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Sewing Machine Reviews> Brother> SB4138 Simplicity

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Reviewed by:SewLibra
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About SewLibrastar
CA USA
Member since: 12/2/08
Reviews written: 23
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 5 people
sewing machines reviewed: 1
Bio: more...
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Posted on:3/5/14 8:21 PM
Approx price paid:$900
Had this machine for:2 months
Recommended? Yes
Online Merchants:Amazon.com
Brother :SB4138 Simplicity (Sewing Machine) by SewLibra

Brother :SB4138 Simplicity (Sewing Machine) by SewLibra  
Features
  • Computerized
  • Needle Threader
  • Needle Up/Down Setting
  • Embroidery Stitches
  • One step buttonhole
  • Drop-In bobbin
  • Free Arm
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
  • Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
  • Adjustable Needle Position
  • Auto Threading
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Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 13 people   
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Review:
I can't find a way to add links or images within this review, so a few extra photos will be on a separate conversation in today's Daily Digest.

For Christmas DH surprised me with a gift card to our local sm dealer! I loved my Brother Innovis-80, but it was on the small side and I really wanted an auto thread cutter and knee lift. I researched and as soon as I saw the SB4138 (formerly the Laura Ashley NX800), I knew it was the one for me. With the gift card and my trade in, I didn't have to come up with much of my own cash. The dealer did not have the machine, so he ordered it for me. The longest wait ever, it seemed, because I was so excited to get it!

I love sewing on this machine, as it is loaded with features and has that smooth quiet performance I was used to. I've listed most of the features, but there is more info on the Brother web site.

10 key stitch select
10 auto buttonholes
10 memory pockets
3 alpha fonts with lower case
Ability to change size and density on SOME stitches
Knee lift for presser foot
Auto threader (never fails on either Brother sm I've had.)
Auto thread cutter
Auto tension
Presser foot pressure (my first time with this)
Adjustable bobbin winding speed
Comes with a slide on table, hard cover, lots of feet, lots of built-in stitches, and a nice accessory tray for the most used feet
7-pt. feed dog
Start/stop button for sewing without the pedal
Speed controller
Needle up/down
My Custom Stitch (which looks complicated but someday I'll try.)
Sideways sewing (really cool! There's a short video I made on the other post)
Ability to override the stitch length and width default. (I LOVE this since I rarely sew with 2.5 stitch length. Now I can turn the machine on and off and my settings stay put.)
2 LED lights
Manual is excellent and the machine has various languages.

Normally I would be sewing more this time of year, but I've been running around for weeks picking out materials for our kitchen remodel. So I've only had time to make a serger cover from upholstery fabric, interlined with poly, and that went great. Then I made three knit tops and had no problems at all. No walking foot needed, nor did I have to change the pressure. I used fold over elastic on one and and binding on the others. The twin needle feature worked great and the threading path is very easy. (Pic of twin set-up in the conversation today.) Other than those projects, I played around with different stitches on all kinds of scraps and was very pleased. This machine is much like my Innovis was, it just has more!

I have not tried free motion on it, as this is something I have only done on my mechanical Bernina. Since I have that machine and can't screw it up, I'll stick to that for free motion. ;-)

All in all, I am very happy with my purchase and I look forward to making lots of garments and some home dec stuff. I can't believe how fast sewing goes now that I have the thread cutter and knee lift! No more looking for my misplaced snippers. Just push a button, move my leg a couple of inches, and the fabric is out. It cuts the threads pretty darn short, too.

Troubleshooting:
Now for what I'm not too crazy about, and most of these don't even bother other sewists or me anymore. I can used to all of them, not deal breakers, but just sayin'...

The needle and needle plate are at the back of the machine, which makes it harder to see. Especially the little hook to put the thread through before you use the needle threader. On my Bernina it's all up front and I like that better.

The script alphabet is fabulous, the block is ok, and the gothic is not very good. Gothic is the only one I had before, so I'm happy to get the "fab" and the "ok" I guess.

The infamous Brother/Babylock left needle default. You can change it, but the feet and needle plate markings are made for it. It's not hard to get used to though, even if you are new to Brother/Babylock.

I'm probably the only who prefers the old fashioned incandescent "yellow" light rather than the blue LED light. But at least this machine has two of them so I'm not complaining nearly as much as the old Innovis that had only one.

The Brother big fat free arm. Why, why, why? I often bring out the Bernina for narrow tubular work. Now that's what a free arm should be like!

There are two sizes of some of the alphabets and some of the decorative stitches. There is not a whole lot of difference in the two, and I did post a pic of this on the conversation thread. It doesn't bother me, but some of you might need more variation.

That's it, I think. I know this was long, but if you are considering the SB4138 Simplicity I highly recommend it. I realize 2 months is not enough time to know how long it will last, but I used my other Brother for 4 1/2 years and never any trouble. If I have any, I will let you all know. Happy sewing, everyone!


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11 Comments
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Mufffet said...
This machine sounds really exciting! I love the features, and am entranced with the idea of sideways sewing! The stitch pictures you have posted were really nice, and the machine is beautiful. Thanks for a very well done review! Happy sewing!
3/5/14 10:08 PM
PattyGee said...
Great Review Sew Libra. I also enjoyed your demo on the sideway stitch and all the other functions on this machine.
3/6/14 0:17 AM
KPM said...
Thanks for the thorough review. Sounds terrific, and the machine is a looker, but for the money I'd opt for the Juki F600 and get the centered needle that's closer to me I think. But great that there are other good choices at that price point now. A little competition is always good for the consumer!
3/6/14 3:09 AM
speattle said...
I agree about the needle deal being too far back. Seems most of the more modern machines are built that way and I do find them awkward to thread.
3/6/14 1:26 PM
SewLibra said...
KPM, I was interested in trying the Juki F600 and asked to test drive it at the dealers. Turns out they only carry the industrial Jukis. I also have quite a few feet I bought for the other Brother, and since I had the gift card I had to purchase the machine from there. But I would have liked to see what the feel and sound of the Juki was like. I know they have great reviews!
3/6/14 4:02 PM
ryan's mom said...
This is a great machine loaded with lots of features at a great price!
3/6/14 9:53 PM
ccris said...
Very nice review. Someone mentioned the Juki f600, but I don't think it has the ability to sew sideways. In a way, the styling of your machine resembles the Juki f600.
3/7/14 12:06 PM
Aleroluver said...
Congrats on finding a machine you love... I know how excited you were when you got it... great job on the review...
3/16/14 2:45 PM
SewLibra said...
Thank you everyone! I haven't had time for much sewing. In the midst of a kitchen remodel and going nuts. Hopefully will get back in the swing soon!
3/17/14 11:32 PM
Sewsmarter said...
Does this machine do well going through jean seams? I liked it at a store, but am not sure if it can handle heavy fabrics.
3/24/14 1:48 PM
SewLibra said...
Sewsmarter, I haven't used this machine on jean seams because I use my mechanical Bernina 1008 for that. But if it's like my old Innovis-80, it will muddle through. I feel like there is no one machine that has absolutely everything we want. I don't like to push it with a computerized machine for jeans, unless it's just a simple hem job. The main foot on Brother machines has a "hump jumper" built in. You just push the side spring loaded button to level the foot on your seam. All in all, I do not consider this machine heavy duty, but with the right needle it does sew heavy fabrics well. I hope that wasn't confusing, but bottom line is if you sew jeans most of the time, I would get a mechanical machine with strong piercing power. This is why I hope to keep my 1008 forever as a back up to the bells and whistles machine. :-)
3/25/14 1:38 PM
 
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