. light bulb for workspace illumination
button sewing foot
narrow hemmer foot
blind stitch foot
extra spool pin
PROS (based on consumer comments)
1. The price!
2. Easy to put together/easy to take apart.
3. Great for beginners/novices.
4. Great gift even for kids 9 and up.
5. Excellent for crafting, as well as other sewing needs.
7. 25 year limited warranty
CONS (based on consumer complaints)
1. Doesn't handle heavy fabrics.
2. No hard case for it.
3. Some say the tension is a bit of a problem.
4. Slow stitching speed.
5. Bobbin issues (jamming)
6. No handle for carrying it around.
7. Instructions are difficult to read.
OVERVIEW OF THE COMMENTS
Some folks complained about the parts being plastic, and some claimed they kept breaking. However, I found that those who really like this sewing machine claimed the opposite of what the others said.
Now, some did have a few of the same experiences as those who didn't care for the machine. For instance, some found the language layout of the bilingual manual confusing.
I had a similar experience recently with an item I bought. I couldn’t figure out what they did with the English. After I slowed down and took a careful look, I found it and wondered how on earth I missed it.
You might have experienced something similar with products you’ve boughten. On the whole though, the majority of owners had no problem with the manual.
Bobbin issues? Some agree that yes, they had a few problems with the bobbin, but after they figured out the trick, it was ok.
Some agree that the tension is a bit tricky, but again, after they figured out the trick - it was cool.
As for those who didn't like the quality? You're not going to get the same quality at $79 as you are for a sewing machine that costs $799. It's a common sense thing.
One of the things I couldn't figure out was how some claimed that their warranty had expired after 18 months or so, and now they were having to pay for stuff. I obviously missed something, because the machine has a 25 year limited warranty.
Another problem I have with the complaints, and perhaps I'm just being picky, is if you're having problems with different things, why not look on youtube and see what you're either doing wrong, or not doing.
You can check out youtube’s list of how the various parts work with the Brother XL2600I. NOTE: There’s a few videos here that aren’t the one we’re talking about, so make sure it says Brother XL2600I.
When I look at how many people absolutely love this machine I can easily set aside the comments of those who weren't all that keen on it.
I love the simplicity, that it's light weight, and has an automatic needle threader. I wish mine did! I have to use a magnifying glass to see the eye of the needle. The joy of being over 50. :) So, the auto-needle threader is the big plus for me.
I own a Singer that a friend gave me, but I really want this one. Yeah, I know it’s crazy to own two sewing machines, but I really do like that auto-needle threader, and the older I’m getting, the more essential I see it.
So, this little baby is now sitting in my amazon wish list, and before summer, I betcha she’s sitting on my craft table.
Overview of the Brother XL2600I: