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I've been doing textiles and crafts for years but I've always done them by hand which took a long time and was rather inconvenient. Finally, two years ago I bought the Brother XL2220NT from Argos for around £130 as a birthday present for myself. I was very excited to go and collect this machine as I've been waiting to get a sewing machine for years. The staff at Argos were not the friendliest, but when you work at Argos, why would you be. I took the machine home and was very excited to unpack it! The package included an instruction DVD, tool kit for the machine, and plenty of spare bobbins. And of course the machine. The instruction DVD was helpful and could be watched in loads of different languages. The tool kit included all the essentials for the machine including a mini screwdriver, spare needles and other accessories. The machine itself is aesthetically pleasing with its curves and smooth lines, and it also does not have that tacky shine that they give to most of the machines. I like how this machine is a matte finish. I already knew how to use a machine because I'd learnt how to use them in school textiles lessons. This machine is very easy to use and I've not had any problems in using it. The stitches are easy to choose, using back-stitch is simple and stopping and starting is just plain obvious. The use of the machine is very easy, and maybe for a beginner learning how to put the thread in and making bobbins would be a bit difficult, but the instruction DVD explains all of this anyways. The machine takes quite a lot of strain in terms of heavy duty materials, but if placed under too much pressure the needle can snap and fly into the air. This happened to me once when trying to sew a thick pair of curtains. The needle could not take the strain and snapped into three pieces, one of them flying into the air at quite a speed, hitting me in the face. This could be dangerous, and if the needle had flown at an awkward angle into my eye, then a trip to A&E would have been in order. Sometimes the machine gets a little too 'excited' when you first start sewing, and it will bunch the material up and sew in the same place a million times, creating a huge knot which you have to undo. When you've untangled the knot and start again though the machine will usually calm down and not do that again. Other than those problems, this machine has been a dream to use, its so easy and even my mother who cannot use a machine to save her life has managed to use it a couple of times. The machine has everything you need, but I think it could have had a couple of ready made bobbins and spools included in the set. A good machine for a very good price. Recommend to anyone!
Short name: Brother XL2220NT