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
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
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.
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!