Brother sewing machines are arguably the highest quality on the market today. Making Fantastic machines at every price point and for all types of users. The Brother XM2701 is one of brothers more affordable mechanical sewing machines, making it extremely appealing to beginners. However, unlike other beginner machines there are enough features for more advanced users. It perfectly fits my criteria for a beginner sewing machine, which is affordability and simplicity while having the performance and features that more advanced users crave. This review will illustrate why the Brother XM2701 is one of the best affordable machines on the market and why I have it in my list of best sewing machines for beginners. If you are just starting out please click here to see my recommendation for best beginner sewing machines.
The first thing that I noticed about this machine was its size and weight. At on 13 lbs it is incredibly light and with dimensions of 12 x 6 x 15 inches it’s a pretty compact machine. This is fantastic for beginners since it is so easy to transport to and from sewing classes. Design wise the Brother XM2701 is a little hit and miss. The purple floral decal on the right hand side is not going to please everyone. Personally I find it a cute way to make it stand out. Something that every user will love is the diagram above the stitch selection knob illustrating how the stitches look. A staple for most brother machines and great addition.
The design of the overall body shape is very simple. Using high quality materials and an intuitive layout. The dials and buttons are clearly labels making it obvious what each is for. A quick test I always do straight out the box is to feel the mechanism of all the moving parts, it is a great way to test the quality. As expected from a brother machine they all feel really well made.
First feature to mention is the top loaded bobbin. This is a huge plus as they are far more reliable and quick to change than a front loaded bobbin. As you would expect there is a free arm, opening up the work space to make working on thing like cuffs and sleeves much easier. Plus the extension table features a storage compartment perfect for all the accessories. There is a built in work light, although it is a little dim. I found myself needing to use an additional light when using it in a dark room.
Two fantastic features that make the machine much more user friendly are the automatic bobbin winding and automatic need threader. The bobbin winding works great and is so simple to use. Place the bobbin on the winder with the upper thread in place then simply press the button on the right and it’s done. The automatic needle thread makes the XM2701 standout from many other machines around this price. Many users have trouble threading a needle by hand since it is a delicate job, the needle threader makes the machine much easier and faster to use.
Being a mechanical sewing machine there is no screen, instead all the stitches are selected and customized using dials. Mechanical machines offer a great sewing experience without assuming that the user is comfortable with a digital display. For beginners mechanical sewing machines offer a more focused learning experience, simplifying the process enabling you to concentrate on improving your technique.
Setting the Brother XM2701 apart from its rivals is that it features 6 feed dogs. Pulling the material through smoothly, enabling sewing speeds of up to 800 stitches per minute. Many machines at this price point only feature 4 feed dogs and can defiantly tell the difference when using the XM2701.
When deciding whether a machine is right for you one of the most important things to consider is where it has the enough stitches for your needs. With 27 built in stitches and 63 stitch functions the Brother XM2701 is well equipped to tackle most projects. As well as the basic stitches like straight and zigzag there is also a range of quilting stitches, decorative stitches and blind hems. On top of all this there is a 1 step buttonhole that will auto size, simplifying the process of making buttonholes, giving a professional finish.
Stitches are selected using a dial on the front and can be customized by changing the length and width using dials on the top of the machine. Stitch length can be adjusted up to 4 mm and stitch width can be adjusted up to 5 mm.
SETUP AND ACCESSORIES
Setup is made incredibly easy with the auto needle threader and auto bobbin winder. For a comprehensive guide through the setup of the Brother XM2701 there is a user manual that explains everything clearly. On top of this there is an instructional DVD. For complete beginners this visual reference is a perfect introduction to guide you through basics.
To accompany the instructional material there is a range of accessories that will allow you to start sewing straight away, without the need to purchase any additional items.
The included accessories are:
- 3-piece needle set
- Twin needle
- Extra spool pin bobbins
- Darning plate
- Power cord
- 6 presser feet
Giving you everything that you might need to get started. With 6 presser feet included you have great variety without having to purchase them separately. Great for a machine this affordable as each additional foot will cost around $20. The included presser feet are: a zipper foot, a zigzag foot, narrow hemmer foot, a buttonhole foot, a button sewing foot and a blind stitch foot. A great selection perfect for a range of project particularly for making clothes. Clothes are a great starting point in sewing and should appeal to beginners. For those wishing to get their children to start sewing the ability to make their own clothes should appeal to them and this machine is a great choice. Please click here to see my best sewing machines for kids.
As well the included accessories there are also many additional available for an extra cost. Some of the most useful are the wide extension table great for quilting and the range of additional presser feet. To really expand the capability of the Brother XM2701 there are a huge range of presser feet. Some of my favorite are the edge joining foot, great for joining fabric with decorative patterns and the clear free motion foot, perfect for quilting allowing you to stop and turn mid stitch. Best of all they are compatible with a huge range of brother machines.
The most notable absence is any sort of case. Since portability is a real strength of this machine a case would have been a great addition. There are plenty of cases available to purchase separately for those that will be transporting there machine around.
From a machine that is so compact and light it could be expected to struggle with thicker material. This is where the Brother XM2701 really surpassed my expectations. I tested this machine with thick quilting fabric and upholstery and it breezed through them. Obviously the 6 part feed dog configuration is really doing its job. At no point did it jump or struggle giving a smooth and reliable experience. A complete surprise given it low price. Normally sewing machines at this price are only recommended for beginners however, this machines performance offers so much to advanced users in need of something compact.
Number of Stitches: 27
Stitch Speed: 800
Bobbin Loading: Top
Weight: 13 lbs
Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 15 inches
Included Presser feet: 6
Auto Buttonholes: 1-step Auto sizing
Auto Needle Threading: Yes
Warranty: 25 Years Limited
To conclude this review: The Brother XM2701 is a breath of fresh air. Offering fantastic performance and a great range of features at such an affordable price. We all want value for our hard earned money and the XM2701 offers some best value for your money that I have ever seen in a sewing machine. Clear aiming it at beginners, Brother has created a machine that has something to offer a huge range users.
PROS AND CONS
- Unmatched Value
- Brilliant Performance
- Auto Needle Threader/Bobbin Winder
- 27 built-in stitches
- 6 Presser Feet
- Dim Work Light