Have you fallen in love with sewing but have outgrown your entry level machine? Do you wish for a machine that is more stable, can do more stitches and yet is affordable? Do you prefer mechanical over electrical sewing machines? – if so, then the Brother XR37NT could be the machine for you.
Just over a year ago I was enough into sewing that I could justify upgrading from my cheap-as-chips Ikea sewing machine. I’d only had it a few months and although it did what it said on the tin, my frustration at constant thread snaps, re-threading and fabric snagging was enough to send me to my local sewing machine supplier for an upgrade.
I didn’t have heaps of money – I was still working part time then – but my budget was around £250. I headed to the shop still a newbie to sewing and not really knowing what I was doing. I may as well have gone in the shop wearing a blindfold and pointing at the nearest machine.
In the event I did go in with my eyes open but couldn’t see what I wanted so I talked to the staff. I told them I am new to sewing and want to learn and develop the skill. They suggested a few machines and in the end it came down between the Brother XR37NT and the next one down in the series.
I didnt really want a mechanical machine. I wanted a snazzy electrical one despite knowing mechanical is probably safer long term (if an electronic one dies there isnt much you can do). But I was shy and unsure and felt a little out of my depth… the lovely lady encouraged me to sew and told me about this machine. I particularly remember her showing me that it could sew stretch knits (not that this meant much to me at the time). I was happy enough with it, so paid my money and the boyfriend carried it home (much to the chagrin of the local football supporters coming back from a game).
Once I got home and tried it properly I was really impressed – it was a massive step up from my Fisher-Price Ikea model and it was such a relief not to snag the thread every few minutes. In fact, over the year I have had it, its rarely snagged thread. It’s not a huge fan of top-stitching thread (thick) but otherwise no complaints.
One of the reasons I agreed to this machine is the range of stitches. It has 20 normal stitches, both functional and decorative, and another 20 that were similar but for stretch fabric. I really loved this aspect (so much better than my previous 9 stitches) but in reality I didn’t use anywhere near enough of them.
This model also has a 1-step buttonhole. This was a mindfield to me when I first tried to use it and it was quite a learning curve. You can see my buttonhole tutorial here. But it was so cool to be able to make buttonholes. I wasnt always pleased with the results of this, it sometimes seemed to have a mind of its own but I wonder how much was the machine and how much my lack of experience.
I would say its a medium-sized machine, not massively heavy although I did find it a little cumbersome at times. It comes with a hardcover for storage, which I didnt use enough probably and a booklet that is rather comprehensive – I turned to it a number of times for help and support and it always came up trumps.
But alas, the time again has come to move on (I’m not fickle at all!). I have outgrown it and am now investing in a mid-range machine that will give me extra features to make sewing a breeze and take my dressmaking to the next level.
While I am excited for my new machine, I am also quite sad to part-exchange this one. I do feel the time is right to let it go but it was the machine that really taught me everything I know (although the amount I do know is negotiable) and is the end of a sewing era.
Would I recommend this sewing machine?
It depends what you are looking for? If you have developed an interest in sewing that you know is likely to last, and you want to learn more, develop your skills, then yes this is a good training machine. Even if you are not massively into sewing but want a machine for repairs, cushion covers etc then you also wont go wrong with this machine. Overall, its a good solid machine that has served me well and enabled me to make some gorgeous things.
If you have any questions about my machine that I have not covered, or about sewing in general, then please leave a comment and I will get back to you.
Disclaimer: I am not being paid, or complemented in any way for writing this post. I have written this review because its a machine I have had and am now saying goodbye to.