Brother XL2610 Free-Arm Sewing Machine
Brother manufacture a wide range of sewing machines for all tastes and needs. This Chinese brand offer a wide choice of very competitively equipment with the diverse needs of customers in mind. The XL2610 is targeted mainly at complete beginners and children who want to start sewing. Many machines aimed at novices are equally suitable for more advanced users but most reviews of the XL2610 suggest that a more expert seamstress might find the pre-set nature somewhat limiting. This means that fine-tuning is not as easy as with some more feature-laden options.
If, though, you want to introduce your children to some craftwork then the cute design and pink color-way will appeal to their eye while its simplicity of operation will make learning fun and easy.
The instructions are very clear and basic which is a great plus point in a machine angled towards younger users. The fact it is easy to thread and easy to pick up are also great considering its target market.
You'll have a decent stitch variety at your disposal with the Brother but there is not much in the way of free accessories included. The lack of a seam ripper is not ideal for beginners so it's worth spending a small sum of money to buy yourself one of these handy tools.
There are 25 built-in stitches to choose from and a total of 59 different stitch functions. Both the width and length of stitches are adjustable to 5mm by way of a dial on the machine.
It should be noted that most sewing machines intended primarily to be used by children simply cannot handle thick materials. This is not surprising. What is surprising is that the powerful motor which runs the XL2610 can acquit itself well with these more durable fabrics like denim or fleece. One piece of advice is to place the machine on a surface where it will not skid when working with denser fabric. Because it is so lightweight it is prone to moving around. Take this simple safety measure and choose any fabric you like without restriction.
Check out some of the main features of the Brother XL2610:
- Dial-controlled stitch selection
- Free-arm sewing
- Drop-in bobbin
- Automatic bobbin winder
- Automatic needle threader
- Capable of twin needle
- Carry handle supplied
Be careful when handling the XL2610. With many plastic parts - including the presser foot lever which you will use frequently - it pays to exercise caution. Some users have reported problems with things breaking so take care and teach your children to exercise restraint. Most users report positive experiences in terms of the speed of stitching. The general consensus is that Brother have found a happy medium where it is neither too quick nor too slow. This is especially crucial in those new to the art of sewing as it allows for better control. The XL2610 comes with some useful accessories included. You get a blind stitch foot, a button sewing foot, a buttonhole foot, rolled hem and zipper feet, pack of needles, 3 bobbins, a darning plate and a screwdriver. This is not be sniffed at in a machine in this price range. In terms of pros and cons, the Brother comes in roughly equal.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Easy to set up and get started
- Automatic needle threader and bobbin winder makes life easy
- Great selection of stretch stitches
- Able to cope with thick fabric quite well
- Good for quilting if you buy quilting feet
- Loud when compared to similar machines
- Many parts are plastic
- Foot presser level is in an awkward position (to the right of machine not at the back)
- Work lamp positioning can cause shadows
- Temperamental zipper foot. Needle adjustment is required for proper placement of seams
- Non-adjustable presser foot pressure
The drop-in bobbin is fantastic for young users. Loading bobbins can often be one of the most troublesome tasks when operating a machine. With the Brother you have no such problems. Linked to this is the fact that the bobbin is also easy to thread. You can monitor your progress through a transparent tray which is positioned over the holder.
This machine has a 25-year limited warranty for the shafts and rod of the machine head. The parts of the selection components and the electronic pattern control have a 2 year warranty.
You can switch from free-arm to flat-bed work surface (or vice-versa) according to your needs very easily.
The simplicity and portability of the Brother mean that you can get up and running without undue problems and if you need to transport your machine to sewing class you can do so without breaking a sweat.
The XL2610 may lack some of the bells and whistles of its higher-end siblings but for a machine retailing at around the $100 mark - remember, keep a close eye on prices as these can change - this is only to be expected. For the money you pay you will be rewarded with a surprisingly able piece of equipment.
One way to think of the Brother is that it is not just a great sewing machine to learn on but it acts as a teacher into the bargain. You can pick up how to use many different stitches through practicing and also learn when, exactly, you should use these stitches.
The comments which keep on appearing concern the ease of use and affordability so for true beginners with a keen eye for budget these factors should be focused upon when deciding what is the best machine as a starting point to the craft of sewing.
With a machine in this price range aimed at children, you need to be realistic about what you will and will not get for your money. Determine what your precise requirements are, consider whether or not you need a huge range of accessories and features (or whether that would be a handicap for your child learning to sew) and focus on what the Brother does provide.
If you want a basic but versatile machine at a favorable price, look no further than the Brother XL2610.