“ Brand: Brother „
* Prices may differ from that shown
When I'm not sitting on the computer being very busy of course, another thing I enjoy doing is making things. My mum really got me into sewing and making clothes when I was little. She was taught by her mum, so wanted it to be the same with me. We have always had a sewing machine in our house and after our last Brother gave up the go (It has lasted more than 8 years of hard labour!) so it was time to get a new one. Of course I resorted to the internet which most of us do now a days. We decided to stay with Brother as we knew the brand well and was very happy with our last eowing machine. However times had really changed since we bought out last machine. After doing a lot of comparison on the Brother website
What Is It
The Brother BC2100 is one of the most popular domestic use sewing machines. It is designed for beginners who are just starting out and those who have done this for a long time. Because of this, you can get going straight away or at least learn how to get started. Because this is a much newer model, it has many 'fancy' features which I will discuss, compared to plain sowing machines. Basically this is a COMPUTERISED machine which means less work for you, and able to do much more that you can usually do with a sewing machine. This can also be used for making items such as clothes or furnishings, to repair jobs, or even just adding that extra touch!
Prices/Where To Get It
After deciding this was the model to buy for us, we did some price hunting. This was what I found quite difficult, so hopefully by reading this review it will save you some time. Prices ranged from a good £189 to an incredible £308. However what I noticed was that the average price seemed to be the £199 mark but you usually would get some very good freebies.
Brother Direct - I felt it was a complete rip off at an incredible £308 which we felt was not a good price at all. You would expect it from the manufactorer to be cheaper than anywhere else but I was highly wrong. I would avoid as you just get the machine and have to pay extra for the accessory kits.
Argos - I didn't realise until after some research that Argos sell this product. This was highly convient for us as the nearest Argos is only 6 miles away. There price was a reasonable £196 with a FREE wide table to go with it. This is basically an add on to the machine and comes in very handy.
But we bought ours from:
Now their price is £199 however it was the stuff you got with it which interested us. It came with a 'free' thread pack (which is lots of different colors of threads), 5 pairs of scissors, a sewing kits, a carry case (which I have never used) and an wide table. Argos offered the wide table but didn't offer us the rest. Because of the extras, this seemed the most appealing so ended up buying from there. Also the price included postage and packaging so that was a little added bonus. I would recommend new comers to buy from that site or if you already have lots of sowing equipment then Argos is your best option.
Getting Started (Learning How To Use Machine)
It arrived 5 days after ordering which was fine. It came with a small letter of proof of buying and also a 5 YEAR guarentee covered by the website itself. So I think I can safely say that sewingmachines.co.uk is very generous compared to Brother which only offers 2 years cover.
Now getting started was pretty easy, after figuring out what everything was I unpacked it all. Now it came with the instruction manual PLUS a DVD which I was a little shocked to find. I did think, maybe it might be quite difficult to use, if you need a DVD with it. I actually haven't watched it yet and don't really plan to in the future. However it would be good for newbies who have started out.
Now all you have to do to start it up is to position the sewing machine where you want (obviously in close proximity to a plug) and power it up. On the side is a wee on and off button which you push and the screen on the front turns bright blue. That is you ready to get started.
The start up was so easy, I didn't look at the instruction manual as it is all basic knowledge stuff. However threading it up may be a different story! (See below)
The machine is a bit different to the one my family had been used to using before. The main difference is the computer used. On the front you have a small LCD screen in which you choose what design you want but also the width and (on certain designs) the length. A light flaw with that is that you have 40 patterns to choose from, and if you want number 20 for example then you have to click the up button 20 times which can be a little annoying. However after a few minutes of getting used to it is a very easy layout.
You can tell it is designed to be as easy as possible to use. When threading up it is made 1000 times easier by the use of arrows. It is a little different to traditional machines, but is much easier. You start from the back and all you do is follow the arrows, hooking it into place and looping round corners. When you get to the needle you have a much wider than usual hole. This means less squinting to try and get the thread through the needle! Now that is a huge advantage and a great design input. The bobbin is also a two second job now as you put into place underneath the needle (it has a clear screen so you can always see the bobbin) and pull the thread so it clicks under a hook. And that is it. It is a very simple design and the white makes it very stylish and modern. It is very very good and the wide table attachment means you can work on larger materials with out it going everywhere.
When looking at buying this one of the things that really got to me was the patterns you can use. In total the machine has 40 different patterns ranging from lines to leaves, to zig-zags to ladders. My personal favourite being the swirly pattern. This lets you explore and takes your sowing to new levels. For example I was making a cushion a while back and used the swirly design around the edge is shocking pink thread which made it look AMAZING! I could never have done that as neatly using hand or on a straight sowing machine.
When using the patterns for the first time I would recommend trying them out with no thread. How I did this was get some plain paper and just not thread up the machine. Then just start sewing away like normal. I would say to do this at first as it is a little different to traditional straight lines. For example the zig zags take a bit of practise as you have to keep a straight line to as close as you can. Some designs go over to the left more because of the pattern. Before doing the real thing get used to the design as you may have to go at a different speed to normal. Or even draw a line to keep you straight as it is so much easily to wonder off. There are some fantastic designs and you are able to jazz up your work is complete new ways. It is good fun trying out all the different patterns and you soon like me, pick out your favourite.
Apart from some fantastic patterns the sewing machine also offers lots of extra little lovely's that are designed to make your sewing life as blissful as possible. This is done by adding in features.
Button hole maker - Ok it has all happened. The button has come off your favourite jacket. So you can sow it on by hand or you can use this machine. I've used this feature lots as I made a bag covered in pink and white buttons for a friend and this made my life so much easier. How it works is you get your fabric, jacket etc. Then instead of sowing it back on it will create the button hole you want. It comes in 6 different sizes and can be adjusted. This is REALLY handy and stops it becoming wonky when you sow on the buttons. I had never heard of this feature before I read the manual, and trying it out was a bit scary at first. Again practise this before you do this on the real thing.
Sleeve Arm - I've never had to use this feature however how it works is you can take part of the sowing table off from the left hand side. You are then left with a wide cyclinder in which you can hook your sleeve on. So again if there is button missing then this is the feature for you. It also gives you a bit of flexability when making other items. A handy feature which I hope I will use.
Needle Lamp - Our last sowing machine had a lamp on the side so it is quite nice to have a lamp directly on top of the needle. This means you can see properly what you are doing and I have noticed you don't get shadows which can not only confuse you, but put you off! That is of course from my own experience. It is very bright and handy if you are doing particularly difficult.
There are three things that I think are important to mention. The first one is threading up. It has been made as simple as possible and I have to say if you are experienced then it does take a bit of getting used to. However if you forget it only takes a second to find the arrow and your away again. Second the ease of the pedal. To get you going you only need a very gentle push on the pedal and it is very easily controlled. I mention this as the last one I had wasn't very good at stopping however this one is sharp and as long as you remember to keep control, you will get get the exact speed you want. Third is how easy it is. I loved how you could just turn it on, thread it up and get going. This is a big plus for those who want to learn or are just getting into sowing, or in general need it for domestic reasons. I've never had to repair it and it is working like a gem. However I will report back if it gives up, however if that does happen I have the guarentee which I hope I will never have to use!
Was It Worth Buying?
YES! Our house is always needed a sowing machine. Not only is it a hobby for me and my mum but also handy for making presents for people and of course repairing clothes. A complete novice could use this easily. I've not had a single problem with it, and I bought this last year. Since then I have made a bag, three cusions, repairs to trousers (caused by two very mischievious little brothers), customising a blanket and my proudest item, a duvet!!!
I'm very glad our family invested in this and would totally recommend this. Whether you need a new one or are just wanting it for a hobby then this is the machine for you. Complete novices, if you want something easy to use then this is for you. It makes it a bit different and you will be looking through all the fantastic patterns and trying them out. A few have inspired me to make some of the items...
A note, if you have a sewing machine get your kids into it if you have a spare hour. I loved my mum buying me pretty material and me able to muck about on it. Get more people into sewing and making their own clothes!!!
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Sewing Machine / 40 stitches / LCD screen / Automatic needle threader / 5 styles of one-step automatic buttonholer / Twin needle function / Drop feed / 6 point feed dog / Free arm sewing / Quick set top loading bobbin