Product Type: Brother irons & sewing machines
Newest Review: ... every machine has this function. There are 5 different buttonhole styles to choose from on this machine. It also has setting for reinforc... more
Good all rounder with some surprising features.
Brother FS-40 Sewing Machine
Member Name: princesschickpea
Brother FS-40 Sewing Machine
Advantages: lots of stitch setting, some embroidery stitches, lightweight, automatic buttonholes
Disadvantages: no automatic needle threader
For those who don't know, a computer controlled sewing machine is one which sets the stitch length and style for you, rather than using control knobs to do it yourself, and this often results in more uniform stitching. As someone who uses a sewing machine a lot, a computerised machine is a must, and so the FS40 was perfect. It has 39 stitch settings, some of which are utility stitching, and others are decorative, which is ideal when top stitching a garment. It even has button hole settings, and the button hole foot for the machine is included. The machine method of creating buttonholes is quick and easy, and an absolute godsend for anyone who hates creating buttonholes, like me! Not every machine has this function. There are 5 different buttonhole styles to choose from on this machine. It also has setting for reinforced stitching, taking a lot of the work out of sewing. If you want to adjust the length or width of the pre-programmed stitches, there are two buttons on the light up display that allow you to do so easily.
The machine can be controlled by either a foot pedal (which is included) or by a button on the front. I prefer the foot pedal, but I know some people don't and it is great to have this choice. There is also a speed regulator on the front. It has three settings, low, medium and high, and basically contols how fast the machine sews. So, on the low setting, you can press the pedal right down and it still only stitches slowly. I usually use the medium setting, unless I'm using a slippery fabric, like silk or satin, in which case a set it to low. There is also a needle up/down button on the front, which allows you to lift or lower the needle without using the wheel on the end. The wheel is still useful, however, as I use it to check that the needle will fall in the right place, particularly when I'm inserting zippers.
The machine is cased in plastic, which may put some people off, however, all my sewing machines have been plastic cased, and I never had any problems with them. What's great about this is that it is lightweight enough that you can carry it around. So if you don't have a designated sewing room, you can easily lift it onto the kitchen table and then put it away again when you're finished. I would advise that you invest in a good case though, if you are going to be storing it, just to be on the safe side. Mine sits on my desk in my sewing room with a fabric cover on it to keep the dust off, and it seems quite happy!
It also has automatic bobbin winding on the top, and when full, the bobbin just pops into a compartment on the machine's table. The cover is clear plastic and comes off with minimum hassle. It comes with the usual range of extra feet - buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, monogramming foot, zipper foot, zigzag foot, blind stitch foot and button fitting foot. The feet simply clip on and off, meaning that switching between them is easy. It also came with extra needles, though in my opinion, they aren't very good, and I use slightly higher quality ones. The needles are inserted and removed with the help of a chunky screwdriver that is also included, and is simple to do. It also has the capacity to have a double needle.
The only downside of this machine is that there is no automatic needle threader, which is a bit of a pain. If you have trouble with your eyesight or trembling hands, you might find it next to impossible to thread the needle. I would advise trying this machine out in a shop to see how you get on threading it before you commit to buy. While I manage okay with threading it, I can't deny that it is a bit of a pain, especially if a sewing job isn't going well and I'm already grumpy and frustrated!
Overall though, this is a great all rounder for people who do even a moderate amount of sewing. It came with an instruction manual and a DVD so there is plenty of help getting aquainted with it. It is perfectly suited to sewing clothes, accessories and home furnishings, and would suit beginners and more experienced dressmakers. Unless you want loads of fancy embroidery stitches, you really can't do much better than the FS40.
Summary: A perfect machine for all ability levels
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